Our family has been catching up with friends and acquaintances this summer. These are people we like and generally respect; however, I’m flummoxed by their responses to some of their children’s behavior and by what they ask their kids to do.
Case in point: Bob and Carol are lovely people whom we’ve known for many years. They have Little Timmy, age 7. The other day, Carol told me that their sweet little boy:
• Regularly strips down naked in the house and then jumps up and down on the couch in front of a curtainless window.
• Likes to pee on the front lawn at least once a week.
• Goes around the house and finishes all the half-full wine coolers he can find.
Carol thinks this is very funny; so funny, that she posts these stories on Facebook. Bob works late and, although he hears about these antics, isn’t around to correct them.
It must be me, because I find Little Timmy’s behavior disturbing. Since Timmy is 7, he should know better and if he does, he’s obviously not being appropriately corrected. I’m just thankful I’m not the neighbors.
Here’s something else I don’t understand: Betty Sue is 11, a fine, sweet girl who lives a few houses down from me. I recently saw her strolling up the block carrying a 6-pack of beer. She was carrying it to another neighbor’s house where Mom and Dad were partying with friends on the front lawn. Apparently the party needed more alcohol and who better to fetch it than an 11 year old.
Putting aside the fact that we live in an upscale Jersey suburb and that the adults were partying on the front lawn like a bunch of frat boys, it must be me who thinks is inappropriate because clearly, Betty Sue’s parents did not.
I do not consider my husband and I prudes. Ok, so we regulate how much sweets our kids have (my daughter has notoriously bad teeth) and how much video they watch lest their brains become mush. But I hope that’s responsible parenting. My children can choose to be naked…in the bathroom and in their bedrooms. And they are free to pee…in the bathroom. No, they cannot drink alcohol before the legal age (besides it being the law and unhealthy, we’re hoping to avoid the temptations of liquor until they’re older). And we would certainly never ask them to fetch beer for us; it just seems inappropriate.
My children are well aware of parenting styles we like and do not like. We’ve talked about stuff we deem appropriate and things “we, as a family do NOT do.” Lastly, we’ve discussed that adults parent their children as they see fit and we parent our children in accordance with our belief systems.
Based on what I’ve been told and seen, clearly, many others do not agree. So it must be me.
This is an original post for Jersey Moms Blog by MomsCrayon, a New Jersey mom.
Photo credit given to Montalvo Arts Center.