Me? Change my mind? No way! Well, maybe. OK
No dating until age 16: My husband and I decided on this rule since before our daughter was born. And we almost made it. She was 15-and-one-third when she came home and told us a boy "asked her out." (Metro / September 21, 2012)
Last week a coworker livened up our staff meeting when she asked what we thought about 'kid-leashes.'
The person doing the asking was appalled by them. "They look terrible," she said. And I understood what she meant. There was a time when this was exactly my opinion. Of course, that was before I had children of my own.
The first time my husband and I wanted to take our curious 2-year-old to a crowded event, I think it was the county fair, my husband and I faced a tough choice: (1) Hang what people say/think about our parenting and rest in the peace a tether could provide ... or (2) stay home. We used the leash.
This got me thinking about other parenting decrees I had changed my mind about over the years and inspired the following list:
1. Spanking: When I was pregnant with my first child, I wasted no time pitching my tent in the "no spanking" camp. Common sense told me hitting was no way to tell a child they did wrong. A few frustrating experiences with a 2-year-old who doesn't understand common sense, however, had me packing and setting up camp elsewhere.
2. Too much TV: I was going to cuddle my baby and play with my baby and never use the TV as a babysitter. This was my stance until I found that if I turned on a Disney video and used a rolled-up receiving blanket to prop up the bottle, I could get so much done around the house.
3. Video games: I hated the idea of my kids sitting in front of a video game, mouths hung open, thumbs becoming callused. So I never bought them a PlayStation or X-Box, no matter how many of their friends had one. But when the Wii came out, I folded. Since it was an active video game system, I couldn't see why not. Never mind the fact my family now uses it to play sit-down games like Mario Kart and Skylander.
4. Social media: Back in the days when Facebook was young and it was all about MySpace, I swore my kids would not have a page or an account in the land of the World Wide Web. But when Facebook and its excellent privacy settings came into my scope, I checked it out for myself. Soon, I was reconnected with all my old high school pals. And since it was good for me, and the privacy settings were right, I felt better about the kids having their own accounts.
5. Breakwater jumping: It took a lot of begging on my kids' part to get me to relax this rule. Especially after the News-Review did some digging and found that the Petoskey Public Safety Department discourages the practice. Still here we are at the end of the summer and my husband himself has taken them 'jumping' at least half a dozen times. So far, only a scrape on my son's toe gave me reason for pause.
6. Dating before 16: My husband and I decided on this rule since before our daughter was born. And we almost made it. She was 15-and-one-third when she came home and told us a boy "asked her out." We said, "I guess he can come here and meet the family. That's not a 'date.' And we'll see what happens." What happened was, a few weeks later, they were dating. And we couldn't be more pleased. Sometimes an exception to the rule comes along, impresses you with his smarts and good upbringing, treats your daughter right, and calls for a change in mindset.
Renee Tanner is a News-Review page designer who has learned, finally, that one should never say never. She can be reached at email@example.com. Follow @ReneeTanner_pnr on Twitter.