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Thread: Should children be sheltered?

  1. #26
    Beastly Fido Roxxsmom's Avatar
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    My parents had some truly epic fights, and they did do it in front of me and my brother. The first one I clearly remember was when I was 4-5, and it ended with my mom upending the leftover stew over my dad's head.

    This was not one of the happier elements of my childhood. My folks were good, loving parents in most respects, but my dad had a temper, and both my parents knew how to pick, pick, pick at each other (and at us kids too). I wouldn't have minded being sheltered a bit more from their marital problems, especially the parts of them that spilled over onto us kids. They did get into counseling eventually, and that helped.

    I don't mind some of the other things I wasn't sheltered from, however. My dad had a crude sense of humor and swore like the proverbial drunken sailor. And they were both very open with us about the biological facts of life, and they discussed politics in front of us and so on. They didn't place many restrictions on our TV or movie watching or on our reading (they were cross when they discovered that my cousin and I had sneaked some reads of some very sexually explicit and rather, um, kinky, books we found in her parents' bedroom closet, but I think it was more embarrassment on their part and disapproval over us snooping through their stuff than anger over what we'd actually read).

    This all rendered me very non-squeamish and pretty hard to shock later in life, which has mostly been a positive thing, I think.

    My brother maybe had a different experience with the latter stuff, though, because he and his wife have been stricter with their three girls. They wouldn't even let them watch roadrunner cartoons when they were grade school age (too violent), and they warned the rest of the family that there was to be no swearing or talking about things that were connected to sex or discussions about unpleasant political stuff in front of the kids. They were concerned that The Hobbit and LoTR were too violent for them as well, and that the later HP books.movies might be too scary.

    I completely agree with his decision to refrain from yelling (and hitting) though. If I'd had kids, I would have tried to do the same, which probably wouldn't have been too hard, since my husband and I never scream at each other or lob personal insults when we disagree/argue. At most, one or another of us might get a bit snappy or short, but it's always followed by apologies. His parents had some nasty fights too, and unlike mine, they ended up getting a divorce.

    I think that it's okay to let kids see their parents disagreeing, even arguing, sometimes if it shows them that people who love one another don't always agree, and that it's possible to have disagreements without being destructive.
    Last edited by Roxxsmom; 04-16-2017 at 04:41 AM.
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  2. #27
    is watching you via her avatar jjdebenedictis's Avatar
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    The answer to this question partly depends on the personality of the child. When my parents fought, it was agonizing for me -- but they didn't really fight that often or very badly; I was just an incredibly sensitive kid, and because fights were a rare occurrence, I didn't get inured to them.

    The reals wars in our household were all sibling rivalry, and that didn't bother me, because half the time, you can guess who was one of the enraged combatants.
    Last edited by jjdebenedictis; 04-16-2017 at 07:13 AM.
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  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roxxsmom View Post

    I don't mind some of the other things I wasn't sheltered from, however. My dad had a crude sense of humor and swore like the proverbial drunken sailor. And they were both very open with us about the biological facts of life, and they discussed politics in front of us and so on. They didn't place many restrictions on our TV or movie watching or on our reading (they were cross when they discovered that my cousin and I had sneaked some reads of some very sexually explicit and rather, um, kinky, books we found in her parents' bedroom closet, but I think it was more embarrassment on their part and disapproval over us snooping through their stuff than anger over what we'd actually read).
    Yeah, as far as sheltering them from other things, we haven't, not much. I do have a thing about movies that distort natural things, like sex, in an ugly way. Once they're of a certain age, and one of my kids is there, our approach is no-holds-barred. The larger point here might be that I've always felt that it was a parent's responsibility to teach their kids everything they know about life. That's not to force our opinions on them, but to expose them to all that you can. The beautiful and the wondrous take precedent over the ugly and mundane, I think, but it's there, isn't it? If not on your screen then right outside your front door. We live in LA, our kids attend public school. All the sheltering I could muster won't change that.

