There is so much pressure on parents to control their kids so they don’t inconvenience others when out in public. A lot of times I don’t think this pressure is fair. Kids brains are developing and yes, there are times when kids can’t control their own behavior. The best parents can do is keep stressors to a minimum and take children home when it’s too much for them. Yet, there are times when others make it very difficult for parents to control some extraneous factors.
Before kids, I was very picky about how my DVDs and books were shelved. Having volunteered at a library in my youth, I even group my books by subject matter and then alphabetized them. Having my DVDs and books out of order is disturbing for me. And then I had kids.
It was a beautiful morning at the playground and Buddy and Sissy were having a good time, when a little girl came up with her mother. She was the type of child I get hopeful about when I see on the playground because she was outgoing and bubbly, two traits that tend to help Buddy come out of his shell and socialize. Like I predicted, she came up and started talking to Buddy. And her mother started apologizing for her.
Buddy’s old backpack had been falling apart, so I’d decided to take advantage of the back to school specials to get him a new one. I took him to the backpack aisle and pointed out several backpacks from shows he liked. As soon as he saw the purple and blue backpack with Elsa from Frozen on it, his heart was set. Buddy adores Elsa.
My kids will likely never buy a CD or DVD.
And what is stunning to think about? It’s not like it was for me growing up, when CD players replaced tape recorders and record players. I was a brand new adult when DVD players started to replace VCRs. Growing up, I realized my kids wouldn’t have CDs and VCRs, but I figured what they would have would be similar. A device to play things on, albums/movies to buy. What I never envisioned was streaming, where you could get the content you want from a website for a subscription fee, and not have to worry about buying tapes or CDs or DVDs or whatever, and how this would transform how we consume media.
This evening I was walking around the house with Buddy trailing me while streaming my amazing kids music station from Pandora. I managed to create a good balance of kindie bands like Laurie Berkner and TMBG with classics such as Puff the Magic Dragon and other kids songs. At the moment, “The Rainbow Connection” was playing, and Buddy stunned me by talking about rainbows while putting his arms over his head in an arch. I wondered where he’d learned that. But what he did next really floored me.
I want my children to be independent. And while I wish this were self evident, I want my children to internalize moral values so that they do the right thing not because they fear the consequences if they don’t, but because it is the right thing to do. At the risk of being overly simplistic, I’ve noticed that parents tend to fall into two camps, those that believe that their children will do good things and when they don’t it’s because something in the environment is happening that makes it difficult, and those who believe that children will do bad things and that morality has to be forced on children with a very heavy hand. I am vocally and decidedly in the first group.