All Articles Tagged "Parenting"
If you’re one of those people who assume parents are being overprotective when they ask you not to put your lips on their child (we understand that their cuteness, particularly those puffy little cheeks, can make that difficult), here’s the evidence you need to refrain from puckering up for a baby, including your own.
Earlier this month, Portsmouth woman Amy Stinton shared some very alarming images of her son, Oliver, on Facebook. His body was covered in sores after the infant was kissed by someone with a cold sore. Those sores ended up being herpes.
According to Stinton, Oliver had to be on an IV drip for four days. She said that “he’s still very sore, but better.”
Herpes can be passed on when the herpes simplex virus is present on the surface of the skin, as stated by Medical News Today. The moist skin surrounding the mouth, anus and genitals are the easiest areas on the body to infect.
According to the World Health Organization, a whopping 67 percent of adults under 50 have the type of virus the person who infected Oliver had: herpes simplex 1. They’re talking about 3.7 billion people. It only appears on your mouth through cold sores, as opposed to genital herpes, otherwise known as herpes simplex virus 2. In estimates done in 2012, 178 million women and 142 million men had the herpes simplex 1 virus.
There is no cure for herpes. And even though most adults can fare fine and bypass complications from the virus (aside from feeling socially stigmatized or a psychological distress — according to WHO), herpes can be fatal for a young child. A two-month-old baby died after reportedly contracting herpes from her father, who had contracted the virus years before meeting his wife and having a child.
And while many people, medical professionals included, see it as an uncommon medical complication for a child, ABC noted back in 2008 that at the time, 1,500 to 2,200 babies under a month old were getting herpes in the U.S. each year, with 85 percent of cases ending up fatal. It’s also a problem abroad. A woman named Claire Henderson from the U.K. shared a similarly scary story to Stinton’s after her infant daughter contracted herpes from a kiss last year:
Cold sore or not, everyone needs to be careful when it comes to kissing babies. With so many people having the herpes simplex 1 virus, and according to the CDC, a large number of those infected not knowing it, keep your lips to yourself. Pass the word to your friends, aunts, your mother, Peanut and ‘nem — pretty much everybody.
I almost hate when my five-year-old daughter responds to me with “Actually…” It’s talk back. Truthfully, I think it’s kind of cute. However, I hear cute smugness and it makes me want to punish her or something.
A few weeks ago, between games of a baseball doubleheader I was coaching, I handed Cydney her lunch, and she inquired what was in the wrapping. My wonderful sunshine had asked me a bevy of questions before 12 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon I’d reached my limit for the day. I told her “A sandwich!”
“Actually, it’s a hero, daddy!” She quipped.
My head almost exploded. I briefly composed myself and told her in a tone that suggested ‘stop trying to correct me, damnit.’ I simply replied, “A hero is a kind of sandwich, Cydney.”
Without turning her head in my direction, one of the grandmother’s of a child on my team explained: “Children don’t mean to correct you. They’re just trying to show you they’re smart.” She wasn’t trying to stick her head in my business. The baseball team spends so much time together that the parents become family. Because of this, I was even more welcoming of the message this woman with more life experience conveyed.
In that moment, everything clicked. I expressed thanks for the insight and said: “I never thought about it like that.” She was right.
Adults often contextualize what children say and do with our knowledgeable paradigm. They are brilliant because they can learn to fluently speak languages by merely hearing them–and much more–based on observation. However, kids lack the practical contact with life that makes us as adults knowledgeable. It is a common misnomer to assume that a child’s response, like my daughter’s, to be undermining. That’s exactly what they would be doing if they were our peers.
Our children think we are greatest and smartest people on the planet. In their eyes, we can’t do any wrong (though this changes when they become teenagers and adults). Talking back and correcting is their attempt to impress us. They’re emulating what they see and are trying to show that they too have something to contribute.
One of the biggest lessons that I am trying to learn is that sometimes I need to let my children win. Because children are sponges, my daughter and nephew have picked up on my affinity of having a witty comeback for everything. It is endearing to hear the two of them go back and forth, and I’m especially proud of my girl for having the ability to shut down my 10-year-old boy. Nonetheless, when either try it in my direction, I tend to go the “your arms too short to box” approach. Deep down, both of my children know that they cannot win in a match of wits with me and I need to let them exercise a little more.
