Parenting for the Real World

Second of three from Gus:
I parent this way: I’d rather teach knife safety than pretend that knives don’t exist and admonish my son from ever touching one. Same would go for firearms, if I could own any. Teaching proper safety keeps kids safe. Pretending dangers don’t exist, or forbidding kids from touching something that might be dangerous only piques the curiosity of many.
Boys like dangerous things, and love to play war with fake knives and fake guns. Its not a far leap to the real thing if they’re around. This is partly how you get kids shooting each other by accident. They are playing with something that isn’t a toy because they were never taught how to respect the danger of dangerous things.
Not in this house.
Same goes for alcohol. I think parents that hide their wine and liquor bottles only make it a fun game for the kids to find it. And when they do, many times they try it for themselves, because it’s forbidden. Unless a parent is a recovering alcoholic, or the kiddos are genetically predisposed to alcoholism (from family history, etc.), having alcohol in the house is pretty common. Hiding things from the kids only breeds curiosity and secret behavior that will fester and cause trouble later.
I’m not afraid to have a beer on the 4th of July in front of the kids. No, they can’t have a sip, but I don’t pretend like adult life doesn’t involve beer, either.
I face danger and harsh realities head on with the kids, because the real world isn’t made of cotton and foam. We don’t use knives for fun because knives are dangerous. However, even in my kitchen, my son hands me a cutting knife handle-first (his palm covering the blade) so I don’t cut myself or an unseen, playful little sister doesn’t accidentally run into it.
Makes me proud every time he does it.
Next: Laws Aimed at ‘Protecting Children’ Drive 15-Year-Old to Suicide

Meet Our Writers: Introducing ‘Eddie Sidgeweck’

FACTS / NU wants to do a better job of engaging the readers of this blog and our other materials. To that end, we have assembled a number of registrants or registrants’ family members who will contribute under pen names. Here’s the second of our writers:
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From “Eddie Sidgeweck”:

Like Gus, Eddie Sidgeweck is a pen-name. I will post my own thoughts to this blog on topics that apply to former offenders like me, as well as those who might not be so much like me.

I am a parent who is trying to rebuild a life, make a living and be a good citizen. I took full responsibility for my offense, completed my sentence with no additional offenses and I am moving on. I excuse neither myself nor any other offender. I also believe that once an offender has completed a sentence that it is time for the punishment to end. Has to do with a novel legal concept called ex post facto that Nebraska lawmakers have decided just does not apply to former sex offenders.

If you are reading this, you know that Nebraska law makes it nearly impossible for you to move on. You know that Nebraska law not only punishes you for life, but it does the same to your family members, friends and work colleagues. My posts will be aimed at showing that you are not alone in this, and that we can move on no matter how tough it seems.

Overreaction is the New Norm

Or, How Nobody has any Common Sense Anymore

First of Three from “Gus”:

It’s a sad fact that nobody who works with children can take a joke these days. In the realm of educators and the administration of schooling, grown-ups need to have a love for that line of work and a  ton of understanding. Why? Because kids do dumb things.
When a kid does something patently dumb, it’s the job of parents (primarily) and school employees to use dumb decisions as a teaching opportunity. At least, it used to be.  In 2013 America the idea that shaping children into responsible adults (in an environment where mistakes are identified, corrected, and punished appropriately), is almost gone.
Take for instance three middle-school boys from Millard, a suburb of Omaha. They wanted to go outside and hang out and play war with their Airsoft guns. The fact that these boys wanted to be out in the fresh air, getting some entertaining exercise, should seem like a win, right? Problem was: they decided their battle ground would be their neighborhood elementary school yard.
Since it was 6:30 p.m., the young kids were out of school. This didn’t matter. School district policy was to expel these boys, because it treats Airsoft guns, Paintball guns, and lethal firearms the exact same way.
If you don’t know what Airsoft guns are, they are toy guns that shoot small spherical plastic pellets which sting a tad, but don’t really hurt. However, because they hurl things at a relatively high velocity through the air, and are shaped like real firearms, purchasers of these toys must be 18+ at Walmart.
My son wanted one last year. Instead of turning him down flat, I did it this way: he supplied all the money for the toy. Then he had to shoot me with it before he was allowed to play war with his friends using it. That’s right, he shot me with his Airsoft gun from about 4 feet away. No welt, bruise, or mark of any kind. 

Next: Parenting for the Real World