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SuperMouse's avatar

Parents, do you hold any unconventional beliefs about parenting?

Asked by SuperMouse (30785points) July 6th, 2009

All the talk recently about to spank or not to spank got me to wondering about this. Is there something that you do or do not do as a parent that goes against current wisdom?

Me? I don’t think of television as the devil as I have been told to believe it is. I have never gone overboard in limiting my children’s screen time. They don’t spend the shank of the day in front of the tv, but I don’t have a strict limit on how much they can watch.

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29 Answers

janbb's avatar

I think I probably gave them a little more latitude in roaming around the neighborhood than most parents would give today, and also wasn’t a fanatic about germs, i.e., not making them wash their hands before dinner.

AstroChuck's avatar

In our household we are open-minded about nudity. Being naked in front of one another is not an issue in the AstroChuck household. Also, no corporal punishment. But I don’t think that’s too progressive nowadays.

Jayne's avatar

@AstroChuck; Just so long as your children observe fair labor practices and respect the shareholders. Otherwise I think some corporate punishment might be in order.

AstroChuck's avatar

@Jayne- Duh. All fixed now. ;)

Jayne's avatar

Aww, shucks.

Bri_L's avatar

Our kids wont have TV in their rooms. I think that is pretty unconventional now.

They also don’t see anything wrong with Nudity in the AstroChuck household.

JLeslie's avatar

I am not a parent, but I have a friend who on purpose every so often acts kind of crazy when her kids do something that they are not supposed to. Can’t remember the psych term from high school, but it is like when you have intermittent negative reinforcement it reduces behavior even better than consistent reinforcement. Keeps them unsure of how mommy is going to react. She does not do this when they come to her to discuss something, only when they won’t sit when they are supposed to, or run into the street, stuff like that.

AstroChuck's avatar

@Bri_L- I’m with you on the TV.

janbb's avatar

@AstroChuck I’m sending my kids over to your house for an education. :-)

We also had only one t.v. so there was discussion over what and when to watch. Also, only one computer in the house at that point; maybe that’s why they’re both computer scientists now.

casheroo's avatar

No tvs or laptops in the bedroom. They can watch tv with the family, or do homework at the family computer or at the library.

I’m not a germ freak, I think some germs are good. My son rarely gets sick, we just took him to the Ped today for a well check up, and the doctor commented on how healthy our son is. We honestly don’t wash his hands, other than wipe dirt off.

Not a huge fad, but we believe in the emotional benefits of cosleeping.
I also am a huge proponent of extended rear facing, I believe the law should be changed because even just one child dying from being turned forward facing too early is too much. My son is two and still rear facing.

Nudity isn’t an issue in our household, we shower together, and I tend to not get dressed after a shower for quite a bit. Neither does my son.

wundayatta's avatar

Nudity wasn’t a big deal until my daughter turned five, and then my wife told me I had to wear a bathrobe.

No spanking.

Always answer “why” questions.

Always explain everything about why we want them to do things.

Talk about sex early on. Don’t be afraid to talk about it. The children shut it down when uncomfortable.

TV is ok for several hours a day on the weekend. Computer is ok in my daughter’s room, so long as parents are facebook friends.

We talk about anything the kids want to talk about and answer all questions the best we can (and offer to help them research the rest). No topic is out of bounds. We are open about our differing beliefs (philosophical and religious).

The only thing we are not open about is our marital and health problems, financial issues, and anything else we don’t want the general public to know.

We try to balance between expecting a lot of our children, without burdening them too much. We balance between supporting them in pursuit their own interests, while expecting them to fulfill family responsibilities. We try to be firm without driving ourselves to distraction by overseeing them too much.

They have to learn piano. They may choose another instrument when they are nine. They must be literate, both in literature and math. They must exhibit good manners in public or when with Grandparents (not always a winning battle). They must be unfailingly polite (which they tend to do with most people, except us).

They may question our decisions and rag on us a bit. But they’d better be able to back it up. We will change if they have good reasons, and convince us.

casheroo's avatar

@daloon I forgot about the piano one. We’re doing that for our son as well, and then he can play whatever he wants. When did you start lessons? Is 3 way too young?

