Raising kids with just the right balance.


Fiannan
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I was recently talking with one of my best friends when we spent time together at a conference in China the other day. She told me she is pretty much engaged and that she was looking forward to the next several years of having a couple of kids.

She knows I have 4 young daughters and she commented that I would have my hands full once they were teens (she felt sons are easier to raise for some reason). Then we talked about what the proper way of raising a child today would be. She also mentioned that she had talked with a lot of teens (she works with young people 18 - 20ish in Europe and socializes generally with under-25 people) and that some of the girls have claimed to her that in their age groups (in Scandinavia and Britain) about 30% have had intimate relations with a member of the same sex, almost half would if the conditions were right and only around 15-20% would find the idea totally out of bounds. Of course, this is anctedotal evidence but there are surveys that have shown such behaviors are really fashionable right now -- even in much of the USA. And of course drinking is the norm there -- then again, it's pretty common in the USA with teens/younger adults as well.

So what do you think is the best way to raise a kid to avoid rebellion and experimentation -- especially girls? I was pretty flexible with my sons and they have turned out really well (except refusing to consider missions) but in a few years it will be daughters. I mean, I have seen cases where parents have been really strict and their child is super conservative yet when they get into college they go the opposite way -- they get a rush over the first drinking party then before you know it they are sleeping with guys (gals), going bizarre in beliefs and eventually becomming much more decadent than the girls who were what they themselves called the "tramps" back in high school. The irony is that many of the wild ones in high school seem to mellow out by college and become conservative.

So what is the solution? I really think it's a huge mistake to be permissive and let your kids do whatever they please. Yet might it be even more dangerous to raise a sheltered child who, once they taste of the fruit of rebellion, they go all the way to experience everything they feel they missed out on in high school?

The middle ground sounds great but what do people have as suggestions?

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this is anctedotal evidence but there are surveys that have shown such behaviors are really fashionable right now

It's always been for the most part the same. Just that it wasn't surveyed in the past, and it was all 'hush-hush.' Your friend next door just 'went on a 9 month vacation.'

raise a kid to avoid rebellion and experimentation

This always makes the problem worse. You end up with kids who have bad nerves, don't know how to interact with people, etc,. You need to either help your child find a 'mid-way' and have a personal ethical code of experience, or let it go to nature.

If you're teaching a child "Oh, but this is God's law - you can't do that!!1!!" you're programming them. If you really want to celebrate the idea of religious freedom, let your kids decide for themselves.

It's -always- the kids that are mentally suppressed that have more social, mental and other problems later on in life.

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You simply explain what the consequences of various activities may be. If you raise them with a firm foundation they may wander a bit but I'd bet my right pinky they'll almost always return to the straight and narrow.

I have only a daughter, and believe me I've been thinking about this as well. I was a total hellion when I was 13 but when I turned 14 I went back to normal. I've been thinking of putting my child in nice tall tower until her hormones get under control when the time comes lol.

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I think the key is letting children experience the consequences of their choices, good and bad, all along. They gain the confidence they need to actually make decisions rather than let others decide for them. They also learn that everything is connected, and that each choice will bring a result. They'll learn to set their sights on the results they desire, and make the choices that will get them there.

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Guest HEthePrimate

Hi Fiannan,

I don't have kids, and so I'm not going to presume to advise you. I do understand that people often experiment with things (like homosexual experiences) and then move on. My brother went on a pretty wild ride for a while, drinking (and totalling 2 cars), sleeping around, etc. But eventually he came around, went on a mission (a few years late, but still, he did it), got married in the temple, and produced two beautiful nieces for me! :) Yep, he did it just for me. :P

I would imagine that some kind of balance is desirable--not too strict, but firm boundaries for important things--but as I said, I don't have kids, so I'm afraid I don't know what to say, except that each child is different and may require a slightly different approach (from my own experience as a child).

Good luck.

HEP

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My opinion.. from seeing it my entire life..

The kids who have the freedom to screw up are better for it in the end. Teach them well.. and trust them to do the right things. I think it is important to check up on them regularly (via phone/text) and simply remind them that you still exist.

Sheltered children just seem to fail so easily.

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Why raise them to avoid rebellion and experimentation? Isn't that a healthy part of adolescence?

The answer to that is "yes and no." Personally, I strive to teach my daughter the gospel, and to teach her what's right and wrong at an early age. More importantly, however, I want her to know that I love her, that she can talk to me, and that if she comes to talk to me about anything she wants to experiment with, I'll talk to her openly, honestly, and without anger. If she chooses to experiment at all, I want for her to not try to hide it from me because she's afraid of my wrath. If she's going to hide it from me, I hope she'll hide it because she knows how stupid it is to be doing whatever she's doing.

