Monday, February 22, 2010

Still Fumbling Blindly and Prayerfully through Tween Parenting

Big Sister came home with a small, black, velvet box today. From a boy I've never heard about (and I hear about the boys, let me tell ya). Inside was a set of earrings and a matching brooch. It looked like it could've come from one of the Wal-Mart displays. The cubic zirconia ones, not the under-lock-and-key kind.

My first reaction is to share in her excitement. I listened to her tell the story of how this boy presented her with the box on the playground at recess. I listened to her tell me that her teachers all said it was pretty. I acknowledged how exciting is must've been to receive a gift like this. And then I ask her if she thinks she should accept it. And that's when I turn from fun mom to rain-on-my-parade mom.

In my mind, I'm thinking, "what if the kid took this from his mother's jewelry box..."

"How could these teachers act like this is amazing? Oh yeah, they aren't here to teach my faith. That was our last school. Bummer..."

"How hard is it going to be on this kid to have his gift returned..."

"How difficult will it be for Big Sister to return it..."

"What kind of parent lets a 9-year-old give real jewelry? They can't know about this..."

"What happened to wanting to Big Sister wanting to watch her friends make dumb decisions about boys..."

"Oh, CRAP!"

And so we talk about how jewelry is a bit too grown up for 4th grade. And how if we're in a hurry to experience the excitement of stuff meant for us when we're older, then when we're older, we might find other things to be excited by that aren't so good. And she tells me that she just wants to go with the flow. And I tell her that we can rarely do that and still follow what God wants us to do. And she seems to get that. But she still doesn't like the thought of giving the jewelry back.

You see, I'm the mom who wouldn't allow my daughter to attend the 4th and 5th grade dance, where the boys were asking the girls to be their dates. Because, seriously, they can't just throw a party- why do they have to make it cool to act old?

Am I being too harsh? Setting myself up for a daughter who doesn't confide in me? Perhaps. But I'm not about to be one of those moms who acts like her daughter can do no wrong. One of those moms who acts like her daughter knows more at ten than herself at 30-something (or 20-something in my case). I'm going to be the kind of mom who is clear about her beliefs and opinions. I'm going to parent so that Big Sister can look back when she's in her teens and 20's and know what her Mamma would say. I'm going to be consistent to my beliefs, because there is, in my opinion, no place more important (and sometimes painful) to stand up for what I believe than in parenting.


Mrs. Haid said...

I don't disagree or anything... so more of a question I am thinking since I knew 4th grade you... what would your mom have said/done? Would that have changed you in any way?

I wonder about this a lot now that I have a kid.

Kelley said...

I would never have told her... EVER.

I had my first "boyfriend" in 4th grade... I really can't remember how that was received. I think the issue was more that she'd found out and that I'd been hiding it.

I'm not sure if I would've cared then, but after high school, I definitely made decisions based on "would I want my mom to find this out?" :-)

Rae Nolt said...

As a former middle school teacher I say, "WAY TO GO MOM! I'M SO PROUD OF YOU!" Too many times parents think these like this are CUTE...when really, they are kids trying to act like adults. I'm very impressed how you handled it. When she has a daugther, she will thank you too! Keep up the good work...she'll thank you in the end!

Mrs. Haid said...

I wouldn't have told my mom, either. But I WOULD want Daniel to tell me if he wanted to buy sparkly jewerly for a girl.

My husband did something like this when he was a 6th grader, but it was perfume! This is really funny to me. He also was asked at a young age what he wanted to be when he grew up, and he said husband.

cindi said...

Good job mom! I used to be that parent...the "you're the meanest mom in the world" parent. I sood by my guns and explained the why of things and GOD's plans for us. My kids have made mistakes and choices that I wish I could undo for them, but I know one thing for sure. They know where I stand on things and I know that they each have a relationship of their own with Christ. I couldn't ask for more.

Marie said...

Great job MOM! Parenting isn't for cowards and it takes a lot of courage to stand up for what you know to be right and to teach these things to your children in a world that is rapidly blurring the lines between right and wrong. Kids need to be children. There is plenty of time to experience grown up things later on when they are more mature and able to handle them. Why is everyone in such a rush to make their children grow up. I just don't understand it! You are doing a great job with your children. I applaud you!

StumblingServant said...

I can only hope that I'll be a great mom like my big sis' when I get there . . . before I know it, I'm sure, if I'm anything like you ;). I'm proud of you!

Jamie said...

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