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Gift Ideas For Punk Rock Parents

When a baby enters your scene, here are some presents for the parents


For any new parent, a baby adds a whole new set of concerns and responsibilities. When the parents are punks who're active in their local scene, there's a distinct set of concerns. Will they lose touch with their friends? Will they lose touch with music? Will they simply lose touch?

These are all concerns that weighed heavily on my wife and I as we prepared for the arrival of our first little one. We had seen friends in the past have children and simply disappear, apart from very rare occasions. It's unavoidable that the new responsibilities that come with a little one will weigh on one's time, but what's entirely avoidable is the idea that this will also mean losing touch with one's friends or one's scene.

Here is a lift of gift ideas to help you show your support to the new addition.

1. A Night Out

A baby is a big responsibility. It's an eating, pooping, crying machine, and in the earliest years, it requires constant attention while it's awake. Because of this, many new parents rarely get out to a show or a club. Couple this with the idea that hiring a babysitter in order to go to a show essentially doubles the cost of a night out, and doing anything at all becomes increasingly rare. When it does happen, it's usually just mom or dad out with friends while the other parent tends to the nest, so the parents rarely get a night out alone. So why not treat the new parents to that night out together?

Offer to babysit so that they can catch a local hardcore or punk show together. If you have the extra scratch, you can always surprise them with tickets, but that's not at all necessary. Simply saying, "hey, if you guys want to go to a show together, I'll come over and watch the baby for an evening" will buy you piles of good karma.

2. A Night In

Just because the new parents have a baby that goes to bed early in the evening, it doesn't mean the new parents are ready to call it a night - just that they're stuck at home while the little bundle of joy gets her beauty rest. So offer to keep them company.

Sacrifice a Friday or Saturday night out for a Friday or Saturday night in at your friends place. Bring a sixer and some records and have a night of it sitting up, listening to music and catching up. It's often a lot more fun than a packed sweaty club full of fashion victims.

3. Guides to Punk Parenting

AK Press
While Dr. Spock and the What to Expect series do a great job, they do little to address the specific concerns of parents who are active in political causes or their local DIY scene and want to introduce their ideals to their little ones. Fortunately, a growing number of writers are beginning to fill this void, writing guides for punk rock parents that cover the range of issues that are important to punk rock parents, from introducing little ones to social activism and causes, avoiding gender coding and steering clear of mass-appeal marketing exposure.

4. Kid-friendly Punk Music

Go Kart Records
For those of us with little ones at home, we still want to make music a daily part of our lives, and pass our love of music onto our children. But as responsible parents we realize that there are a lot of punk bands out there that aren't exactly appropriate for baby. Let's face it, the Misfits and NOFX are your typical kid-friendly fare.

At the same time, we want to steer clear of all the Barneys and Hannah Montana's of the world - the sort of annoying repetitive painful melodies and pop pablum that can make our lives unbearable. Fortunately, there are many old-school punks making kid-friendly tunes. From Asian Man records founder Mike Park, to Stretch Marks guitarist Billy Jackfish, to the always insane Peelander-Z, there are a ton of kid-friendly punk records out that are just as much fun for the adults to sing along to, and let's face it, even if the subject matter may be a bit juvenile, so is the subject matter of 65 percent of the punk tunes out there.

5. New Music

Thomas Northcut/Getty Images
Just because we may seem out of the musical loop as new parents, it doesn't mean we want to be. It's just that the responsibilities of a baby tend to eat up time that we once used going to record shows or reading or learning about new music. We rely on our friends to help us keep up with what's going on in the music world, so why not give your friends with kids the gift of new music?

Pick up a copy of something new that you're really digging, or even make them a mix disc. It doesn't even need to cost much, we list tons of free punk MP3s on this site all the time, so why not grab a few of your favorites to share?

6. Ear Protection

When I mention ear protection, I'm not talking about something that allows one to sleep through an infant's squalling, I'm talking about ear protection for the little ones. As you may well note, music lovers with children do tend to gravitate toward summer outdoor festivals, where the weather is conducive to a family outing, bu good music is on hand. Families abound at the Vans Warped Tour, and indeed at any outdoor musical event. But just because we love to bring our little ones to these events, it doesn't mean we want to condemn them to life with the dreaded club disease tinnitus we have inflicted upon ourselves over the years.

This is why a large range of children's ear protection devices are now available. They're effective at preserving the ear, so effective that it's not uncommon to see a baby wearing one of these devices snoozing happily away during a set, like I saw during Hole's set at SXSW, where a little one dozed peacefully in her mother's arms, a mere 50 feet from the stacks.

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