From a cognitive standpoint, my daughter’s affinity for asserting herself is positive. A brisk bon mot response is a sign of intelligence, and people gravitate towards people who think quickly on their toes. It has equipped her with a tool in which she can defend herself. Last Friday, the fourth day of school, Cyndey had a little “girl drama” with a fellow kindergartner in which my child was told the little girl no longer wanted to be her friend.
“You don’t need to be my friend, anymore. You can just be free and play by yourself,” my mini-me retorted. Truthful and hilarious, I was damn proud.
Being a mom is no joke. I’m 10 years into this whole motherhood thing, and it’s still not easy. But the toughest part is not the early mornings, the lack of sleep, or the fatigue that comes with trying to keep up. The toughest part is dealing with “mommy guilt.” You know–that nagging feeling that tells us we need to feel awful because we just didn’t do something, or we totally did something the wrong way.
Well, after over a decade (gasp!) in the game, I have decided that this mommy guilt stuff is for the birds, and I just don’t have time for it. No mother is perfect, and all moms make mistakes–sometimes big ones–but it all comes with the territory. If you love your kids and you can sleep at night because you truly always have their best interest at heart, why feel guilty? Guilt is a wasted emotion and it just doesn’t serve you or your children.
Here are 10 things I think all moms need to stop feeling guilty about. After all, motherhood has never been about perfection, it’s about the journey you take raising kids in a perfectly imperfect way.
Letting your kids watch TV when you don’t feel well. I don’t think a bit of TV is going to damage a kid. If you just don’t feel well (physically or emotionally) letting your kid(s) enjoy some TV so you can relax a bit is okay.
Tossing their artwork. Being a hoarder doesn’t mean you love your kids. Keep the special stuff and toss the rest when they are asleep. They’ll never know… or care.
Deciding to stay inside for the weekend even if the weather is nice. Bake cookies, watch movies, do crafts, and just relax. Hanging out indoors is a great way to connect with your kids and save money. There will be other nice weekends.
The occasional bribe. There probably isn’t a chapter on bribery in the “good parenting handbook,” but if a lollipop will stop a meltdown on a day where you’re close to melting down yourself, it may be worth it.
Forgetting all about picture day. It happens to all of us. Even with reminders, who can keep up with everything? Years from now your kids won’t be mad about those pictures. They’ll get a good laugh from those pictures no matter what they’re wearing.
Giving your kid the same thing for dinner three nights in a row. If your kid loves something, and you give it to them repeatedly, it’s fine. Eating the same food a few days in a row never killed anyone.
Putting an outfit that’s not weather appropriate on your kid. This darn weather is crazy, and these forecasters are often wrong. Don’t feel bad if you over-dress or under-dress your kid. It’s pretty common.
Cutting back on the number of bedtime stories because you have a headache. I would read my daughter three stories before bed when she was younger, but some nights I just couldn’t do it. One story, or even a story-less night, will be forgiven.
Feeling excited when you spend a night away from the kid(s). Being a mom is the toughest and most rewarding part of my life. But as much as I miss my daughter when I’m away, sleeping in is a beautiful thing.
Loving your job and the time you spend there. There really is nothing wrong with having a career and enjoying it. If you are passionate about what you do and enjoy your time away from your kids, it might make you a better mom.
“Lea said that she saw a man on top of a woman, kissing her privates on TV.”
“Lea said a boy asked her to marry him and she said ‘no’ and then he got on top of her and started kissing her and she said ‘yes.’
“Stop talking to that girl!” you scream. “She’s making up stories!” It comes out harsher than you intend, but you don’t know what to do? Like, really, Pre-K is where your kid is supposed to learn about numbers and patterns, not SEX. But lately it seems that is the education she’s getting, and from another preschooler no less.
What do you do when your kid is learning about sex at school?
It ain’t right.
