Thursday, July 14, 2011
Children....Let Them Make Choices
My family.....they mean the world to me! Including our precious Paige sometimes called Paigee Poopers, Paiger's, etc. I read a blog this morning which struck me as odd. Or at least to me odd, as my idea of choices I allowed my children to make were very different. I have often been asked how I have two well adjusted young adult children. Both Lynn and James have given me insight into our parenting skills with them as children. Lynn recently made a statement which made me think. 'No, Lynn we never had a big discussion on parenting between us.' I remember telling Larry when I was pregnant with Lynn our oldest child, 'If we are worried about length or color of hair we are worrying about the wrong thing.' Larry was like, 'If we have a son he's not coming home with long hair or colored.' I know I must have given him what he always has termed, "The Look!" And sure enough when James was in 6th grade he came home with short hair and the style of the time was blond along the top. Not a peep out of Larry. LOL...I think the hair thing was the biggest discussion we ever had on parenting. Parenting discussions between us were more on the line of one or two sentences in passing.
I have always wondered how a parent can with a child of six years of age decide the birthday party is a certain way without consulting the child. The subject of a blog I read today. Now was this really how it went down? I have no idea. Lynn and James have both told us we taught them how to make choices and always explained the "why" to a decision we made. I hated being told as a child, "Because I told you so!" I can remember a handful of times those words came out of my mouth from an exasperated parent with young children in late afternoon. And each time I felt I failed. I would then sit down and explain why I told them so.
Choices....I see more children raised who don't know how to make choices. Hello parents, children have a brain!!! They are more then capable of making choices starting at a very young age. Choices should always be age appropriate and if your controlling choices they are perfectly capable of making.....good luck down the road. The ones I remember giving my children at a young age were on hair and clothes. No a two year old can't go shopping for clothes. But you can pick out two outfits and ask the child which one they want. A very simple choice and the start of boundaries being set. Yeah....they only got one! Or in the case of Lynn, she was two years old by time she had enough hair to cut. I absolutely dreaded the first trip to get a haircut. I hated seeing kids scream bloody murder while mother's thought it was so cute. So I made this big to do about Mommy and Lynn going to get a haircut and looking so pretty when we were done. I started two days ahead of time. When we got to the salon, she was able to watch Mommy get her hair washed and cut. Lynn was fascinated....and there was my two year old watching the whole process without running all over the salon. I was stunned she was so interested for the 45 minutes it took to get me through the haircut process. After my cut I pulled a magazine out and sat with Lynn. I quickly found two pictures side by side. Do you want long hair or short hair pointing to the pictures. She pointed to long hair. Now it was her turn. What fun she had getting her hair washed like Mommy and then to sit in the chair so still watching her hair being cut in the mirror. Not a peep, not a whine! Every female in the salon sat with open mouth wondering how my child in the middle of her first haircut was not screaming. uhhh ya think! She had a say in her haircut. Even when Dad took James for his first haircut, he showed him two pictures and he watched Dad get a cut, I guess modeling after my success with Lynn. James came home with a buzz and a huge grin at age of early two. Out of ear shot Larry told me James never uttered a sound. Again every man in the barber shop wondering with open mouth......again ya think.
Lynn is 22 and we are just talking on the phone. Exactly what we were talking about I don't remember except for one sentence. 'Mom we never had a curfew.' Lynn ended up saying, Mom are you there?' 'Yes, sweetie, just deep in thought.' She was right, they never had a curfew. You might be thinking we were nuts. My response is why give a child a set in stone curfew when they show you time and time again they can be responsible? When does that start for kids, certainly not when they are teenagers. It starts the moment two people decide to be parents. It is your job and responsibility to MAKE SURE you raise well adjusted kids. It's not the grandparents, your neighbors, the school, or government. It is YOU who is responsible!
So the birthday party's in life. Have your child help you plan his or her party within your budget. Remember teaching boundaries are important, too! This was a comment a child made to me recently, 'If my Mom was here, you wouldn't believe the amount of money she would spend.' And this came out of the mouth of a 11 year old. Aghhh....no wonder your parents are having problems. Does Mom know boundaries? This clued me in to listening more to this child. And sass her father, she did on more then one occasion. Katy bar the door, sassing anyone whether child or adult was never allowed by Larry in our household or in public and still isn't. I would hate to be the parent of this youngster in another two years. Those big huge birthday's which are extravagant....that's a whole other post I could rant about. Above all enjoy the time with your children....they grow up way to fast!!!