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#61 of 119 Old 03-19-2009, 04:44 PM
 
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I realize not all kids are so aware at 13 ... but, surely, in this day and age, most are!
Lots aren't. Even those who know it can happen often suffer from a very teenaged "it can't happen to me" mindset. We didn't have the net (heck, nobody had home computers!) when I was 13, but the "that only happens to other people" thing was very common. I didn't particularly have it, because I'm a chicken, but I knew lots of people who did. I know at least one 13 year old who has had the net for years, who absolutely sees it as completely benign, no matter what they learn in school.

re: emails & facebook. I know ds1's email password, but he could very well have other emails that he hasn't told me about. There is no possible way I could police that, even if I wanted to - he can access computers/the net at his school, at his friend's house, etc. I don't read his email, but he knows that I can. We set that up a couple of years ago, just in case I needed to check up on stuff (eg. he suddenly had some new friend I'd never heard of, who didn't go to his school, and wouldn't give me details - might check that out online, or the big one - if he went missing *gulp*). It's a security precaution, but I have no desire to eavesdrop on his conversations with his friends. I actually don't think I ever did get around to friending him on facebook. I may do that.

However, ds1 is 16 (today!), not 13. That does make a difference. I'm not sure what boundaries I'd have in place if he were 13.

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#62 of 119 Old 03-19-2009, 04:54 PM
 
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It seems like there's a lot of mamas w/15-16yo teens, I posted a new post, kind of a spin off, about my situation. Would you mamas be able to go take a gander at it for me? Anyone else too, obviously, but I'd appreciate it great

/hijack

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#63 of 119 Old 03-19-2009, 05:21 PM
 
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I think Rocky Horror might be R, and that was one of Rain's favorites when she was 7... but I would check with a parent before letting another kid watch it with her, because a 7 year old is a child. The OP was talking about her 13 year old, though.

I see the MPAA ratings as another tool we can use to help find movies we'll enjoy watching, albeit not a very useful one. I definitely don't see them as the arbiter of what's right for my child - my child and I determine that ourselves.

I have never met a little kid who wanted to watch porn, whether it was rated G or X, so I don't see how the rating system changes anything. Maybe some 13 year olds would want to watch something fairly mild, but I think most wouldn't...

Dar
I agree, the ratings are not 100%, which is why we preview and decide for ourselves. We just watched Pineapple Express and personally I'm not comfortable with my 12 year old ds and 11 year old dsd watching it due to some of the dialogue and violence. I don't know about you, but I don't think my children need to hear some guy discussing eating a lollipop out of a stripper's orifices. :

As to children watching porn, at my ds's daycare when he was 7 or 8, there was an incident with boys under 10 getting on the computer and surfing porn. And a male friend of mine had his entire stash of porn stolen by his landlord's pre-teens.

We discuss everything with our dcs as far as why things are not appropriate, and how certain things become available as they mature. AFAIC, the quickest way to prove you're too immature to do something is to trot out the everybody else is doing it argument or tell me I'm not cool.

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#64 of 119 Old 03-19-2009, 05:48 PM
 
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I just think it's so over the top that people are talking about SAW and... pornography? Seriously? The OP referenced a MADE FOR TELEVISION movie that came out in 1990, for goodness' sake.
But of course everyone's idea of what is/isn't graphic and disturbing is different. I get that. And, I understand the discomfort and fear with technology. It's something every family needs to grow into.

But giving the kid almost no time alone is wrong. It's just wrong.

I suppose what riled me up last night was the tone I got from the OP, who actually came across as smug, to me. As a PP said, intent means a LOT, and I may be projecting, but I read a somewhat self-satisfied tone. It's one that I grew up with. My parents were domineering, and when anyone complained or begged for some freedom, we were mocked. The bit about the husband enjoying the "strictest parent in the world" title was hard to swallow, because it's so dismissive of the son's feelings (which are quite real, and quite powerful, at the age of 13). As the conversation unfolded, it seemed to me that the OP was really just seeking validation, not conversation. I know some PP's have felt that the responses were harsh, but if you ask me the kid deserves the validation, here.
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#65 of 119 Old 03-19-2009, 05:52 PM
 
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I agree, the ratings are not 100%, which is why we preview and decide for ourselves.
I find the parents guide on IMDB to be very useful, as well...far more effective for me than the ratings systems.

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#66 of 119 Old 03-19-2009, 06:16 PM
 
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I just think it's so over the top that people are talking about SAW and... pornography? Seriously? The OP referenced a MADE FOR TELEVISION movie that came out in 1990, for goodness' sake.
But of course everyone's idea of what is/isn't graphic and disturbing is different. I get that. And, I understand the discomfort and fear with technology. It's something every family needs to grow into.

