Written By: Kathy Glow @Kissing the Frog
My family went to Red Robin for dinner Friday night. A father and his three tween-age kids were at the table next to us. No one was talking to each other. They weren’t even looking at each other because they all (including the dad) were staring at their electronic gadgets.
All. Through. Dinner.
In fact, one of the kids had his headphones on the whole time. It made me feel kind of sad; and I admit, a little smug. We never let our kids play their games while we sit and wait for our food.
Or do we?
There have been times when we have gone to a fancier restaurant where the food takes longer to prepare, and our boys have played their Nintendo DSs while they waited. So, file that under all the things I never thought I’d let my kids do – you know, before I even had kids.
Here’s a list of some of the other things I swore I’d never let my kids do:
1. Allow my kids to use words such as fart, butt, stupid, and hate.
2. Eat sugary cereal or doughnuts for breakfast.
3. Drink pop.
4. Watch TV while they eat.
5. Have more than an hour of screen time a day.
6. Go to bed or eat a meal without saying prayers.
7. Sleep in our bed.
8. Ride in a car seat other than the one approved for them.
9. Talk back to us/tell us no.
10. Let them quit an activity or sport.
To be perfectly clear, I do not allow my children to talk back to me or use offensive words. Sometimes it just happens, especially now that they are getting older.
Some of it has evolved as a matter of convenience. After the third time I am up at night with a sick baby, if the toddler wants to cuddle, I pull back the sheets and let him climb in bed with me.
Some of it is a matter of picking my battles. After so much whining and complaining about going to soccer or Taekwondo, it really is easier to just let them quit rather than battle every single time.
And some of it really isn’t as big of a deal as I thought it would be. It’s not like we eat doughnuts every day, and only one of my boys likes pop. That’s easy enough to regulate as a special treat now and then. And when we’re driving to our cousins’ house three blocks away, I let the one year old ride in the booster seat because it makes him feel like one of the big boys.
I refuse to feel that guilty about any of this. Sure, I feel a few pangs of guilt when all we’ve done all day is sit around and watch TV and eat junky food, but that just motivates us all to get back on track.
If I really wanted to turn this into a lesson, it would be that kids need to know that sometimes in life it’s perfectly okay to bend the rules. As long as there are rules in place to begin with, and they can see their way back to those rules, it’s all about decision making and accepting consequences. Am I right?
That’s what I’m telling myself anyway. Otherwise I’d really never let my kids do any of this.