What’s a Mom to DO?

October 8, 2009 at 12:05 pm 16 comments

jail boys

I have a dilemma.  There is a neighbor with an eight year old son who is a whirlwind, to put it nicely.  Usually I tend to avoid allowing my boys to spend time with kids that I don’t want them picking up bad habits from, but this boys happens to be the son of our 4-H leader and a good friend of mine. Sigh!

Tonight is the kickoff bbq and I am terrified that my boys, being younger than he is, will come home after spending an hour or so with this kid and be saying things like “Oh god!” and acting maniacal.  Not to mention that for this family money is not an object and they have every toy known to man including all the video game systems and state of the art computer equipment. 

At our house, partly out of necessity ;), we emphasise non-monetary contentment and I struggle big time with Thing Two and his addictive nature toward video games.  That amounts to their dad’s old Nintendo on rare occasions and three days a week he is allowed to earn time at a free online game where a quad goes forward and backward on a two dimensional track.  So nothing fancy at all.jail boys 2

I guess what I’m wondering is how do I prepare them for time with this boy since it is not possible to keep them segregated from every ornery boy on the planet!  I’m sure mine can come up with lots of their own trouble too.

Do I sit them down and have a “talk” about not conforming to other’s standards?

Do I prepare them for the sorts of thing he might say (and that I’ve heard him say) and mention how his disrespect of his mother will not be tolerated by me?

I truly love this family and I dont’ want my boys going in saying, “My mom said….”  But I love my boys more and I want to prepare them in the most Godly but not condescending way. 

Did that make any sense at all?

What are your thoughts?

Don’t you think my “jail” pictures are appropriate?  Hee hee!

Entry filed under: Mom stuff, My Goofy Life and Motherhood Uncensored. Tags: , , , , .

Dairy free mushroom soup saves the day. I had lunch with the man of my dreams!

16 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Kathryn  |  October 8, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    Not being a parent, i haven’t good answers for this. But you might think on a brief talk along the lines of, “All families are different & parents are different, too. Other families have things we do not & other parents allow things that we do not. It is our job before God to have a family that . . . ” etc.

    Just my (less than) 2 cents worth. Sounds good to me . . . but i’m not a mama.

  • 2. Linda  |  October 8, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    Thanks for changing the feed!
    I would talk to the boys first. I’ve always told my boys that every family does things differently. Even within the circle of our closest friends, some let their kids watch movies that others don’t, some allow behavior that others don’t, etc. I tell them that their dad and I are responsible for how we raise them, and this is what we believe is right for our family. Kids and families are all different so I don’t want them thinking that everyone has to do things the way we do and judging them if they don’t.

    On the other hand, some behavior and attitudes are obviously wrong. I have limited their exposure to those situations, and have encouraged them to lead the way in doing what’s right.

    Along those lines, I recently made contact on Facebook with a girl who lived across the street when I was growing up. Her family was one of those that my parents didn’t like us spending time with, and for good reason. I was so happy and surprised to learn that she is now a Christian with a genuine relationship with the Lord.

  • 3. Karen Joy  |  October 8, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    I think it is FINE for them to say, “My mom said…” They need to know what’s OK in your family! I think our society has been sold a pack of lies that says that every family needs to conform to some homogeneous culture, and we should never uphold our own unique culture in the face of those who think/believe differently. Instead, I think it’s preferable, honorable, for your boys to know that your family has your own unique “culture,” and that it’s important to you that they continue the culture of your own family, no matter where you are. Some things are simply not acceptable in your home that other parents find OK.

    I agree that there’s a fine line there… You want your kids to appreciate your own family and value its values, but OTOH, you don’t want them walking around pronouncing judgment upon your friend’s family. Sometimes I say, “I don’t know why Billy Bob’s parents let him do that, but our family just doesn’t. Every parent is responsible before God to bring up their children in the way that He shoes them, and this is what He’s shown us; we don’t know what God has shown Billy Bob’s parents.” And, really, that’s almost always adequate reasoning for kids.

    Also, I have stopped apologizing to our most techie/”spoiled” neighborhood friends for our family’s simplicity and lack of gadgetry. I have been surprised that a good 90%+ of them simply do not care that we don’t have a gaming system — they go in the back and play Knights with homemade bows, or they sit on the floor of the family room and play Dutch Blitz (card game), or something like that. I think it’s the parents (i.e., you and ME) that feel the lack, more than the kids do.

    Also, just prepare yourself for what your children are likely to pick up from him; be PREPARED (and not exasperated) that there’s going to be some sorting out when all the socializing is over. No, we don’t say that. No, you can’t act like that in the house. We’re kind, especially to the people littler than ourselves, ad nauseum.

    So… a little pep talk beforehand saying, “This is what we do,” and a lot of sorting out afterwards, “No, we do not do that,” and I think you’ll be fine.

    I don’t think you should prep them like, “You may hear him say this; don’t repeat it.” Perhaps you may be surprised in what they naturally filter out; oftentimes, things just don’t STICK to kids when they don’t have a paradigm for it.

