Monday, June 27, 2011

Rules for Thee, But Not for Me

I can't stand looking at people who don't bother to part their hair.

THERE.  I said it.  Whew, what a relief.  I can't tell you how much that has bugged me, especially since NOT parting one's hair has become vogue.  It's right up there with bras as fashion accessories.  OK, these aren't RULES per se, but I guess they just fall into what I deem the  "common sense" arena.

But then there are rules...or in some cases laws, that for some reason people think they don't have to follow and this I just can't seem to wrap my brain around.  Maybe someone can help me.  Case in point...Facebook.  Most of the rules for Facebook are straightforward, so what I don't understand is why parents allow their kids to break them.  Rule 1 under registration and account security You will not provide any false personal information on Facebook, or create an account for anyone other than yourself without permission.  And rule 5 You will not use Facebook if you are under 13.  So, if you are under 13 and using Facebook, you are breaking 2 rules as you had to use false information in order to create the account (incorrect birthday).  And usually with mom and dad's permission, because, you know, THEY know best and these "arbitrary" rules shouldn't apply to their precious little prodigy.  GREAT.   Now stop and think.  Why do you suppose Facebook was set up this way?  I'm going to guess that there wasn't an arbitrary age picked just for the purpose of thwarting those under 13, but rather it was a safety issue.  And to be honest, I can see why.  My niece who is not yet 13 has had a facebook account for over a year.  She has posted pictures of herself and she looks NOWHERE near 13.  In some, she looks 17-18.  In others she looks younger.  Yeah...smart move.  OH, but wait...all her friends have one so she should too...right?  RIGHT???

I also know of a family who handed the keys to a car over to their 14 year old.  She drives.  Illegally.  There is not a state in this country that allows you to drive without an adult in the car...legally.  Yet, this family believes that they know best.  Now isn't that special?  Won't you be thrilled to be the family who gets hit by this child KNOWING that this was sanctioned by the parents.

So, what exactly are we teaching our children?  There are rules in place for everyone else...BUT YOU.  Because, we know best.  We know that at 11, you are more than capable of handling yourself online with  minimal supervision.  We know that at 14 you are capable of making mature decisions when driving a piece of machinery that is 300 times your weight.  Really?  NO...REALLY?  We know that it just isn't in your nature to wait.  So, we just "bend" the rules.  For you.  Because you're "different" from all those other 11 year olds or 14 year olds.  You're the 11 year old who is well schooled with dealing with online predators.  Or the 14 year old who has full control of a vehicle while hydroplaning.  Right?

When did it become vogue NOT to say "NO" to our kids?  When did we cease being parents and turn into our children's friends?  When did we decide that rules were for everyone else's kids...not ours?

When are we going to wake up to the fact that by not saying no, by not following established guidelines, by making OUR child the "exception", we are actually TEACHING our children to be dishonest.  To cheat.  To lie.  Because it's all good as long as we get what we want, right? 

I'm trying to let go of the little stuff.  The non-part.  Or the visible underwear.  But the big stuff?  It worries me.  And it should you.

2 comments:

  1. We are the mean parents who won't let our younger kids get a Facebook. It's become a right of passage and they wake up early on their 13th birthday to set up their accounts. Nearly all their friends have them and have since they were 9 or 10. *sigh*

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