According to my children, my husband and I have the reputation of being the strictest parents in the Chicagoland area, but I'm thinking there are a few more of us out there. I do have to admit we say no more than yes, and investigate activities/outings much more intensely than the average, but I'm of the opinion that I'd rather err on the side of caution, but is it too much?
I worry all the time and have an active imagination, so it's easy to think about all that could go wrong, instead of what is just a normal step in growing up. It's not just worrying about their safety, but it's also worrying about raising grounded, easy-going kids.
I live in a fairly opulent area where the toys and freedoms are something I've never seen before. It's very difficult to tell my seventh grader she can't have a new Target bought backpack this year because the old one works just fine as she sees kids coming to school with custom designed bags that can fit their i-pads.
I struggle even more with the freedom part of parenting. How do you know when to let go, and when to rein them in? I've seen kids with a lot of freedom do some ridiculously bad things, yet I've seen some kids with strict lifestyles sneak away and do equally questionable acts. I feel like every time my 14 year old asks me to do something and I say no, our responses are always the same, "Why... don't you trust me?"...... "Umm, no."
That same child just started her Freshman year in high school and what should be an exciting time for her has turned into a bundle of stress for me. Raising a toddler is physically hard. Raising a teenager is mentally hard. Her first Homecoming dance is right around the corner. I just got a call from her date's mom going over the details - that was weird. I still see her as the pony-tailed girl hopping on the bus that we followed to school that first day of Kindergarten. I didn't want to let her go then, and I desperately don't want to let her go now. Parenting is hard.
My husband still says she can't go unless the boy comes to our house to ask his permission. I'm thinking that's a little extreme. He's allowing her to go to an after party when the dance concludes with one exception. He needs to go too. When he let her know that's one of the conditions, she rolled her eyes and said, "Oh kill me now". But she did have a slight grin on her face when she walked out of the room. So in a way that she would never admit, I think she kind of likes it.
Here are just a few of the things we have said no to that other parents have allowed. You be the judge - harsh, or justified?
Posted Thursday at 9:15 am
Posted Wednesday at 9:54 pm
Posted December 13, 2013 at 8:58 am
Posted December 9, 2013 at 8:25 am
Posted December 3, 2013 at 7:51 am
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