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"I think the key is letting children experience the consequences of their choices, good and bad, all along."

And to me, if we're talking from a Mormon perspective, that sounds about as sound as Mormon doctrine can get.

Don't you [Mormons] believe that were hear to learn 'good' from 'evil'?

"teach her what's right and wrong at an early age."

Problem is that this [right and wrong] is a very subjective experience, even to people who adhere to the same gospel.

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Nancy hit the nail on the head.. My children, even at a very young age are allowed to make decisions within the restraints of my decisions.. when the do not Choose the Right.. they suffer

for example.. one day my son was misbehaving.. even after I spoke to him several times.. Just as I was about to grab him, he slipped and fell face first in the mud.. I explained to him that was the consequence to choosing the wrong.. we have situations like that often.. and my kids learn first hand..

Those lessons are applied as they get older as well.. my children are learning that we have the agency to choose the wrong, but we also have the responsibility to suffer the consequences. They also learn they reap the rewards of choosing the right.. I cannot, nor do I expect to, raise perfect children.. I do expect to raise children who know the difference between right and wrong and have the ability to use their agency wisely..

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"teach her what's right and wrong at an early age."

Problem is that this [right and wrong] is a very subjective experience, even to people who adhere to the same gospel.

You make a good point. It might be better stated to say in her youth I will try to teach her what I understand to be right and wrong. At the same time, I hope to build a foundation so that she can develop the tools to determine what she feels is right and wrong beginning in adolescence.

I think there is a period in life, however, when parents have to impose their perception of right and wrong, simply because the child's mind isn't developed enough to make those decisions entirely independent of his or her parents.

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Nancy hit the nail on the head.. My children, even at a very young age are allowed to make decisions within the restraints of my decisions.. when the do not Choose the Right.. they suffer

for example.. one day my son was misbehaving.. even after I spoke to him several times.. Just as I was about to grab him, he slipped and fell face first in the mud.. I explained to him that was the consequence to choosing the wrong.. we have situations like that often.. and my kids learn first hand..

Those lessons are applied as they get older as well.. my children are learning that we have the agency to choose the wrong, but we also have the responsibility to suffer the consequences. They also learn they reap the rewards of choosing the right.. I cannot, nor do I expect to, raise perfect children.. I do expect to raise children who know the difference between right and wrong and have the ability to use their agency wisely..

I'm not sure how slipping and falling in the mud was a natural consequence of his actions here.

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I think there is a period in life, however, when parents have to impose their perception of right and wrong, simply because the child's mind isn't developed enough to make those decisions entirely independent of his or her parents.

That's easy to understand, but it's untrue. Children do not need to be programmed with moral codes. This is why we have such a despotic society today (one of the many reasons, anyway).
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I was recently talking with one of my best friends when we spent time together at a conference in China the other day. She told me she is pretty much engaged and that she was looking forward to the next several years of having a couple of kids.

She knows I have 4 young daughters and she commented that I would have my hands full once they were teens (she felt sons are easier to raise for some reason). Then we talked about what the proper way of raising a child today would be. She also mentioned that she had talked with a lot of teens (she works with young people 18 - 20ish in Europe and socializes generally with under-25 people) and that some of the girls have claimed to her that in their age groups (in Scandinavia and Britain) about 30% have had intimate relations with a member of the same sex, almost half would if the conditions were right and only around 15-20% would find the idea totally out of bounds. Of course, this is anctedotal evidence but there are surveys that have shown such behaviors are really fashionable right now -- even in much of the USA. And of course drinking is the norm there -- then again, it's pretty common in the USA with teens/younger adults as well.

Assumption by those who have no real family....^_^ Couple? Come on now...:lol:

Lets not look at claimed stats and focus on raising children as parents, not as children. Be responsible.

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Goodness knows there's a lot on this planet that needs rebelling against. I plan to make resources available to our kids if they wish to rebel in appropriate ways. All they have to do is explain to me why rebelling against a certain thing is good to do.

LM

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The best way to help a child grow up to be healthy people is, in my opinion, to make sure they are loved and have the right intellectual and religious training. In terms of knowing right from wrong, the most important thing is to teach a child to have a personal relationship with God and how to recognize the Holy Ghost.

BTW, Aesa, we're here on Earth to learn right from wrong- that includes learning the consequences of our evil actions, as well as the consequences of our right ones. And it's not oppressive or despotic to instill one's values into one's children- quite the opposite, in fact. Children need guidance when they are young- too young to care for themselves and, therefore, to make their own informed decisions. It is up to the parent to search for truth as honestly and as boldly as they can, and then teach that truth to the children. It is also the parents' prerogative, however, to make sure the child knows (s)he is loved and accepted and that (s)he needs to make his/her own choices in life once (s)he is old enough to do so.

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