Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Peer Pressure at 4? Oh My!

Saturday we attended a birthday party where there was a trampoline. Although I grew up with one in my backyard, my husband's years of trauma/ER call have led us to a rule that our children are only allowed to jump on a trampoline one at a time. The children are aware of our stance, but this party was only the second time I have ever had to reinforce the decision in a group/peer situation.

As I watched their faces as their friends were giggling and bouncing, I got a glimpse of just how difficult parenting amidst peer pressure can/will be. I honestly felt mean and overprotective as I watched my children (the ONLY ones with this rule) sidelined and left out of the action.

I tried to be low key about it all and help the children find another activity to enjoy. I felt awkward in front of the other parents because I did not want them to think I was judging their decision to allow their children to use the trampoline. (I am certain that there are things I allow and they don't. Goodness knows, we are all just doing our best.)

Then sneaky P seized a moment when I was distracted with a sibling to climb on with a group of his friends. Even as I called his name and asked him to get down he proceeded in his disobedience. I had to walk over to the trampoline to remove him. Thankfully, he was cooperative and I did not have to climb in and drag him out mid-fit!

Because of his outright disobedience, I escorted him to a corner of the deck for time out. "But, Mom," P cried, "why do all the other Moms let their kids do it and we can't?"
There were 6-8 other Moms on the deck all watching (and listening) to the whole scene.

"I am sorry, buddy. Different Mommies have different rules."

UGGGHH!!! I know this is only the beginning...and it makes me tired.


dawn said...

You did the absolute right thing. Sometimes it is tough to take a stand, but if you do it while they are little, they will take stands when they are older.

You are right, though, we are all just doing the best we can.

Jacquie said...

I just recently found your blog... so I hope you don't mind me commenting.

I have two grown sons now (21 and 19) and found that there were some tough decisions I had to make early on while they were young. Such as, sports. Where we live soccer is big on Sundays and you have to travel for several hours most times to games... so we would be out of church most weekends. So, we made the decision to not play "traveling soccer". There were years that baseball practices were scheduled at 6 PM on Wednesday evenings... so I politely told the coach my children would be there at 6, but at 6:50, we would be leaving because we attend church. They usually were pretty understanding. My kids learned early on what our priorities were. There were occasional tournament games on Wednesday nights... and we made the exception since it was very rare.

We also didn't let our kids do the boy/girl dances that got popular in early middle school. I ended up having the reputation of being the "mean mom", but my sons will tell you now that we made the right decisions for them when they couldn't.

You can't go wrong when you always go with what you believe is right. God'll bless you in the process!

Unknown said...

Standing firm in your decisions at the young age really does pay now 7 year old voluntarily obey's our family rules even when i am not around.

Those younger years were hard to explain especially without offending the other parents, but the outcome is worth it.

You handled the situation beautifully!

HW said...

Good for you.

With our teenage daughter it is the bikini. We don't allow them and she will remind us of ALL the girls who get to wear them. Like you, I don't want to appear judgmental of the other parents, but it is our rule and we must stick with it. One day we got tired of all the talks about modesty and purity and my husband said "honey, I was a 14-year-old boy once; when they see a girl in a bikini they are not thinking about how pretty your eyes are," because I told him he needed to go lay it on the line for her. She's given up the battle.

Way to hang tough. I think other parents actually admire someone who will stand firm and maybe find the assertiveness to do the same when they are waffling on something.

Oh, and we never allowed our children to play "dizzy izzy" the head on the bat - spin around - then run game, because my brother was very seriously injured playing that in high school. Talk about being the odd man out at camp - no dizzy izzy for the W kids.

lucinda said...

My Best friend from High School broke her arm after falling off a trampoline when we were in 7th grade. The only good thing to come out it, in my opinion, was that we became friends because I let her share my top locker so it would be easier for her. We've been great friends since. However, because of my experience with her I won't let Will jump on a trampoline at all. Talk about feeling like the mean mom!

Kelly said...

Bless your heart- it is so hard to enforce your family's rules publicly without appearing to judge the other moms. Oh my, what a minefield this mothering thing is... we always seem to need to tiptoe around something.

Good for you for sticking to your decision- your children will soon learn to respect what you say, and obey in your presence or alone. (But it really never does get any easier!)

k and c's mom said...

I think the way you said it to them ("Different Mommies have different rules") is the perfect balance and will "play" in any situation. My children are grown, but let me assure you along the journey you meet Mommies who have NO rules, Mommies who don't play by the ACCEPTED rules and Mommies who want the rules stretched/broken for their children. Stay the course. Stay the course. Train them up in the way they should go and when they are older they will not depart from the path...

Smileyface said...

i think you are my new hero ;)

Your blog always blesses me...thank you for allowing God to use you to pour into others.

Matt and Amy Snow said...

Good for you girl! It IS so tough to be the odd man (or family :) ) out. None of my other friends have this policy and some don't understand my reasoning. I just try to reassure myself that it is MY responsibility is to protect my children, and its OK to do things differently. Hopefully my kiddos are getting a taste of being OK with being different, too.

We have an absolutely "no trampoline" rule except for at gymnastics. This seems to make it a little easier b/c I don't worry about others climbing in and joining. Also helps with discussions when they see a trampoline/opportunity to jump.
This has been a great reminder for me not to be "weird" when other people have rules different than ours. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I am so glad I found your blog recently!! I am feeling the same way right now with my 7yr old DD. She has a friend who behaves and talks much older than her age and my DD wants to "be like her" (ie wears string bikinis, revealing clothes, talks about boys, etc...) We are having lots of talks about how important it is to be appropriate and how God wants/expects us to live our life. It has definitely not been an easy summer here. Thanks to you and all your previous commentors for reminding me I'm not alone!! Blessings and Hugs!!

