There is no doubt that the older my kids get, the more challenging the parenting gets as well. The days of quick “yes” or “no” decisions is waning.
“Can I have a snack now, Mom?”, “Can Frankie come over to hang out?”, “Can I stay up until 9:30 tonight?” (No, Yes, Yes) is quickly being replaced with:
“Can I go to a party at John's this weekend?”, “Can I see the ‘Blair Witch Project ‘ with my friends tomorrow?”, and “Is it okay if I get a ride home from Katie after school?”. And my response is “Uhhhhh….”
All the while my brain is running through a litany of questions-
Are we really at this stage where they go to parties? Will the parents be home? Will there by alcohol or drugs at this party? Is my son/daughter ready to handle a peer pressure situation?
Will he have nightmares for a week if he sees ‘Blair Witch'? Why the hell does he even want to see it? And what is it rated anyway?
Katie? Katie who? How long as she been driving? Any accidents? Who else will be in the car?
And of course… What will my husband say about this?
Never have I felt so stumped in my decision making.
And then there's the whole trickle-down factor
Once I've made the leap into allowing my oldest to see R-rated horror movies (at age 16)- you know I am just one small step away from giving the thumbs up to my 14 1/2-year old to do the same.
And before you know it my 10-year old is watching these kinds of movies before he ever reaches middle school. (And he's hopping into the car with “Katie” to drive him there!)
So how do you know if you are doing the right thing?
How do you know if this one seemingly small decision- might be the one to set off a whole trigger of events that leads to a bad outcome?
How do you know?
Well- you don't.
But it starts with a foundation of everything you've done for and with your children up to this point. All of those little yes/no/yes decisions that have shaped who they are right now.
And from there you trust…. in trust.
You let them see the movie and trust that they will be okay.
You let them go to the party (after getting all of your important questions answered first!) and trust that they will make their own wise choices.
You let them get in the car with their friend, and you trust that they will be safe.
You hope that your parenting inspires them to be smart. To be brave. And to be great.
How Will My Kids View My Parenting?
And you wonder- what do they think about your decisions right now, and what will they think about them as they grow older and reflect on how they were brought up?
Should the idea of wondering how they are going to view or judge my parenting decisions have any impact on those decisions?
In my opinion, no.
I certainly don't expect them to agree with everything I say now- especially when I'm turning down the request that they're making!
And I do expect that when they are old enough to have children of their own, that they'll be even smarter parents than we were- in the same way that I think about how my parents allowed us to ride in the backseat of the car without seatbelts when we were little kids (it was what they believed was fine at the time!)
But what's really been gratifying is to hear my oldest son come home from college and tell me how much he appreciates what a “laid back and easy-going Mom I am”.
Which cracks me up- because that is not how he would have characterized my parenting even two years ago!
I don't think I've changed, I think that he's grown up a bit. Which makes all of the difference in how our kids will view our parenting!
Looking for some more Parenting Posts from this Mom of 6 kids?
- The Best Large Family Car (When You Have 6 Kids!)
- Sibling Rivalry: Why I Don't Even Try to Keep Things Fair Among My Kids
- How Old Should Kids Be to Play Call of Duty?
- How to Have the Birds and Bees Talk with Your Kids
- How Do You Help Kids with Homework (when you have so many?)
- My Advice on Dealing with Picky Eaters
I would love to hear your opinions on this! What do you think?