Even when you become a parent, you never really escape what it is to be a child. For many of us, our own parents become a greater part of our lives once we have children of our own. Although you might not have seen your parents in a while, suddenly you’re flooded with memories that remind you of the kind of parents you had when you were growing up. Inevitably, those memories force you to think more about the kind of parent you plan to become. If there’s one commonality among many of my friends’ parenting styles, it’s this: We plan to be more accepting parents because progressive parents are truly the best.
Being a progressive and accepting parent doesn’t mean there are no rules in the home. It doesn’t mean you let your kids walk all over you. It definitely doesn't mean that you don't guide or assist your child in understanding the world around them. It simply means that whatever you do, you do with the ultimate goal of raising a kind, accepting, tolerant human being who values all human life and works to end systemic and cultural oppressions. This, in turn, is one of the best ways to make sure your children not only come to you for advice, but that they never run away from you. No kid wants a parent that is constantly putting them and their decisions down. No kid will want to confide in a parent who is threatening or closed off to new ideas. No kid will turn to a parent if they think said parent won't accept them for who they are and what they think or believe.
So, if that the aforementioned reasons aren't enough to prove to you that being a progressive, accepting parent is the way to go, here are a few more reasons why you should consider being that specific kind of parent:
Accepting Parents Listen To You...
A progressive parent will never interrupt you as you begin to confide in them. If you need to come out because you’re LGBTQIA, or because you’re transgender, or because you need an abortion, or because you want a tattoo, they won’t just outright say "No." Instead, they’ll listen to you and make sure to respond in a kind and loving manner.
...And They Don’t Shame You For Your Lifestyle Or Choices
Once you tell them about your lifestyle and the choices you make, your very open parents do not automatically make you feel terrible about them. They don’t make jokes at your expense and they don’t condemn you to some fiery pit of doom. They merely accept that you are responsible for your life and, so long as your choices don't end up hurting yourself or others, you’re allowed to feel and do as you please.
They're Never Ashamed Of You
You may have strayed from the life they had prepared for you (because hey, you’re human), but that doesn’t mean a progressive parent would ever feel shame for who you are or who you have become. They won’t lie and say that you actually aren’t an atheist or that you actually aren’t majoring in drama. They’ll stand proudly beside you because that’s what children (even adult children) deserve.
They Open Their Home To Your Friends
Intolerant parents will only allow you to have "certain friends," or certain types of friends. They may discriminate on the basis of skin color or sexual orientation or class status. However, an open-minded and progressive parent (I mean, honestly just a decent human being) will simply allow you to choose your friends as you see fit, and welcome them because they are your friends.
They Never Force You To Do Things You Don’t Want To Do
There are some pretty controlling parents out there who will force their kids to do things against their wishes. These are the types of parents who send their kids to “conversion camps” or don’t allow their kids to date outside their religion. None of this is OK and, if I'm being honest, your kids will (and probably for good reason) resent you for it later.
They Are There To Celebrate All Your Achievements
Even if your parent doesn’t entirely understand or even like your way of life, progressive ones will be there for every single one of your achievements. Job promotions, marriages, babies, graduations (or none of the above); they will celebrate everything with you because they love you.
...And To Support You Through Hard Times
Maybe your parents don’t quite understand your bisexuality, but your girlfriend broke up with you and you’re depressed. Some not-so-tolerant parents might be jerks and simply turn their backs on you, arguing that your difficulties occurred because you didn’t "abide their wishes." The best parents will welcome you with open arms, because love is love and pain is pain.
Their Advice Is Sound
Never take advice from someone who shames you, or who is fearful of what the world thinks. If your parents are of the accepting variety, however, feel free to go to them for help. Chances are they will have much more valuable advice than anyone else.
They Admit When They Are Wrong
Just because you have open, progressive parents doesn’t mean they are perfect. We all make mistakes, and even though they might work hard to be good and decent parents (and people), they may (read: will) falter at times. The difference it, once they catch themselves, they’ll be the first to admit it.