Wednesday, September 23, 2009

To Be (Naive) or Not to Be (Naive)...That is the real question

As a parent I find myself often reflecting on my own experiences and trying to decide if I should do it the way it was done with me, or if I should be more or less conservative. I already know that I'm much more liberal than my own mother, which doesn't make her right or wrong, it just makes us different.

Raising Chloe, I debate often about whether to be reserved with her on somewhat "taboo" topics, or whether to be the one to feed her the honest, gory truth, knowing she's going to find it one way or another.

I could tell you a million embarrassing stories about how naive I was as a child and pre-teen. I won't embarrass myself (or you) too much, but this is something I have been contemplating lately.

I distinctly remember my first high school dance. I was a freshman. I was quite intimidated by the seniors there. I was worried they'd laugh at us or make fun of us. I was wrong. They were absorbed in their own adventures. I looked over during one of the up-beat songs and saw a couple of juniors dirty dancing. As you know, I didn't watch the movie until later on, so I had NEVER seen this before! I stared at them in the dark, and I wondered what had happened to these guys since they left our middle school!

I recall sitting at Lindsey's dining room table with her, trying to get the courage to ask her mom what a certain word (that I won't publish) meant. It wasn't in the dictionary, we'd already checked. When we finally had the nerve to ask her, she told us, without ever changing her tone, exactly what we wanted to know.

In a way I want Chloe to be that girl at the dance. I wouldn't mind if she couldn't figure out why B.J. gets made fun of. I'd be ok if she was one of the few who listened intently as her 6th grade teacher explained the birds and the bees and she'd never heard of such a thing.

What I'm not ok with, though, is her being laughed at for having a squiggle pen that vibrates when it writes, and not knowing why she's the butt of a joke. I'm not ok with her learning street terms and their definitions from the class slut in the 8th grade. I'm not ok with her being pressured and asked if she knows what so-and-so is and then laughed at, only to Google it when she gets home.

For now, I find my approach a little more liberal than my own mom's. Chloe knows the proper terms for male and female anatomy, and she knows where babies come from, although HOW they get in the tummy is still God's doing.

It's scary raising a little girl. I want to impress strong morals and values on her. I want her to make good choices with her life. I want her to avoid compromising situations, but I also want her to be aware. I want her to know the dangers, I want her to hold her own. I want her to "get" the jokes, and then be the one to say, "You guys are disgusting. Get a life."

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