I make other parents cringe... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 52 Old 10-02-2011, 04:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Recently a good friend of mine told me that my parenting style makes her cringe. She then went on to say my kids are great and somehow what we do works but in no way does she condone half the stuff that we allow or do. And that's fine, I get why she is so controlling over her kids. Her kids are also great little things and I love them dearly just as she loves mine. So this isn't a crap on her thing. Just me being aware that I do things differently.

I let my kids swear at home as long as it's not directed at other people.
I include them in our conversations. All conversations, if it can't be said around them then what's the point?
I don't spank, I rarely punish. You have to really do something BAD or dangerous.
I allow them to play hours of video games, hey I know they aren't in the backyard making weapons of mass destruction.
I let them run around barefoot.
They pick what they want to eat for dinner or lunch... even breakfast. Usually they sit in the kitchen while DH and I are cooking and let us know what they want as sides or they just choose something they can make themselves.
I never make them eat food they don't want or like.
I allow them to dress themselves when not going to school... DD2 is a sparkles kind of girl. DD1 loves her dads shirts. Looks like a dress with big arms.
I let them build forts all over the house.
I let them make mud pools in the back yard and jump around in them. ( they just can't get the clothes hanging to dry wet or muddy)
I let them sleep in our bed.
I let them run nude in the house and sometimes back yard depending on the weather.
I let them dig holes in the backyard ( can't dig in my gardens)
I let them eat where they want when they want. (just can't share with the dogs or leave it out)

I give them free reign over themselves just as long as they aren't imposing on others in a negative way. And yes for the most part they really are pretty great. And I can hold a conversation with my 8 yr old that would rival any conversation with most adults. We do have rules most of them are in the respecting others and nature category.
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#2 of 52 Old 10-02-2011, 04:22 PM
 
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Sounds good to me :)

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#3 of 52 Old 10-02-2011, 06:15 PM
 
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That's the kind of parent I want to be. :)

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#4 of 52 Old 10-02-2011, 06:23 PM
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Some of that would make me cringe. But I fully realize those are MY hangups. Like, I have never encouraged my kids to run around naked. Thankfully, they've never been the sorts of kids who wanted to be naked, so it's not been a problem. But when I go to friends' homes that house naked kids, I always wonder whose butt germs I'm touching on the chairs, and it skeeves me out.

 

Also, my kids and I have always talked a lot, but I definitely have not included them in every conversation. They didn't need to hear me venting about their dad when he was not following through on visitation and such. I also don't think they'd appreciate hearing about my perimenopausal menstrual changes or my sex life.

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#5 of 52 Old 10-02-2011, 06:33 PM
 
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Some of that would make me cringe. But I fully realize those are MY hangups. Like, I have never encouraged my kids to run around naked. Thankfully, they've never been the sorts of kids who wanted to be naked, so it's not been a problem. But when I go to friends' homes that house naked kids, I always wonder whose butt germs I'm touching on the chairs, and it skeeves me out.

 

Also, my kids and I have always talked a lot, but I definitely have not included them in every conversation. They didn't need to hear me venting about their dad when he was not following through on visitation and such. I also don't think they'd appreciate hearing about my perimenopausal menstrual changes or my sex life.

 

I don't include my kids in all conversations and I'm not big on naked people.  For the most part though, I don't understand why any of that bothers her?  How does your kids digging in the mud or choosing their own food affect her?
 

 

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#6 of 52 Old 10-02-2011, 07:17 PM
 
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I don't include my kids in all conversations and I'm not big on naked people.  For the most part though, I don't understand why any of that bothers her?  How does your kids digging in the mud or choosing their own food affect her? 

 


It sounds like good natured ribbing on both parts. Look, how many threads do we see here complaining about those "mainstream" parents (whose choices DO NOT affect us in any way, like people who decide to use a baby carrier, or who allow their toddler to eat goldfish--the processed cracker kind, not the real ones; or those people who wean their kid at a year instead of self-weaning, ect.).