  4. #29
    figuring it all out CreativeHeart75's Avatar
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    I grew up with an Alcoholic father so I was privy to more than my share of battles. It wasn't that my mother didn't try to shield us and in fact she eventually left and took us to live in another town. However, I don't think badly of her, sometimes you can't shield kids from everything. Sometimes there are other lessons that can be learned. For example, I learned I didn't want to be someone who drank like my father did, and I learned how to be a strong and loving mother. I haven't completely shielded my children either, but I will say that I think it is important to consider the topic and content of the argument then shield them from the things that are not appropriate for them to know. I think I was too open sometimes with my kids about what was happening. I also believe that if we shelter them too much then they never see us resolve the problem. It's important for them to see that we, as adults, can find solutions and compromise. That is how they learn after all, by watching. They will remember how you handled something and whether you were able to compromise. Just my own two cents.

  5. #30
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    It's very true, I think, CH75, that one way or another children learn by example. Often they learn what not to do. That's not just with regards to arguments either. For example, my parents (step or biological) were too quick to call it quits. Pretty selfish approach.

  6. #31
    figuring it all out CreativeHeart75's Avatar
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    You have a good point MR, but sometimes it's a good idea to call it quits and come back when you've cooled off too. Kids will pick up on that too and it's good for them to learn to keep a level head sometimes too. It might seem like a selfish approach but it's good to know when not to fight too. I know for me I have learned and hopefully have passed on to my kids to know when to pick their battles, to know what's important and when to just stop and breathe. Either way they will learn good and bad things from anything they are a party to.

  7. #32
    figuring it all out CreativeHeart75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maze Runner View Post
    Yeah, as far as sheltering them from other things, we haven't, not much. I do have a thing about movies that distort natural things, like sex, in an ugly way. Once they're of a certain age, and one of my kids is there, our approach is no-holds-barred. The larger point here might be that I've always felt that it was a parent's responsibility to teach their kids everything they know about life. That's not to force our opinions on them, but to expose them to all that you can. The beautiful and the wondrous take precedent over the ugly and mundane, I think, but it's there, isn't it? If not on your screen then right outside your front door. We live in LA, our kids attend public school. All the sheltering I could muster won't change that.
    I mainly was a no-holds-barred parent too, within reason. I remember a time when my oldest daughter was about five and she wanted to watch a reality show called "Trauma in the ER". I let her and I remember my mother asking my why I would do such a thing. For me it was a no-brainer that she was learning about real life situations, but for my mother it was something that children shouldn't see. I have always tried to be as open and honest with my kids about things as possible, pending age appropriateness of course, but I wanted them to know that they could ask me questions about life and I would do my best to give them the truth. I think, at least in my case, it helped build a stronger trusting bond with them. That isn't to say that they tell me everything, of course, but I can say that they know that if the chips are down, I'm here.

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by CreativeHeart75 View Post
    You have a good point MR, but sometimes it's a good idea to call it quits and come back when you've cooled off too. Kids will pick up on that too and it's good for them to learn to keep a level head sometimes too. It might seem like a selfish approach but it's good to know when not to fight too. I know for me I have learned and hopefully have passed on to my kids to know when to pick their battles, to know what's important and when to just stop and breathe. Either way they will learn good and bad things from anything they are a party to.
    One of the most frustrating things to me in parenthood was that in our children's eyes (at least up to a certain age) we have all the answers. And of course we don't. How can we when they keep changing the friggin' questions?

  9. #34
    Swan in Process Siri Kirpal's Avatar
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    Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

    I learned early on that my folks weren't perfect when I took a broken balloon to Mom and said, "Fix it, Mommy!"

    My next younger brother, however, didn't realize Mom and Dad weren't perfect until he was in his twenties.

    So, it depends on the kid and the situations.

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  10. #35
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    I'm trying to think when I first knew my parents weren't perfect, or invincible, or wouldn't disappoint me. But it was young. Now when I think of them, they're perfect, in their way.

