Lisa writes: If the only thing I told my kids about sex was to use protection, would you think me a good parent? If I had never said more about drugs than, stay away, would that have been alright? Then why is it okay that the only thing I told my kids about social media is be careful and don’t post anything that you don’t want employers, colleges and your grandparents to see. One caution, one phrase…clearly a dereliction of duty.
I told them no more about social media than this, because I knew no more. My parenting grew up with the internet, each new thing was as novel to me as it was to my kids and I never got ahead of them. Parenting at the dawn of the internet was like running in place and I envy any parent who didn’t learn about Snapchat from their child.
I know I should have done better and told my kids:
Remember my favorite line from The Social Network (of course the movie had not yet come out…) “The internet isn’t written in pencil… it’s written in ink,” and repeat it to yourself every time your fingers touch the keyboard.
Tonight I feel like Cinderella, left behind to clean while her step-sisters attend the ball. My husband and our sixteen year old daughter just departed for the annual Father-Daughter dinner dance – a special date they have kept for nine years in a row. My companions? Certainly not twirling, dress-making mice! I remain at home with our Labradors, a glass of wine, and memories of the night, once upon a time, when Dad and I were dancing at the party.
If I didn’t have it in 1977, you won’t be allowed it in 2012…
My children believe that there is no place worse than the 1970s. When their father and I tell them stories of our youth they look at us with a mixture of bemusement and pity, but mostly what I see in their faces is relief that this a world they will never inhabit. When they ask us why we participated in what now seem like tedious activities, the answer, which they now chime in chorus is, “because there was nothing else to do.”
Other than their healthy dose of sarcasm about my childhood, most of the time I have great kids. But they are kids and sometimes I enforce consequences for their actions. I do this by sending them to the one place they fear the most, I send them to the 1970s. In our house the 1970s is the big gun, the punishment for having committed a major transgression and it turns out they don’t need too many intertemporal trips before they get the message.
I know that some parents are not big believers in punishment, but let me just say that I am. Continue reading
In order to look back over the years raising young children, all parents are issued a pair of rose colored glasses. You will get a pair as soon a your kids leave home!
My boys had temper tantrums, they threw up in their beds and one of them did not sleep through the night until he was four years old (you know who you are.) They disobeyed us, they spoke back to us and fought with each other so often that they once upended the dinner table in a restaurant sending all five of our dinners and a table full of dishes crashing to the floor. Yet when they left home I was given the standard issue rose colored glasses and despite the fact that I know these thing to be true, I cannot seem to remember them as they happened. My husband, I fear, was given a matching pair. Continue reading
We thought we would take a look in the rear view mirror. A long hard look. Much like you we watch our children, those that have left home or those who are winding their way through high school, with overwhelming pride at the wonderful people they have become. Given half a chance we could devote an entire blog to bragging about our offspring. But here we are going to try something harder, something that might just help parents younger than ourselves. We are going to talk about regrets and missteps. We are going to examine parenting moments that at this point we are pretty certain were mistakes.
Some mistakes just seem to happen. We know now what we couldn’t have known then. Other missteps are the product of perhaps focusing on something other than our child’s best interest. So we are going to lay it out here and hope that others will jump aboard and perhaps reflect on those things that, well if we had it to do over again, we just might do differently. Continue reading