This little girl (who you’re already familiar with because early in the school year your daughter came home asking to watch Scandal because it’s apparently Lea’s favorite show), is undoing all the work you and your husband have done to keep inappropriate images out of your daughter’s sight. Your girl’s not even allowed to watch Barbie Life In The Dream House because Barbie’s got a boyfriend and spends her time shopping, hanging by the pool, and trying to emulate the Kardashian lifestyle. Music videos don’t exist in your home, which means she knows rapper Nicki Minaj more from some hair ads in your neighborhood than her music. But now the system has been corrupt and you’re screaming, ‘Mayday!’
You only see two options, have the sex talk with your kid way before you intended or let her learn about the birds and the bees through her buddy at school.
You talk to your friend Quiana about it because she has a daughter in Pre-K, and though she hasn’t experienced this, she has had situations where her daughter picked up on news stories before she and her husband were able to come up with an age-appropriate response. Boy, can you relate.
Being so caught off-guard on this caused you to lash out at her little friend Lea and something tells you that it wasn’t an appropriate response. Honestly, though, when your cub is being threatened you’re gonna make sure she gets away from the fire. But when you think about it, how realistic is it that your daughter will be able to stop talking to this friend? In fact, she’ll probably want to talk to her even more because we do what we’re told not to do, right?
So what’s the answer?
Oh, just call Dr. Carothers already! She’s gotten you out of more parenting jams than a traffic cop. She’ll help figure this out.
“While it’s totally normal not to want to have the birds and bees conversation with your four or five-year-old, it’s never too early to start talking about things that they may be exposed to whether it be on TV or from friends. There’s lots of content in the media that’s highly-sexualized that kids can see inadvertently, and it’s natural for them to have questions. They often talk about what they’ve seen as a way to explore what it means and as a way to get additional information. One thing I would do is explain that there are some things that are for adults who really care about each other, and as you get older you’ll learn more about those things, but what the girl probably saw is sex or making love.”
“You want to use the language that the child has given you, and you want to give as much truthful information back as possible,” explains the doctor. “You don’t want to say the girl is lying or make it so she’s an untrustworthy friend.”
Dr. Carothers goes on to say: “So you tell your daughter that what her friend Lea is talking about is a natural part of life, but at this age it isn’t something that she has to worry about. It may be a good time to have a conversation with the Pre-K teacher to let’em know that some kids have been exposed to this type of content so she can have a general conversation about parents being more cognizant of what they’re kids are seeing. That will definitely happen.”
“One thing to remember as you’re raising your child is they’re going to get this information from somewhere so you want to be able to funnel it and have the first say. It’s better to get ahead of it and be proactive than reactive.”
But where do you start?
“There are some children’s books that do a really good job of giving developmentally appropriate information about things related to nature, sex and reproduction,” says Dr. Carothers. Read a few books to find which you’re most comfortable with and that way you’ll have a consistent message you can give to your kids. Common Sense Media is a website that can help you see what type of content is appropriate for your kid.”
Man, you didn’t handle this well, but that’s why you reached out to the good Dr. You can’t know what you don’t know. More than anything, you’re seeing that there’s a positive way to move forward with this, and no, your daughter won’t be turning to prostitution because Lea talked to her about sex.
The more casual you can be around sex as a conversation, the less she’ll see it as a cause for alarm. One thing you do regret is how you demonized the other little girl. She doesn’t know what she’s seeing and probably just wanted someone to talk to about it. You didn’t have to drag someone else’s kid down to save your own. Next time, you’ll see if there’s a way to stand for both of them. That’s the true meaning of ‘it takes a village.’
Yesterday, September 13, marks 20 years since the death of Tupac Shakur. After a day of penning posts about the slain rapper, I had parenting to do. I felt compelled to listen to Makaveli’s songs as I drove my nephew, his best friend, and my daughter to baseball practice.
Song after song played and the only person that was into it was me. “I Get Around” blared and I was the only one who cared. The next song to play was “California Love” and there was nary a head nod. I sometimes wake up with mysterious aches and pains, but being in a car with children who didn’t care at all that Tupac was playing was the first time I felt old.
I thought on that for about 30 seconds, but no longer cared and continued to rap all of the words to “Hail Mary,” making a conscious effort to censor my words accordingly.
I came to the realization that I am slowly evolving into my parents.
