Friday, May 1, 2009

When I am the leader of my own island, these people (and others like them) will not be allowed to live there

My daughter wasn't allowed to pick out her own clothes until she was halfway through Kindergarten and even then I had the last word. That sleeveless camo dress with the bedazzled black leggings? No, ma'am! In fact, just this past weekend, Elle was given the opportunity for the first time ever to choose the haircut & style of her choice (pending my approval, of course). My daughter's going into the 2nd grade and, while I think I have given her many of the freedoms that I was never given as a child, I still believe there are just some decisions that should be left to me. Her mother, the adult (stop laughing!!). The one who is so undeserving of this awesome job of making sure she stays happy, healthy, and safe.

Maybe I'm stirring up a hornet's nest with what I'm about to say but why, oh why, are we letting our kids behave like grownups? And not only that, but why are we encouraging them to behave like grownups? I was recently confronted with the fact that not all parents are on the same parenting page as I am. Actually, we're not even in the same book.

As it turns out, Elle's been handing out our phone number to her little girlfriends at school and one of her friends actually called. When her mother was told that I do not allow my daughter to talk on the telephone because I think she's too young, she asked, "Well, how old is she?"

"She's only seven."

"My daughter's seven and I let her talk on the phone," said the mom.

Well, damn! Do you make sure she fills up the gas tank when she borrows the car, too?

My point is that I cannot possibly imagine what two 7-year-old girls would need to discuss over the phone that cannot be discussed at school.

RING!!! RING!!! (...says the imaginary phone!)
Little Girl #1: "Hi."
Little Girl #2: "Hi!"
LG #1: "What are you doing?"
LG #2: "Nothing. What are you doing?"
LG #1: "Nothing."
LG #2: "Are you gonna wear your pink capris tomorrow? I'll wear mine if you do. Then we can be twins."
LG #1: "Okay."
LG #2: "I gotta go."
LG #1: "Okay. Bye."
Lg #2: "Bye."

Now wasn't that fascinating?

This phone call thing actually happened a few weeks ago. I didn't really think too much about it until this morning, though, when I read about this woman in England who allowed her 10-year-old daughter to act like she wasn't 10-years-old by sticking her in an unmanned tanning bed. Why? Because her daughter wanted to know what is was like. Well, what was it like? It's a little bit like this: 70% of her body was burned, nearly to the point of requiring skin grafts. The worst part is that this little girl has been advised - NO! instructed - to stay out of direct sunlight for

So much for her childhood. Good job, Mom!

Now I understand, as I am also a parent (a clueless parent), that we sometimes make poor decisions, bad decisions, really stupid decisions. But I try to never forget that I am her mother (not the other way around!).

Unfortunately, this woman in England is asking the public to join her while she sees to it to have all unmanned tanning salons shut down. You know what else needs to be shut down? Parents who don't take responsibility for their own stupidity.


Sra said...

I was raised to be very independent and I think that has served me well. On the whole, I think it's a good idea to allow your kids to take incremental steps out of the nest. I see nothing wrong with the kind of phone conversation you described. I'm sure I had a few of those as a kid and eventually they developed into the kind of conversation where you say something of substance. Frankly I just don't see the harm in it. Now tanning beds are dangerous -- for anyone, not just 10 year olds -- and that mother was a moron. But I don't think comparing that to phoning is apt. Still, it's your kid and if you don't want her talking on the phone that's your business. It just seems a little overprotective to me.

Dena said...

When I told my friends about this, they were split down the middle. Some echoed what you say - that it does no harm. Others agreed with me - that it serves no purpose to allow little kids to talk on the phone socially. I don't think it has anything to do with being overprotective. But many parents these days think it's cute when their children act like adults. Let kids be kids. I even make my daughter wear one-piece swimsuits.