I consider my highest calling to be the privilege of co-raising my three boys. All parents have been given the responsibility of training up the next generation and none of us take this lightly.
The world is full of conflicting values and we are bombarded with choices daily through interaction in schools, places of work and in community. Total saturation is achieved by (social) media to maximum effect.
As parents we try to limit the exposure, sometimes successfully, to what is and is not appropriate for our kids. It is difficult to critique the standards that others impose upon us without creating children who become narrow minded, reactionary, and judgmental as to how they should behave as it relates to how others operate. We try our best to teach our children not to live their lives by relativism while at the same time respecting how others chose to live out their lives.
There is, however, what is and is not acceptable conduct in front of children; society demands it and the law requires it.
You don’t have to go far to determine that the formative years of a child and the stimulus they are exposed to can have long lasting and unintentional negative consequences. Accordingly, parents spend much time filtering all aspects of media, social networking, and direct contact. It’s a tough job.
Who hasn’t cringed at the inappropriate uncle, the provocative friend, the candid authority figure who believe it acceptable to use their role in our child’s life as a platform on which to impart their personal conduct and beliefs on an impressionable mind.
Raising a child is like training a puppy, every interaction is a teaching opportunity.
Any houseguest, dinner invite or social contact should, we hope, be aware of what is appropriate behaviour in front of children. Sometimes despite our best efforts, we are let down, and the “morning after” we have to spend time with our children explaining to them why getting drunk is never an excuse for lude behaviour. No kid wants to see mom’s friends undress.
To have total disregard as to how our actions impact those around us, especially children, is by very definition entitlement, a derogatory term usually reserved for those with wealth and power. To believe yourself entitled to act in any fashion you so choose is one issue, but to do so in the presence of children is an entirely different matter.
As awkward as it may be, by necessity, and by example to our kids, (kids are always watching) we sometimes have to let others know that their conduct in front of our kids is not acceptable.
Our goals as parents should be to raise children that don’t have to recover from their childhood.