I was the same age as my nephew and his best friend when Tupac was shot down. Back then in New York City, my parents would never listen to hip-hop, and that was all I wanted to hear while they would shuttle my sister and I from place to place. The parentals just didn’t get the music and were more than content with listening to what I considered “old stuff.”
As children, we vow that we will never be like the people that made us. We know that we will get older, we think we’ll be the ones to stay in the know with all of the new stuff and our kids will think that we’re cool. However, time happens. Slowly but surely we hit a crossroads, look at what the youth are into, and act like I quote Danny Glover in “Lethal Weapon”: “I’m getting too old for this s***.”
My mother and father were–and still are–fairly hip people. They were the cool parents. They weren’t clueless about whatever my twin sister and I were into. As a teacher and musician, respectively, they found middle ground with me by unwaveringly being themselves, yet constantly reaching out to relate. For every complaint about how what I liked wasn’t music, they made me listen to their oldies and pointed out what songs they liked that were sampled in mine.
Somewhere between nature and nurture, this is me, as well. I’m a hip-hop head that constantly can put my kids up on whatever is new. I drop my daughter off to kindergarten with arms covered in tattoos, earrings in my ears, Jordans on my feet, and my hat worn backwards. We pull up at soccer and baseball games with 808’s rumbling from the speakers so that other children and parents know the stars have arrived. However, I refuse to do their silly dances and listen to more than one song by “Lil’ Nigglet” at a time…the two-step is always style and Tupac is way better (my parents feel the same way with regards to The Hustle and Earth, Wind and Fire).
My feeling old has absolutely nothing to do with it being 20 years since one of the most influential artists of my youth died. When he died, my mother told a similar story from 15 years prior about college students playing records in remembrance of John Lennon. The more things change, the more they stay the same. It’s much more fun being on the other side of the parenting coin. For all of the things I see my children are into, they borrow heavily from the ‘90’s and it all reminds me of a much simpler time.
There are certain things we would never dream of saying in front of our mothers out of fear of a back hand. Now, it is our turn to wait in anticipation for our children to say the wrong thing.
How did you react when you heard your child curse for the first time?
Many parents try not to make a big deal as there’s a very good chance it was a harmless gesture to begin with. Whether you push it to the side as a no-no, or stress the importance of it being a bad word, there’s one important fact to note: Kids oftentimes get their language from their parents.
Of course there will be questionable influences around your child, but research suggests that little ones get their potty mouth from their parents. Oh yes, tots as young as two-years-old are not afraid to repeat common curse words you say, which might make you think twice about the things you don’t mean to teach. Close to two out of three parents surveyed claim they have strict guidelines about cursing, but don’t always follow their own advice. This leaves the door open for your children to mimic what you say, even if they have no idea what it means.
Obviously, there are times with an f-bomb is harmless (isn’t that funny?), but does that mean you don’t correct the behavior?
With a growing toddler, my husband and I are waiting for the day when we hear his first curse word. It’s not a matter of if, but when. Of course we try our best to not say the wrong thing in front of him, but hey, accidents do happen — not to mention things that will piss you off in the moment. The best thing I can do is make a promise both to him and myself to let my actions speak louder than my words. If I don’t want to encourage cursing, it’s probably a good idea if I don’t do it myself. Sure, there will be friends and other external influences that push certain things for “cool points,” (you can’t always help that), but it all starts at home ya know.
What did you do when your child dropped their first curse word? Did you record it to post on social media as a funny encounter, or use it as a time for instruction (and correction)?
The backpack and lunch box were packed and my daughter and I were both eager to get her to her first day of class. She was excited to see her friends again after a long summer, but my thoughts were focused on her teacher. I was beyond curious to see who would teach my child this year. I hoped that it was one of the great fourth grade teachers I’d heard about from the other parents last year. At any rate, I reasoned to myself, my daughter would be in good hands with any of the teachers at her school since most of them have been teaching at the school for years.
Imagine the look of horror on my face when I walked into the class to discover that my daughter’s teacher was brand new to the school. I tried to take a moment to process this information and subdue the anxiety that was growing inside me, but the anxiety would not be subdued. While the other parents did what you’re supposed to do on the first day — smile at the teacher politely, shake her hand and go on your merry way so the teacher can teach — I lingered just a bit too long. I asked a few too many questions. I wanted to know where she last taught and how long she’d been a teacher. And what made her specifically want to teach at my daughter’s school? There was an awkward silence and a tense smile, as she briefly gave me a verbal rundown of her resume to assure me of her experience.
