Crazy Parenting Trends to Watch in 2012

Sexy nursing lingerie is so 2011. And, thankfully, the Facebook-page-for-babies thing never quite took off (Matt and Ellie Greene notwithstanding).

But that's all child's play of yesterday. See, parenting is poised for an espresso-style shot to the system in 2012 – if you buy the annual crop of predictions from @erwwpr. This NYC "buzz boutique," aka Euro RSCG Worldwide PR, recently cast its bets in many pools – including five educated guesses for mommy(and daddy)hood.

So what's the word from the PR agency's CEO, Marian Salzma? A deeper dive into "superhero-style parenting."

"It's no longer enough for mommy's little angel to learn how to talk; he/she has to speak Mandarin in addition to English, Spanish and Italian," her report states. "And forget Happy Meals, junk food and soda. Today's kids are eating carrots, kale and organic juice."

Beta mom, watch your back. And the source may not be what you'd expect: "The once-slackerish Gen Xers," she adds, who are "now in overdrive when it comes to raising kids." Over-parenting, rebranded? Perhaps. One thing's sure, as far as Oh, Mother is concerned: We'll be keeping our eye on these trends for blog-worthy family antics all year long!

1. 'Teaching your kids to be green.'

Mother Earth needs more than a hug these days. And eco-parenting is staging a serious intervention, from going locavore with farmers market grub to DIY upcycling and even totally scrapping plastic. Better nutrition, healthy meals, sustainability education – it's all "crazy" good. But when it dips into hyper-competitive extreme green parenting? Get those dukes up.

2. Attachment parenting.

This one's all about positive bonding. "The more sensitive and emotionally available a parent is," the report notes, "the better a child will be able to adjust later in life." Again: Good theory. And, @erwwpr notes, another anxiety cooker. After all, only a year ago, former Blossom star Mayim Bialik, now a Ph.D. and attachment-advocate/author, was still nursing her 2 1/2-year-old son up to 12 times a day – not to mention the elimination communication. No pressure.

3. 'Empty nests are getting pretty full again.'

Are we heading back to the past – think Victorian era – when multigenerational homes were the norm? Banish the thought! Yet it's looking more and more likely. A slew of "young and frustrated jobless children" ages 25-34 is returning back to mom and pops' pad in droves, the report notes – and it's suspecting that'll continue. (Note: If you're a parent in this position, read Metro Parent's article about parenting "boomerang" kids.)

4. Elder care is hitting the younger generation.

Speaking of reversed roles … teens and young adults are biting their nails, too, over healthcare bills – and not just theirs. Yep, we're talking about their parents' tabs. "With everyone having babies so much later in life," the report notes, it's becoming a bigger problem. "Attach accordingly," it quips.

5. Constant parenting.

It's a mad, mad, mad, mad world – at 24/7/365 speed, thanks to smartphones, social networking and our otherwise "always-on society." That means constantly policing kids' tech activity, too, contributing to all-around burnout. "The pressure will become too much," adds @erwwpr. "Even carpools are getting cutthroat, as 'competitive carpooling' leads parents to obsess over getting their kids to ride with those with the high social status."

Is there any hope? Maybe in baby names – which apparently are taking an quaint, old-fashioned turn in 2012, says Hmm. Hopefully little Agnes can hitch a ride with Gus. Goodness knows she wouldn't be caught dead in Mille's mom's van.


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