Parenting isn’t easy. When you have a baby they don’t come with an instruction manual and as they grow and get older there is no guide on how to change your parenting as they grow and something that I have learned in my almost 6 years of being a parent is each child is different and needs to at times be parented differently.
I may only be 27 years old but I can say with certainty that my kids are growing up in a different world then I did. For example technology, my kindergartener has come home from school and already asked for a cell phone because he sees other kids in his class with them. Um I didn’t get a cell phone until middle school and that was only because I spent more time at the dance studio then I did at home.
A hot topic of late has been the protests going on in the NFL and I know you’re thinking how does this relate to parenting. Well since my son was at the age to be able to understood the concept of the national anthem he has stood in front of our tv every Sunday with his right hand on his heart and his left hand behind his back as he follows in the footsteps of the players he looks up to, my daughter follows by my sons example.
Now that being said I am fully aware of our freedoms and rights in this country I have a bachelors degree in legal studies and I get it but I am a human and I have my own opinions on the actions of the players.
Last Sunday was the normal standing in front of the tv for the national anthem because he saw his favorite Eagles players stand for the anthem but it was Monday night that changed things. As I stood in the kitchen finishing dinner I caught out of the corner of my eye my son get into a kneeling position instead of standing tall and proud. I have to be honest my reaction was to yell to him to stand up and the confused look on his face kind of broke my heart. He yelled back asking why he had to stand when the players on the field were kneeling and that’s when I realized that the actions of these players were now affecting my home.
No we don’t talk politics with our kids they are little and we try to protect their innocence. We explained to him why we stand for the anthem and after a few minutes he accepted it and we moved on. Unlike last week today we didn’t wake up to news of who stood and who took a knee during last nights games instead we woke up to news of another massacre on our soil, the same soil we told our 5 year old to stand and show respect to just a week ago.
How am I supposed to protect my children’s innocence when I constantly have explaining to do and no not the simple explaining like 2+2=4.
It wasn’t until I was in 6th grade when the terror attacks of 9/11 took place did I encounter the first traumatic attack on our soil that I actually can remember. Since then there has been no shortage of sad devastating news on the tv about our world. Between the attacks going on in other countries and the shootings here at churches, schools, movie theaters and concerts how can I protect my children? How can I let them be kids? How can I send them down the street by themselves to play with a neighbor? How can I send them to school and be confident I can pick them up at the end of the day? How can I take them to the movie theater and really enjoy the experience when I’m looking for sketchy people? And now how can I myself go to a concert with my husband and hope I make it home to my kids?
It is so hard now a days to feel safe. The purity of childhood is gone and that’s why as parents our parenting decisions are as important as ever. We can pick and choose what we share with them based on their age all while making sure to teach them things to be aware of when out of the house, like not going to strangers. For the older kids I can imagine it’s harder because that’s when kids talk at school and based on what the other parents are saying your kids may find out more about the world then you were ready to share.
I guess what I’m trying to say is parenting is hard and you’re not alone. Between technology devices, the internet, politics, terror attacks both internationally and on home soil and throw in the crazy natural disasters there is no shortage of explaining you’re going to have to do. My best advice is hold on tight and get ready for the ride, think before you speak, be available to your children if they have questions and be aware of changes in their behavior. Hug your babies and give them extra kisses every night.