Anyone who knows me, knows this is my catchphrase. It may be a little extreme but you get my point. 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, sometime successfully, to what is and is not appropriate for our kids. It is difficult to limit, restrict and 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 believes it acceptable to use their roles in our child’s life as a platform on which to implant their personal positions on an impressionable mind. Some of these individuals we have to train our kids to respect and give proper consideration to in the normal workings of their lives.
However, we strive to expose our children to those who share our values and those who, at the very least, conduct themselves in such a fashion that their behaviour is benign by example. Any houseguest, dinner invite or social contact should, we hope, be cognizant of what is appropriate behavior in front of children. No kid wants to see mom’s friends undress.
Sometimes despite our best efforts, we are let down, and the “morning after” we have to spend time with our children explaining that excessive consumption is no excuse for lewd behavior.
Raising a child is like training a puppy, every interaction is a training opportunity. 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, in a community of your peer, 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, we sometimes have to let those individuals know that their conduct in front of our kids is not acceptable.
Our goals as parents should be to raise kids that don’t have to recover from their childhood.