Sunday, May 22, 2005

Raising Moral Kids

The previous entry got me thinking, naturally about my own kids, who are both teenagers now, and how you raise kids with good family values. And, I don't know how I did it, but both of my kids have pretty good values. My son rejects religion, but is as straight-laced morally as the strictest religious conservative could desire. This is a kid who would only go to lunch with Grandma on the condition that she not take him to the restaurant at the casino -- because he disapproves of gambling. His main concern about sex is that he doesn't want to give way to temptation. My daughter is a bit more of a rebel, and certainly more curious about sex, but she's in no big hurry either. Once she was watching one of those godawful daytime shows where families air their dirty laundry for fifteen minutes of fame. I was just about to insist she turn the channel when she says "Mom, that girl is really mean to her mother -- and her mother loves her!" She was in tears about it. (The girl on t.v. was openly and deliberately trying to get pregnant.) Tory also has a very solid sense of self, and isn't likely to be pushed around by some guy. She told me once that she wanted to marry a nerd, so she could push him around!

Now, I know that some folks will think "Ah, but you don't really know what your kids are doing behind your back". Oh, yes I do -- 'cause I'm around and I pay attention. All that's been happening so far are giggling talk about some 7th grade cutie in Tory's case, and unrequited longing in Trevor's case. I'm not even getting phone calls from boyfriends or girlfriends, much less ever met one.

Now, this didn't happen because I've given my kids stern lectures about the value of chastity, and I absolutely disapprove of the scare tactics popular among the Christian right. I answer questions, and tell it like it is as best I can. The closest I came to giving a lecture to my daughter was I used an example of one of her friends, who was in a bad family mess, and I said "Your dad and I have given you a home with two parents who love each other, and who love you. If you have a child before getting married, that baby won't grow up with that."

I think example, and that atmosphere a child is raised in has more to do with their moral viewpoint than any kind of lecture.

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