Feature

Patti Smith’s old-fashioned parenting

The punk rock pioneer thinks modern parents aren’t strict enough with their kids.

Patti Smith thinks modern parents aren’t strict enough with their kids, said Stefanie Marsh in The Times (U.K.). “My daughter didn’t have a cellphone till her 16th birthday,” says the punk rock pioneer, “and everyone in her school, at 10 years old, had a cellphone. I didn’t think it was proper for a child. Her school was nearby, she was safe, and I didn’t think it was a healthy thing to have that machine near her ear.” Smith, now 65, often appeared onstage in the 1970s sporting secondhand clothes and matted hair, but she hates the way her kids’ classmates come dressed to school. “I found the laxity with which a lot of kids were being raised puzzling,” she says. “I thought that kids were dressing too provocatively for school and tried to talk to the other mothers about it.” Other parents dismissed her concerns, saying they thought their children should be free to express themselves. “But I didn’t think that that was proper for school,” says Smith. “Just because I sing rock ’n’ roll doesn’t mean I have no code as a human being or don’t have concerns for my children. I found that other mothers were more interested in being their daughter’s friend or rival than taking the position of a mother.”

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