Do you go out of your way to shelter your kids?

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Registered: 05-31-2011
Do you go out of your way to shelter your kids?
13
Thu, 03-21-2013 - 6:50pm

Last night, dd14 sat next to me at the kitchen table while I scrolled through some news. We watched a video about a gay rights activist who purchased a home across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church and painted it in a gay pride rainbow. (Story here.) Dd and I snickered about the story, talked about how awesome the activist was, and dsd18, who was sitting across the table from us, asked what we were talking about. 

My dsd had never heard of the Westboro Baptist Church. Never. I brought up the funeral picketing, the long chains of people who protected the mourning families from them--nothing. Never heard of a bit of it. She seemed surprised that her younger sister had. 

Do you go out of your way to shield your children from the realities of the world? Current events? Social issues? Politics?

I understand sanitizing things for young children, but not completely blocking the world out. For those of you who do shield your children from the uglier parts of the world, is there a point where your role of parenting shifts from protector to informer? Surely few people would have an aim to keep a child as sheltered as my dsd. But I know some parents do attempt to keep their child as innocent as possible, and while I do respect that, is there a limit? 

I realize there's no real magic age. It's not like you'd just sit your child down upon his tenth birthday and say, "William, now that you're older, we have something to tell you: the Easter Bunny isn't real, your aunt Thelma is gay, and also there are war lords in Africa who chop limbs off to terrorize small villages. Happy Birthday!" But there must be some kind of transition, even if unconscious.

My dsd is going through a bit of culture shock in our home. My dh and I are on the extreme opposite end of shielding. We sanitized when the kids were young, but never shielded and neither of us believes in censorship. 

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Registered: 01-05-2000

This has taken me a while to answer.  I had to think about and discuss it with Dylan.  I censored some things.  He got to watch Terminator 2 for example around age 5 but he still hasn't seen Terminator 1.  Having Arnold be the villain in the first movie but the hero in the second would have confused him.  Also he wasn't ready for the sex scene in the first movie.  But the violence didn't bother him.  As far as he was concerned at that age, everything on TV was make believe, including the news.  He watched way too much "making of" documentaries to think otherwise.  He was in the room when we watch and discussed 9/11; also both times we were facing fires.  The first fire, we were not evacuated but it was a close thing.  The second one, 4 years later, we were.  Although, Dylan doesn't consider camping out in grandma's living room to be evacuated.  He also saw Katrina footage.  He seen pictures of the Holocaust but hasn't seen Shindler's List.  We don't shelter but we approach them in terms of age and context.

It's a little different as Dylan was raised in a family of 3 adults and 2 teens when he was born.  He grew up watching more adult TV than children's programing.

Don't ask about the girls because I don't remember that far back and haven't had a chance to ask them what they remember.

Chris

The truth may be out there but lies are in your head. Terry Pratchett

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Registered: 03-25-2013
Mon, 03-25-2013 - 8:19pm

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Registered: 02-20-2013

My kids are still pretty young. My son is 9 and he is learning about politics and some history in school. Once I realized he had a handle on 9/11, I knew he'd be OK to discuss other things. He's very bright, and he's quite sensitive, so I want to make sure anything horrible that happens (e.g., Sandy Hook) comes from me. Oh and he also knows that our cousin Doug and his partner Juan are actually a couple, not just roommates. He doesn't quite understand sexuality but he certainly understands love. :D

Shaking my head at the things grown women get their panties in a wad about.

Avatar for rollmops2009
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Registered: 02-24-2009

Good question. I think we were like you, as in "sanitizing" certain things, but trying to explain most things honestly. Euphemizing things or outright avoiding unpleasant things never made sense to me, since the kids have to find out sometime, if they are to function in the world. I would rather be the one to teach them than leave it up to chance. I also consider it my parental responsibility to teach them about the world, and I am actually a bit stumped trying to think of any other parental responsibility that is more important (assuming the basic food/shelter/love thing is covered).

We have some kids in the family who were brought up very sheltered. They have not had an easy or comfortable transition to adulthood, and one gets the sense that the world is quite a scary and confusing place for them.

I did, however, shelter dd from certain things when she was little, mostly because she would get stuck on things and insist on understanding them in detail, except she was too little and then she would get frustrated. TV news, for example. The TV news block broke down on 9/11 (dd was 9), as we all sat mouths agape in front of the box. It was a good thing too, because the kids did talk about it at school, and a lot of crazy stuff was going around the school yard. 

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Registered: 08-22-2009

  The only time we consciencely sheltered our children was during the first Gulf War.  Our kids were 7, 5 and a toddler.  We were living in Turkey.  The only American channel we  got on our TV was CNN,  We did not have the TV on at all when the kids were awake and did not talk about the war in front on them. 

Avatar for savcal2011
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Registered: 10-06-2010

To expand a bit further ... we've alwasy been very open about homosexuality in our home. We have family members and close fmaily friends that are gay, so we've talked about that since the children were  very young.   My parents were (are) hippies, so we've been open about that type of lifestyle.  Dh and I (and xh and his wife) drink openly and have always been open about alcohol use/abuse with the kids.  Xh was peripherally involved in 9/11, so that's an even we didn't shelter the kids from at all - it had a potential direct effect on us.  We talk openly about bills and money and income, etc.  We've talked factually about sex since they were little rather than waiting to have "the talk" when they were older.   etc, etc. 

"I don’t mind a banshee, that’s fine. 2 banshees? I HATE you. I actually wish bad things upon you." -- Day[9] Daily #459 P1

Avatar for savcal2011
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Registered: 10-06-2010
Thu, 03-21-2013 - 10:58pm

lifespeachy wrote:
"We sanitized when the kids were young, but never shielded and neither of us believes in censorship. " ----------------- I think this pretty much sums it up for us.

This.  We don't *shield* them from anything. But we set age appropriate limits  (no R movies for a 5yo, etc).

"I don’t mind a banshee, that’s fine. 2 banshees? I HATE you. I actually wish bad things upon you." -- Day[9] Daily #459 P1

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Registered: 02-20-2013

bordwithyou wrote:
There were things I went out of my way to shelter my kids from. They we little when the 9-11 attacks occurred and we made sure they didn't see a lot of footage. We didn't listen to the nightly news when they were around. They learned about a lot of the world's evil in church settings, when we could say, yes, there are hungry people, yes earthquakes and hurricanes happen, yes, there is this think called human trafficking -- and here's what we are doing to try to help. They were upset by dead kittens in the side of the road, a childhood friend who became paralyzed after a fall from a horse, a friends' parents' ugly divorce. We could not, and did not try, to shelter them from such things.

This. I have the complication of a five and a half year age gap, which means DS is ready for some things his sister isn't. The night of Sandy Hook, he was staying at friend's house. The friend's mother's cousin was killed at Sandy Hook. So I told DS what had happened. I would have told him anyway, I don't shield him from much. He's precocious. He's that kid who is playing in another room and knows exactly what adult conversation took place two rooms over. He doesn't miss anything. So, I learned early on how to deal. I do shield DD. Nothing good could come from telling a five year old about Sandy Hook. So I didn't. I figure when the kids are old enough to register WHAT is being said on the news, that's when you start explaining.

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Registered: 10-10-2011
Nope
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Registered: 12-07-2003
My kids are pretty little, so we don't talk about major events yet. We also don't watch TV news, so they don't see that kind of thing. When the Sandy Hook shootings happened, I was careful not to talk about it around them. If they had been older, we would have discussed it. When DH and I are talking about something and one of the kids asks questions, we do try to answer them in an age appropriate way.

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