Of course there are many important keys to great parenting, no one can deny that. But recently there have been a few situations that have occurred with my lil' ones that have reminded me how vital it is to be an "on it" parent.
Recently, in Aidann's Gymboree class they were pretending to be at a zoo & imitating a different animal at each station. Well, I guess the teacher asked them to imitate lions or something at 1 station & start growling. She eventually came over to Aidann & said "Growl really loud, Aidann. You got to try & scare everyone, even mommy!". The teacher meant no harm by the comment of course but I could see the absolute shock on Aidann's face. If she had been a cartoon character her jaw would have been all the way on the floor & her eyes as big as basketballs. She could not believe a teacher had just told her to try & scare people. We teach our kids that we don't need to have fear about things, its not nice to try & scare people, & respect/honor your parents/adults. In less then a minute, with 1 comment, Aidy became so confused. that this woman was asking her to go against all 3 of those at 1 time.
Of course overhearing what had happened & seeing the look of complete confusion on her face, I went over to talk to her. Before I could even get a word out Aidann said, "Mommy, it is not nice to try & scare people!" she said in a very innocent & conflicted voice. I pulled her aside for a second & explained the situation to her on a level a 2
year old could understand. I could tell she felt a lil' better & then went back to playing. She is just in the beginning stages of understanding that not everyone operates like our family & while that is okay, we do need to stand up for what we believe is right.
Some parents might have seen that situation as insignificant & not really a big deal, but in these early fragile years of our kids lives we can't afford to not be "on it" as much as possible until they are more capable & better equipped to handle things & make judgments on their own. Those lil' situations are all going to contribute into who our children are going to become in the future.
For example, the music we choose to play in the house or car, do not think for a minute that all those "special" words or colorful themes are just going to go over their heads. Kids are so much smarter than we give them credit for. We have to be ever so careful what is being imparted into our children & not take it lightly. The programming on television today is also a sneaky thing the requires a parent to really be "on it". Personally, my show of choice for my children is "Sesame Street. I have tried to watch these other children's programs that are so highly praised by the majority of parents, but I am telling you they are very good at sneaking stuff in here & there that I just do not always approve of. Being rude to their younger siblings, kids not obeying their parents orders, opinions about the opposite sex, kids being sneaky, & the list goes on. Sure you could look at things lightly & say "Its just a kids show", but kids are so literal at this age & they are picking up on those lil' things. Eventually kids can handle things a lil' better & decipher right from wrong on their own, but until then we need to be there to help & guide them until that point is reached.
Often times I have also heard & seen kids being in the room when adult shows/movies are on. I have heard parents excuse it off by saying "They aren't even paying attention" or "They have no clue what is going on anyway", but once again I strongly beg a differ. Violence(words or actions), even the seemingly subtle, can & will slowly anesthetize our children. Sexuality, even if subtly suggested, is also something kids really do not need to see right now. DVR is seriously the way to go, we can save all that more grown up stuff for later on when they are sweetly tucked away in their beds.
Friends is another thing we really need to be "on it" about. Some might think "The more friends, the better",but I honestly do not believe that is true. Who your kids hang around, they will become. What their friends believe, how they speak, how they act, & so forth. Things rub off, they really do. Obviously, all kids are going to go through stages & they may be points here & there were even though your kids has pretty good friends a new habit is going to slip through. But when you are an "on it" parent you are more likely to catch it & nip it in the bud quickly before it really sets in. I remember there was this week where Aidann suddenly started to let out this high pitch shreik when anything happened with her sisters that she did not like. It was definitely something that I was not going to let "stick around" & I was able to nip it quickly & easily find out who this new display of frustration was picked up from.
The deinition of "on it" is obviously going to evolve as your kids grow & mature, but it is also a huge commitment that needs to be made once you are a parent. We can't just be our kids buddy, it is our job to help mold them & steer them/keep them in the right direction.