Saturday, June 4, 2011

You have GOT to be kidding me!

With Hubby being a youth pastor, I have a contingent of teen friends on Facebook, most of them kids from our last youth group.

I still try to be a positive influence in their lives, even though we're not actively involved in their lives on a regular basis.

Now, on a seemingly totally different note, Hubby and I decided, long ago, that, when we had our own children, we would not strive to be their friends.  We would be their parents, which would probably go against the whole friend-mentality more than it would flow with it.  But kids need parents, not friends, especially as they grow older.  And, as we've interacted with kids over the years--and many of them came from broken homes--we noticed the disturbing trend of divorced parents to strive to be their kids' best friend during custodial periods, rather than the parent.  Friends are nice and will let you get away with stuff that parents normally won't.  When one parent subscribed to the "buddy" mentality and the other didn't, it was the parent who was, well, parental who caught most of the flack from the kids.  (And, occasionally, the former/estranged spouse.)  And it caused severe strain on the parent trying to actually parent, not to mention the kids.  The cases where both parents tried to be their kids' best friends left these poor young teens churning in waters with no direction.  A recipe for disaster, in my opinion.

That's not to say that all children of divorced parents have such issues.  There are divorced parents who work hard to present a united front to their children, to be their kids' parents even when the parent decision is a whole lot less popular than the friend decision.  I commend them.  It's hard.  There's undoubtedly a reason behind the divorce, and clearly, these estranged spouses are not each other's best friends.  But at least they are trying to do right by their kids.  Sadly, from what I've seen, these types of divorced parents are in the minority.

Of course, there are those parents who are still married who try to espouse the total-friend philosophy of parenthood.  The results are very much the same: if one parent tries to be parental when the other is going the all-out buddy route, it stresses the fabric of the family.  If both do that, the kids are again rudderless, because they aren't being provided any kind of consistent direction.

Soap-boxing aside for the moment...

I noticed the status of one of our former teens this afternoon.  She's 14.  Her status informed her Facebook world that she got her bellybutton pierced today...and that her parents aren't happy.  Another friend immediately commented that she wanted to see pictures.  My young friend said she already took some, and that her parents took her to get the piercing done.  But they aren't happy.

They. Took. Her.

That means they consented to a piercing on a minor, paid for it, and let her do it.

But they're apparently angry that she got it done.

Why on earth did these parents not say NO?!

To me, the math is simple: two parents against the idea that one kid wants something equals kid does not get what kid wants.  Even one parent saying no cancels out what one kid (or more) wants.

That's in my house, though.

I personally think that the parents have no real right to be upset, because they agreed to and paid for this.  If they aren't happy she had it done, it's their own dumb fault...because they let her.

Maybe I'm old-fashioned.  But, quite honestly, my young friend is 14.  There's no need for her to have a bellybutton piercing now.  She doesn't need to feel "sexy."  She's 14!  In my opinion, fourteen-year-olds have no business trying to look sexy.  And it's not going to kill her to wait until she's 18 and can legally consent to a piercing as an adult before she pierces her bellybutton.

Her parents should have been parents...not her friends.

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