Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Hands-off parenting

I am what I consider a hands-off parent. This is not to say I'm not involved, just that I'm not an in-your-face parent, someone who is involved in every detail of their kids' lives. Right now, for example, both of my kids (5 & 9) have gotten their own breakfast, eaten it, put away their dishes, and are now getting dressed. I know some parents that would be involved in every step of this process--fix breakfast for them, pick out their clothes, etc. I'm just not that kind of parent. I haven't even been going out to the bus stop lately because I have put off getting the younger one's lunch and so I'm fixing that and making sure she's getting ready.

Sometimes when I'm with my friends who are more in-your-face parents, I can see they don't approve. But my kids are doing well, thank you very much. And they proved this over Thanksgivng by being well-behaved and starting conversations that most grownups don't start, like about the physics of the universe or mathmatical theories about the existence of Santa Claus.

I recently saw a segment on CBS news about family dinner time. Some study shows that families who eat dinner together have children who are less likely to become involved with bad things like drugs or gangs. I wonder. I mean, there are families who simply can't eat together because the parents are both working 3 jobs just to have enough to eat. I don't know if the study accounted for these situations or socio-economic status. Basically, the segment had a tone of "eat dinner together or else." In other words, conform to our way of life. I'm always suspicious of these things. Now we do have dinner together, but not always and I think we could find ways to make up for that if we didn't.

I didn't start this post as a political rant, but I ended up there. Funny how that happens. I have read quite a few posts lately about the right wingers forcing people to conform to an ideal that doesn't even exist. When will people just go out and figure out what is really out there and figure out ways for us to deal with it? No, instead, somebody has to have a vision of American and the ideal American and want us all to be that way. Sigh. I guess I'm back on the political bandwagon.