It's All Relative

How comparisons create self-knowledge, action, and emotions.

The Rise of Artisan Parenting

Artisan parents create a handcrafted, "authentic", high parental-effort childhood for their kids to demonstrate that they are better parents. Read More

The parenting Skinner Box

The Artisan Parent is someone who gets something from being a parent. Everybody likes to feel important so the narcissism path is obvious. First one get engaged and there is an engagement party to celebrate. That works out pretty well, so then follows the wedding, and that usually works out extremely well, all focus is on the wedded couple, not to mention the gifts and the money. The obvious next step is making babies, with each new arrival the couple is made to feel special, warm and appreciated.

But then what?

Eventually babies turn into children, and become less cute and less special. Parents realize it is not that difficult to buy one's food at a farmer's market, drive a hybrid and recycle. With that minor effort directed at a few choice activities one can feel pleased with oneself and self-satisfied, extending out that feeling of self-importance that the world is providing in diminishing returns as the children age, wrinkles appear and the bellies grow wider.

It's like the strollers. It's not enough to have the child. The enclosure surrounding the child must grow ever larger, bulky and obvious so that the outside world can not notice the parent's specialness in having produced an 8-pound baby.

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Camille Johnson, Ph.D. is a social psychologist and Associate Professor of Organization and Management at San Jose State University.

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