I have a confession to make. I am a big fat hypocrite!
I am against violent video games – but I let my 11 year old son play Call of Duty ad nauseam.
I won’t let my kids (11 and 9) have cell phones – but they both have an iTouch with texting and FaceTime capability.
I believe in keeping my kids young and innocent for as long as possible – but I let them watch movies like Dumb and Dumber (a classic), Divergent, and Hunger Games (to be fair they’ve read the books of the latter 2 movies before seeing them but hypocritical nonetheless).
I want to raise independent capable children – yet I still brush my kids hair and cut their nails.
I want my kids to be kind and not gossipy – but I can be a real gossipy bitch sometimes.
I want family to be a priority to my children – but if we have dinner together as a family once a week it’s a miracle.
I could literally go on and on but it’s a bit depressing and there is actually a point here….
I could have made a bunch of new years resolutions saying how I wasn’t going to be a hypocrite anymore, how I was going to change my ways and become a more consistent and responsible parent. But here’s the thing, I didn’t want to.
When our kids were born my husband and I adopted a philosophy about how we wanted to raise them. We wanted to raise our children to be kind, independent, confident, and decent human beings. And guess what? Even with all of my “hypocritical parenting” they actually are pretty decent human beings. Are they perfect? Not even close. But they are good students (straight A’s actually), they’re athletic (my son plays club soccer my daughter is a competitive ice skater), they seem pretty socially well adjusted, they’re respectful, and dare I say they’re both pretty sweet kids. So why rock the boat by becoming a different kind of parent?
The truth is that those pesky video games helped my shy son make new friends. They’re a good ice breaker. He can have 100 things more healthy and meaningful in common with someone but talking about something as impersonal as a video game brings him out of his shell. And he’s not a violent kid so as much as Call of Duty gives me vertigo and makes me want to hurl, it’s not actually making my son want to commit violent acts. Once it’s shut off he’s done.
The “inappropriate” movies I’ve let them watch? I’ve got two type A children who are rule followers. They put ample pressure on themselves to do well in school and in their extra curricular activities. Letting them hear a few bad words and enjoy some ridiculous potty humor has proved to be a good release for them. My reasoning is that if they get to have a little harmless “naughtiness” in their lives now they’ll be less likely to rebel later…but check back with me when they’re teenagers and I might be singing a different tune.
Brushing their hair and cutting their nails? Yeah, they should probably do that themselves (my son actually does brush his own hair but occasionally requires my help with gel). My daughter has long beautiful hair that tangles like crazy and the truth is I enjoy brushing it. However, she has been to sleep away camp twice and taken care of it herself (she came home with dred locks, but it didn’t seem to faze her). But has my help with their hair and nails actually turned them into spoiled nasty kids? I don’t know, but it’s not something I feel like I need to stop cold turkey. I mean Caroline Ingalls from Little house on the Prarie brushed Laura and Mary’s hair every night before bed and they grew up to be strong frontiers women didn’t they?
OK, the gossipy bitchy thing, that should probably go. I don’t love that quality in myself and I sure as hell don’t like seeing it in my kids. That’s something I’m going to have to work on. But that topic is a discussion for a whole other blog.
Having dinner together every night would be wonderful but is physically impossible unless we eat at 9pm on school nights. So we will have to make do with the few nights that we can sit down together and make the most of them.
So yes, I’m a hypocrite. But everything in life and with parenting is trial and error. Some things work and some most definitely do not. A child raising philosophy is good, but so is flexibility. You kind of have to get to know what kind of child you have and work with what you’ve got. I’m not saying what Im doing is right, it just seems to be working for our family at this moment. But you never know, I could be blogging in 3 or 4 years about how my hypocritical parenting landed my kids in jail…But I hope not!
Julie Phillips Stein is a 48 year old peri-menapausal married mother of 2. She was born and raised in the valley and currently resides in Encino with her British husband, kids and dog. When she is not having hot flashes or chauffeuring her kids around she can be found teaching pilates in her home studio.