  11. #36
    figuring it all out CreativeHeart75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maze Runner View Post
    One of the most frustrating things to me in parenthood was that in our children's eyes (at least up to a certain age) we have all the answers. And of course we don't. How can we when they keep changing the friggin' questions?
    Yeah, but when they realize we don't it takes the shine off of us. They don't see us the same way. That's the sad part. All we can do is be as honest as possible and let them know that no one has ALL the answers.

    I think I knew early on that mine weren't perfect but I have never seen them as flawed merely different from other people. We love them the way they are whether they have faults or not and our kids probably feel the same way about us (hopefully anyway).
    Last edited by CreativeHeart75; 04-21-2017 at 06:09 PM.

  12. #37
    I aim to misbehave Myrealana's Avatar
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    I'm 46 with an adult child of my own, and I still tend to think my parents have all the answers. Or at least good advice. Kids, school, home improvements, pets, cooking, writing. Not money, though. I long ago learned that I'm far better with money than my parents will ever be, but last summer when we were remodeling our basement, every question went first to my dad and then to Google
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  13. #38
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    I had my mother till about eight years ago, but my dad died young. If our kids knew how much we depend on our parents' they'd never trust us again. No, just joking. Yeah, it's crazy how that dynamic never ends. So many times I could have used my father's advice. The truth is, he wasn't so big on giving advice, but I'd have squeezed it out of him.

  14. #39
    figuring it all out CreativeHeart75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maze Runner View Post
    I had my mother till about eight years ago, but my dad died young. If our kids knew how much we depend on our parents' they'd never trust us again. No, just joking. Yeah, it's crazy how that dynamic never ends. So many times I could have used my father's advice. The truth is, he wasn't so big on giving advice, but I'd have squeezed it out of him.
    I lost my dad a few years ago but my mom is still alive. I don't go to her for advice as much these days. I'm not sure why. I think it had something to do with the way things went after my dad died, but that's a long and boring story. I think my kids know how much I relied on Mom before that happened though. I think they still trust me.

  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by CreativeHeart75 View Post
    I lost my dad a few years ago but my mom is still alive. I don't go to her for advice as much these days. I'm not sure why. I think it had something to do with the way things went after my dad died, but that's a long and boring story. I think my kids know how much I relied on Mom before that happened though. I think they still trust me.

    Might be long, but I doubt it's boring. I think a lot of us know from a young age what our parents' strengths and weaknesses are. Sooner or later, I think the sooner the better, most of us are able to forgive them for what they are and they aren't. Not all of us of course. I have what used to be a close friend, now not so much, who's never gotten over what his father did to him. In his defense, it was pretty bad. I was there. A lot of abuse, physical and emotional. He swears he despises his father, but he's got the same kind of mean streak in him. So he's come to understand the abuse, maybe even what it's done to him long term, and to my knowledge he hasn't spread that same abuse to his kids, and that could be because he left the house before he could, but he still repeats it. And still, you'll hear very few kind words about him because he's been unable, even through years of analysis, to not 'act out' what was done to him. We grew up together, I know where it came from, and even I had to break with him when he finally did to me what he's done to everybody--which is to be so subconsciously overwhelmed by the fallout of all that abuse that he lashes out at the few who've been empathetic enough to stick by him. Really a sad case.

  16. #41
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    I think it's one of the most difficult things, as has been said many times before, to see ourselves as others see us. I know I'm still coming to see how my upbringing has affected who I am now. I know I'll never see it all.