I kind of like to hear that two different people who parent differently can express that they are happy with their own style and don't want to adopt the others'--and yet STILL like/love each other. Instead of demanding that the other person adopt their style or get cut off because their sensibilities can only tolerate like-minded people.
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#7 of 52 Old 10-02-2011, 07:23 PM
 
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Nothing to cringe about if it works for your family. I wouldn't personally do all the stuff on your list, but none of it's dangerous, inappropriate or disrespectful. It takes all kinds to make a world, and I think that's a good thing. :-) 


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#8 of 52 Old 10-02-2011, 07:44 PM
 
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All sounds fine to me. Not that I do all of them. The only one I might cringe at is the video games, but that's one I might feel differently about once my children are old enough to play video games.

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#9 of 52 Old 10-02-2011, 08:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mamalisa View Post

 

For the most part though, I don't understand why any of that bothers her?  How does your kids digging in the mud or choosing their own food affect her? 

 


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Originally Posted by Tigerchild View Post


It sounds like good natured ribbing on both parts. Look, how many threads do we see here complaining about those "mainstream" parents (whose choices DO NOT affect us in any way, like people who decide to use a baby carrier, or who allow their toddler to eat goldfish--the processed cracker kind, not the real ones; or those people who wean their kid at a year instead of self-weaning, ect.).
I kind of like to hear that two different people who parent differently can express that they are happy with their own style and don't want to adopt the others'--and yet STILL like/love each other. Instead of demanding that the other person adopt their style or get cut off because their sensibilities can only tolerate like-minded people.


Theoretically, the people complaining or cringing are worried about the long-term (or sometimes short-term) well-being of the kids. I mean, just because they're not our own offspring doesn't mean we don't care if they're miserable, right? Some people video games are harmful, or at least if the kid is allowed, they will play such ridiculous amounts that it becomes harmful. Some people think spanking is just plain pointless and mean, if not abusive.

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#10 of 52 Old 10-02-2011, 08:04 PM
 
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Sounds pretty normal to me, this is how I compare:
  • I let my kids swear at home as long as it's pragmatically appropriate. In other words, if you drop your pencil, I suggest you find another word. If you drop a book on your foot, swear away!
  • I include them in our conversations. Most conversations. Sometimes dh and I do want to converse without being interrupted by the plot summaries of the latest A.N.T. Farm or random baseball/football/basketball/soccer facts. Dh and I don't talk about stuff our kids shouldn't hear unless we're alone (dd has amazing 'hearing' and will pick up on the slightest thing.)
  • I don't spank, I rarely punish. You have to really do something BAD or dangerous, or MEAN. (e.g., Dd has been getting bullied by ds' friend down the street, and we have threatened to take a break with the friend if ds doesn't start telling his friend that he's being mean to dd. He can't make the friend stop, but he can point out when he's being unfair or taunting her.)
  • I to watch TV and play computer games.
  • I let them run around barefoot.
  • They can pick what they want for breakfast and lunch. We have family dinners, and I'm not a short order cook. But, we take their preferences and tastes into account, and if they ask for a dish before I've started dinner, I can usually accommodate them.
  • I do ask them to try a bite of a new food, but don't force them to eat things they don't like. (This backfired on dh's parents in a major way!)
  • I allow them to dress themselves, even when going to school. There's just a few pairs of dress up shoes dd is not allowed to go out of the house with (think stiletto heels bought at Goodwill).
  • I let them build forts all over the house.
  • I let them make mud pools in the back yard and jump around in them. They just have to strip in the bathroom and hang up the clothes to dry.
  • I used let them sleep in our bed until they got too tall. Now they sleep next to our bed (ds some nights, dd every night).
  • I have let them run nude in the house and sometimes back yard depending on the weather. (I did this too until they developed modesty around age 8.) I even let them run nude in the front yard once or twice.
  • They have pretty free reign over snacks. One of ds' primary food groups is Nutella. (He's a 12 slim with the adjustable waists pulled in. Until he gets to be not a slim, he's got free reign over the Nutella). Dd tends toward cheese, turkey and yogurt. (I don't buy Doritos because she'd sell her soul for those, and they aren't good for her on so many levels.)
  • I don't care what they read, except that if it's keeping dd up because it's too scary, then she needs to put it away and read it in the daylight.

OK, I don't let them eat where they want.
I insist on family dinners.
I make them do chores (15 minutes a night, plus ds has to unload the dishwasher; next year, when he's 11, he'll have to load it too).
I personally cringe at the amount of TV/games sometimes, but right now there are other battles/skills that we're working on. The video games are only Wii sports (must be rated E) and the computer games tend to be things like Roller Coaster Tycoon, which is mildly educational.