But giving the kid almost no time alone is wrong. It's just wrong.

I suppose what riled me up last night was the tone I got from the OP, who actually came across as smug, to me. As a PP said, intent means a LOT, and I may be projecting, but I read a somewhat self-satisfied tone. It's one that I grew up with. My parents were domineering, and when anyone complained or begged for some freedom, we were mocked. The bit about the husband enjoying the "strictest parent in the world" title was hard to swallow, because it's so dismissive of the son's feelings (which are quite real, and quite powerful, at the age of 13). As the conversation unfolded, it seemed to me that the OP was really just seeking validation, not conversation. I know some PP's have felt that the responses were harsh, but if you ask me the kid deserves the validation, here.

I think there is a big difference between monitoring internet use and what type of movies your dcs watch and not giving your dcs any time alone.

Our dcs have pulled out the everyone else does this argument because we won't let them watch rated R movies, and they have tried to convince us we're the strictest parents ever. I don't believe we are, and I think the argument is designed to be manipulative. I'm not falling for it, nor do I think the OP is. And if a made for television movie gives your 9 year old nightmares, then it was not appropriate for them to watch, was it? That's why we parent. My biggest objection to It was that it was a colossal piece of cr@p, and the book had the usual Stephen King dose of gratuitous sex which was totally unnecessary to the story (yawn.) Maybe it's just me, but I can practically predict on what page it will happen in a Stephen King book. Since sometimes a person might want to read the book after watching the movie, I might not want to open that door. YMMV

I don't fear technology, either, but when my dsd has already internet stalked someone, I think monitoring her internet usage is warranted. When at 11 she is wanting to correspond with college aged men, there is no way in he!! I'm not going to double check to make sure they aren't trying to make arrangements to meet her somewhere. I'd be stupid not to.

We're taking them parasailing soon, and I'm sure there are other parents who think that's a terrible thing to go do. We know another couple who takes their children cliffdiving, which I don't think we would do. But that's their choice, not ours.

We're not anti-fun, but like anyone else, we choose what we feel is appropriate for our pre-teens. As I stated earlier, when they're 15 I'm sure the rules will be different than they are right now. I had super-controlling parents myself, so I'm trying to find a balance between that and being oblivious, and I'm not particularly happy that we have to monitor the internet so closely, but I can't see any way out of it at this point.

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#67 of 119 Old 03-19-2009, 07:02 PM
 
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intent means a LOT, and I may be projecting, but I read a somewhat self-satisfied tone. It's one that I grew up with. My parents were domineering, and when anyone complained or begged for some freedom, we were mocked. The bit about the husband enjoying the "strictest parent in the world" title was hard to swallow, because it's so dismissive of the son's feelings (which are quite real, and quite powerful, at the age of 13).
Erm, I have to agree with that, somewhat...
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#68 of 119 Old 03-19-2009, 09:11 PM
 
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I think there is a big difference between monitoring internet use and what type of movies your dcs watch and not giving your dcs any time alone.
I'm sorry if I wasn't clear. The OP stated that she only lets her 13 stay home alone when they run to the store, and also "lets" him babysit the other kids. IMO that is not nearly enough alone time for a 13 y/o. At 13, I NEEDED time away from my parents/siblings, and I am the youngest. I imagine the oldest has a much greater need to be away from siblings, no? I know my older daughter gets 'touched out' by her little sis, and as I recall, I was a major PITA to my older sibs.

The tech monitoring thing is another issue, one that I think every family ought to negotiate in their own manner. I happen to be a flaming laid-back liberal, so I know that my perspective is NOT going to gel with conservative and/or religious moms (just an example, not assuming anything about the OP).
BUT, a 13 y/o's need to be autonomous is universal. Your politics and parenting views don't over-ride biology, and biologically, a 13 y/o is a young adult. Our culture doesn't recognize or accommodate that reality, and I'm not complaining about that- but a teen's body/soul is yearning for the space to BE. At some point, the child/adult develops a love/hate relationship with the family. Kiddo still needs mommy, but hates being 'mommied'. From this analytical, adult perspective it all seems a bit comical, but it's a major ordeal for the kid.

