Tuesday, May 30, 2017

What is the boundary for setting limits to kids?

As parents we all face these questions at some point in our lives. Should I let my child know this? Should I expose my kid to this? How much of information can I share with my kid? I've been there and am there and am sure, I will be there. These are not questions which arise only once. And also these are  not questions which can be answered specifically to the point. These are more generic and also divergent.

What is the litmus test then? How can you determine the answers which will be good for your kid? This is a scenario which should be treated according to your kid's age and maturity and of course the topic in hand.

My motto is to be open. Be ready to listen to your child and be open to answer honestly. You might not explain the whole bunch of information, but answer honestly appropriately for your child's particular age. I never say, "Oh, this is not something you should be asking about". I can list few more responses which I never say to my children.
  • You are too young/old to be asking this.
  • Stop asking such nonsense questions.
  • You shouldn't be asking these questions.
And also more importantly I never get or look embarrassed with my child's questions. Let me explain with few examples.

My elder son who is more interested in Science bought a book Human Encyclopedia, when he was in third grade . That book explains every system of the human body and that includes reproduction. One day while I was making omelette in a pan, the egg spread over the edges from the center. My son who was standing by said ,"That looks like a Fallopian tube." I was surprised inside to hear the word from my son at that age, but  only for a second. And then I realized what a voracious reader he is! I just said, "Yeah! You are right. It does look like Fallopian tube. I appreciate your linking." I gave him a hug. And then we both went about our day.

My husband and I would answer any questions or doubts according to the kids' age. We give just enough information. It might not be in depth telling everything under the sun, but we do answer. Kids are generally satisfied with our answers. There are few times when I have also said, "This is what I can tell you now. You will understand better as you grow old and remember mom and dad are always there for you."

We have also educated our kids that the wide big world has good as well as bad. We should pick out the good and ignore the bad. There are bad words and people might use it. But we don't use any of those.

My elder son in middle school, has one day opened to his dad while they were driving somewhere, about drug talk in school. My husband had a conversation with my son that day which was good.

And here in the USA,  middleschoolers have to fill a questionnaire about sex life during wellness checkup. We don't jump like we have spilled boiled water over our feet. My son was filling that and I was beside him. I was normal and he was normal. I knew this was coming, around two years back.

The school sends a permission form to be signed by parents asking whether or not their child is allowed to be educated about sex. When he brought that to me, he told me this, "Mom, am not sure of this because my friend who studied about this in the previous quarter, says its disgusting". I told him, "That is the way of life and that is not disgusting. I will sign the form and as you learn, be free to discuss whatever you are taught in class, either with me or with your dad." He said okay and then I added, "We have our own family values. Am not sure what they will teach in school. So if you discuss with us, we  will be able to see if those match our family values and if not we can tell you about our values and how it differs from what is being taught." He looked relieved and said okay.

There is no point in limiting what our kids learn. We can have limits, stop them from learning something. But that would only increase their curiosity.  And  also kids might be exposed to matters we screen them somewhere else and that might become bad. Its always better to have that line open between the parents and kids.

Our children know that communication lines are open in our household. They know they can reach out to mom or dad or both for anything they want to know. This means a lot and makes a great positive difference. Let them explore and learn about the world

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