Sometimes I wonder if I am too uptight and strict with my parenting roles. I do not let my kids watch a T.V. show or movie without me previewing it first. I even preview old Cosby shows before they can watch them.
Then one day I was reminded why I do that. I found my three big kids in the living room playing together nicely, and they were acting out a book that Hannah was reading. She literally had the book memorized and was explaining in great detail all the different events that occurred in the book to the other two. It proved that they are not just casual observers – they are soaking up EVERYTHING. Whether it is music, an attitude, sayings, likes or dislikes…they are influenced by whatever comes across their path. It is my job to keep them on the right path to protect them from the lies that the world throws at them. For example, I don’t want my 8 year old daughter to know that she has to worry about her weight or what hair style looks cool. I don’t want her to be exposed to the idea of divorce, drugs, affairs, or sex until she is ready to comprehend these topics and maturely handle them. I am not so naïve that I think that I can protect her forever from any of these things, but I can control what she put into her mind on my watch. I can control what books she reads, what movies she watches, what games she plays and even what friends she spends time with.
So, I have decided that I am okay with being the annoying, fun-killing mom. When my girls get asked to play with a friend, I ask what they will be doing. If it is a movie, I ask to watch it before the play date. I haven’t had a parent yet deny my request and I even had a mom ask me ahead of time because she knows that is important to me. We talk with our girls and explain that each family has a different set of rules. It doesn’t make one family better or bad; it just makes them different. We explain to them that we expect them to obey our rules whether we are there or not. If they find themselves in a situation when their friend is allowed to do something that they are not, we expect them to say that they are not allowed to do it. If the friend continues to do it, we tell them to call us and we will come get them no matter what.
I look for opportunities to explain the principles behind our rules and why they are important. The opportunities come at all random times, including the ride to and from school. For example, the high school cross country team has given us ample opportunities to discuss modesty. The girls’ team members seem to always be running along the street at that time in tiny shorts and sports bras. Right now we just talk about how it is important to cover your whole chest and stomach because God wants us to take care of our bodies and not show it off for others to see. When the girls get older I will take it to another level and talk about how not to be a temptation to the boys around them. And how our worth is not found in the attention that we get from flaunting our beauty. And all of that. I love how even my 4 year old son is catching on. He reminds me that they are “not modest!” when we drive by. This makes me so grateful. I am planting the seeds early that this is not right, in hopes that this will begin training his mind for later when the hormones start kicking in.
Do you watch what your children are reading? Watching? Do you have rules about what they can and cannot do with friends? How do you draw the line? Please share!
Philippians 4:8 (NIV) Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.