I've been around the parenting cicuit. I've done the big forums, the private forums, the coop schools and the homeschool groups, and one thing that really distresses me is this: When it comes to teens, all of our gentle, intuitive, child-led philosophies seem to fly out the window. It makes me wonder if we were ever genuine in the first place, or if we were only in it while our kids were more moldable. More compliant. When our tots are defiant, we listen to their needs. We respect their individuality and adjust to it. But when our teens behave the same way, they're treated with mockery and contempt, and it makes me wonder if the whole idea of respecting our children is a put-on that we can only stomach when we know our kids will be dependent on us for the foreseeable future. It's all a ruse then, isn't it?
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#69 of 119 Old 03-19-2009, 09:19 PM
 
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I've been around the parenting cicuit. I've done the big forums, the private forums, the coop schools and the homeschool groups, and one thing that really distresses me is this: When it comes to teens, all of our gentle, intuitive, child-led philosophies seem to fly out the window. It makes me wonder if we were ever genuine in the first place, or if we were only in it while our kids were more moldable. More compliant. When our tots are defiant, we listen to their needs. We respect their individuality and adjust to it. But when our teens behave the same way, they're treated with mockery and contempt, and it makes me wonder if the whole idea of respecting our children is a put-on that we can only stomach when we know our kids will be dependent on us for the foreseeable future. It's all a ruse then, isn't it?
Wonderful post.
I agree with you on this and had never thought of it this way.
I need to write this down somewhere and read it 12 years from now when DD is 13.

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#70 of 119 Old 03-19-2009, 09:41 PM
 
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BUT, a 13 y/o's need to be autonomous is universal. Your politics and parenting views don't over-ride biology, and biologically, a 13 y/o is a young adult. Our culture doesn't recognize or accommodate that reality, and I'm not complaining about that- but a teen's body/soul is yearning for the space to BE. At some point, the child/adult develops a love/hate relationship with the family. Kiddo still needs mommy, but hates being 'mommied'. From this analytical, adult perspective it all seems a bit comical, but it's a major ordeal for the kid.

I've been around the parenting cicuit. I've done the big forums, the private forums, the coop schools and the homeschool groups, and one thing that really distresses me is this: When it comes to teens, all of our gentle, intuitive, child-led philosophies seem to fly out the window. It makes me wonder if we were ever genuine in the first place, or if we were only in it while our kids were more moldable. More compliant. When our tots are defiant, we listen to their needs. We respect their individuality and adjust to it. But when our teens behave the same way, they're treated with mockery and contempt, and it makes me wonder if the whole idea of respecting our children is a put-on that we can only stomach when we know our kids will be dependent on us for the foreseeable future. It's all a ruse then, isn't it?
Excellent points. I think part of the problem with teens is the way they relate to parents in some ways is with mockery and contempt.

Part of the necessary separation involves figuring out your parents don't know everything. But part of that process involves that annoying stage where they think we don't know anything. It's often difficult to not respond in a sarcastic manner when one is approached in a sarcastic manner.

We're fighting that battle right now in our household, because both dh and I feel that although ds and dsd are perfectly able to form their own opinions, it is unacceptable for them to speak to us in a derisive or smart alecky tone on a daily basis. It's to be expected that they'll go tell their friends how dumb or unreasonable we are because that's what kids do at their age, but they don't get to talk to us like they think we're idiots. There are consequences, just like there would be if they spoke to a teacher that way, or any other authority figure.

It's great when we all get along, but when push comes to shove, it's my job to see that they grow up to be responsible, capable adults who know what kind of behavior is acceptable when dealing with other people. If we aren't the best of friends right now, I'm perfectly willing to make that sacrifice.

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#71 of 119 Old 03-19-2009, 09:54 PM
 
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My parents had a similar parenting philosophy as the OP, I guess. I had no privacy, little freedom to be "normal" like my peers. I was presumed guilty and childish until proved otherwise and even the best evidence was rarely enough to convince my parents that I needed room to breathe, and moreover, that I deserved it.

I was a good student, an active volunteer with multiple charities and school activist groups, a leading member of my church youth group and church choir, and an all around good kid. I didn't smoke, drink, do drugs of any kind, or lie. Until I turned about 15, at which point I realized that it didn't matter what I did or didn't do--I'd still be treated like a naughty child. So I decided to earn the treatment. Lost my virginity freshman year, drank at parties, lied to my parents about my whereabouts, stopped telling them anything about myself, vowed to get out at 18. And I did, as soon as I could. Even during my first year of college, my father tried to set a curfew of 10pm for me when I came home to visit. So I stopped coming home.

Please don't be like my parents. Your post raises so many horrible red flags in my mind. I even remember my very authoritarian, strict father smugly saying "Thank you, I'll consider that a compliment" when I told him he was far stricter than any of my friends' parents. My mother kept telling me it was "for my own good". It wasn't.

You don't sound evil or cruel or mean-spirited, OP. But you do sound afraid. And you sound controlling, and those two things are not a good combination if you want any sort of decent relationship with your son. He needs to know that you trust him to be himself, and that you'll let him make mistakes--even if the consequences of those mistakes scare you. It sounds to me like he's asking you to respect his boundaries--and you need to do that. You need to learn what they are, and respect them.

