Dear Matt Lauer and Today Show staff,

Against my better judgment, I watched part of your segment this morning on the so-called “No Rescue” parenting trend.  I was frustrated with it for a number of reasons.

First of all, I don’t know who came up with the title “No Rescue” for this style of parenting, but it seems totally extreme and inappropriate.  From what I gathered, these are parents who allow their children to experience the natural consequences of say, leaving your homework in your locker or your soccer cleats at home.  “No Rescue” implies that if their child were about to get hit by a car these parents would cheerfully stand by, knowing that little Suzie would get a great life lesson out of their time in the hospital.  “Next time honey, I guess you won’t be riding your bike in the middle of the road!  What’s that?  You’re in pain?  Well, get your own morphine!  No rescuing from me!”  Parents like this would rightfully be getting a call from DFS.  As far as I could tell, this is not the tactic that supposed “no rescue” parents are taking.

Secondly, while you may not have coined the term “no rescue” yourselves, you did choose to put the tagline that ran something along the lines of “these are parents who allow their children to fend for themselves.”  This description again conjures up an image of parents throwing their children to the wolves, setting them out in the woods or on the street to, as you say, “fend for themselves.”  Which also does not seem to be the case for this type of parenting style.

There are probably as many ways to parent as there are people.  You would have us believe that we are all divided into a handful of categories, from Tiger Mom to Helicopter Parent, and in doing so create a manufactured controversy about which is the best way to raise our children.  It is hard enough to parent, to not question your choices and decisions, without the Today Show and other media outlets trying to force us to choose, to pit us against our friends and neighbors, to rain down judgment on us for choosing this or that way to raise our kids.

For example, you describe a Tiger Mom as one who is strict and sets high standards.  Well, my husband and I definitely are strict, and yes, we do set high standards for our kids.  But I have actually read Amy Chua’s book, and while I found a lot of her parenting style did resonate with me, much of it did not.  So I wouldn’t say I’m entirely a “Tiger Mom”.  A “snowplow parent” apparently wants to get all the obstacles out of their child’s way, so they have no difficulties.  I would say there’s a little bit of that in every parent who loves their child.  We all know what Helicopter parents are like, and again, I think that there’s a little bit of that in all of us, as we worry about the world we send our kids out into every day.  And then of course now the “no rescue” parent, who, gasp, might not rush over to school with their kids’ forgotten flute or horror, not drop dinner making to run over to the school to get a forgotten math assignment.  This is really a thing?  Why is this a thing?  Why is this a thing worth talking about???  Who there is deciding that we need to have an entire segment on parenting to create yet another way for us to feel bad about ourselves and criticize ourselves and, in turn, criticize and judge those around us?

It’s like the media wants everyone to be pitted against one another.  I guess “Everyone in this town gets along really well!” isn’t a very compelling news story, but “Wow, all these people are SO DIFFERENT in the way they parent!” is?  When did “live and let live” go by the wayside?

Now, I’m not saying that everything is entirely relative when it comes to parenting.  I do believe there are certain pretty black and white issues that are right and wrong when it comes to how you raise your kids.  (Starving, beating, ignoring, abusing…yeah, all bad.)  But most of those “black and whites” are at the far ends of the parenting spectrum, and everything else is pretty gray in the middle there.  At the end of the day, the majority of parents love their kids.  And they do what they do out of love for their kids.  And we are all just trying our best to get through the day without hurting anyone and losing our ever-loving minds.  All of which is hard enough without some morning talk-show segment that emphasizes our differences and makes people feel like “YOU’RE DOING IT ALL WRONG!” 

I’m pretty sure most of us feel like that all the time anyway.  So why don’t you do a piece on something more positive and encouraging and people-bringing-together instead of continuing to drive us all apart?

Sincerely,

Tiger-Snowplow-No Rescue Mom,

Jennifer Hamilton

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