Friday, December 10, 2010

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

As parents we all do what we think is best for our kids. We teach them what we think is right and wrong. Our discipline styles vary and our expectations are sometimes different.

I am not a perfect parent by any measuring stick. And I am not under the delusion that my kiddos can do no wrong. When they make a mistake or act inappropriately, it’s my job to fix the behavior and show them how to live up to my expectations.

I have found myself in situations where I didn’t agree with how a parent approached disciplining their children, to the point where the children are not welcome around mine. When a parent approached me about it, I was honest about the children’s behavior and got excuses for why it was ok for them to behave the way they did. (This was recurring behaviors, not one-time incidents.)

My reply was that I understood their choice to allow the behaviors, but that I didn’t want my children to follow suit. The parent was understandably upset with me. The behaviors bother me so much that I am willing to put that friendship on the line.

But I have to ask, why shouldn’t I limit my kids’ exposure to behaviors I don’t want them mimicking? Isn’t it my right to steer my children toward the behaviors I expect from them? When children can’t respect boundaries at other people’s houses, why should they be invited back?

I struggle with this. On the one hand, I am a “live and let live” kind of person when it comes to how we raise our kids. Sure, I may mock a trend or two here and there, and I may not agree with how everyone does it. Heck, I’m the kind of person that will mock you to your face if I think you are doing something silly. But I will be the first to stand up for your right to do things your way.

When it comes to my kids, though, I find myself firmly on the other hand. I don’t have to agree with you, but that doesn’t mean I want your kids around mine. And I will stand up for my right to influence my children the way I want.

How do other parents manage this dichotomy? Have you ever had to confront a friend about their kid’s behavior? How did you do it and how did it turn out?

Reace Alvarenga-Smith, APR
Public Relations Manager

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