I'm sorry if my post seems harsh, because my own son is still just a baby and I can only imagine how terrifying it is to be raising a teenager. But I read this thread and just couldn't not respond. You still have a chance to turn things around. I (and other posters here) had parents with similar authoritarian, controlling, unreasonably distrustful parenting styles, and it was disastrous for everyone involved.

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#72 of 119 Old 03-19-2009, 10:21 PM
 
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I'm sorry if I wasn't clear. The OP stated that she only lets her 13 stay home alone when they run to the store, and also "lets" him babysit the other kids. IMO that is not nearly enough alone time for a 13 y/o. At 13, I NEEDED time away from my parents/siblings, and I am the youngest. I imagine the oldest has a much greater need to be away from siblings, no? I know my older daughter gets 'touched out' by her little sis, and as I recall, I was a major PITA to my older sibs.

The tech monitoring thing is another issue, one that I think every family ought to negotiate in their own manner. I happen to be a flaming laid-back liberal, so I know that my perspective is NOT going to gel with conservative and/or religious moms (just an example, not assuming anything about the OP).
BUT, a 13 y/o's need to be autonomous is universal. Your politics and parenting views don't over-ride biology, and biologically, a 13 y/o is a young adult. Our culture doesn't recognize or accommodate that reality, and I'm not complaining about that- but a teen's body/soul is yearning for the space to BE. At some point, the child/adult develops a love/hate relationship with the family. Kiddo still needs mommy, but hates being 'mommied'. From this analytical, adult perspective it all seems a bit comical, but it's a major ordeal for the kid.

I've been around the parenting cicuit. I've done the big forums, the private forums, the coop schools and the homeschool groups, and one thing that really distresses me is this: When it comes to teens, all of our gentle, intuitive, child-led philosophies seem to fly out the window. It makes me wonder if we were ever genuine in the first place, or if we were only in it while our kids were more moldable. More compliant. When our tots are defiant, we listen to their needs. We respect their individuality and adjust to it. But when our teens behave the same way, they're treated with mockery and contempt, and it makes me wonder if the whole idea of respecting our children is a put-on that we can only stomach when we know our kids will be dependent on us for the foreseeable future. It's all a ruse then, isn't it?
Can I frame this??? This is such a good post. What fantastic insight...well said mama, well said!

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My parents had a similar parenting philosophy as the OP, I guess. I had no privacy, little freedom to be "normal" like my peers. I was presumed guilty and childish until proved otherwise and even the best evidence was rarely enough to convince my parents that I needed room to breathe, and moreover, that I deserved it.

I was a good student, an active volunteer with multiple charities and school activist groups, a leading member of my church youth group and church choir, and an all around good kid. I didn't smoke, drink, do drugs of any kind, or lie. Until I turned about 15, at which point I realized that it didn't matter what I did or didn't do--I'd still be treated like a naughty child. So I decided to earn the treatment. Lost my virginity freshman year, drank at parties, lied to my parents about my whereabouts, stopped telling them anything about myself, vowed to get out at 18. And I did, as soon as I could. Even during my first year of college, my father tried to set a curfew of 10pm for me when I came home to visit. So I stopped coming home.

Please don't be like my parents. Your post raises so many horrible red flags in my mind. I even remember my very authoritarian, strict father smugly saying "Thank you, I'll consider that a compliment" when I told him he was far stricter than any of my friends' parents. My mother kept telling me it was "for my own good". It wasn't.

You don't sound evil or cruel or mean-spirited, OP. But you do sound afraid. And you sound controlling, and those two things are not a good combination if you want any sort of decent relationship with your son. He needs to know that you trust him to be himself, and that you'll let him make mistakes--even if the consequences of those mistakes scare you. It sounds to me like he's asking you to respect his boundaries--and you need to do that. You need to learn what they are, and respect them.

I'm sorry if my post seems harsh, because my own son is still just a baby and I can only imagine how terrifying it is to be raising a teenager. But I read this thread and just couldn't not respond. You still have a chance to turn things around. I (and other posters here) had parents with similar authoritarian, controlling, unreasonably distrustful parenting styles, and it was disastrous for everyone involved.
Thank you for sharing this. I think you worded it very well and not harshly at all. While we've never been controlling in the ways the OP has stated, I've learned so much from reading the posts of people who have felt treated that way by their parents. What an eye opener for parents to be able to realize how deeply teens appreciate and need their space and opinions to be valued.

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#73 of 119 Old 03-19-2009, 10:41 PM
 
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Excellent points. I think part of the problem with teens is the way they relate to parents in some ways is with mockery and contempt.
Noooooooo... kids are great!!! All the time!!! My last post on MDC before this was about how obnoxious my 4.5 y/o is. And man, is she ever obnoxious. I think when this one hits 13 I'm just going to go to the county jail and turn myself in early.