Then I caught myself. I was doing exactly what I hate. I was becoming a “Momzilla.” You know, the overprotective mom that comes out fighting like a bear who is worried about her baby cub? Yeah, that was me. In the moment when I should have just been helping my daughter and her new teacher kick off a great first day of school, a slight monster in me came out. She’s my only child and her education is important to me. Don’t judge me, okay?
What I’ve learned over the years is that letting my inner Momzilla out is rarely helpful – especially where it involves my child’s teacher. I realize that my daughter performs best in school when I make a conscious effort to partner with the teacher and not fight against the teacher. That means that I have to make sure that I never demonstrate the following monstrous behavior:
• Bad mouth the teacher in front of my child – If my child hears me belittling her teacher at home, there is no way she’ll respect the teacher at school.
• Monopolize the teacher’s time –While the Momzilla in me wants to make my drop off and pick up time a daily parent-teacher conference, I realize that this only takes away from the teacher’s valuable class time. So I force myself to wait until scheduled times to discuss my daughter’s progress.
• Distrust the teacher – As moms, we’re our children’s first educators. That’s probably why I feel that I know what’s best for my daughter’s education. But I have to realize that I am not her only teacher anymore. I have to trust her school teacher, and trust that if my daughter needs extra help, her teacher will let me know.
• Lose my temper with the teacher – While my daughter is my precious jewel, I have to force myself to remember that her teacher has many precious jewels that she is entrusted with daily, so the teacher can’t always put my daughter’s needs first. Also, I can’t lose it if my daughter’s needs don’t come first with the teacher.
I know my little girl is going to have an awesome school year as long as I keep the Momzilla chained up!
What brings out your Momzilla?
Yolanda Darville is a wife, mom and freelance writer focusing on issues that make a difference. To read more of her writings connect with her on Twitter at @YolandaDarville.
Child development specialists note that imitation, problem solving and imagination are good signs of a toddler’s intellectual advancement. However, as a mother, I wonder if my toddler’s revolt against commands and niche for exploring everything in our home, but the toys we buy, is smart or a mastermind plan to drive mommy insane.
From throwing half her dinner on the floor to share with the dog to decorating the house with poop as an announcement of its existence, is my 18-month toddler a genius or a jerk?
Over the last five months, I have watched the personality of my daughter spring forward like flowers in May. She went from being afraid to walk to climbing on my dining room table, refusing to sit down in the bathtub and throwing tantrums in the grocery store if she is not allowed to stand up and surf in the cart. I am quite happy about not having to carry an extra 20 pounds plus around all day, but the anxiety from having to worry about her safety and the maintenance of our home is also a bit much.
A couple of months ago I asked my Facebook friends how they were managing their infant’s intellectual development and it was recommended that I read the book “Brain Rules for Babies” by John Medina. In the book, Medina notes that contrary to what most parents think, “The brain is not interested in learning. The brain is interested in surviving… We do not survive so that we can learn, we learn so that we can survive.”
I found this to be highly interesting when I thought about the behaviors of my toddler. She has revolted against playing with many of the toys we bought her. She cares not about the hundreds of dollars we’ve spent to engage her short attention span. She’d rather play with the TV remote control, switch the channels, take the batteries out and throw it across the room.
We put bubbles in the bathtub, but she still refuses to sit down even though she has slipped several times. Every day we put her clothes on and then she takes them off only to try to put them back on by herself. Now this is great, however, redressing her five minutes after we were suppose to walk out the door is not the ideal scenario for parents on their way to doctors appointments, business meetings and engagements where I’d like to show up fashionably late, not just before the event is over.
I think you get where I am going with this. From removing her diaper and frolicking through the house naked armed with urine to rubbing ketchup all over her face with French fries as if it were lipstick, my toddler is not trying to drive me insane, she is actually trying to engage with life like she observes mommy and daddy exhibit.
