My five year old boy and I are already mixing it up, as I try to get toys off the dinner table or ask him to put the lego down and brush his teeth. He’s now yelling back at me, “You’re not the boss of me! You’re the boss of yourself!” I’ve had to tell him I will be the boss of him for at least a few more years, but I’m also trying to figure out how to negotiate this power battle. He probably already knows I have a weak spot – I hate it when he says I “always” yell at him. Of course, I don’t. But I do worry that that will either be a big memory for him, or a childhood leitmotif.
My nine year old daughter asked me, “What does it mean to be a ‘friend with benefits’?'” Great question and so glad you asked me! My mind raced as I tried to be truthful yet not divulge more than a nine-year old needs to know. I replied, “I think it’s when you have a friend who also kisses you.” Not a brilliant answer, but it was enough for her. Unfortunately, we soon learned that she had read this reference in a book she had gotten at the library. The book, which she found in the kids’ section, and which came from the children’s department of a major publisher went clearly a lot farther than we would want. We consider ourselves involved, watchful parents, but I’m always amazed at the stuff that sneaks in when you’re only half aware. No damage done this time, but we are hyper aware now of the dangers that lurk. Friends of ours related how their daughter (same age) had gone to a friends house, and while the parents were in the other room, they had taken a walk through the seedier ares of the internet. That is not how I want my children to find out about the birds and the bees, but even less, I do not want to be the parent who has to call another parent and tell what happened. All of our computers are password protected and the kids can only go to sites we have approved.
On a funnier note, my daughter, who loves poetry, asked me how you get a “poetic license.” When she found out it was something you “use” rather than apply for, we both had a good laugh.