Parenting by Polls
As I was driving home today, I was listening on the radio to Dr. Ray Guarendi. He's a psychologist who gives advice on the radio. A lady asked him about a videogame that her son was bothering her about having. She felt it was too violent and said no. But she asked around. All the other kids were playing it. All their parents thought it was OK. The mother even asked their pediatrician and he thought the hand and eye coordination was good for children; he had no problem with it.
When I used the word ALL, I meant that literary. She took a poll.
Dr. Ray disagreed. He more or less said that she is the Mommy and that's it. She said "No;" it's "No." End of discussion. He also made fun of this mother taking a poll.
I disagree with Dr. Ray because I have a good memory. I remember what it felt like to have weird parents who were always out of step with my friends' parents. I remember what it felt like to have my friends (and their parents and my teachers) feel sorry for me. I remember promising myself that when I was a parent, I'd take my children's requests seriously. My children would not become social misfits who couldn't participate in daily conversation about the TV shows everyone but me watched. My children would not sit sadly on the sidelines and watch their classmates pass them by.
Of course, I knew even then, that limits would be set, but I would really take it seriously when my children said "Everyone else is." I would prove to my children, that everyone isn't, if that were true.
And I did. Usually, I didn't have to take too much of a poll. I knew who to call and ask if their children were doing such and such.
Only once was I proven wrong.
My daughter was in the sixth grade and wanted to wear make up. I said "no." She said, "Everyone else is."
I called a few of her friends and was surprised that my daughter was correct. I still didn't want to accept it. So I called a friend of mine, whom I respect very much. She is older than me. Her daughter is older too, but that meant she had already been through my dilemma.
Much to my surprise she said that she taught her daughter how to wear makeup in the sixth grade. It brought them closer. They went shopping for makeup and had the sales lady make up her daughter. The saleslady made excellent suggestions for a sixth grade girl, and she listened to her. Every since then, they help each other with makeup suggestions.
What do you know! I turned around 360 degrees. My daughter was 100% correct and I was wrong. I took my friend's advice and used the makeup issue to bring us closer.