One thing I have learned, in the past 4 decades… the more black and white the system or a person wants to make something, the more gray and full of nuances it probably is. There are no easy answers. There is not a right and a wrong. It is life – it is messy and it doesn’t always conform to the lines that we draw no matter how much we wish it would.
“You don’t allow your child to go into a house or spend time with people with whom you are uncomfortable?” he asks from his comfortable chair across the room.
As parents, we don’t do this. Before our kids attend play dates or visit the homes or families of friends, we often talk with the parents, or when they are younger, we attend the play date too. If we are not comfortable, we deny the play date. We don’t allow our kids to be in situations that don’t sit well with our intuitive sides just as we, as adults, avoid situations that tingle our spider senses or “don’t feel right.”
What happens when the house is uncomfortable, the situation doesn’t sit well, and the trust isn’t there… and yet, the child is supposed to visit? To stay the night? To spend hours in a situation that is not comfortable for either the child or the parent?
“Are you concerned about physical abuse?” another asks.
Physical abuse is not the concern. Emotional abuse, manipulation, mind games… yes, all of these are possible… and does a child know how to deal with such a situation?
“We can’t protect our kids from everything.”
Part of parenting, a huge part of parenting is letting go and allowing our kids to live their lives and spread their wings. At what age do we feel comfortable forcing this to happen over allowing its natural progression? Do we send them into the situation that doesn’t feel right in order for them to do this and trust that they are going to be okay even though the situation itself is not okay; the situation is one that adults would not choose to enter themselves?