Bobbilynn's avatar

I let my 13 yr old boy go out, doing as much stuff as he has a chance to! I was not able to leave my yard as a kid, most of the time. So I began young with him teaching, the ways of social interactions.

Jack79's avatar

Be open to children about everything, and explain things as if they were adults. Do not push them to do things, have very few basic rules that ensure safety (I have 2: don’t cross the road alone and don’t touch cables) and allow them to learn from their own mistakes (yes, that includes letting my daughter play with glass, sharp objects and matches, though always under my supervision). Don’t force them to eat if they’re not hungry (I know how tempting this is, and I’ve fallen into that trap too, but if they’re hungry they will eat eventually). And don’t overdress children.

jamielynn2328's avatar

I also have a nude household, I want my children to feel comfortable in their own skin. We do not force religion on our kids, but instead give them reading material to do their own research and eventually they can choose what they want to believe. One thing I am strict on is reading, I believe that the more you read the more you know. As a result my kids are grades above in their reading scores. They are currently working on their ten book minimum for summer! I also love to do random things with my kids, like take them out at midnight for pizza by the river, or let them eat ice cream for dinner on holidays. It’s harmless and they will remember it forever and perhaps expand the tradition with their kids.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

There are no such things as ‘this gender does this’ and ‘boys must do this’ in my household – at all – if my boys want to wear dresses or robes or play with dolls or trucks or cook or paint or cry or dance, they may do so without question. There are also no such things as ‘you’re boy, you’ll fall in love with a girl’ – always say they may fall in love with boys as well and girls and anyone really and we have very few straight friends anyway so they see a lot of queer couples when my friends come over…also, the nudity, yes, they see me naked often, I don’t hide breasfeeding from my toddler, we’ve all showered as a family together, I don’t make it a point to tell him to not touch himself down there, penises are not given special attention – just a part of the body and when I pee or am in bathroom, my kids can come in and wash hands and ask me what I’m doing and all that…my husband and I also don’t shy away from making out when kids are around

Bri_L's avatar

@casheroo – 3 is a bit young. they really need to understand the concept of counting. Not just be able to count but the concept behind numbers. My wife has played piano for 30 years, privately and professionaly, and taught for 9. She normally wont take a student until they are at least 6 or 7.

cak's avatar

The one and only thing that is truly off limits, finance – as in what is our bottom line. We discuss the importance of keeping good finances and how to save money, but we don’t open up things and show our numbers to the kids. We just don’t want them running off and sharing this information with their friends.

Wait, one other thing that might be odd. Eww is not allowed, if you’ve never tried something. Food, activities – whatever. If you say eww…it’s a big family moment, we all watch the person that said “Eww” try whatever they ewwed. By the way, that rule goes for parents, too. You’d be surprised how many times we’ve been caught and had to try something. It has led to a love of many new things!

We answer questions appropriately for age levels, we do not turn a question away. We don’t pass it off to the other parent, or someone else.

Blondesjon's avatar

The boys do exceptional in school. They are given a great deal of leeway in terms of playing video games and what they watch on television. They were told that if the grades ever slipped the hammer would come down on fun time and, at 15 and 17, they are both maintaining a near perfect 4.0 average.

I also have been adamant that if you start something (sports team, academic team, karate, etc.) you finish it. I have never pushed them to join anything, but if they do, they will follow through with their commitment.

I don’t edit or dumb down what I say around my kids.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t think you should always have to stick with something you try out. There is some sort of happy medium on these things I think. It is very difficult for a child to estimate what they will like or not like, but what I think is great is when they are willing to try new things. Many adults, especially women, stick with things that are not good for them, jobs, men, etc. Sometimes quitting is ok.

cak's avatar

@JLeslie – I hear you on that, but my problem with a child quitting once joining something, especially if it is a team sport – part of the lesson is that you are participating on a team. They make a commitment to the team, they need to see it through. Now, as a parent, it is our job to remove a child from a situation that may be detrimental to their physical, mental or emotional well-being. You must balance the two, but make sure they understand what they are committing to, when they join a team.

