Why I Say No, Even It If Makes Me An Uncool Mom

The world in which I’m raising my three kids sometimes feels as though it’s upside-down and I wonder if it’s just me who feels as though it’s incredibly difficult to provide my children with the tools they need to thrive in 2011 and beyond. Sometimes I’m concerned that because I insist that my kids demonstrate good manners, be kind to others, learn to be grateful and recognize that the world doesn’t revolve around them (this one’s very hard to accomplish), that I’m somehow hamstringing them as compared to their peers.

 

For example, my 10-year-old son laments that he’s the ONLY one of his friends who hasn’t seen the apocalyptic horror flick 2012 because I, irrationally, won’t let him see the movie about the world coming to an end, not yet anyway. My middle schoolers are among a minority of their peers who do not have cell phones because neither my husband nor I think they need one. (When the need genuinely arises, then we’ll talk.) The older two kids, almost 13, do have e-mail addresses, but my husband and I have their passwords and we’ve told them that we reserve the right to open and read their incoming and outgoing messages.

 

The three kids have chores (feeding, walking and picking up after our dog, bringing their dirty laundry down to the washing machine, vacuuming and tidying up the bathrooms). My daughter doesn’t wear the fashionable, fanny-revealing short-shorts of which so many of her peers are fond (not that my sporty gal’s pining for them anyway). And while I’ve already had discussions with the older two about sex and sexting and I always answer every question they ask me about touchy subjects like sex, drugs and alcohol, no matter how uncomfortable their inquiries may make me feel -- call me an uptight 1950s housefrau if you want, but I’m not buying into the notion that co-ed sleepovers are a good idea, like an essay in the New York Times recently suggested. And I still won’t even if “all” the kids in my middle schoolers’ social circles start having them and think they’re a grand idea.

 

Sometimes, making these decisions along with my husband - with whom I see eye-to-eye on the majority of our child-rearing tactics - leaves me questioning if I’m just an overly strict, overly protective, out-of-touch parent. When my daughter tells me that at one basketball event the girls with whom she was playing (except for her) whipped out their cell phones at lunch and began texting one another as opposed to conversing, when her twin brother says he feels like a nerd and fears I’m sabotaging his social cred because he feels obliged to tell a friend that he’s not allowed to play a super-violent video game “Call of Duty: Black Ops,” I start to question whether I’m doing well by the kids or not.