Actually, the only odd thing I find is that your friend tells you that your parenting makes her cringe. I know some people who don't see eye to eye with me on parenting stuff, but I try really hard not to pass judgement (or more accurately, when I do pass judgement, I try really hard to keep it to myself!) Everybody's kids are different. Every parent is different.


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#11 of 52 Old 10-02-2011, 09:45 PM
 
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Quote:

Theoretically, the people complaining or cringing are worried about the long-term (or sometimes short-term) well-being of the kids. I mean, just because they're not our own offspring doesn't mean we don't care if they're miserable, right? Some people video games are harmful, or at least if the kid is allowed, they will play such ridiculous amounts that it becomes harmful. Some people think spanking is just plain pointless and mean, if not abusive.


In theory, I guess--but in practice, let's be honest here...it's really about looking down one's nose at people, claiming psychic powers (really, because someone is parented differently than what you're doing now, they MUST be *miserable*?) of truthful projection, and oneupsmanship.
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#12 of 52 Old 10-03-2011, 01:01 AM
 
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I have to admit a little cringe when I read the video game one, but that is only because we have video game issues here.  I make Milo stop when he cries or gets angry over it.  I try to stop him when I think he might soon cry or get angry, but sometimes I miss the cues.  I have mixed feelings about video games because I think he's actually gained a lot from them, especially confidence that he can master something that's hard.  And there are times that he wants to play for hours on end, but there are other times that he doesn't think of playing for weeks.  So, I'm hoping in the end there's more good than bad there.  

 

Other than that I can't see why anyone would have issues with your parenting.  And as far as the butt cooties go, that would never cross my mind.  lol   

 

I have been thinking lately that a lot of people would cringe over our recent addiction to Phineus and Ferb (sp?).  I can't bring myself to sit down and watch an episode, but whenever I walk through or look up from my book or computer, I see something fairly unique.  

 

I'm happy, btw, to see that other people have older children co-sleeping.  I feel like when I go into the night-time parenting (or whatever it's called) forum here, everyone's asking about how to get their 2 and 3 yo's to sleep in their own rooms.  And then I start wondering if we're the only ones...


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#13 of 52 Old 10-03-2011, 05:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I can see how video games make people a bit uncomfortable.  It's an MMO and she has to read a ton of crud before she can do anything.  She uses an on line dictionary since some of the words are out of her normal vocab.  Both girls don't know how to sit still and this is the only time I know they are not cutting off the dogs hair, making instruments of death or finding ways to catapult to the top of the house.  I'm pretty sure I have Bebe's kids.

 

I like that her and I are so different and we're aware of it.  I know when my DD's go to her house to remind them of what is allowed there, and her kids know when they come to my house it's circus fun.  I do follow her rules when it comes to the kids wearing shoes or not letting them in the front yard without me sitting out there with them.  I think we know what works for us and we are able to adapt.  I didn't feel like she was looking down her nose.  I've told her things before, like I thought is was a little much that she won't let her 13 yr old walk home from school or that the kids are allowed to eat and drink so much junk.  We're still friends and have been for 8 yrs. 

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#14 of 52 Old 10-03-2011, 06:39 AM
 
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I've got a friend with way different parenting habits, too and we're great friends, and everyone is turning out fine! I got a kick out of the original post because our family started morphing that way, organically. We were very typically AP, with kids in the bed and running around digging holes and making forts, not forcing to eat foods, not spanking, etc, a commonality already. But like lots of "crunchy" parents, we restricted video games (like none before starting school), TV, and exposure to adult conversations. The thing is, it was fine for preschoolers, but as they aged I realized they had to live in this world, and I'd rather they got used to it now. They do use the computer a lot, and sometimes it's a real bonding tool because they play multi player with each other, my husband and their God father, and actually there's tons of reading in what they play (World of Warcraft, but chat controls in place except for people on the list, and lots of fantasy and strategy games). I like sharing TV viewing with my kids, even though a lot of people would say CSI is inappropriate, but we enjoy it together. And the joy of children growing is the great, sometimes "adult" conversations you can have with them. I think we gradually moved away from a "this is the right or wrong way" approach to parenting to a "let's use what just works or feels right for this situation" approach. Basically, three kids and 11 years down the road later, it's so much easier and fun to be laid back.