Man, when I think about how horrible I was as a teen, I almost feel sorry for my parents! But then again, I don't feel all that bad about stealing a cookie from the cookie jar when I was three.

Kids, and parents, are total raging brats most of the time. Kids treat their parents with contempt LONG BEFORE they hit the double digits; I just think it's easier to dismiss it when they're small. And if we're perfectly honest, didn't we all feel some contempt for that nursling that needed round the clock attention? That toddler that refused to give the perfect family portrait we longed to send out with our holiday cards? I mean, the parent/child relationship is laced with contempt from day one. It's natural and necessary and perfectly normal. But the thing is: my four y/o spat on me today. Twice. We had a major melt down, but you know what? I didn't spit back.
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#74 of 119 Old 03-19-2009, 11:23 PM
 
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Noooooooo... kids are great!!! All the time!!! My last post on MDC before this was about how obnoxious my 4.5 y/o is. And man, is she ever obnoxious. I think when this one hits 13 I'm just going to go to the county jail and turn myself in early.

Man, when I think about how horrible I was as a teen, I almost feel sorry for my parents! But then again, I don't feel all that bad about stealing a cookie from the cookie jar when I was three.

Kids, and parents, are total raging brats most of the time. Kids treat their parents with contempt LONG BEFORE they hit the double digits; I just think it's easier to dismiss it when they're small. And if we're perfectly honest, didn't we all feel some contempt for that nursling that needed round the clock attention? That toddler that refused to give the perfect family portrait we longed to send out with our holiday cards? I mean, the parent/child relationship is laced with contempt from day one. It's natural and necessary and perfectly normal. But the thing is: my four y/o spat on me today. Twice. We had a major melt down, but you know what? I didn't spit back.



yikes. I've been fortunate, I guess. Neither of mine ever spat on me. We've just seen the really obnoxious stuff surface during 9-12, and fortunately it comes and goes.

I find myself longing for 2-6. Those are my favorite years, when they're so full of wonder and excitement. I'm even sort of looking forward to the teen years with a mixture of dread and excitement, because almost every child I've ever known I've found to be most difficult during the tween stages and I'm not finding my own to be any different.

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#75 of 119 Old 03-20-2009, 12:26 PM
 
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We're fighting that battle right now in our household, because both dh and I feel that although ds and dsd are perfectly able to form their own opinions, it is unacceptable for them to speak to us in a derisive or smart alecky tone on a daily basis. It's to be expected that they'll go tell their friends how dumb or unreasonable we are because that's what kids do at their age, but they don't get to talk to us like they think we're idiots. There are consequences, just like there would be if they spoke to a teacher that way, or any other authority figure.
I feel ya, we are struggling with that too. Compounded by the fact that despite my bad relationship with my mother, I NEVER spoke to her like that. It was just completely unacceptable where and when I was a teen to speak disrespectfully to a parent, and I never did it even when she was at her most unreasonable. So when I get the snotty tone from my older DD is drives me nuts (and she knows it and uses it to push my buttons). It's SO difficult not to scream at her that I don't speak to her like that, so why can't she use a decent tone...
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#76 of 119 Old 03-20-2009, 01:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by peainthepod View Post
... I was presumed guilty and childish until proved otherwise and even the best evidence was rarely enough to convince my parents that I needed room to breathe, and moreover, that I deserved it.

... an all around good kid. I didn't smoke, drink, do drugs of any kind, or lie. Until I turned about 15, at which point I realized that it didn't matter what I did or didn't do--I'd still be treated like a naughty child.


My father-in-law used to run group homes for troubled teens. He reassured me that I was nothing like them. It was like a light bulb turned on. I spent my teen years convinced that I was a little hellion.

Someone moved my effing cheese.
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#77 of 119 Old 03-20-2009, 02:55 PM
 
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I feel ya, we are struggling with that too. Compounded by the fact that despite my bad relationship with my mother, I NEVER spoke to her like that. It was just completely unacceptable where and when I was a teen to speak disrespectfully to a parent, and I never did it even when she was at her most unreasonable. So when I get the snotty tone from my older DD is drives me nuts (and she knows it and uses it to push my buttons). It's SO difficult not to scream at her that I don't speak to her like that, so why can't she use a decent tone...
I'm just throwing this out here as a thought....

Maybe we dared not talk to our parents that way BECAUSE we didn't have that great of a relationship with them??

Maybe our kids feel safer to do that because they KNOW we love them unconditionally??

Thoughts?

GOOD moms let their kids lick the beaters. GREAT moms turn off the mixer first!
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#78 of 119 Old 03-20-2009, 03:11 PM
 
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yikes. I've been fortunate, I guess. Neither of mine ever spat on me.
She really just blows raspberries into the air at me, but the result is that I end up with her spit on my face. We've been through this several times, so she knows better. But no, she isn't hocking a loog and shooting it at me- it isn't an angry, mean-spirited act so much as just pushing her boundaries and craving a response.

