Parenting Peer Pressure

I thought I was done with peer pressure when I left high school. Then I thought I'd be done with peer pressure when I got married. After that I thought I'd be done with peer pressure when I had kids.

I have been proven wrong over and over again.

Now it's parent peer pressure.

To many of our conservative friends we are very lax. We don't censor music or books, but do discuss them with the kids. We try to keep movies and television to "age appropriate" levels, though admittedly the younger kids tend to get bumped up sooner than the first child did. (Disclaimer: We all watched The Kings Speech, rated R, last night) We try to judge each situation individually. We send our kids to public school.

To our more liberal friends we are very strict. Our kids have to tell us what movie they are going to see and we have been known to say no. (Okay, not our 18 year old anymore). They must answer the "who, what, where, when, and why" for any activity they ask to do. I won't let my 11 year old have a Facebook account, even though several of her same age friends got one this year. In fact, I just let her get an email account this past year. These friends think our children are sheltered and restricted.

What brings this to mind today? My daughter. My husband and I just finished (a month ago or so) watching the entire series of LOST on Netflix streaming. Our sons watched it too (one finished it, one quit). Our daughter then asked if she could watch it. We told her no, we just didn't think it appropriate. Searching for something she could watch beyond Disney (which has its own issues), I settled on "Beauty and the Beast", a great 80's show I used to watch, which she does enjoy. Then she asked if she could watch GLEE. She loves music and apparently lots of her friends watch it (she also hasn't watched American Idol, though that's been more of a bedtime issue). I had not watched GLEE, but know tons of people who do. So yesterday she asked again. Dad was taking a nap so I told her we would try it.  Hmmm . . . the music was great and the appeal was a bit like the High School Musical movies (which she and I both love). But I worry that the issues already raised will be more than I want to expose her to at this age. For now I've told her we will watch the show, but only together. I want to see exactly what issues are raised and how they are dealt with. It might be a short experiment.

Let your kids do this, don't let your kids do that. Let your kids wear whatever they want, don't let your kids see that. You should only let your kids listen to christian music, you should let your kids live a little. The voices are many, peer pressure lives on. I am glad my faith (and my husband) gives me strength to listen to MY voice in making decisions. They may not always be right, but they are mine.

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