We’ve all been there as parents – we’ve vowed not to parent as we were parented! But how do you find the sweet spot in the middle where you are guiding your kids with integrity and not swinging the pendulum in the opposite direction and creating a Lord of the Flies situation?
I have vowed I never want to over censor my girls. We have many interesting conversations so I can check in and make sure they are not be exposed to things that are completely age inappropriate. With the massive amounts of information available through tech these days I often don’t know what they are tapping into. What I do know is I can share my core values and let them know my hopes and expectations for them. And then just keep checking in and valuing them as individuals and being respectful so they know what respect looks like.
I play this game with my kids while we are in waiting rooms like at the dentist. I call it ‘what are these magazines trying to tell us’ and ‘how does that make you feel?’ It’s my way of dissecting the beautiful ads and see through the brainwashing. Almost always we can agree that on some level we are left feeling like if we spend money and purchase the products our lives will transform into blissful magic. Magazines and ads of any kind are so subtle and subliminal. Brilliant marketers have honed in on our pain to break us down as conscious thinkers. My hope is that they will take this knowledge and awareness and not get sucked into the ads they see online without me.
Another game I play is www.boomtownbingo.com/wish-bingo-review where I take popular songs that are overplayed and therefore a heavy influence on all of our brains, and I make up new lyrics. I always have my new version showcase my core values and bring awareness to how silly the song is. My kids seriously hate this one, but it’s one of my favourites. I especially enjoy mocking the powerful female singers that blame men for their co-created relationship meltdowns. Take some responsibility people sheesh. Don’t even get me started on the men that sing about women being subservient. It’s all fine and well to enjoy songs and even sing along, I just can’t let my kids think I promote the messages they are sending.
I think many of us shy away from standing our ground and speaking our truth when faced with opposition. Parenting for me is one of the hardest things I have ever done. I think the reason it’s hard is because I often feel like sell out or I settle. These fun games leave me completely unattached yet still totally self-expressed in what I need to share.
I think that’s why most of us feel icky in certain situations, we close off and shut down our inner voice from time to time. My Dad and I laugh all the time at how much my kids talk back to us. It’s like night and day to my childhood. The main difference is that we no longer view as the worst thing ever, completely disrespectful and inexcusable. It’s kids sharing their view. At times they need to be reminded to share it differently. That is simply a lesson on delivery and checking in with people in your world.
I am not the only influence in my kids life. There are more influences than I would prefer, but that’s the way it is. All I can hope is that my kids get me. That they understand my view even if they don’t agree with it.
Everything can be delivered if done respectfully. I remind myself all the time that my kids will be leaders of the world one day and that shutting them down only teaches them they have no value and their view is not respected. It’s all a dance, I don’t know that anyone has it mastered, but I can say this: I feel good in my choices, and when I don’t I share that too. I am not afraid to say to my kids that I am not 100% sure I am right, but we can course correct together and love the journey we co-create.
I could go on and on about different influences and their effects on our behaviours, I just wanted to bring some awareness and share some fun tips. If you have anything to add or ask, please post below or send me a message! This blog is intended to fuel thought and conversation. I look forward to hearing from you.