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#15 of 52 Old 10-03-2011, 06:58 AM
 
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Some of that isn't my style but it's working for your family, so why sweat it? I won't bother listing the ways I parent differently because it really doesn't matter. If your child is healthy, happy, and whole, you're doing it right. thumb.gif

 

If your friend wasn't just teasing you and genuinely cringes because of your different choices, it could be that she feels somewhat insecure about her own. I find that the more confident I am in my own parenting, the less I care about other people's (nonviolent) methods.


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#16 of 52 Old 10-03-2011, 09:21 AM
 
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I'm with the poster who said that the oddest thing about the list was that someone actually told you that your parenting makes them cringe. Unless any of that affects her directly, not sure why she'd care. And the only one that jumps out at me that I could see *might* affect her/other people is the "including them in ALL conversations" thing. Now does that mean you don't shy away from talking about anything and everything, even sensitive or disturbing things, around them? Or that you let them get involved in any and every conversation you have?

Because here's what came to my mind: I know some parents who have the policy of including their children in all conversations. But in practical terms what this means is, when I'm having a conversation with the mother, say, the kids will interrupt every few minutes wanting to bring the conversation back to themselves or to add some nonsensical story or something, or to ask when it will be "their turn" to talk, etc. THAT can be frustrating. And the mom just goes along with it, and will frequently interrupt me (or whoever else is speaking) to address whatever the child interrupted the conversation with, and sometimes to engage them in further conversation about whatever it is. And then the original conversation is just , like, gone, and you end up feeling like you've just been kicked aside. It gets to the point where I feel I can't have any real conversations with them (aside from light smalltalk, or talk about the kids) until the kids are in bed or on any other rare occasion when we're there and the kids aren't.

Not sure at all if that applies to you, but it's the first thing that jumped out at me.

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#17 of 52 Old 10-03-2011, 10:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ah by discussing everything I mean that we don't shy from conversations that may be over their head. We don't talk about sex with them but they know about it through questions and we don't bother with politics or what war is going on because we don't care to.  However if we're discussing theories then of course they can discuss with us.  I don't kick them out of the room, I share all my time.  If it's not meant for them to hear.  As in it might worry them like job issues or monetary issues then I won't bring it up. 

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#18 of 52 Old 10-03-2011, 02:32 PM
 
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Haha the video game part makes me head explode...but as the wife of a MMO lover, I get it....and some games can actually be very very fun, in depth and well made...with awesome stories and many cool things to learn about. Very artistic. Still makes my head spin to imagine kids playing...I just can't stand video games for kids!!

 

 

But everything else you said sounds pretty cool. I do insist on family dinners...but it's not something that I have to force, it just happens. Plus the cooking thing...I cook three large meals a day from scratch, so it's important to me that everyone eat the same thing. I encourage trying to new things, but I don't fight about food. They do LOVE helping to cook, so we spend that time together.

 

I know a lot of people in my life who really don't get my style...the fact that our kids free range a lot is a big eyebrow raiser. But we live in the middle of the woods with no one around, so there aren't cars and things like that to consider...so, I don't know...we have really, very very happy kids who do cool things and we respect them and are honest with them and I think it's good.

 

I still love my friends who don't get me...they don't mean to be judgy, they love me too...they just remark at and sometimes laugh about, my "loosey goosey" ways!


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#19 of 52 Old 10-03-2011, 03:40 PM
 
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Ah by discussing everything I mean that we don't shy from conversations that may be over their head. We don't talk about sex with them but they know about it through questions and we don't bother with politics or what war is going on because we don't care to.  However if we're discussing theories then of course they can discuss with us.  I don't kick them out of the room, I share all my time.  If it's not meant for them to hear.  As in it might worry them like job issues or monetary issues then I won't bring it up. 


Ok, well....no cringing then. wink1.gif

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#20 of 52 Old 10-03-2011, 05:39 PM
 
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Some of those make me cringe too.  Most don't, but a few.

 

I wouldn't allow cussing.  I don't include kids in all conversation.  I don't allow them to eat where ever they want.  In the kitchen, or not at all.

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#21 of 52 Old 10-03-2011, 06:11 PM
 
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You sound exactly like me!

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#22 of 52 Old 10-03-2011, 08:03 PM
 
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i think if a CL mama posted her what she allows in her house, many posters here would cringe. 