    I have found that, as unpleasant as this sort of situation may be, it’s a whole, whole, whole lot more constructive than simply keeping them segregated; they need to learn how to deal with kids like that, and so do you!! (And, by the way, I have found that often, the best way to deal with it, is HAVE THE OFFENSIVE KID OVER TO OUR HOUSE, and then be really, really clear about what behavior is acceptable at your home, and what isn’t. I have marched disrespectful kids to the door with the admonition that if they want to play, they will conform to our family’s guidelines…. and, then they turn up on our doorstep a day or two later, contrite and ready to play nicely!!!!!)

  • 4. glutenfree4goofs  |  October 8, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    Wonderful! I knew you ladies would come through. This really helps. I was thinking a lot of the same but being a firstborn, married to a firstborn with the FIRST grandkids (ACK) I can tend to be overly strict, lacking compassion for the other party/ parents. I didn’t know how to approach it but still prepare my kids but still not DRAW attention things that they may not have noticed or internalized anyhow. What’s TMI. You know!

    Funny you mentioned bringing him over! The family has been talking about wanting to attend Bible Study at our house! My husband is REALLY GOOD with kids like that. I could see a conversation or situation going exactly as Karen mentioned. Plus he is the Bible Study leader and a kids ministry coach so he usually deals well with things, he can set the standard quite easily from the beginning and in that help gently “coach” the parents, in the non-negotiables.

    Unfortunately at THEIR house its harder to do that. Also Matt won’t be there tonight 😦

    Linda, that’s awesome about your friend, really brings it into perspective. I don’t want to put my kids in a bubble it isn’t realistic and those types of blessings would be missed! 🙂
    p.s. you should find me on facebook

    I welcome any more comments/ thoughts on the issue as this will be ongoing.

  • 5. Henny  |  October 8, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    I have been there. and i have no good advise whatsoever. I usually just avoid the family as much as possible, which isn’t always easy or desirable. the hardest part is that includes my parents. my parents (who I love very much) are addicts of anything that involves laziness, entertainment or money. they go go go go until the back gives no more. they’ve always been this way. and from a kid’s standpoint it seems like fun – but well they’ve never dealt with having there power shut off (multiple times) b/c of this behaviour. it’s hard b/c I love my parents and they love my kids very much. but as soon as my kids see them (especyially the 5 yr old) it’s like “hey! what did you buy me!? I want ____, can we go buy it?” etc and it becomes a free for all.

    it’s difficult. it really is. I try to talk to my kids about it as much as possible, without making my parents sound bad. it’s a fineline between teaching and tattling you know? ugh.

    • 6. Karen Joy  |  October 8, 2009 at 3:24 pm

      Oooh, not to highjack your thread, Jessie, but that’s so right about family being especially tricky. My kids ADORE my husband’s brother, and there are many admirable things about him… but when my 8yo recently said, “I want to be JUST like Adam when I grow up,” I had to draw the line. We discussed (led pointedly by me) Adam’s many fine qualities, but then I told them a number of things that basically amount to very unwise choices (like buying expensive guns, but not paying his heating bill, not contacting his own daughters for literally more than two years, getting in such bad debt that our family receives daily calls from creditors trying to wring money out of him, etc.)… So, sometimes, it is important to draw the line, especially when the child is blindly in what amounts to idol worship of an unworthy person.

  • 7. Henny  |  October 8, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    errr that was supposed to be “until the BANK gives no more” not the “back”…. heh

  • 8. glutenfree4goofs  |  October 8, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    Either one works, I though back was nicely poetic 🙂

  • 9. Shari Hayman  |  October 8, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    You have strong values and your kids will grow up with those same values as long as you don’t compromise for the sake of friendship. Sit all the boys down and explain to the boy with things every thing you said in your blog about your rules and his disrespect for his mother. I would also sit with Mom and a 3rd party and tell her how much you love her and how it hurts your heart to see her son disrespect her and that you sat the boys down or are going to sit them down and tell them your rules and concerns. I would also not allow my son over to their house until there is proven change in behavior from the boy with things and tell him that. Satan will use anything to get to our children. My kids thought I was the meanest Mom in the whole world but now they have kids and thank me all the time. Unfortunately good parenting is not popular and not easy. We want our kids to have friends and have fun but Satan is crafty.
    Maybe even pray with the Mom if she seems open. Sometimes other parents are at the end of their ropes with their kids and just need help. It is most likely killing her that her son is so disrespectful. Maybe make it sound like you want to help her. Is she disrespectful to her husband or vise versa?
    Just my opinion and I will put you in my prayers. The more people praying the better the outcome.

