Parental Control Only Goes So Far, Better Learn That Lesson Early

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This is really in response to a blog post I read not long ago…. I think it was another organic vs non-organic foods for the good of mankind debate.  Whatever.  And I wouldn’t normally even leave a comment.  Because y’all, I’m not in the business of telling other moms how to raise their kids.  But I am in the business of raising my own, and with 18 years of experience under my belt, I felt I had a thing or two to add to the conversation. 

I think it really all comes down to control, and a mother’s need to have at least a little bit of it.   I remember the days, back when I was still cutting up my boys’ carefully chosen and well-balanced foods, when I felt like I had it.  Control.  That, and child-proof locks on the cabinet doors.

But it’s a natural progression after that.  Kids start school, and they’re surrounded by kids who enjoy Dr. Pepper and Hot Cheetos for breakfast and call it a meal.  And at that exact moment, the world as you’ve known it will be forever changed.  

And all those sweet TV shows your kids have been watching with a side of educational value will be, if I may quote a kid or two of my own, “baby shows.” …because they now go to school with kids whose parents let them watch R rated, sex and violence filled shows by the first grade.  

Oh, and just to make sure your kids know there’s a whole new world out there awaiting them, someone will bring porn to school.  And all the little boys will suddenly need to go to the bathroom – the entire 4th and 5th grades – because word on the street is that that’s where the naked pics are.    

And party invitations will come in from kids that will probably definitely serve Little Caesar’s pizza and grocery store cupcakes piled with mile high, artificially flavored and colored frosting – at which point your kids will discover a whole new brand of goodness and may or may not realize how much mom has lied to them over the years.  

And you… YOU will start to list all the ways you’ve failed as a mom when you find pop tart wrappers hidden in the bathroom trash can. 

Don’t even get me started on that time in middle school when your kid’s best friend will get caught in the school’s largest drug bust in the history of ever.  I’ll save that story for another day. 

But what I want you to take away from all of this is that as parents we are in control of our kids’ behaviors and choices for such a short time.  Far too short a time to be arguing with other moms over who’s doing it right or wrong.  Also, because while your attentions are elsewhere your darling probably already decided what’s right for him, and has plans in the near future to show you.  

Y’all.  This is the only truth in the debate over the right and wrong ways we raise our kids.  And I say it because I’ve lived it.  There comes a time when it’s no longer about our choices for our kids.  And it becomes all about teaching them to make their own.  And in doing so, flavoring those hard taught, and often hard fought, lessons with all the healthy eating tips you can; and all the talks about good, bad, right and wrong.  And mostly about the values of your family. 

Because those kids are about to leave your protective arms for hours each day, and walk into a very big world full of people who are different in ways you haven’t even thought of yet. 

And y’all.  That’s okay. 

And they’ll be fine. 

And though you may doubt it between the ages of 12 and some far away age in the future, … they will hear your words and lessons and influences playing in their heads as they grow to become who they are meant to be. 

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.  Proverbs 22:6 

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