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#23 of 52 Old 10-03-2011, 08:23 PM
 
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The video games, cussing and food stuff make me cringe.  I'm not a huge fan of publicly naked kids, but it doesn't really make me cringe.

 

I don't think unlimited screen time is healthy for anyone and I have serious issues with violent media and children.  

 

As an adult, I've had a difficult time making sure my language is appropriate, so I would rather my kiddos not start a bad habit.

 

I am very involved in healthy eating decisions.  My mom let me "free range" and it essentially led to some major health problems and an eating disorder.  I seek DD's opinions about her food preferences and never say no to fruit or veggie requests at the store, but I don't think a free range approach to food works for most families.  We expect our kids to be open to a wide array of food choices and don't do "kid food" at our house. We all eat healthy meals and suppers are all the same. 


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#24 of 52 Old 10-03-2011, 08:25 PM
 
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 As in it might worry them like job issues or monetary issues then I won't bring it up. 


That's kinda where we are. We talk openly about a wide range of topics in front of and with our kids, but when we knew that we would be moving because daddy's job was going away and didn't know where we would be going, we didn't drop a hint of it to the kids. It would have stressed them out unnecessarily. We waited until there was a plan.

 

We do talk openly about politics, religion, pop culture, etc. Everything is open game and they are encouraged to have their own opinions.

 

Actually, you and I parent a lot a like, and it does bother a few people I know. They think my children should be horrid, but instead they are quite calm and mature. No body in my house wants to run around naked, but the kids have tons of freedom. thumb.gif


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#25 of 52 Old 10-03-2011, 10:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My reason for allowing cussing? If you just need to let it out, then do it and get it over with.

Food choices are based on what is available to them. Unhealthy does not reside in our home
I suffered with anorexia because I was told I was fat, forced to eat all that was on my plate and no e of it was healthy. I took control of myself by not eating. Something I still suffer with

Playing online games includes half the family at ant given time. DD 2 increased her reading comprehension by two grade levels this summer. Also we had over 60 days of above 100degree weather. Playing outside wasn't always a safe option.

Since the weather change we're forcin g the girls inside for bathes. And bedtime.
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#26 of 52 Old 10-04-2011, 12:49 PM
 
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Thanks for inspiring me mama, a breath of fresh air is your post, i feel so much better just knowing there are other people out there like this.... (have my kids been wathcing too much star wars?)

 

Have more to say, later....

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#27 of 52 Old 10-04-2011, 05:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

My reason for allowing cussing? If you just need to let it out, then do it and get it over with.
Food choices are based on what is available to them. Unhealthy does not reside in our home
I suffered with anorexia because I was told I was fat, forced to eat all that was on my plate and no e of it was healthy. I took control of myself by not eating. Something I still suffer with
Playing online games includes half the family at ant given time. DD 2 increased her reading comprehension by two grade levels this summer. Also we had over 60 days of above 100degree weather. Playing outside wasn't always a safe option.
Since the weather change we're forcin g the girls inside for bathes. And bedtime.
 
 
We have the same experience with the games.  We have friends from DS's former Waldorf-y independent school who just cringe about the gaming, but it really is a family activity, and one thing my husband really enjoys doing with the kids.  And both boys really improved their reading through game play (DD is a book worm, anyway, ut she loves her game time, too.


 


Busy keeping up with three children and an awful lot of chickens!

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#28 of 52 Old 10-04-2011, 09:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah and as different as we are... my friend just called to ask me or DH to pick her kids up on friday and keep them til late in the evening.  She has other choices.  Her kids just like coming here just as mine love to go there.  Mostly because they have snacks we don't have and her kids apparently love losing to me in a friendly game of horse... Ok I cheat sometimes. 

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#29 of 52 Old 10-05-2011, 07:19 AM
 
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Those are the great friends, the ones that can be very different and everyone still loves being together.  I think kids get so much great exposure from being friends with people whose families have different ways.  It's such a great big world with so much excitement and if we all avoided people who were different or stuck a sock in our mouth and didn't mention differences just to avoid conflict, the world would get pretty boring.


Busy keeping up with three children and an awful lot of chickens!

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#30 of 52 Old 10-05-2011, 07:54 AM
 
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LynnS6, you sound just like me.

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