Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Parenting Rant

I usually try to keep my work life and my personal life as separated as I possibly can. That's a little difficult in the line of work I'm in because my friends are people that I deal with in my role at work and the place I work is my extended family, etc. Nonetheless, today I'm on a tyraid and my blood is boiling and I'm just a mess!

If you read my Facebook status, it says something to the gist that I'm convinced that the reason so many kids don't have respect for rules and authority is because their parents don't.

You see, there are parents, I know you won't believe this, that think way too highly of their preschoolers! They want their preschoolers to have the same privileges as their 5th graders. One of my biggest frustrations comes from parents who want an exception made so that their preschoolers can participate in an activity that is intended for older children.

I'm very black and white about this. When an activity is advertised as Kindergarten - 5th grade, who is that activity designed for? Kindergarteners through 5th graders!! I don't care how advanced you think your child is or how gifted they are or how unique they are, if they don't fit the age bracket, they don't participate. Who wants to be the choir director of a choir of children with ages spanning from 3 - 11? NOT ME!!! Do we not know how vastly different the development of the children on the ends of that spectrum are? What 11 year old wants to hang out with 3 year olds?

When we ask for exceptions on things like this, what else are we going to ask for and what are we telling our children about the rules and parameters put into place by those in authority? You're telling them with the right amount of negotiation that kid can do anything they want to do. You're telling them that this rule doesn't apply to them. You're telling them that you, as the parent, don't have any regard for the person or entity responsible for putting that rule or parameter in place. You're setting an example for your children that they're only going to follow in the future.

We complain because our kids grow up too fast and are so much more mature at 10 than we were when we were kids. I can tell you why! When I was 3, my mother didn't have me in 3 extra curricular activities! I was playing with barbies and dolls and pretending I was Mary Lou Retton in my bedroom. I was swimming in my swimming pool with a life jacket on. I was watching Captain Kangaroo. I didn't do my first extra curricular thing until I was in Kindergarten and that was 3 months of Tball! Nothing else was even available as an option.

My other issue is that once you let one 4 year old participate in activity they're not old enough to participate in, what message are you sending to all the other parents of 4 year olds? So once one exception is made, you might as well say, if you're 4 and you want to do this, come right ahead! What a nightmare for those in charge that weren't prepared for this entirely new age group of children!!

Rules and regulations are in place for our protection. The God of the Universe established that! Rules and regulations are in place to allow us to do things at proper times!

Let's stop forcing our preschoolers to act like their 10 and let them be preschoolers. Let them not sit in the circle at story time if they don't want to as long as they're not disruptive. Let them make messes and teach them to clean them up. Let them fall off of stools or down stairs because that's part of their learning process. It's how they learn what's safe and what's not. Let's stop giving our preschoolers all the rights of children much older than they are.

Let's learn to say NO to our preschoolers or else we're going to be saying YES to things that we're only going to regret in the long run. Parents, we must set the right example for our children. They are little mirrors and whatever you do in small amounts, they will do in excess. Let's be the ones who teach our children how to properly show respect and regard for authority.

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