Many years ago, my first child Felicity lent one of her books to a friend. It was promptly returned with the message, “My mother doesn’t want me to read it. It’s not suitable.” Not suitable? What was wrong with it? I suddenly doubted my ability to judge books. At the same time, I felt judged. What did Felicity’s friend’s mother think of me? Was I an irresponsible parent exposing my children to things they really shouldn’t see?
After that incident, I tried to make sure my opinions were in line with that of my friends. Perhaps they were right. My judgement might be poor. Also, I wanted to be accepted. I didn’t want anyone to think my children were unsuitable playmates: “No, you can’t visit the Elvises. I’m not sure their home is a safe place.” This happened to other families. I didn’t want it to happen to mine.
It proved difficult to stay one step ahead of all my friends. I couldn’t seem to predict what they would think of a particular book or movie or toy. (I kept making mistakes.) Sometimes I just couldn’t see what was wrong with what I’d let my kids read or watch or play with. In the end, I decided to trust my own instincts, but I did it quietly. I told my children, “We’ll keep what we’re doing to ourselves.”
Yes, I stopped sharing what I was doing with my children. Until I started blogging. Now the world knows what we’re reading and watching and listening to. I’m always sharing resources here on my blog. And I talk about all my latest discoveries in my podcasts.
So what do people think of my recommendations?
Sometimes people stop by and say, “Hey, that was a fantastic video. Thanks for sharing!” But how many times do readers think, “Does Sue really let her kids watch shows like that?” I wonder. Are people judging my choices? Is it safer to keep quiet and not let anyone know what I’m doing with my children?
I haven’t viewed all resources. I offer them as a starting;point, something which may be useful. I invite you to investigate them and make up your own mind about whether they are suitable for your family. Even if we have used and enjoyed a resource, you might not agree it’s suitable. Parents are the best judges of their own children and their needs.
I’m aware that not all the resources I recommend are perfect. For example, an adults-only segment might slip into an otherwise perfectly good video. Our family either skips over the adult content or we talk about it. You could do the same. Or you might decide to avoid the resource altogether. Whatever suits.
So that’s my disclaimer. Is it okay? I hope so. I’m not worried what you think of me, but I’d hate you to steer clear of my resource recommendations because you don’t trust my opinion. Some of my discoveries are indeed very good!
I talk about the tricky business of recommending resources in my next podcast. I give an example of a not-quite-perfect video we recently viewed (and enjoyed).
I also talk about the tricky business of parenting. I never wanted to raise children who are different. But of course, all my children are far from ‘normal’. Sophie joins me and we have a very lively discussion about being different. Is my 14-year-old daughter happy to be the way she is? I hope you’ll listen to this week’s episode to find out.