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Old 02-04-2013, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by saintvlas22 View Post
Excuse me, but nobody ever said anything about hiding or distorting reality. And though I agree with most of your points, your philosophy of letting a child do whatever they want because you feel that letting them make a decision is more important than the end result is contrary to... well, parenting.

Information and talking is one thing, but especially at certain ages, there are things that are non-negotiable. So yes, you can forbid your child from doing something because that's kind of how it works being a parent - doesn't mean it will work, but it's not a violation of any kind or always unwise. It's hard and it sucks that they won't listen and understand the reasoning, but that's how kids are. We all remember shit that we did a teenagers, or as little kids, because we didn't listen to our parents or thought we knew better. It's the parent who has to guide, and sometimes, yes, they have to be more than a little firm.
I didn't so much advise "letting a child do whatever they want" as I pointed out that children will do whatever they want, whether you "let" them or not. You admit this yourself.

The point I'm trying to make is that educating your children is a far more successful way of guiding their behaviour than are strict rules that you cannot enforce. I haven't done a formal survey, but I know that when I was in high school, a lot of my peers would rebel and reject their parents' rules on the mere basis of them being rules.

Every single person I know whose parents were strict and laid down absolute rules responded in the same way: they did all the forbidden stuff, if they wanted to, and they just made sure not to get caught.

Every single person I know whose parents were supportive of their decisions still did whatever they were going to do anyway, but they told their parents about it and had support when those decisions created problems.

So the real choice you're making is: Do you want your kids to tell you when their decisions run into problems, so you can help guide them through solutions? Or do you want them to keep it a secret, struggle on their own, and possibly dig themselves deeper?

I'm talking about rules you can't really enforce. You'll know if your kids do their chores or not, you'll know if your kids are out late. But you won't know if your kids are having sex unless they tell you or you catch them at it, so what's the point of making a rule that your kids can't have sex? You can't very well lock them in the basement or outfit them with a button camera to account for every second they spend outside of your house.

My step-daughter is now 19. She has a mom who laid down strict rules that were completely ignored. She has a dad who told her how life really works and actually talked with her about her choices. She now has nothing but contempt her mother, but she visits with her dad on a weekly basis and keeps him in the loop on what's going on in her life. Which relationship would you rather have?

My husband's mother told him "no porn, no sex." He kept the porn up in the hay loft and had sex whenever he could. He would have received a beating for getting caught. Did that stop him from looking at porn and having sex? Hell no. It stopped him from getting caught.

My mom made it clear that if I had any questions or wanted to talk about sex, she would help me figure it out. She helped me get birth control when I started having sex. She knew when I started having sex.

Every parent is different and you're obviously free to do what you think is best. I can control you no better than you can control your children, not that I would try. But I've observed that every parent I know who's more permissive and less controlling has a better relationship with their children than every parent I know who lays down rules and tries to control the lives of younger human beings in their home.
As I am sure any cat owner will be able to tell you,
someone else putting you in a box is entirely different
from getting into a box yourself.
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