  17. #42
    figuring it all out CreativeHeart75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maze Runner View Post
    Might be long, but I doubt it's boring. I think a lot of us know from a young age what our parents' strengths and weaknesses are. Sooner or later, I think the sooner the better, most of us are able to forgive them for what they are and they aren't. Not all of us of course. I have what used to be a close friend, now not so much, who's never gotten over what his father did to him. In his defense, it was pretty bad. I was there. A lot of abuse, physical and emotional. He swears he despises his father, but he's got the same kind of mean streak in him. So he's come to understand the abuse, maybe even what it's done to him long term, and to my knowledge he hasn't spread that same abuse to his kids, and that could be because he left the house before he could, but he still repeats it. And still, you'll hear very few kind words about him because he's been unable, even through years of analysis, to not 'act out' what was done to him. We grew up together, I know where it came from, and even I had to break with him when he finally did to me what he's done to everybody--which is to be so subconsciously overwhelmed by the fallout of all that abuse that he lashes out at the few who've been empathetic enough to stick by him. Really a sad case.
    I'm sorry to hear that. I understand what that can be like. My brother was physically and emotionally abused by his father, all 8 of my mom's other kids were but for some reason Bill couldn't deal with it. I don't think any of them have really come to terms with it properly but he was the one who abused other people. He even lashed out at my mom in his adult years. He has passed on now but I hope he has found the peace he so longed for. In the last few months of his life he asked my mom to make his apologies for him to the rest of the family. She told me about this and how he had finally realized what kind of damage he had done to his family relationships. It is a sad case too. Did you ever tell your friend how he was behaving? I know my brother wouldn't have listened. He was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in the last years before he died too. I think once the doctors had him properly medicated he then was able to see the damage.

  18. #43
    figuring it all out CreativeHeart75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maze Runner View Post
    I think it's one of the most difficult things, as has been said many times before, to see ourselves as others see us. I know I'm still coming to see how my upbringing has affected who I am now. I know I'll never see it all.
    This is so very true, but sometimes I think we are afraid of knowing ourselves the way others see us. I remember when I went back to school a few years ago there was an exercise in one of my counselling classes where we had to put our name at the top of a sheet of paper and then pass the paper around the room. Other people were supposed to write something positive about how they saw us. It was a very enlightening experience and I still have the paper but I was shocked at some of the things the other people had to say about how they viewed me. Mind you these were positive comments and it might be even harder if they were negative but I didn't realize until that moment just how much I knew about myself. I'm sure I will never see all of myself either; I'm not sure we are meant to. I think we all have some little dark secret that we would never want anyone to know. I think it's part of being human.

  19. #44
    figuring it all out CreativeHeart75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myrealana View Post
    I'm 46 with an adult child of my own, and I still tend to think my parents have all the answers. Or at least good advice. Kids, school, home improvements, pets, cooking, writing. Not money, though. I long ago learned that I'm far better with money than my parents will ever be, but last summer when we were remodeling our basement, every question went first to my dad and then to Google
    I think for me the reason part of the reason I don't ask for advice anymore is that my mom is aging and has had her fair share of health issues in the last few years, not to mention what I told MR about the way things were after my dad passed. I just don't want to burden her I suppose. It's great that your parents are able to help with advice.

  20. #45
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    Yes, I told him, and he didn't want to hear it either.
    Last edited by Maze Runner; 04-23-2017 at 11:07 AM. Reason: Nobody needs to.

  21. #46
    figuring it all out CreativeHeart75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maze Runner View Post
    Yes, I told him, and he didn't want to hear it either.
    He isn't ready to deal with the work of letting it go, is still being a victim, hopefully that might change someday. It's easier to blame someone else and not have to do anything to help yourself. Sad but true. That might, in my opinion, be more sad than knowing about all the people he might have lost because of it. Nothing you can do. You tried.

    My brother was the same way for years. I'm sorry you had to cut the ties between you. I get that though too. I did it too. It's a hard decision to make but sometimes it's necessary.
    Last edited by CreativeHeart75; 04-25-2017 at 01:06 AM. Reason: For clarity sake

  22. #47
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin WritersUnblock's Avatar
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    I would say like all things - balance is required, but maybe a bit toward the "dangerous side" to help them grow. Childhood is the time to install new beliefs that will serve them in adulthood and if they have the belief that somebody's always there to pick them up, it won't serve them well when the going gets tough.

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