We do not take baths. We take showers. We do not wear diapers, or much clothes in the house, admittedly. We are not strapped into carts at the grocery store. We walk freely as we please. We do not play with toys, rather, we have cell phones, laptops, computers, books and television. Mommy wears makeup when she gets dressed and mommy puts on her own clothes.
Every single thing I do, my child desires to do as well. She has seen me perform on a number of stages over the course of her young life and now she has decided that our dining room table is her stage.
As much as I want to be frustrated by having to keep a very close eye on her more often than not, it is quite fascinating to watch her grow up in this regard. The playpen, her toys, her high chair and her car seat, in her mind, these apparatuses serve no use, rather they disconnect her from engaging with us.
The most endearing act to prove my toddler’s genius status occurred just last week. I spend my mornings working in our home office. I have breakfast with the family, but the remainder of the morning I am secluded. I exit my office frequently to breastfeed our youngest daughter and survey the happenings of our home.
One particular morning, I entered the living room to find our toddler sitting at the dining room table coloring. When I sat down on the couch to feed her younger sister, I noticed her move quickly. She picked up her doll baby and placed it in her sister’s activity chair. Then, she left the living room abruptly to enter my office. When I approached the office, I saw her sitting at the desk pressing buttons on my computer. At that moment, I did not know whether to laugh or cry. It was the cutest response to life I had ever seen. She was taking care of her baby and doing her work. Wow, now that is a level of genius I’ll support everyday.
My kids notice everything. When I paint my nails, they each have their thoughts on the color I chose. If I wear something I normally don’t, they have a few questions to ask or a compliment to deliver. If I work later than usual, they need to know why. With such inquisitive minds, it’s foolish for me to think that they aren’t watching my relationship with their dad as much as they watch everything else I do.
I want my kids to grow up to be kind, generous, loving, and understanding. I am sure you probably want the same for yours. The question we have to ask ourselves, though, is whether or not our kids consistently see us behave that way towards the person we vowed to spend the rest of our lives with. Sure, we can tell them right thing to do, but unless they actually see us doing it, our words don’t mean much.
Not only does our behavior influence how our children treat others in their world, but it also has a tremendous impact on their views about intimate relationships. So what exactly do our little ones need to see? Well, certainly not perfection. That’s a false image of what it means to be married. But they also should not grow up in the center of a tumultuous relationship. The stress of a situation like that will definitely play a negative role in shaping their lives.
So here are six things your kids need to see in your marriage. This will give them a positive outlook on love and marriage, while teaching them how to treat all the people they love.
Respect. When kids grow up in a home where their parents disrespect each other, they are more likely to undervalue the importance of being respectful. Respectfulness isn’t about total agreement, but rather about a way treating the people you love no matter how you feel. Kids simply need to see the people they love most respect each other.
Maturity. We are always on our kids about not being immature, but adults can sometimes pull some pretty immature stunts themselves. Giving your husband the silent treatment or refusing to do things for him around the home aren’t mature ways to handle conflict. Seeing you behave like this can teach your kids that being upset gives you the right to be as immature as you want to be. It’s not a message you want to send.
Healthy Disagreements. Learn to disagree without being nasty about it. Kids don’t need to see that. If you are so livid you feel like your top is about to blow, take a quick trip to the store alone. There’s never a good reason to blow up in front of your kids. Discuss things respectfully when you are upset, and if you are just too mad to make that happen, have the conversation when your kids are not around.
Affection. Even if PDA is not your thing, your kids need to see their parents express affection at home. Greet your husband with a kiss. Rub his back when he’s had a bad day. Give him a hug just because you love him. Children who see such tender moments between parents learn to understand how important it is to express your love in more ways than one.
Kindness. If you want to raise kind children, be kind to one another. Do something for your husband that’s unexpected. Surprise him with his favorite meal, or pick up his dry cleaning even though he didn’t ask. Kind parents raise kind people.
Appreciation. Everyone wants to feel appreciated. And with all that we do as moms, it sure is nice when our kids appreciate our efforts. One of the best ways to teach your kids how important it is to appreciate others is to let them see you showing your spouse appreciation. Whether through words or actions, expressing appreciation is something positive all kids need to see.
Martine Foreman is a life + relationship coach, freelance writer, lifestyle blogger, and speaker. To learn more about her work and get great tips on how to create a life you love, check her out at CandidBelle.
