Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Protective Sloth

I really don't understand why parents think it's ok to let their teenage daughters (or even younger, for that matter) dress and act like sex objects.  Is their desire to be friends with their kids so overwhelming, that they are willing to risk their health, dignity, or even lives--just because they want to be the "cool" parent?

Now, I don't mean for this to be one-sided, because I have just as many issues on the boy side of the coin.  I just have to dig a little deeper to get to those.  Because, well, the girl side is painfully obvious.

Don't misunderstand me.  Especially given the area of cornfield that I live in, I'm pretty liberal about most things.  But when it comes to my children - and your children - and the children I have taught - and the children that my children are friends with - I have some serious issues with some things that I'm seeing.

Why do we want to raise our little girls to be tramps?  Teens have enough hormones running through them that they don't need their parents' encouragement in that area.  The media and society in general push enough on them. Why is it so hard to set some boundaries?

And please don't think this is triggered by one single event - this post is a result of some things I have witnessed both in my first (13) and second (10) daughters' close circle of friends and in their extended circles.  God knows I don't have all of the answers.  For that matter, I may not have any answers.  But I do know that I'm not going to give up on my kids because "they're going to do it anyway" or "teens will be teens."

KNOW who your kids are friends with.  Check their phone and text messages.  Know their passwords to email and Facebook.  And if you don't know it, they don't  have it.  Period.

LISTEN to your kids.  Let them talk to you.  You'd be amazed what you learn.

Don't punish your child for being honest with you.  One of my children has a friend who I see is heading down a dangerous road.  Instead of immediately freaking out with the info I have and telling her they can't be friends (which was my impulse), I choose to monitor the situation.  I limit their time together.  I specifically request that they hang out at my house instead of somewhere else.  If further action needs to be taken later, I still have that option.

And for goodness sake, don't be afraid to say NO.  Your kid may stomp her feet and get mad at you, but she WILL  get over it.  And then, when you are both calm, talk about why you said no.  Be honest.  She still may not like it, but eventually (and maybe not until she's much older) she'll understand.

Let your daughter know that she is beautiful.  And valuable.  And loved.  But never let her forget that you are her parent before you are her friend.

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