being a parent

our youngest son sam is trying to get into a college prep program at the local university.  the program is specifically designed for students from low income families in which the parents did not go to college.  there are many good things that this program encourages-cultural activities, community involvement, maintaining a good grade point average and a strong desire to attend college.  he will need to go to the meetings and at least one of his parents need to attend the parent meetings.  i went to one of these meetings  saturday morning, and i have never felt so awkward (well i probably have but…you know) about being the weird family.

there were about 40 parents there, maybe less. and i was sitting at the front of the pack.  there was a speaker who was the person who founded the program.  the topic was over what kinds of kids would make it in the program and what kind of kids would fail to thrive.  also, what kind of parents these children have.  the speaker writes down two catagories: success/unsuccessful and ask the audience what contributes to a child being a successful student.  there were many attributes listed and i mean they were all good things, but then the conversation took an unusual turn.

the parents and the speaker began to talk about how kids need boundaries, about how their activities need to be monitored and how “you are the parent they are the children.  you tell them what to do and they do it!!!!”  several parents said they go through their children’s electrical devices and social media accounts.  apparently this is an acceptable practice bc these children will go insane unless regulated and monitored.  there needs to be rigid rules in the house and you need to know where your kid is at all times and who they are with or else the evils will sneak in and plant seeds in your sweet baby’s head and undo all the good you have done.

our approach to parenting is way different than those in that room.  as a family unit we all participate equally.  our kids are honest and upfront.  we am honest with them.  instead of having rules and regulations we have logical discussions.  we do not look through our children’s private personal property bc we do not feel we need to do that, it is invasive and if we would not do something to someone who is our peer we will not do it to my children.  we actually taught the boys to erase their internet history.  due to the fact that our kids can come to any of us and tell us anything and we don’t freak out, they have no need to hide things from us.  we know they are going to make mistakes.  sometimes we tell them, “hey, this is not really a good idea and this is why.”  but when it comes down to it, the boys are going to do what they believe is the best thing for them and if it hurts them,  they must live with that, and while it is sometimes difficult to sit back and watch, it is the only way for ppl to figure out who they are and what they want to do.  we make decisions based on consensus, everyone having an equal voice.   everyone has talents and everyone has different levels of things they are able to do and unable to do.  by demanding that everyone be the same and all do what everyone else does, it is unfair treatment.  our kids are perfectly capable of making the right decision based on their own moral compass.  if they were not able to do that then we have not been very responsible parents.  not taking a certain action bc you are afraid of what your parents will think do or say is really not making a decision bc that is what you feel is the best thing to do, it is made out of fear of repercussion, similar to only believing in god bc you don’t want to go to hell-it’s silly and fake.

many ppl think that wo strict discipline kids will run amuck causing havoc and chaos, join gangs and cook meth.  well, i can attest to the fact that this is false philosophy based mostly on fear and the need to feel superior.  our kids are not violent, selfish or perverted in any manner.  our kids are secure in who they are and what they believe bc they have come to these conclusions themselves and their lives have not been dictated to them.  we, ted, amy and myself, are support not supreme.  our kids aren’t coming home drunk.  they are not having unprotected sex or drugging girls.  2 of our boys are straight edge, not even taking over the counter medications and the other has gotten drunk and hated it, so he doesn’t drink anymore nor does he do any hard drugs.  they made the choice, and they know that we are always here to love and support them no matter what.

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