“Why can’t I watch “Monster High”?” asks your daughter, of the web series based on the lives of teenage female monsters.
“Because you’re barely six-years-old and they’re in high school.”
“But Layla’s mom let’s her watch it and so does Rebecca’s.”
“I don’t care what their moms let them do. You live here and these are my rules,” you say, sounding just like your mom.
End of discussion.
Until the next time she brings it up. Which tends to be whenever she comes from a friend’s house. But it’s not just this show, that bothers you, it’s also “Barbie: Life In The Dream House,” which became off limits when you realized Barbie and Ken were dating. Like, what did you expect? They did create Ken for the sole purpose of being Barbie’s dream companion, but somehow it doesn’t seem right that they’re going out on dates for a show that’s marketed to little girls.
All day you find you’re asking yourself: Is this age-appropriate?
And it’s nail polish. too. Everyday she’s asking you to paint her nails and toes. What’s next? Lipstick? Heels? Once you saw a four-year-old at the park with more makeup in her purse than you. She was also sporting a pretty serious mini dress. Talk about four going on 40. By the time she’s eight-years-old she’ll be ready to get a driver’s license, and watch Scandal.
And as strongly as you feel about keeping your daughter in a little girl’s lane, sometimes you wonder if you’re doing the right thing. Maybe a little nail polish on a six-year-old doesn’t mean she’s going to get pregnant by her first period. After all, Layla’s mom does let her do it and Layla’s not a bad kid. Apparently, she watches “Monster High” too, and drinks soda, and once came to school with eyeshadow on and it wasn’t Halloween.
Sometimes you wonder when you became so conservative.
Growing up, curse words were a staple in your home from the time you understood language, now you won’t even say “fat” or “stupid,” around your girls for fear of them using it at the wrong time in the wrong way. But is it too much? How do you figure out what’s age-appropriate?
“How did you decide what was age appropriate?” you ask your mom over the phone.
“I made the decisions according to what I could deal with. Ya’ll didn’t watch scary movies because I refused to be up all night with scared kids. You know what your children can and can’t handle. You know them better than anyone else.”
Point taken. The one time you and your brother snuck and watched a movie where this woman’s head was in the fish tank had you afraid to go to bed for a week. Boy, how you wished you had listened to her.
Still, you reach out to Anita who has three kids ages 11, 8 and 6. If anyone has recent experience navigating what is age appropriate for her kids, she does, plus she’s got this Zen mom thing going on that you can appreciate.
“I think each child is completely different,” she says. “I gave my oldest child the ” birds and the bees” talk in second grade. She handled it really well. My youngest is going into second grade…and he is in no way ready for ‘the talk’.”
It’s interesting that she says that because you find that your five-year-old was much different at three-years-old than your current three-year-old is now. Your eldest had an extensive vocabulary and loved to spend time articulating her thoughts while your youngest just wants to play.
She continues, “I found myself telling my 10-year-old daughter about sexual trafficking of young girls…my mind was tripping! Asking why am I doing this! But my intuition…my soul kept asking me to go on. Well, my daughter, in turn, started an organization called Cause Kidz that raises money through street performances and gives it to causes that help kids. She raised $4,000 for a library for young women who have been sexually trafficked. I think it’s best to listen to our intuition. We know our children the best. We know what gives them nightmares. We know what inspires them. There is no rulebook. Trust yourself.”
Word. Too loose; too strict? Who can really say? You think of your neighbor who has two daughters, one in the 8th grade and one in the 5th, that she walks to and from school each day. Why is she so protective? You and your brother were walking to school together when you were in the 1st and 2nd grade. But then you think of this neighbor’s twenty-something year-old daughter who got caught up in the streets and figure she wishes she had kept her closer. We don’t like to make the same mistakes.
Like your favorite psychologist Dr. Kristin Carothers said so simply, “Rules for your house are based on what you think is right or wrong (i.e. your values).”
She couldn’t be more right. You can’t bring your kids up on someone else’s values. If it doesn’t work out are you going to blame them? So figuring out what’s age appropriate for them depends on you. Your rules are your rules and you have to be okay with that. End of discussion.