Mirth and Laughter


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

To Shelter or Not to Shelter Kids

Some of you may remember when I blogged about the Sun Theatre from my hometown in Michigan.

About a block north of the Sun, is a bar/restaurant that was there in my Grandfather's day and his father's . . . you get the picture. It looks like a log cabin and is accordingly called the Log Jam. The Lumberjack in my story is modeled after this icon of small town entertainment, and while describing it in my chapter, I realized how prevelant kids were and still are in this bar.

In Michigan, as long as a bar serves food, kids are allowed. And trust me, parents take advantage of this fact and haul their kids out on a Saturday night for a Budweiser and Pizza. Beats having to find a sitter! Consequently, I knew what went into a Martini by the age of 5, as well as how to rack the pool table for the next round of straight pool. Make 'em tight, Eddie.

I recall my dad whispering the wisdom of the ages into my ear, "See that broad there? She's a gold digger." He was mortified when I was finally introduced to the 'broad' and said, "Oh, you're the gold digger." Out of the mouths of babes .

But, not everything dad taught me was bad. For instance, Dad would point to a scruffy-looking man who was bellied up to the bar and say, "If I was on the front lines in a war, that's the man I'd want by my side." Then he'd point to a man in a 3-piece suit and say, "but not him." He'd explain that you can't judge a person by the way they look on the outside. A classic lesson taught in a bit of a different way--but one I always remembered.

I never know how much to shelter my kids. They aren't allowed in bars here in Washington, so that isn't an issue. But I have to make other decisions. For instance, I let my 11 year old daughter watch House with us, even though it has adult content. I figure that I'd rather have her watch something with intelligent writing and dry humor than a show, say like Stacked, which boasts other assets, but intelligent writing isn't one of them. See, it makes me happy that my daughter admires the female doctors on the show, which is certainly better than wanting to grow up to be Pamela Anderson.

So, don't shelter if there could be a lesson learned or a good role model? Sometimes I think kids today are too pampered.

What do you think? To what extent should we shelter our kids? Is being able to rack the balls for pool a good skill? (I think so. LOL!) :)


  • At 7:25 AM, Blogger Honey said…

    Speaking with absolutely no experience in parenting, I'd have to say it's a tough call. :) I was raised pretty sheltered, to the point that I announced in 5th grade that I wasn't a virgin when I had no idea what a "virgin" was. Talk about embarrassment. :) Now it's just sad to think there could be 5th graders out there who really and truly are more experienced than we ever dreamed at that age.

    Good for you, though, for making a concerted effort to shelter them from bad role models and things you don't think they're old enough to handle, while giving them some leeway to learn and grow and mature. Better to learn these things with you in the room to answer questions than to let the kids on the playground "educate" them.

  • At 1:15 PM, Blogger Kristen said…

    Seconding what Honey said.

    It's a tough call. You have to use the child's personality/mental age for many things.

    Why else would I allow Boy to watch Army of Darkness when he was younger than ten?

    The world has changed so much since we were younger. What we did then, is not safe now. Or we are too knowledgable about what might happen.

    I won't wrap the kids in bubble wrap and duct tape but I will guide/watch/teach to the best of my ability.

    They will not go out into the big wide world as sheltered as I was. But at the same time, I don't want them jaded and cynical as I was either. ;)

    You're a good mom, E. Believe it.

  • At 5:08 PM, Blogger Jan Conwell said…

    I think it's cool to let them watch shows like House...so long as you're there, at least in the background. I was way overprotective, and still let them watch stuff I felt was "intellectually" good for them even with rough stuff. They learn from your attitudes...your dad's example is a good one.

    The scary thing is that sometimes the things they learn from you don't surface right away, so be prepared for them to act like brainless commercial-bots when they first leave home. If they've been sheltered at all, it'll be like getting shot out of a cannon at first. Then their foundation learning kicks in, and their decisions and choices will impress you.

    Good luck, hon.

  • At 9:12 AM, Blogger Ellen said…

    You ladies are so brilliant! *hugs*

    Sounds like you think along the same lines as I do--shelter them to a point, but not to the point where they'll be overly protected and ignorant. I'm sure I'm making some mistakes--we can only hope as parents that they're little ones. :)

  • At 2:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

  • At 12:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Enjoyed a lot! » »


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