I don't mean to derail. Carry on!
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#79 of 119 Old 03-20-2009, 03:50 PM
 
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I'm just throwing this out here as a thought....

Maybe we dared not talk to our parents that way BECAUSE we didn't have that great of a relationship with them??

Maybe our kids feel safer to do that because they KNOW we love them unconditionally??

Thoughts?
I get where you are coming from, but aren't our kids supposed to learn how to treat other people from what we model for them? We spend years trying to do the opposite of our own parents, treating our kids with respect and consideration for their feelings, only to find that they don't seem to feel it necessary to reciprocate.

Sigh. I know she'll grow out of it (probably just in time for DD2 to start with it) but at times it feels like nothing is appreciated and all I've done is created an entitlement minded nasty toned little baggage.:

I allow my kids a LOT more freedom than I ever had. They have a great deal more in the material sense than I ever had. They can talk to me about anything. But it still seems that expecting a reasonable tone of voice is too much.

I don't really have that much to complain about. She does well in school, does her part in keeping our house and in taking her turn with food prep. But that tone and the attitude that "nothing is enough, I deserve more" just drives me insane. I'm afraid I may have bitten my tongue right off by the time she does grow out of it. It's not even what she says, it's the way she says it sometimes. Admittedly, it's not all the time.
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#80 of 119 Old 03-20-2009, 05:00 PM
 
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Originally Posted by because why not? View Post
When it comes to teens, all of our gentle, intuitive, child-led philosophies seem to fly out the window. It makes me wonder if we were ever genuine in the first place, or if we were only in it while our kids were more moldable. More compliant. When our tots are defiant, we listen to their needs. We respect their individuality and adjust to it. But when our teens behave the same way, they're treated with mockery and contempt, and it makes me wonder if the whole idea of respecting our children is a put-on that we can only stomach when we know our kids will be dependent on us for the foreseeable future. It's all a ruse then, isn't it?
Can this be a sticky?

This is what I have wanted to say but not been able to articulate on this board for the last 3 years

thank you!

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#81 of 119 Old 03-20-2009, 05:05 PM
 
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She really just blows raspberries into the air at me, but the result is that I end up with her spit on my face. We've been through this several times, so she knows better. But no, she isn't hocking a loog and shooting it at me- it isn't an angry, mean-spirited act so much as just pushing her boundaries and craving a response.

I don't mean to derail. Carry on!

But I think the point you are making is that you did not retaliate in a childlike manner... you handled it with care and understanding and direction ... do our teens not deserve the same? ... you made a good point

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#82 of 119 Old 03-20-2009, 05:08 PM
 
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Sigh. I know she'll grow out of it (probably just in time for DD2 to start with it) but at times it feels like nothing is appreciated and all I've done is created an entitlement minded nasty toned little baggage.:

I know what you mean ... after I remind myself that its a good thing my kids are willing to speak their mind, I remind them how I would prefer to be spoken to and how it makes me feel when act that way.

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#83 of 119 Old 03-21-2009, 01:24 AM
 
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I don't have a teen yet, but have been following this thread with interest. The only thing I think I have to add to this conversation is an encouragement to all parents to take a look into Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg. His writing speaks to these situations in raising teens nicely, I think, and supports communication between parents and teens being respectful in both directions because we're all human, rather than because a parent (or other authority figure) "deserves" respect because they're, well, in power.
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#84 of 119 Old 03-21-2009, 02:25 PM
 
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After reading most of this thread, and responding earlier, I want to go back to basics. I our house, our parenting philosophy is (and always has been) based on trust and respect. When a 4-year-old is having a tantrum, we respected and honored the feelings - even if we didn't allow the tantrum to take place at the dinner table. That was part of THEM learning to respect our rights, like having a meal without anyone screaming. They also learned to trust that we were not setting rules because we were mindless, strict, horrible parents - we discussed practically every rule and decision, and gave the reasons behind them.

Example: you need to go to bed at a reasonable time so you aren't tired and cranky in school. When they asked for a later bedtime ("our friends get to stay up later!"), I would explain that if they were able to wake up on their own in the morning without the alarm on a regular basis, then they were obviously getting enough sleep, and could stay up later. If they needed to be dragged out of bed, obviously they were not getting enough sleep, and staying up later was not an option. Eventually they realized that this made sense, and willingly went to bed at a reasonable time - even on weekends - because they didn't like the feeling of a tired, cranky morning and school day. They realized that their bodies, not their parents, determined bedtime. Given enough situations like this, they learned to trust us, and spent less time questioning the rules. We had never given them a reason to NOT trust us, and we had proven ourselves to be fair and reasonable.

