Professional Parenting Advice

I went to a mother-daughter conference this weekend with my daughter. Silly me, I thought it would be time we spent together — rather than time we were mostly split up into “breakout” sessions. That didn’t go as I had hoped. But there were other things that didn’t “flow” for me either. For instance…

Professional Parenting Advice:

“Don’t talk with your kids about “responsible drinking” … what are you going to do next, give them condoms?”

My take on it:

Uhhhh… if you don’t talk with them about the facts of life, someone with different views than YOURS will. Take ANY opportunity to talk to your kids about responsible actions, regardless of the situation. And, personally, I don’t believe in giving kids condoms, but I’ve done it. That doesn’t mean I was leading cheers on the side lines encouraging them to go get laid. And that purchase was a real wrestling match with myself. It was a tough one.

I told them that I didn’t approve, but I didn’t want a lapse in judgment in their teen years to cost them their lives. Like I told my sons, “I can forgive you anything but taking my son from me. If you do something stupid, if you are careless or rash and you take YOU from me, I’ll never forgive you.”

Saying “this is bad and you are never to do it” sets up a wall between you and your child. You don’t have to put yourself in a no-win situation with your kids to make your feelings known. And, kids will screw up. It’s their job to do so — and hopefully to do so at an age that’s young enough to learn from their mistakes before the stakes get too high.

Not talking to kids about alcohol, drugs, sex and other “taboo” topics will not prevent them from exploring those options, it will just insure that they don’t tell you about it and ask you questions. Don’t be stupid. Always keep the lines of communication open with your kids. There will be times that you wonder WHY you encouraged them to talk to you about anything and everything. Just grit your teeth and be still. Be happy that they trust you enough to get your opinion and be honest, without being abrupt when you disagree. But always keep talking and listening.

But, hey, I’m not an parenting expert. I’m just a mom.

Professional Parenting Advice:

“That book should be banned from your local schools!”

My take on it:

Uhhhh… what could possibly be more attractive than a “taboo” book when you are in middle and high school? If memory serves, nothing! I still remember my first “racy” book — it was in middle school and it was called “The Other Side of Midnight ” — it simply would fall open to all the “good” parts. That’s how much we passed it around. Heck, I’d never have considered reading some of the “classics” I read early on if they hadn’t been veiled in the mystique of the taboo. Of course I’ve never been quite able to wade through Lady Chatterley… but I still plan to do so! Eventually.

Instead of banning books, how about talking with your kids about the books they are reading? How about discussing the good and the bad in the latest novel in their backpack? How about discussing what’s “appropriate” and what is less than desirable and if the book, as a whole, was worth the time spent reading it? How about discussing generas and topics and what type of book they plan to read next? How about taking them to the library or the bookstore?

I find that that is a method that works QUITE well with my 10-year-old voracious reader. And she’s much more picky about what’s “appropriate” than I would be. She tells me that a certain word was used that was neither “nice” nor “necessary” to the story. And yes, we discuss if the language and situations are required or beneficial to the flow of the story. Isn’t that how you teach critical reading and… by the way… critical thinking?

Professional Parenting Advice:

“Make friends with your kids’ friends’ parents. That way when they say, ‘But everyone else is doing it!’ you can say, ‘these parents aren’t, we are all doing the same thing’.”

My take on it:

Or, just maybe, you could grow some… and be a parent. “No” is an excellent parenting tool, albeit quite under utilized these days. Who gives a hang what the other parents are doing? How can you fight “mob mentality” in your kids by doing the adult equivalent of the same thing?

Why not some independent thinking and some personal decisions and responsibility for all involved? Hey, it works!

There were some issues raised that I could get behind, but many times I found myself thinking that my Saturday of “Mother/Daughter” time would have been better spent curling up with one of those questionable books that Alex is currently reading aloud to me when we have time alone (Twilight by S. Meyer ), sharing her passion for it and learning to properly pronounce some of those pesky four and five syllable tongue twisters that LOOK different than they sound. 😉

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