Thursday, February 19, 2015

50 Shades - What's OK there, is not OK here...but that's OK!

I bet you think this post is all about that movie.  No, this is a post about raising children.  However, when you think about the term raising children...we really are raising/growing adults.  We need to make these precious, precious people functioning adults.  How can we best do that?  In my opinion, it's through the amazing art of discussion and communication.

I chose '50 shades' because what goes on behind the doors/windows of one's home does not have to be what happens in your home. No matter how much pressure your kids put on you!  There was much buzz lately about children in France being allowed to watch 50 Shades of Gray (see USA Today Article ).  While US families are criticized for allowing children to be exposed to violent films.  Let's take these examples and narrow them down to your children and the discussions you can have with them when they say to you that 'Sarah can do this' or 'Lucy has that", 'Sam can play that', etc...

This is a great time to open that window and have a discussion!  As I have mentioned previously in this blog, sheltering and protecting our kids from too much will not prepare them for difficulties and challenges of adulthood.  This does not mean that you should be permissive, but providing some explanations can help.  Talk about your reasons.  There's increased intrigue with the word no.  Assisting with an explanation can alleviate some of the allure and buy some time before they will ask again.  My youngest wants a Twitter account.  Many of her friends have one.  She cannot have one yet.  However, instead of 'pulling the shade down' with a NO, we can discuss why she cannot have it yet.  I can also tell her, that it's great that her friends have one, without placing any negative judgments on what is allowed at their homes.  It's a tricky thing to do, but you must do it.

Finally, you probably won't make them happy if your stance is not the same as theirs.  That's ok.  You are the parent.  Let them know that in time, they can have whatever privilege it is they are seeking.  I always say that's 'the bonus of growing into an adult'.  Whether you close the shade or raise it, do so with discussion.  It's so important to best prepare them for adulthood.

Keep It Simple...and talk to your kids!  ♥D

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Kids Are Color Blind

It's already February, the month we celebrate hearts, love, and black history.  Extra efforts and emphasis are often put in by schools to recognize notable African Americans and their accomplishments during the month.  As mom and primary educator, we have to recognize teachable moments, and hope that we handle them in a way that will make the world better.  That's a big job.

I always think back to a February when my (now adult) daughter was 5, and I was watching 'Boston Public'.  She came into the room and saw Chi McBride on the television and something about him reminded her of her father. Her dad was a bald, white man, with strong American Indian traits in him.  He loved the sun, and was often very tan, or brown skinned.  My daughter saw Chi, and said "I'm so thankful we had Martin Luther King, because now daddy can live with us".  In that very teachable moment, I had a choice...tell her that 'daddy isn't black so this doesn't apply to our family'.  Or say, 'yes, we should be thankful for him because all colors of skin can live together and be a family'.  I chose the latter.  She needed to know this lesson, first and foremost.  At a later time I would explain more about her American Indian and Italian heritage.

In moments like these, what do you do?  Kids are color blind.  They are accepting of all.  Your experiences are not those of your kids.  That's important to remember.  Your pre-conceived notions about cultural/racial groups are not those of children.  Imagine a world where we did not make a judgment against anyone based upon skin color, ethnic group, or orientation.  My goal for my children is to meet someone, get to know them, then decide if their inner character is one that they have room for in their life.  Do the value systems align?  If not, then find room for a person with shared values.  It's February...celebrate love for all.

I've included a video today.  It has some strong comments on the YouTube site, but I liked the thoughts.  Watch it...and form your own opinion.

Keep It Simple...and share love!  ♥D