As the boys got older (they are 14-1/2 now), the issues changed, but the basis of trust and respect remains. We talk about stuff, and sometimes they have convincing enough arguments for me to change my initial response to a request. I won't change my mind if someone throws a fit - only rationale, thoughtful discussion can open the door to change. Consequently, our kids have learned to think hard about WHY they want something, so they can convince me (and I'm NOT an easy sell!)

We respect each other's privacy (no one in our family enters a closed door without knocking first and getting permission); we respect each other's feelings. The rules are pretty much the same for the adults as they are for the kids, which makes life a lot easier. We respect their opinions, and as they have gotten older have enjoyed watching them develop their own ideas about politics, the environment, technology, school - just about anything. They know they will be taken seriously.

And TRUST - that's the biggie. We trust them to do the right thing in different situation, and they usually do. And they trust US to behave in a reasonable fashion (at least most of the time). I can't overemphasize how important this is! One of my sons has been suffering from depression for the last few months, to the point where he was having suicidal thoughts. It took him a few days, but he told me about those thoughts - even though he knew that it was one thing no parent on the planet wants to hear. A week later when the random thoughts became a suicide plan, he told me immediately, and I admitted him to the hospital. It took an incredible level of trust to confide in me, and I will be forever grateful that he did. I later learned that only 30% of kids with suicidal thoughts tell their parents.

So here's our parenting in a nutshell: Is this decision respectful? Will it promote trust or erode it? Do I respect his opinion and ideas? Do I trust him?

Keeping those questions at the top of the list tends to make everything else fall into place.

If the chips are down, the buffalo is empty.

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#85 of 119 Old 03-21-2009, 09:18 PM
 
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After reading most of this thread, and responding earlier, I want to go back to basics. I our house, our parenting philosophy is (and always has been) based on trust and respect. When a 4-year-old is having a tantrum, we respected and honored the feelings - even if we didn't allow the tantrum to take place at the dinner table. That was part of THEM learning to respect our rights, like having a meal without anyone screaming. They also learned to trust that we were not setting rules because we were mindless, strict, horrible parents - we discussed practically every rule and decision, and gave the reasons behind them.

Example: you need to go to bed at a reasonable time so you aren't tired and cranky in school. When they asked for a later bedtime ("our friends get to stay up later!"), I would explain that if they were able to wake up on their own in the morning without the alarm on a regular basis, then they were obviously getting enough sleep, and could stay up later. If they needed to be dragged out of bed, obviously they were not getting enough sleep, and staying up later was not an option. Eventually they realized that this made sense, and willingly went to bed at a reasonable time - even on weekends - because they didn't like the feeling of a tired, cranky morning and school day. They realized that their bodies, not their parents, determined bedtime. Given enough situations like this, they learned to trust us, and spent less time questioning the rules. We had never given them a reason to NOT trust us, and we had proven ourselves to be fair and reasonable.

As the boys got older (they are 14-1/2 now), the issues changed, but the basis of trust and respect remains. We talk about stuff, and sometimes they have convincing enough arguments for me to change my initial response to a request. I won't change my mind if someone throws a fit - only rationale, thoughtful discussion can open the door to change. Consequently, our kids have learned to think hard about WHY they want something, so they can convince me (and I'm NOT an easy sell!)

We respect each other's privacy (no one in our family enters a closed door without knocking first and getting permission); we respect each other's feelings. The rules are pretty much the same for the adults as they are for the kids, which makes life a lot easier. We respect their opinions, and as they have gotten older have enjoyed watching them develop their own ideas about politics, the environment, technology, school - just about anything. They know they will be taken seriously.

And TRUST - that's the biggie. We trust them to do the right thing in different situation, and they usually do. And they trust US to behave in a reasonable fashion (at least most of the time). I can't overemphasize how important this is! One of my sons has been suffering from depression for the last few months, to the point where he was having suicidal thoughts. It took him a few days, but he told me about those thoughts - even though he knew that it was one thing no parent on the planet wants to hear. A week later when the random thoughts became a suicide plan, he told me immediately, and I admitted him to the hospital. It took an incredible level of trust to confide in me, and I will be forever grateful that he did. I later learned that only 30% of kids with suicidal thoughts tell their parents.

So here's our parenting in a nutshell: Is this decision respectful? Will it promote trust or erode it? Do I respect his opinion and ideas? Do I trust him?

