An interesting conversation with my younger daughter this afternoon as we were in the truck, driving to the store:
"Mom and Dad, I was planning on running away tonight, well, you know, it was like a 50/50 kind of thing, but then I realized that I needed to get permission from you first, Mom."
Oh, my. Elmer and I haven't laughed that hard in a l-o-n-g time! We teased her about how the whole point of running away from home was to be able to do things on your own, without having to get permission from someone else!
After the laughter died down, though, it made me really think: We as moms and dads have such an amazing influence on the thought patterns of our children! If I didn't require my daughters to seek our permission to get snacks, use the computer or Wii, or go to a friend's house, then I'm sure that this conversation wouldn't have even taken place today.
But because I believe that children should have a bit of a more restricted sense of freedom around their home, Brittany's plans and conscience had obviously made her really do some thinking today.
I do allow the girls to make quite a few decisions: they pick out their own clothes to wear each day, unless they come out of their bedroom in something that is inappropriate for the weather. I allow them to choose a healthy snack, from whatever I may have in our home. But they do need to ask if it's okay to have a snack. I've never allowed them to "rummage at will" through the fridge or the cupboards anytime they "want" something. I suppose this is why they can go for days without asking for a snack, and why they eat healthy, hearty meals most days.
I do allow the girls to pick out books to read that interest them, although we do have some requirements: parents and authority in the story must be respected, or the children in the story are taught to respect those in authority over them during the story; swearing, innuendos, and inappropriate content won't work for books that they choose.
There are many other areas of their lives where they have the freedom to make choices. But so far, they have been content for Mom and Dad to make quite a few choices for them.
A few times, I've given the girls a choice about something, and they have AGONIZED about which "path" to choose. Sometimes, they have even shed tears over this. But I know that if they have the wisdom, knowledge, and maturity to make the decision, I won't intervene. A few times, I've had to drive away from the house, leaving a child safely behind, because she couldn't make a decision on her own about whether to come with me or stay home. But they're learning more about making decisions every day, and I'm thankful for that.
If they could just put off the "runaway" decision for another 8-9 years or so, that would be great! LOL.
Hi! I'm Julieanne!