Every time I take my kids to the pediatrician I endure the same barrage of questions. Are your kids drinking milk? Do they eat a mix of foods? Do they poop regularly? With five kids I’m sure you can imagine the frequency in which we
torment grace that office with our presence, so the need to answer these questions every. single. time. gets more irritating than a heat rash on a hot Kansas summer day. I know that she is only doing her job, but one would think that at this point in our doctor/crazy parent relationship, it would be well documented that we drink an obscene amount of milk and thanks to the well-balanced diet that we eat, we go through more toilet paper than a fraternity house the morning after a kegger.
There is always one question though that causes me to pause and really think about my answer. Once she lets out the “Do you have any concerns?” I swear I break out in a sweat and have to remind myself that it’s a doctor’s office not a therapist’s couch. I’m a mom. I have five kids. I have more concerns than Johnny Depp has adoring fans. Maybe for the next visit I should write out a list and see if she can answer them. Questions like:
Are my kids being bullied or are they the bully? Can I really protect them from or prevent either?
Will they tell me if something is wrong?
Can we really ground them until they are 30?
Will they out live me?
It’s expensive enough just feeding them, how will I be able to afford college/weddings/leaving a legacy for five kids?
How do I know I’m doing this right?
Helpful hints for surviving the teen years?
Wine really is good for you, right?
I could go on and on and on but I think you all get the point. We’ve talked many times about how HARD this parenting gig is. We have absolutely no guarantee that we are on the right path, but all we can do is jump in with both feet and just hope that we will get some of it right. Sure we can put helmets on them when they ride their bikes and cut their hot dogs up into a hundred little pieces. We can regulate what they do online and we can decide if they get to go to a party or not. We can ground them for as long as we please and we can tell them to change their clothes before they can leave the house.
What we can NOT do is be looking over their shoulders 24/7. Kids are sneaky little buggers and are capable of so much trickery and chicanery. It only takes them a second to make a horrible decision like divulging their name and address in a chat room or giving out a credit card number without even thinking about the consequences. While they must be left to learn some things for themselves, when it comes to online safety we must be proactive in teaching them that there must be limits to what you share. As their parents it is up to us to show them that in this virtual world we live in you MUST be vigilant in protecting what is yours, especially your identity.
Our kids look to us for examples, and by showing our little people how to make good decisions online, and by utilizing amazing products like LifeLock to protect ourselves, we can have more time to worry about the little things like what’s for dinner, or whose turn it is to take out the trash.
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