what we teach our children

By: ewhite422

Jul 14 2010

Category: Uncategorized

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I was very serious about rearing my children “well.”  We lived outside the US and traveled a lot, so I homeschooled them…which was really more like “hotel school.”  We traveled throughout Latin America, so I constantly took books and supplies with us.

We were part of a conservative Christian group.  We revered James Dobson.  And his book, Dare to Discipline, was right up there with the Bible in my approach to parenting. 

I’ve lived to question many things that I did in my youth and at this time in my life, if I taught my children anything, I can say I taught them how NOT to do some things.

Like the time that I was adamant that my daughter, Christi, could not have a Barbie doll.  Dobson, the psychologist, had warned that Barbies were bad for little girls because they taught them to have an unrealistic expectation of how they should look as young women.  I explained to my mother, when she planned to keep the children for a couple of weeks, that I did not want Christi to have a Barbie.

“Oh!” she said, “Having a Barbie never hurt YOU!”

“Really?”  I replied, thinking about the bulimia I had battled.  “Well, just do me a favor and don’t get her a Barbie.”  I did not know that she had already bought her one, with the Ken, and the Barbie convertible.

I found out when I took the children to stay with her.  We left for South America for 2 weeks, and when I returned I talked to my daughter by phone on the way to pick her up.

“Mommy, I really like playing with the Barbie.  Can I take her back with us to Mexico?”  she asked.

“No, Sweetheart, you know that I think the Barbie is too grown up for your age,”  I explained.  I think she was about 6 years old at the time.

We traveled back to Mexico, leaving the Barbie behind, and a few months later, my husband and I had to be away from the children again for a weekend, so while we were gone, I bought gifts for them.  I bought Josh a truck and some little red plastic high heel sandals for Christi, the kind that all the girls when I was a child used to play “grownup” with.

The children were happy with their gifts, until the next day, when all of my sudden my bedroom door flew open, waking me from a nap, and there was my daughter with the toy high heels dangling from her little fingers.  Her “professor” glasses were low down on her nose, and she peered at me over them, “Mommy!”  she demanded, “If you didn’t want me to play with big girl things like the Barbie, WHY did you buy me these high heels?”

I was speechless.  I had no defense.  She got me!

She ended up having several Barbies after that.

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