Saturday, September 13, 2008

How do you handle differences?

Are there differences between your family's rules (in terms of entertainment, toys, technology) and what your daughter's peers are allowed to do? Do you have any insights on how to handle this increasingly common issue effectively?


Christine Johnson-Staub said...

So great that you started a blog! We have had this situation with a fairly close friend. I held my ground with my daughter at home, and limited her time at the other house but did give her a little flexibility when she was there. And I nicely but confidently talked about our own limits with our friend. I might be imagining it, but I think the other family has begun to create some boundaries that (I think, my own opinion) are healthier for their daughter. I'm happy that it's happening without having to totally limit the time the girls spend together.

Karol Maybury said...

Christine: what a good post. You give me more confidence to talk about our limits with other parents too. I confess that at times I've played more of a referee parenting approach with my kids peers: "well (kid's parents) allow them to watch/do/play X... so they are probably not a good fit for us..." You've presented the brave option of pleasantly and confidently talking about the why and wherefore for making the choices we do.
Its important to do what you did, especially if the difference isn't egregious. Our children are watching us for models on how to handle this type of potential conflict peaceably and with mutual respect.
And... I think you are probably right about the other family making some healthy changes. Sometimes people just don't think too much about the topics that occupy my mind (media images of girls, lack of positive strong girl role models, materialism...) and a pleasant person like you saying "hmmm. well, that's one way to look at it, but my view is..." gets them thinking more reflectively. Thank you for helping me not demonize, but better understand the reasons that otherwise good parents may make certain choices.

sbmom said...

I would add that I believe limiting the time at the other house and holding your ground at home is a wise path. I was one of the more media restrictive parents among my now 17-year-old daughters friends. In some ways that seems to have turned out well, since my daughter is definitely not a follower and can clearly analyze how girls in our culture are represented. On the other hand, I do wonder at times if I had taken a more moderate stand if I could have helped her be less strident and maybe had a positive influence on other parents as Christine has done. When I finally did let her watch a couple of the teen shows in high school, it became a way for us to talk through what was being represented.
I did pat myself on the back when she commented on the sexism of the volleyball team uniforms during the Olympics! Why DO they dress the women that way?!

Karol Maybury said...

what a good commentary.
You present the valuable perspective of a parent who is down-the-road a bit from some of us. It sounds like your daughter is very healthy and happy!
I just finished writing something on this topic. I've learned that parents who have daughters who have had minimal pop-media exposure have some real advantages in terms of looking at media critically. Also, a recent study found that girls who had minimal tv/pop media exposure were more analytical, thoughtful, literate, when it comes to how women are represented in the media.
So... I just want to give you kudos for the way your raised your smart daughter.

Thank you for an inspiring post.

warm regards,