Friday, March 17, 2006

We could learn a lot from crayons...

We could learn a lot from crayons... Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names, and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box . Since this is a baby book of sorts, I thought I would post this email exchange that happened back in January so I don’t ever forget that it would be a boring world if everyone had the same philosophy on parenting and life in general.

The first is an email we received from a concerned parent in Hayden’s room. The second and third are the initial response from Jeff and I. We managed to avoid the email debate that followed between the parents, and vent amongst ourselves, but note that Hayden continues to have cereal as an after school snack.

Concerned Parent:
Fellow Parents:I have a concern that I would like to share with you, as well as suggested resolutions. Please do not interpret anything in this note to be a critcism of Ms. Ashley or Mr. Joe, or anyone's parenting style/choices. As you probably know, on most days, the teachers offer the children treats on their way home. My concerns about this practice are three-fold:(1) the snacks are sometimes not nutritious (sometimes they are)(2) they can lead to messes(3) they can interfere with the child's appetite for dinnerThis issue is becoming a problem for my family. Right now, I have a car that has a very funky smell; I assume that it is due to one of the frequent spills in the car. I also have a reluctant dinner-time eater -- frankly, Mom's green beans cannot compete with multi-colored cereal in a two-year-old's eyes! I wish that this problem could be resolved as easily as my telling my daughter that we are not taking the treat. Unfortunately, when she sees other children enjoying the snack, she gets sad that she cannot have it. We've had several minutes of tears over this issue on Friday. We live very close to the Home Office. I realize that some families have a significant commute, so I can easily see how a treat could make sense. Some families also do not have our family history of diabetes and obesity. My point is that I realize that people can see this issue in different ways. Here are some suggested solutions:(a) Parents can provide their own going-home treats in their car (b) The treats can be stored some place other than room 16 (perhaps room 15?)I appreciate your feedback. I hope that we come up with a resolution.Thanks.

Jeff’s Response:
Dear All,

I am extremely concerned about the way my 2 year-old, Hayden, speaks to me sometimes. He can be down-right disrespectful at times. Sometimes he says no when I tell him to do something and sometimes he goes so far as to throw a temper tantrum. I blame this on the fact that some of the parents let their children push them out of the room in the morning. This might seem harmless to some of you but this action tells the children that they are the ones in charge.

Some of you are saying that this is normal since he is a 2 year-old, but you don't live in family's where misbehaving is a huge issue. When I was younger, I spent 2 days in lunch detention over throwing food in the sixth grade and I don't want little Hayden to have to face these types of horrible punishments that could have been prevented.

...GET REAL. Do I need to call her mom and tell her that she is the parent and decides if her child is allowed to eat cereal, not the other way around. What is she going to do when her daughter is in high school and has a car and has the ability to drive to McDonalds on her own. I guess we better enjoy McDonalds now because I have a feeling that it will be shut down in about 14 years after her mom calls McDonalds corporate head quarters to say that she doesn't want her daughter to get fat and it is McDonald's fault.

My Response:
Dear All,

Please do not interpret anything in this note to be a parental criticism.
Now that Hayden has turned 16 and is starting to drive, curfew is a major concern in our household. My husband and I have set his curfew at 10 p.m. because we feel that time allows him enough independence but also gives him time to do his homework, chores, etc. As you probably know, on most days, many of his friends (your kids) get home much later than this. My concerns about this practice are three-fold:

1) Because of this, Hayden is not happy with our 10:00 p.m. curfew and constantly argues with us.
2) I know many of you feel like 11:00 p.m. (the city-wide curfew) is not too late for your kids, but for Hayden it is, because he is not a morning person. When Hayden stays out late, he has a harder time the next morning getting to school on time. He already has the maximum tardies this semester.
3) Some of your kids may even have jobs that require they be out that late. Fortunately, Hayden does not.

What I am proposing is that you set a curfew of 10:00 for your kids as well, so that Hayden will stop arguing with us on this subject. If your child works, maybe he/she could get a job somewhere that closes earlier so that they can get home by Hayden’s curfew.

I hope that we come up with a resolution. Thanks for your feedback.

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