**This was reposted from my first, original blog. I wanted to move everything over so I have it all in one spot.**
It’s been a while since I’ve blogged because, well, while all these thoughts and ideas have been running through my mind, I’ve had a hard time getting them down on paper. That is, until today. Pastor Danny said something at church this past Sunday morning that really related to the way I raise my girls.
“…Which is always why I’m always trying to control what my kids see and what my kids hear. And it blows my mind, that kids today, their parents are so haphazard with what their kids see and what they hear; I don’t even understand what they’re thinking. WHAT YOUR CHILDREN ARE PUTTING INTO THEIR MIND, ARE PUTTING OPTIONS INTO THEIR WILL.”
This made SO MUCH sense to me. After having Ella, I learned very quickly, as most new moms do, that someone will ALWAYS have a problem with the way you do things with your own child. You either dress them like bums or they are uncomfortable. You feed them formula or you nurse in public. You start solids too early or you start them too late. Every single choice as a parent can be easily argued by someone.
A lot of people think I am a little overprotective of my kids, that I worry too much, or that I’m too uptight. Chad and I have agreed on each aspect of raising our girls and we will back each other up when situations occur, or other people start criticizing our decisions. But, after hearing Pastor Danny spell this out, I felt very comfortable in being the “overbearing” mom.
Let me give you a couple examples of what I’m talking about. For instance, once Ella started understanding conversations and talking, I asked our friends and families to stop cursing in front of her. At this point in her life, I don’t want her knowing that there’s an ” f-word, s-word, or d-word.” I don’t take my kids around people who are doing illegal things or things I just don’t approve of: things like drugs, reckless driving, vulgar or disrespectful language. Some of this is for their safety, of course. But also, because I don’t want them to see that those things are choices. I don’t want my girls growing up thinking that it’s ok for a man to talk disrespectfully to women. I don’t want them to think that a healthy relationship involves hitting and pushing.
I’m going to be really honest here, and I get made fun of by my husband and some of my friends, but I’m actually proud of this. I didn’t see a joint until I was about 19 or 20 years old at a Def Leppard concert. I know, I’m probably in the minority , and most of you are thinking, seriously?! But, because I was never around it, it was never even an option to smoke, even if I wanted to. Yes, I knew people smoked pot and did other drugs, but since I was never around it, I wouldn’t have even known where to get it. These are the things Pastor Danny is talking about.
I’m sure most parents of toddlers can agree that they don’t want their 2 year olds smoking weed, but that’s just one example of something that a young teenager, or pre-teen, might face. I’m talking about every aspect of my kids’ lives. I don’t want them to be exposed to things that I don’t even want them to consider.
I’m talking about how I don’t allow my 2 year old to have soda. I don’t want her even knowing that soda is a drink choice. I make sure that everyone in our vehicle has a seatbelt on when we are driving because I don’t want my kids to know that not wearing a seatbelt is an option. I make Ella hold an adult’s hand every time we are walking across the street or in a parking lot because I don’t want her knowing that it’s a choice to run around without hold a hand. Obviously the options will change and expand as my kids get older, but right now, at almost 3 and 4 months, their options are very limited.
I know this might seem like a “well, duh” post to some of you, but it’s very relevant in our lives right now. Each time you allow your 8 year old to watch that rated R movie or play that T rated video game, just think about the things you might be exposing them to. Think about the fact that now, at only 8 years old (when their mind is quite immature), you have provided them with poor options. Now, when they go to school tomorrow, they have to decide whether they are going to use that f-word they heard in that movie or not when they are arguing with the teacher. When before, before they heard that guy tell that girl to “f off,” they didn’t even know that word existed. If you think your child is mature even to handle a wide variety of options, then by all means, go ahead and expose them to those things. I will parent my kids and allow you to parent yours. I am simply reminding you that when you do so, when they hear those words or see those actions in the movie, they now have the option to say or do the same things.
Until next time…
“What your children are putting into their mind, are putting options into their will.”