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Five Sound Parenting Practices that are Completely Lost on My Boys

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pin it.

1. Not allowing pretend weapons.

We would like to think we are a peace-loving family.  When we started out, we piously said that we would never allow for violence or weapons in our house. Then we had three boys in less than three years. We quickly learned that foam swords hurt less to be hit with than sticks. Because here’s the secret, folks: boys seem to have weaponry in their genes. If you don’t give them a pretend armory, they’ll fashion their own. And while I like to encourage my boys’ creativity, I’m not sure that I want to purposefully prepare them for a future of crafting shivs in prison.

 

2. Vegetables

We have recently converted our boys’ diet from processed-only to one that is colorful and daytime-television-doctor approved.  My husband and I have high-fived each other while simultaneously patting our own backs for being such responsible parents. What came after was something we could not prepare ourselves for: the gas. Not only is it epic in proportion, but they AIM IT AT US. Yes, because not only are boys super stinky, but they are also foul, foul creatures.

 

3. Limiting Screen Time.

The TV. This is one I never even tried to be a good parent about.  I swear from the time my boys were able to roam freely, I’ve done all that I could to encourage them to just sit for a minute. Watch something. Because no matter how messy that crazy Goofy can get on TV, it’s not a dumped-out 10-pound bag of flour in my living room.

The same goes for video games. I have never ONCE had to clean up the unused pieces of a Minecraft game. But the Legos? They’re everywhere.  Just when you think that you’ve picked up every last piece and hidden them safely in the crawlspace, you find one the only way a mom knows how: by stepping on it in the middle of the night. Swearing so loudly that your children wake up isn’t great parenting, either.

 

4. Buying them good, sturdy shoes

Winter is a splendor of lovely smells. A log, crackling in the fireplace, hot chocolate on the stove, and feet. Winter always smells like feet in my house. Because I buy my boys good, sturdy shoes that eventually get wet, get dry, get sweat in, get dry and REEK. This process happens in a matter of days and should be studied and harnessed for biological warfare.

 

5. Appropriate Safety Measures

We bought a trampoline. Being good parents, we bought the one with the big bulky padding that is enclosed in netting. Our boys took one look at it and thought, “Cage Match.”  They learned that they could bounce off the sides of the netting in an effort to body-slam their opponents. You know what happened the first time they went on a trampoline that didn’t have the same safety measures? Jumped right off the thing.

Proper safety in sports is crucial, but it also makes for some poor choices. Like buying your son a cup for peewee football, only to find them “testing it out” in the backyard.  Or bundling your child up in knee, elbow, and wrist pads to learn how to skateboard. It restricts mobility while at the same time making them feel invincible. A deadly combination in boys.

Helmets are good. Children should always wear helmets. Okay, not always. One time my four-year-old decided to wear a motorcycle helmet when we went downtown.  Choosing to encourage his originality, (*read: too tired to fight him) I let him wear it as he played around the fountains. The problem is, the helmet made him top heavy, so as he went to jump off the wall by the fountain, he nosedived.  I guess I should be grateful he had it on, because it prevented a serious head injury…

helmet boy
the before picture…

 

26 thoughts on “Five Sound Parenting Practices that are Completely Lost on My Boys

  1. OMG the weapons thing! Yes! The number of fruitless hours that I’ve spent over the years trying to dissuade my boys from wanting to make or use pretend weapons… only to have them spend every waking minute inventing ways to build them in Minecraft. I officially give up. Awesome post, Lex.

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  2. Yep. Just buy the Nerf guns. Mine gnawed a chicken finger into a weapon at dinner one night. He was about 4. He had not been exposed to violence at all. Totally an innate thing with boys.

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  3. I got two boys in less then two yrs I agree with EVERY one of ur points and I dont know if u know but the gold bond foot powder helps the foot smell Love the blog!

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  4. I’m assuming you saw the news story yesterday about the boy pretending to save the world with a pretend grenade? Like…you know…invisible? And he hurled it into a mass of evil-doers who were also…you know…invisible…and got suspended. What. The. Fuck.

    The television parents both of my children. I feel like my biggest job is doing my best to keep the channel on the show that will best parent them. Barney is a good parent…Archer is not…

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    1. Neither is Caillou, unless you’re one of those “I want my child to be a whiny brat” parents.

      Peyton keeps hoping that we’ll let him stay home alone and that some robbers will come because he will TAKE THEM DOWN!

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    2. I grew up with brothers. I had no illusions there. What somehow came as a surprise was the enthusiasm and frequency of my little princesses flatulence. My daughter is stinkier than my son, and giggles whenever she farts. I think she takes after me. Oops.

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    3. I saw that story too Jim and I was terrified for my kids. They play good guy/bad guys ALL the time and they want to be superheroes like Batman and save the world. Batman uses weapons. So it follows that they do too. I can totally see it happening at school and them getting in trouble. But since my boys don’t listen to me, I don’t know what to do 🙂

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  5. Cracking up at this! I have three boys and agree with all of this.

    Also? HOW on earth do they manage to ALWAYS get holes in the knees of every single freaking pair of pants they own?

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  6. All I have to say is “get out of my house”.
    I just fought the weapon thing ALL DAY yesterday. Trio blocks, Legos, Hot Wheels Tracks and…American cheese of all things. I surrender.

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  7. We are a family of pacifists that is until James came along! We have never allowed guns but James is really into Archery and Fencing and we encourage both because they are romantic sports! James is alllllllll boy and he can make a weapon out of just about anything! Fun what little boys teach us about ourselves!!

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  8. The weapons thing HAS to be ingrained in boy DNA. My boy has done the same thing since he was a little fart. And speaking of farts, my darling boy not only aims them at us, but shouts “Fire in the hole!” and then proceeds to fan the odor in our direction. My husband taught him that last little trick. Good times…

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  9. I ran a home daycare before having kids. So the only toys I had were approved, educational toys, so no guns. The kids made guns out of their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Just take a couple bites out of the lower corner – instant gun!
    I said I wouldn’t buy my son any guns and he got tons of them as birthday presents…Now he owns almost every nerf gun…

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  10. I loved this post. With just one boy, I can totally relate. Although, I’m pretty sure he learns much of this stuff, from Bev’s four boys/his cousins. He is ALL boy, and I love it! (we needed him after three girls) 🙂

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  11. We have a huge trampoline too….and before I got the safety net up, I double bounced my son off the trampoline and he landed with one leg on…one leg off…and the frame right on his jewels. Yeah…mom fail.

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