I haven't figured this out yet . . .
One of the things you have to come to terms with eventually as a parent is the fact that you have no control over what your children pick up from other people. I mean that in a broad sense because you have no control over everything from diseases, bad habits, good habits, words, phrases; anything that can be imitated, really.
This is difficult to come to terms with because parenting starts out with almost total control of your child. Sure, you can’t control when they’ll cry, wake up, or anything to do with bodily functions; but it’s easier to control what they’re exposed to when they’re tiny and unspoiled. It’s only when you let them venture out into the world, and they mingle with children who are raised very differently from themselves, do your children start to slowly slip out of your control.
I bring this up because G’s been in school for a while now, and while we’ve seen enormous improvements in skills both academic and social, there has been an increase in bad behavior as well.
Today, when I picked him up, he informed me that he was playing guns in school. Now, when I was eight or nine, I had Nerf wars, played cowboys and indians and every other shoot your friends game you can think of when I was a kid. I’m not a violent person, I don’t own a gun, and I’m not particularly for guns, so I don’t really think playing those kinds of games is a big deal.
But, G is two, and I’ve seen some of the wild children he’s made friends with who are probably teaching him this, and I’ve seen how they behave, and that, does not make me happy. Toddlers are far more impressionable than an eight or nine-year old and I’d prefer to keep violent role-playing at a minimum until he’s old enough to understand what it is he’s pretending.
This makes me wonder what sort of stuff the other kids’ parents are letting them watch or do at home. How a parent raises their child is their own business, but when it interferes with my parenting, I get judgmental. I’m sure other parents wouldn’t like my son teaching their kids stuff they don’t approve of. Granted, maybe he has taught other kids something their parents wouldn’t like, but my wife and I try to avoid anything that would be common sense to avoid exposing a two-year old to, such as violent movies. We have to be responsible for what we expose our children to, if not for ourselves, at least for others.
But, I’m living in a fantasy land hoping for others to share that kind of mentality. So that is why, as I stated earlier, you have to come to terms with the fact that you have no control over what your children pick up from other people. It just makes teaching your children the things you want to teach them an uphill battle sometimes.
Side note: Grandparents CAN have a similar effect on your parenting by completely ignoring your wishes and attempts at discipline, but grandparents do it just to shake things up for their own amusement.