Keeping those questions at the top of the list tends to make everything else fall into place.
OMG! What a fantastic post!!!! you summed up my own hopes, dreams and parenting philosophy so well, can I print this out and put in on my fridge? :

Toni : Mom to: Zadock 7/25/05 and Aylin 1/30/07 :
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#86 of 119 Old 03-22-2009, 12:12 AM
 
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lAnd TRUST - that's the biggie. We trust them to do the right thing in different situation, and they usually do. And they trust US to behave in a reasonable fashion (at least most of the time). I can't overemphasize how important this is! One of my sons has been suffering from depression for the last few months, to the point where he was having suicidal thoughts. It took him a few days, but he told me about those thoughts - even though he knew that it was one thing no parent on the planet wants to hear. A week later when the random thoughts became a suicide plan, he told me immediately, and I admitted him to the hospital. It took an incredible level of trust to confide in me, and I will be forever grateful that he did. I later learned that only 30% of kids with suicidal thoughts tell their parents.
FWIW, I'm sure your parenting approach contributed to him telling you, but it's not all of it. I trusted my mom 100%...and never said one word to her, or anyone else, about my suicidal thoughts as a teen. I never even told most of my friends, because I was afraid they'd decide to get me help, and I didn't want it. I figured my mom would take it seriously...and probably admit me to the hospital, as you did. That's why I never told her.

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#87 of 119 Old 03-22-2009, 12:32 AM
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I have to admit, when Rain was 13 I never would have considered asking one of her friends if she was allowed to watch a certain movie... in my world, 13 year olds are competent to know what movies that want to watch or are permitted to watch, and I don't see ensuring that as my job.
Me, neither.

I want to say that, out of all my kids' friends, the ones who seem to have poor coping skills are the ones who have overly-controlling and sheltering parents.

DS2 is 13, and he has a Facebook page and a Myspace page. I'm his friend on both of them, but it's not because I want to see what he's "doing." He's had his own email for years. He watches pretty much whatever he wants; he has enough self-awareness to know if something bothers him, and since he's not forbidden from seeing those things by me, he has nothing to prove to anyone.

No, I don't parent the way I do to upset other parents. I do what I think is best for my family. If a kid comes over and tells me that he's allowed to watch an R-rated movie even though he's not, that tells me something.
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#88 of 119 Old 03-23-2009, 12:44 PM
 
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Toni, great post. I'm not nearly that consistent myself, but I try to parent this way, too. I think I've influenced dh this way as well, at least a little.

Someone moved my effing cheese.
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#89 of 119 Old 03-23-2009, 09:16 PM
 
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I agree that it's a delicate balance between giving them the space to grow and learn on their own while also sticking to your personal ideals and understanding your own expectations.

I disagree with whoever on the front page said the movies we saw as kids were not as graphic as current films. That's just not exactly true.

I think we all know we can raise our children as we know is right. I know for myself, I want trust and compassion and tolerance in my relationship with my children. It is what I try to cultivate in all relationships. Sometimes it comes easily and sometimes it's hard.

My daughter is ten. She has seen Milk (which was mentioned on the front page) and tons of other films I know her friends have not seen. She has her own email address but forgets to check it LOL She doesn't have a facebook account but plays games on mine (vampires, pet society, superpokepets...). She calls friends on the phone. She makes her own decisions about her hair and her clothes. I know ten is different than 13 but I hope that when we hit those years, we'll work to maintain the level of trust we have right now.
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#90 of 119 Old 03-24-2009, 09:56 AM
 
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In all honesty, I give little to know thought to how others may view my parenting decisions. Yes, I am one of the more permissive parents in my kids' peer group. There are few "hard and fast" rules in our home. The main ones are - no one abuses our pets, non-family members don't belong in my bedroom unless I give the okay, and... don't put an empty milk jug back in the fridge. Oh - and tell me when said milk jug is empty at some time other than 5am! Pretty much everything else is on a case-by-case basis.

Do I ask kids if they're allowed to watch something? Yep. Followed by "so.... if I called your folks - they'd be cool with it?" The kids know not to lie to me.

Do some of those kids go home and tell their parents "but Mrs T lets HER kids do X, Y, Z."? I'm sure they do. But really? Not my problem. I've had some parents tell me off. I've had others tell me that my kids are among the few who come into their home and do not automatically assume that they can take/use/eat whatever they choose. They are unfailingly polite and always ask first.

When I say no to something, my kids always know why and understand that it isn't arbitrary. They also know that, if they disagree, they are welcome to present their pov - and I will sometimes rethink my position.

My goal as a parent is to raise two young adults who are able to make reasoned choices and know how to navigate the world they inhabit. Sometimes I let them do things that have my heart in my throat (like allowing my 15yo to take a rail trip via Amtrak from Philly - Boston alone to visit a friend).

My Mom sometimes pales at the things I allow them to do, but she will be the first to tell you what great kids they are, and that it has a lot to do with how I've raised them.

SO... sorry if my way of raising them makes it hard for another parent. But that really isn't my problem.
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