Setting the Example

I have had a very busy, but enjoyable week. I have been having dinner with the same four or five girls every month for the last five years. We all have children (ranging between ages 2 and 15) and just truly enjoy each other’s company. Each person makes a dish so it’s not extra hard on the host. This month’s dinner was at my house.  We never seem to know where the conversation will take us but this month we were primarily focused on the worry we have for our children. You constantly hear horror stories of girls getting beat up on the bus or a boy being jumped by a large group. This week I actually heard of a seventh grade girl beating up on a seventh grade boy with special needs. We worry about our kids choosing the wrong friends or being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

One of my girlfriends started to ask if these kids who act like this are from broken homes. She stopped herself quickly remembering that I’m divorced. I kind of laughed. I think most of the kids who are out running all over town with no supervision, getting into fights, being suspended from school, threatening other kids, being sexually active at a young age, etc. are from broken homes. However, I don’t think every divorced home is a broken home. My ex-husband and I get along very well for being divorced parents. Neither one of us would ever let our 12-year-old daughter just run all over town every day without knowing where she is. We both monitor her texting and Facebook so we don’t have to worry too much about cyber bullying. There is always a parent around at night to make dinner, tuck them in and be there in general. My ex and I always back each other up on parenting decisions and try to discuss those decisions before talking to the kids. He also will come to our house in a second if we feel that we both need to address and issue. We have luckily learned how to co-parent well.

The children I see running all over town, getting in fights, etc… are kids whose dad (or mom) is never around. The parents work second or third shift and the child is home alone. The family moves often from town to town or even from apartment to apartment in the same city. Now note, I lived in three apartments in the same city in a 7 year period. However, I never moved because I was skipping on rent.

The daughter of one of our friends is extremely close to a girl most parents consider trouble. The poor girl needs some positive influences in her life but do we want one of our girls to be influenced by her? Her language is terrible, she constantly has different boyfriends (she’s 12) and she runs all over town. So the thought was, how do we keep the daughter of our friend from being “pulled down” by this girl. We know if she’s told they can’t hang out that she will just sneak. How would you handle this?

I’ve spoken to a lot of different women this week between work, shopping, dinner at my house, dinner out for my birthday, etc… Another thought I had (as I heard an eighth grader at our school is pregnant) is that we moms, whether we are single or married, need to be setting the example for our daughters. If we are dressing in skimpy clothes (wow, you should have seen some of the dresses the seventh graders wore to their holiday dance – I couldn’t believe parents would buy such a thing), going on numerous dates that are children know about, having boyfriends or “hookups” over when our kids are there, using foul language, balancing several guys, talking about fights like they are cool, gossiping about other parents, etc… then our daughters are going to think that’s okay. Even if we think we are hiding the behavior…. These teens and tweens are not stupid. They hear things. We have to set the example for our girls. I want all of the women reading this blog to stop a minute and think…. Would you want your daughter having relationships like you have, behaving the way you do, dressing like you do, and talking like you do when she is your age? Seriously? And to those of you who let your kids run all over town all hours of the day and aren’t home with your kids much… is this really what is best for them?

I know we all do our best and I am not being judgmental. I just think that sometimes we need a reality check. J

I know this is getting a little long but I wanted to mention we also talked about the boys. All the moms in our dinner group tend to have boys who don’t really play sports, have huge imaginations, love chess and technology and are extremely creative. This makes the moms worry that their boys might be bullied someday. Although I think all kids get teased for one reason or another, my hope is that there are so many more boys like this nowadays that it won’t be an issue. What do you think?

I can’t wait to hear your input! Have a great holiday!

P.S. These photos are taken from Google Images.