Katy said...

I have been following your blog for awhile and enjoy it.

It's awkward to reinforce your stance but after a few times, the kids will know the rule and they won't test you on it anymore!

Stand firm and they will follow.


Perri said...

My kids have jumped on one 4 times. It has resulted in one black eye, one leg cast and 8 stitches in a lip.

Each injury was a different time - different child.

We do NOT do trampolines, no matter what.

Love Being A Nonny said...

Jenn Mom,

Mine are grown, but for us it was R rated movies. According to them, they were the ONLY ones who couldn't watch them...even at 14. My sister said once *If the movie industry says you should be 17, you should probably be 45*!!! Agreed!! Our rule paid off though...they called me from sleepovers to ask if they could see certain movies. Stand firm. Your rules may end up being blessings. That's what I call rules...blessings!!!

D said...

Your right, it's just the beginning. I've worked for an ortho.surgeon for years. And nothing pays the bills like a trampoline, a scooter or those new wheelie things! I could tell you horror stories about trampolines. But I'm sure your hubby has plenty. Stick to your guns, it's the only way you'll survive. :)

Sunshine said...

I got an email this morning from a sweet friend of mine that I needed to come and read this! I find myself in the midst of this very thing - not the same issues - but not only has my oldest daughter tested me but her friends' moms have questioned me in front of my girls. Thank you for sharing this - it helped reassure me and remind me to stay the course to which God has called us. I believe, after reading your post and fellow commenters, that it is important to stay the course. Sunshine

Beloved of the Lord said...

This is so encouraging. Thanks for sticking to your guns, I hope to make the same choice next time I'm up against the same pressure.

Christa said...

I understand how you feel. My kids have friends from church whose parents allow them to watch a wider assortment of shows on TV than our kids do. At their hose recently, the mom suggested a movie that we wouldn't allow. Thankfully my husband spoke up and said, "How 'bout..." something else. The mom got the idea right away and changed directions. I hate telling the kids no when other parents say yes, but I want to be consistent. We've started the whole "others do things differently, but we..." idea. It's rough and my oldest is only five!

Elyse said...

Stick to your rules! Although I do not have kids since I am in college, I understand that different parents have different rules!

Hang in there!

OhMyTwins said...

You did the right thing! I've encountered similar situations w/ my duo. One item in particular is addressing adults by Mr/Mrs Last Name. Some schoolmates' parents accept the children calling them by their first name whereas we do not. The former teacher in me feels that a formal address is respectful. The children have already asked about this in certain settings. I love your comment about the diff. mommies and diff. rules-----I may use that! Thanks!

Kim said...

We grew up with a trampoline and friends and neighbors would always come over to play on it, and I can't even tell you how many accidents we many times we almost ended up in the emergency room. To this day, I see groups of children on trampolines and I cringe. I'll never allow it. I can only imagine how hard that was for you, but I think you handled yourself beautifully.

Mindy said...

This made me cringe because I feel like I have these sorts of circumstances all of the time about different things.
BUT - way to go for you for standing up for your rules!

Kelly @ Love Well said...

I truly think consistency is one of the most simple yet most difficult aspects of parenting.

Way to go for sticking to your guns, even in the tough moment.

R said...

thank you for sharing this! you reminded me to stand strong in me and my husband's convictions about how we raise our children.

it's an interesting adventure, this mothering thing...who knew i'd still have to utilize my pre-mommy PR skills outside of the corporate world! :0)

casey said...

Way to go! I was sitting on the deck behind you when you had to go get P and I heard what you said. What a great way to put it. Never doubt the rules you make for your kids. They will be stronger for it!

KLS PP PLS said...

It's hard in these situations, so when we're around other families, I try to be sensitive to their rules (because I am sometimes the more lenient Mom). If my daughter's friends aren't allowed to do something, I won't let my daughter do it in front of them. That way, there isn't any peer pressure. I know that is just making it easy on them now and harder on them later, but I hate for any child to feel left out.

Amy-neighbor said...

I am so proud of you and sticking to your guns - not only was it tempting to P, but it was tempting for you to cave in to that as well....we all have our things, you know ours isn't a trampoline b/c we have one, although we do have some rules and boundaries with it. It just hasn't ever been my "mountain to climb" with them, our "mountain, battle" is fun shows on TV that aren't age/content appropriate - and also the fun new gadgets that all the "buddies" and especially our cousin is getting - we have to constantly explain why we cannot just go out and buy something b/c we want it right then. They will ask - "Let's just go buy it now!" Although my desire is to give them fun, new, even educational things, it isn't always the best thing at the time. When we come home from a weekend or a visit with family or friends - the kids are comparing their "toys" with what we have. My how it starts early.
We all have our issues that we have to stand firm on, but you do just that.
Even if you don't personally think it is a big deal - your husband obviously does and it is a lesson in honor, respect, and submission!
Great job!
Although, selfishly I do wish they could play on our with the kids - but we will just have to take turns! I really admire your determination!
Remember - they cry now, or you cry later when they are 16!

Kether said...

Oh do I understand!
I was at a three year old birthday party with my three year old son the other day and the child received one of those motorized cars that one can drive....I was shocked. And my husband and I have always firmly felt that those are not safe (I have seen enough America's funniest videos to know that that never ends well). People were suprised when I both did not want my son to drive it, be a passenger, or even be near when other children (aged 4 and under) were driving this monsterously big jeep around. Sure enough, the kids steered straight into the tables full force slightly hurting a couple kids. Most of the adults laughed it off...
It was hard to stand my ground, and I even faltered a little and wasn't proud of how I handled it. You did VERY well and I'm going to use that "different mommies different rules" a lot in the future, I'm sure.