  • 10. JoLynn Yates  |  October 8, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    Jessie, you have concerns that I believe are valid. Listen to your gut!
    *This boys is older…I have a concern. If you are not monitoring their play time, your boys WILL hear stuff…you’ve already heard it…it will continue. As a parent we’re not to throw all caution to the wind. Be watchful. If you have an opportunity to ‘play’ with the boys, that’s the best solution…you’ll know what is taking place and you can protect your boys. It’s your responsibility right now.
    *I allow my kids to play with other peoples video games. It’s a fun occasion. They know we don’t have video games at home so I let them ‘eat it up’ now and again. Be careful not to exemplify fear to your children as you ‘struggle with thing two.’ Video games are fun but you still have full control in how much time your child spends at the controls.
    *If something off color is picked up by your son and repeated remember this: RESPOND to your child’s behavior. Refrain from REACTING to how he is making you look as a mom. This is crucial b’cuz kids pick this up fast. Use your teachable moments in a loving, private way. You’ll gain much respect from your son.
    *Sometimes I talk with my kids beforehand. Sometimes I don’t but I usually follow up with ‘I’m proud of you for your choices today.’ OR ‘Let’s talk!’
    * Your example as a mom will speak the loudest. Be the coach, give direction along the way. Your boys already know what will be tolerated by you (or not). Your kids will be the most joyful when they know their home and their surroundings are full of structure and guidelines.
    *You are a good mom, Jessie. I know you’ll do well. Let your ‘mom’ knowledge guide you…not your fear. Also, remember to take time to enjoy your evening. 🙂

  • 11. Sharyl Williams  |  October 8, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    Debriefing is key – as is open communication. My daughter Jessy told me this summer that she always felt it was unfair that she had so many boundaries and so many of her friends did not. She completely understands now and appreciates that she did have them. There our some things that our kids may not understand until they have kids!

  • 12. Angela  |  October 8, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    Hey Jessie,

    You are so right. We can’t protect our kids from every situation and every little boy on the street. It is sometimes difficult to decide what is more important showing God’s love to the other family or protecting our kids from every negative situation.

    We live in the little old rent house on the hill in a fairly wealthy neighborhood. My kids used to whine at me about cleaning their rooms because their friends had maids. No joke! They do. My kids are in public school and daily encounter kids with a different vocabulary and value system. I wish they didn’t have to be exposed to so much, but I’m grateful that they come home and talk to me about it.

    My parents taught me a key phrase when I was growing up, “Others may. I cannot.” We often use that phrase when discussing others’ behavior. “Yes, I know they use those words, but do they honor Jesus? We want to honor Jesus in our home.”

    Personally, I would tend to offer instruction to the little wayward boy in my presence. “It takes a village, right?” Other parents at church continuously offer instruction to my kids. I’ve learned not to mind, because I’ve learned that I can’t be in four places at once. What I’m trying to say, is when the little boy said something inappropriate around my kids, I might ask the little boy not to say those kind of things.

    I think our attitude and way of talking about this stuff around our kids is key. Your kids are with you at home. You take them to church. They don’t have a whole lot of exposure to things that contradict your values. I wouldn’t underestimate your kids’ ability to see the difference between the way your family does things and they way this little boy behaves. You might have some really good discussions if you just ask your own kids, “How do you feel when so and so says those words?” “Do you think it is appropriate to …..?” “Why not?”

    For me, the goal is for my kids to not memorize what I say or think is right…but to figure out the answer themselves with good parental coaching so that their responses to others come from the honest, child-like heart inside of them. I’ve been pretty amazed at how well it works.

    • 13. glutenfree4goofs  |  October 9, 2009 at 8:50 am

      So true. You are right it is important for them not to simply memorize. One of our parenting/schooling goals has always been to help them internalize not just immulate. My husband and I both can err on the side of telling not teaching! We sometimes forget natural consequences speak louder etc.

  • 14. Sarah C.  |  October 9, 2009 at 7:28 am

    I always tell the 7 year old when we are about to have a playdate with someone. I remind him that our house rules still apply even though we are at “Billy Bobs” That he knows what I expecpt from him and he needs to do it. I also remind him he knows right from wrong and if he is questioning something, odds are its wrong. Also even though Billy Bob is not my child when I see that my son is feeling the pressure or hearing things that wouldnt be heard at home, I even speek up and say. Sorry Billy Bob, Stephen isnt allowed to play that game why dont you all go ride bikes. Or if Billy Bob says God I say, you mean gosh?????? We usually say God’s name to pray.
    Maybe I over step my parenting rights at other people’s homes, but thats a chance I take it is my child Im concerned about #1 and the friendship is down on the list.

  • 15. glutenfree4goofs  |  October 9, 2009 at 8:52 am

    Good ol’ “Billy Bob”! 😉

  • 16. Kathryn  |  October 9, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    Hi Jessie –

    Don’t know if you are interested in such things, but i’ve nominated you for a “Kreativ Blogger” award. I love how creative you are in your life & your blog. If you’re interested, the instructions are at my blog. 🙂


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Us and Our Thinglets

MATT - Food Creativity Consultant, Joyful Partner in Crime JESSIE - Photographer, Amateur Food Critic, Blog Author CAPTAIN OBVIOUS - formerly Thing 1 Thing 1 SCARFUNKLE - formerly Thing 2 IMG_3466 LOUD KIDDINGTON - formerly THE BUBBA 3 PEE WEE MINI ME BORN March 8, 2011

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