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Posts Tagged ‘advice’

So, for some bizarre reason I have had several conversations in the last few days regarding opinions on how to raise children.  I got into one “argument” with a woman at church because I said I did not think that allowing my son to watch a movie with violence was going to turn him into a serial killer.  This is also a hot topic between Leah and I as she is very very anti-violence.  She would argue that she is not over the top, and perhaps she isn’t, but she and I are definitely at different ends of the spectrum.  Now, don’t get me wrong, my son is 10 years old and he does have restrictions.  For example, he is not allowed to watch  Batman: The Dark Knight, which is probably a good indicator movie for where I draw the line for him.  On the other hand, I have no problem with him watching Iron Man 1 or 2, any of the X-Men movies, although after watching X-Men 3 he said “I think that was a little too violent.”  Which means he is probably able to discern among levels of violence (more of an influence of Leah, than me).  And isn’t that the ultimate goal?  Is our goal as parents to shield our children from “evil” or teach them how to discern and make intelligent choices?  I do NOT want to raise our children in a bubble.

I know parents that do not allow guns of any kind/type in their house.  The kids make guns from sticks found in the yard.  I know parents that do not allow their kids to watch movies or TV with any kind of violence.  The kids see these movies at their friend’s house and can’t wait to see more, and the more violent the better.  I know parents that do not allow their kids to watch TV or movies (except parent selected) at all.  You should see these kids when they are someplace with a television.  They are mesmerized.  They literally look like someone gave them crack cocaine.  I am not saying that their should not be rules or boundaries, quite the contrary, but I do believe that the tighter the box, the wilder they will be when released from parental chains, like a chained animal released for the first time.  The most important question in my mind is how to raise a child that when confronted with bad, will make the right choice?

Practice.  Kids need choices.  I have no idea who you are as a parent, but if your children do not have choices, then when they are released on their own, they will have no idea what to choose when confronted with horrible options, or they will be so depended on your guidance that they will never leave the house.

Kids need to be allowed to make mistakes.  How else do we learn?  Think of your biggest lessons in your life.  I almost guarantee they are from your past mistakes.  This is a tough one for me, because I want him to NOT make the same mistakes I made.  Don’t we all want this?  But why?  If our past mistakes made us who we are today, if we learned valuable lessons from our own mistakes, why would we want to deny this for our children?  With choices comes mistakes, from mistakes come learning and from learning comes independence.

Kids need to be parented.  I have worked with youth for a long time now, and this is the biggest problem I see with kids today, absentee parents.  Absentee parenting occurs regardless whether the one parent or two parents are in the picture.  As a matter fact, I see it more common in homes in which both parents are working.  The nice thing about raising your kids in a bubble is it releases you from parenting.  If you are not around, the bubble is a requirement.  Of course, if you are not around, then the bubble walls are easy to break.  The bottom line, I think it is more important to talk to your kids about the things they see and experience in the world: Parenting.  Talking to my son about his experiences is an area I wish to improve the most in my own life.

Finally, I want to share a parenting issue that I have found to be amazingly true and annoying.  And even if you do not have children, but hope one day to have children, consider this a warning.  The issues that your children face, the issues that will bother you the most, and the issues that will make you the angriest and the most frustrated, are the issues you face yourself.  Nothing will make you more angry than when your child does or experiences something that is a direct reflection of your own flaws.  I hate this and I am actively working to improve this aspect of my parenting life.

So, strive to raise independent children.  You want them to be OK without you.  And remember, they are NOT you.  Let them make mistakes, and their mistakes are not always yours even though it may feel like it sometimes.  Besides, if they don’t may make mistakes, they won’t learn nuthin’.

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All babies are cute.  You look at any animal and you will find that babies are cute.  I teach my students this fact of nature.  It is important that babies are cute because they often do things that make you want to kill them, but you see their sweet smile and it steadies your hand.  And just like in the animal kingdom, by the time babies stop being cute, they are too big to kill.  I’m just sayin …

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