Folks, we live in the age of over parenting and control. Overparenting, though done with the best interests, is really a sign of distrust. We distrust that God has control, so we marshal it ourselves. We become the overly involved tyrant parent that every teacher loves and hates at the same time. Emails, phone calls, suggestions, comments–we find a way to make sure our voices are heard and that we advocate for our children. There’s a place for this, no doubt.
I have written my fair share of emails to teachers–“Don’t you think my daughter should…” “My son mentioned x…perhaps…”
I apologize in hindsight. There’s a place for advocating. In many cases, it’s the only way some kids can get the services and attention they need. However, when advocating becomes our daily battle-cry, perhaps we should take a step back and see it’s in the child’s long-term interest. Are we allowing kids opportunities to learn from each experience? Or are we setting them up to be entitled adults? Because you know, that’s a real thing.
I’m sure I won’t win any “mom-of-the-year” awards for this, but I sat down with my then 8 and 9 year old and wrote all the bad words I knew on a piece of paper. The list was long. Why? “Why?” – my daughter even asked. “Mom, cross them out!!!!!” She already knew some and felt uncomfortable seeing me spell them out around the kitchen table.
Well from the advice of a good friend (this wasn’t actually my idea), this is the way we need to parent now. In the digital age of the internet, we prop up smart phones for our one-year olds to sit entranced so that we can peacefully eat dinner when out with friends. The children know how to take selfies. They figure out how to navigate Netflix and we encourage this. Then, at about a certain age, we freak out and take those very same smart phones away. Talk about contradictions. At an age where we should be handing over and letting go, we constrict.
Back to the original story–I wrote those curse words out on paper for a couple of reasons: 1) to teach them what every single one means and let them know that looking it up on the Internet may lead to some inappropriate sites. This builds on my previous post about talking about sex earlier than later. 2) I want my kids to know that they can talk to me about certain things–that I’m not embarrassed or angry about them knowing certain concepts.
They’re young. They’re minds are somewhat pure and undefiled from visual images and though I can’t control whether they see these things forever, I can help them understand a little bit. I’m not sure if this is the right answer, but I don’t regret it either.
Perhaps I would not have felt so compelled to do this if we were parenting in the 1980s, but we’re not longer in the pre-digital age. Information is at their little fingertips and I hope to prepare them to use it well. Looking forward to hearing criticism.