JLeslie's avatar

@cak interesting. I never played team sports. But, as an adult, I would feel an obligation if I made a committment to others, so I see your point. But, I would not want my kid to be miserable…I guess as parents you know when it is time to quit or not.

casheroo's avatar

@Blondesjon Ohh, good stuff. I’m learning a lot of things, since I haven’t had to really think that far ahead. I think that following through thing is a great idea. I think my parents only let me quit a team once, and it was after my best friend got very hurt playing (actually cheerleading, she fell from a high distance and it really scared me) I think there are exceptions but you shouldn’t just quit to give up.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Blondesjon I think our parenting styles are a lot more alike than they are different!

JLeslie's avatar

One thing about the food ew thing. I had a really hard time as a kid eating food that tasted badly to me. I did not get the impression at all from Cak’s statement that you are forcing your kids to eat anything, just taste, which is completely different to me, but it made me think to share these points:

Kids have many more taste buds than adults, so when food tastes bad to them it is very bad. This is why many children go for very bland foods like pasta and chicken. Just because you don’t want to a eat a large variety of food when you are very young, does not mean you will not grow up to appreciate many different flavors when you are older.

I have a close relative who was forced to finish all of her food/lunch when she was at a particular school…the nun would stand over her until she finished by order of her mother. She threw up pracctically every day and refers to that time in her life as torture.

With all the overweight kids out there, I hope we emphasize stopping when you are full, and not finishing what is on our plate.

Just my two cents.

Darwin's avatar

We also adhere to the one television rule. Also, the internet is available only in the living room.

We also insist on carrying through with a commitment, such as joining a team. You need to finish the season, on the bench if need be, and then you never have to play that sport again if you don’t want to.

We ask that everyone try a new food twice, in case they are in a bad mood the first time. We also say if you serve yourself you must eat all of it, but if someone else serves it on your plate you just have to take two bites.

We also ask that everyone treat everyone with respect – you can disagree but you can’t name-call (we try with my son, but he is a difficult case).

Our basic rules are to let me know where you are and who you are with, never text or answer the phone while driving, clean up after yourself, don’t break things, people, pets or houses on purpose (another tough one for my son), try to learn a new thing every day, and always do your best.

I don’t know how unconventional these things are, but that is what we try to do.

JLeslie's avatar

I think the BIG one for me is you have to do what you say, in other words kids learn by observing. I had a friend who got angry at her kid for spending all of his money on popcorn, soda, and candy at the movie theatre on evening, she verbally scolded him telling him how ridiculously expensive the food is in the theatre. When she was telling me this story I asked her if when she goes to the theatre with her kids does she buy popcorn and soda? She replied yes. Hello?! Also, if you have an alcoholic beverage every night, you might as well assume your kids are going to drink, probably at a young age. If you are fine with that, some parents are, fine. Every teenager I know wants to be grown up, and if being grown up means spending money on popcorn and having beer, guess what?

wundayatta's avatar

@casheroo The kids started at ages 4 and 4½ respectively. They were also doing toddler music classes before that. Those are just fun things where everyone sings simple songs, and does a little clapping or body movements, and the parents participate the same as the toddlers. It’s Temple Music Prep, in case you want to check it out.

They also now have a “pre”-Suzuki class for piano, whatever that means. It’s probably mostly playing around with the piano. In Suzuki, it doesn’t matter if you can count by numbers. We all have an innate sense of rhythm, believe it or not. If you don’t believe, try breathing in an irregular rhythm. If you start developing rhythm when kids are young, they can handle it.

Suzuki starts teaching kids to read music slowly, at a level they can handle. The music is all done by ear and repetition, even after they learn to read music. They eventually memorize it all after repeating it enough, and then they can focus on musicality. Suzuki also depends on significant parent participation. You must practice with your kids for years. I mean, sit with them when they practice, encouraging them and reminding them of what they should do.

Other methods wait until kids can read, or have longer attention spans before they will start them with music lessons. They don’t require nearly as much parental involvement, so the kids have to have enough interest to motivate themselves. It’s easier to stop if the kids don’t appear to be enjoying it. Suzuki has “no cry” rules, so if your kid starts crying, it means you are pressing them too hard, and you should stop, immediately.

A lot of this goes against what many parents think is the best way to teach your children. They can see crying as an attempt to weasel their way out of work. They can think that since they were forced to do this or that as a child, that’s how they should treat their own children.

filmfann's avatar

I find that when I stray from my Father’s methods of parenting, I make mistakes.

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