My son was 4 yrs old and he was invited to a birthday party. We got out of the car and walked into the lovely home of the hostess. I was immediately greeted by 10 little energetic 4 year olds running around. It didn’t take my son long to join them.
When You’re the Only Parents Setting Boundaries
I finally came to a moment of peace as I remembered, I have to be clear on what I believe so I can then stand firmly on it. I am the only one who is held accountable for my parenting choices. Not this mom. Not the other moms who noticed I didn’t just drop my son off. Not….
I fear that many mothers have become so afraid of doing the wrong thing and thereby alienating their sons, that we fail to do many of the right things that will strengthen our bond with them. Our instincts are sometimes our only guide and we must listen to them.” ~ Strong Mothers, Strong Sons -Meg Meeker
So, I stuck to my guns in spite of the hostess constantly encouraging me to leave. She even said to me, “Your kids are growing and you can’t protect them from every thing.” Yea, but he’s 4 not 14. Yes, my son is a good kid but I can’t ignore that my son also has acquaintances who are not. I will have plenty of opportunities to let my boys explore their freedom and make good choices but for our family this doesn’t start at 4 years old. We give them responsibilities, trust and freedom based on their maturity, age and experiences not because every one else is doing it.
As parents some times we give our kids too much responsibility because we see they are growing, they are hitting puberty and their voice is changing. We hand them trust they haven’t earned or give them responsibility their little bodies and brains aren’t developmentally able to handle. The last part of their brain to develop is their frontal lobe which responsible for judgement, reasoning and planning. We especially do this if we have good kids but even our good kids need to be protected from temptation and dangers.
I remember giving a talk to a group of moms about “What to Do if Your Child Has Seen Pornography” and a mom stopped me and asked if it was okay to give a 12 year old a phone with wi-fi access. I simply said, “I don’t know your son but you’re handing your hormone raging son whose brain is still developing and who is still learning self control and not to give in to his desires just because he wants something, you are giving him complete access to the internet 24/7. Not only that but he has access to it anywhere and everywhere in public and in private. Access to video games of all sorts, access to pornographic images at his disposal (they pop up whether he is looking for them or not), access to mindless internet perusing at all hours of the day and night. So you tell me?” Rest assured this has very little to do with trust. Yes, your son maybe a good kid but you can’t ignore that not all of his acquaintances are.
My son is now 12 and though the situations have changed since then I still come back to the same thing– learning to listen to my mother instincts. I have had to remind myself what is important, and it’s not what other parents think about me or even if my son is mad at me. Yes, your child will stomp out of the room yelling, “But Riley’s mom let him go watch that movie.” I have heard the complaints and whining about how much junk food their friends eat, what movies they get to watch, how much time their friend gets to play videos, the activities their friends get to do and they don’t…
The fact that you are your son’s mother is no accident. He didn’t get your best friend as his mother; he got you. So believe in that.” ~Meg Meeker
Sometimes we must tell our sons that the decisions they want to make are wrong. We must tell them that we are with them as allies, not enemies, and that therefore we will speak our minds and coach them in the right direction, because we always have their backs, even if it doesn’t seem that way.” ~Meg Meeker
Some parents do much less. Some firmly believe their children do better with fewer rules. But others “are overwhelmed” or “fear conflict,” says Los Angeles pediatrician Linda Reid Chassiakos, another spokeswoman for the pediatrics academy. “Sometimes it’s just easier to be permissive.”But making an effort is worthwhile, she says: “Even if young people may protest at first, they do feel more safe and secure when limits are set.” ~USA Today article
A wise mom is one who knows when to hand her son responsibility, trust and freedom. BUT we don’t stop there we also need to teach them how to use it and then we step back and let go.
Letting go also means teaching boys to not only act independently but also take responsibility for their behaviors. But in order to do this, it is important not to give them too much independence too soon. ” ~Meg Meeker