Friday, August 15, 2008


A continuation of my thoughts from yesterday….

Parenting is such a hard balance (we all obviously know this), and if you don’t find the right balance in a lot of things, there can be a lifelong impact.

Socialization is a huge thing for kids. Having friends helps determine where you stand. I have been watching this phenomenon with the older girls in the neighborhood and it hasn’t changed since I was young. And honestly? At the age of my daughter, it isn’t so much how cool you might be (I mean they’re 5…there’s not much to be cool about yet) but how cool it is to go to your house to play.

Hubby and I have always vowed that we would try our best to have our house be the one that kids want to come to. We figure that would be the easiest way to keep an eye on the kids without seeming too overprotective (that last part being geared towards high school years). Thankfully, so far, all the little girls want to come over to our house to play with our daughter, so we’re doing something right, and that’s good, because with the exception of a few parents I know really well, I’m not ready to send her down the street to play yet.

As the girls were playing the other night, I thought back to what made me want to go to certain houses over others. Of course toys and what we had to play with played an important role, but so much of it was the parents. Were my friend’s parents ones that yelled at us a lot? Did they have a ton of rules? Did they get me a drink if I was thirsty? Were they generally nice? Were they there if I needed to talk?

My daughter has one friend in particular who has very odd parents that don’t let her do a whole lot. They are constantly monitoring her and telling her she can’t do what all the other kids are doing. Surprisingly, she’s not the oldest.

Now, I’m definitely not one that will let my kid do something just because everyone else is doing it. BUT…I will relook at my position to make sure I’m not being a tad overprotective. My goal is to be liked by my kids and their friends (definitely not at the expense of compromising my morals or beliefs and I am the mom first and foremost)…whereas some parents seem to think it’s fun to embarrass their kids or make them miserable (our old babysitter was like this), and they could care less what others thought of them. I can already tell how this little girl (with the super strict parents) is getting left out of things. As much as I tell my daughter to try to include her, it’s hard, because everything they want to do, she’s not allowed to participate.

I had very strict parents. And while there are tons of things they did right, there are also some areas they really could have loosened up on. My sisters and I were made fun of a lot as kids because of our “rules,” which, looking back, some of them I still can’t understand. Were we scarred for life because of it? Of course not, but to this day it still affects us a little. And I’m still keeping the vow I made as a child when going through all of that…I would never tell my kids “no” without giving them a reason. It keeps me in check. There are many times my kids will ask me something and my first response is “no.” They ask "why?" and I think about it and realize I’m just being lazy and don’t want to do it, or I didn’t understand them, or something like that. Other times I stick to my original "no" because I have reasons and I tell them what they are. This makes parenting that much harder for us because we constantly have to be on our toes. But that’s good…I hope to raise better kids because of it.

And through all of this, I know that I will be much stricter during the teenage years than most parents. I will have no problem telling my kids they can’t go to a party that I’m not sure about, or that they have to be home by a certain time. But to me those are the things that have lasting consequences.

Obviously a lot has been on my mind with my daughter starting school a week from today. She will be with her friends all day. Without me. And even though I know this is just Kindergarten, it’s the beginning of a whole new world for her, and I really hope I’ve prepared her for it. She will encounter new influences and new situations, and above all, I want her to know that she can talk to me about all of it...and I hope she does.

1 comment:

Sherry said...

You are on the right track towards the teenage years, so stay that course. I love that you give your kids a reason for your "no" That shows you aren't just brushing them off.
I am like you, would much rather have everyone here at least I know all are safe, and know where and what my kids are doing.
My kids and the twins both have gone through the "No you can't stay over night until we meet the parents." That has been a huge thing of mine when the age was right for the spending the night. I would be upset if kids came here and I didn't know their parents. Why did the parents let them come here if they didn't know us? I told my kids "what if the parents are mass murders, we need to meet them." yeah so the kids would tell that to the parents and when we would meet, is was an ice breaker and some good friendships between me and the mom's have happened too.
So yeah stay with what you are doing cause like I told you, you and your hubby ROCK!!!!