So it’s no mystery to those that read my posts how I feel about individuals using guilt, shame, and fear to motivate, control, or manipulate others in their lives. You can read more about my thoughts on this topic by reading this post. No Shame… All Gain…
I have often pointed out to my wife and kids when I hear people attempting to use those tools. Whether it be from a pastor, family member, TV show, etc.
Recently my 14 (almost 15 as she will remind me) year old daughter has had a boy “snooping” around her. It’s not really all that uncommon as she grown into a beautiful young lady. Sometimes the deserving boys get some added attention and there are talks about this and that in our home.
Well the latest boy seemed to be something special and when I inquired about him I heard from various sources was that he’s a really good kid. When given the opportunity to meet the young man I had to agree; he was polite, well mannered, generally a nice kid!
Now the story thickens as the plot shifts! Something goes wrong in paradise. There is conflict! Hmmm… seems quite normal for any relationship (friends or otherwise). At some point during the conflict as teenagers and most adult will do this young man starts to use guilt to try to manipulate my daughter! Bad move on his part!
Much to my pleasure as she regaled her tale of triumph she didn’t bite, budge, or buckle! She stood her ground! And! When guilt was once again applied she strengthened her resolve!
Suffice it to say that there is less conversation between the two and there is an added vigilance of a wary father.
So what’s the point? Well… there are a couple.
If we teach our children what guilt, shame, and fear are they have a better chance of noticing it when it happens. (My daughter plainly said, “He tried to make me feel guilty when I shouldn’t).
If we as parents don’t use guilt, shame, and fear as parenting tools our children will understand better how to be in an adult type relationship.
Teaching our children (especially our daughters) about guilt, shame, and fear will lessen the likelihood of them being victimized by others (especially men/boys).
*For clarification sake let me say that the conversation was about dating. He was pressuring her to date him when she is not allowed to date yet.
Living in the Information Age where social networking rules and immediate gratification is the norm raising children has become increasingly difficult.
There are many more obstacles for both children and parents to maneuver. Technology certainly has brought new dynamics and tensions to the family system.
As our girls continue to grow we as parents are forced to deal with these issues. As parents we see one of our major responsibilities is to invite our children into adulthood. To join them as the grow, mature, and individuate themselves from us.
My wife and I cautiously give our daughters more room to explore and expand their world.
One of the most frightening environments for me as a parent to allow our daughters access to is the online world.
The reality is that it's a big, scary, messed up world that in many ways is putting our children in danger. The last I checked that average for exposure to porn is 11. In most cases it is accidental exposure while doing homework.
With dangers like this lurking within our doors what are parents to do.
It's been my experience that parents either overreact or under-react. I believe it is necessary for us as parents to fight to find a balance of appropriateness.
With that said here are some guidelines that we use with our girls.
Start small. Instagram then moving to Twitter and so forth. In my opinion Facebook is not a safe choice for young teens. Access. We have access to all of their accounts. Monitor. We routinely monitor her accounts and the content. We also monitor their texting and phone use. Others. We recruit the help of our friends and family. Normalize. If you start with these boundaries in place it's simply part of the normal routine.