The headmistress of my daughters' school and my youngest brother have given me great parenting advice. My brother wished that our parents had said “no” more often, while the headmistress once shared her belief that it’s okay to tell our children “no."
Simple advice? Perhaps? Easy to follow? Absolutely not.
In today’s society, it’s so much easier to go along with the norm. If most of the other kids in the class are allowed to do something then it takes time, patience, explanation, fortitude and a little bit of stubbornness to break from the rank and file.
Let’s take the case of Miley Cyrus, a.k.a. Hannah Montana. Everyone loves her. Extremely popular. All the girls are watching her. Excuse me while I step upon my soapbox. As the mother of a 5-year-old and a 6-year-old, I am in the minority in not allowing my children to watch the TV show. Of course my girls begged me to watch the show. All the girls in her class watched it, which was validation enough for my 6-year-old. After weeks of begging and multiple discussions about the show with friends, I finally watched an episode (or two) with my children. Lucky for them the timing also coincided with a fellow mom organizing a group outing to see the movie. Perhaps I was being old fashioned? I decided to keep an open mind and signed up for the movie tickets.
In the end it boiled down to the question: “Should a 6-year-old be emulating a 15-year-old?" For me the answer was a definitive no! I explained to my girls that they were 5 and 6 and the show was about a 15-year-old so it simply wasn’t appropriate. For weeks now, I have faced the daily question: “Can they watch the show?” As time has gone on, the requests have become less frequent. Perhaps the fact that I blocked the TV channel had something to do with it? Maybe my explanation that the channel was broken and we needed the cable company to repair it also helped. While going to the movies with a bunch of girls was a blast for my daughters, next time, I think we’ll pick Alvin and the Chipmunks.