Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What would you do?

Something that fascinates me about the interweb is how many opinions I encounter. Although I am fairly diverse in my acquaintences, blogging and participation on a discussion board brings me into (online) contact with people from all over the world.

This hit home to me as I was participating in a rather spirited online debate over a Dear Abby letter. The debate was over certain aspects of parenting, to nutshell it for you, the question was whether or not one parent should have "veto" power over the other if the other parent was doing something the first parent felt was dangerous or inappropriate.

Several respondents, about half, said, "No." Several actually said it wasn't "the other parent's business" what was done with the child by the other parent.

This terrified me. One of the things I count on as a parent is veto power, both mine and Sven's. Because neither of us ever is completely right, but what doesn't make my alarms go off usually gets Sven, and vice versa. So, while I might think, "Sure, let the kids watch that," Sven is the one saying, "Wait, should they watch that?" And when Sven wants to take them somewhere, I'm the one that says, "Hold on, do you think they can handle that?" We always defer to each other, giving the one with the objection the veto, because it shouldn't always be about compromise. It should be about what's best for the family, the kids, and the marriage.

So, what would you do? Here's the situation (not exactly, but parallel):

A mother is in the habit of waking up her son by tickling him. Every morning, she goes into his room and tickles him awake. Dad is concerned about this, since the son is 12 and entering puberty, so he tells Mom that she might want to find another way to wake the kid up, something that respects his privacy more.

Mom thinks Dad is being silly, insists that the boy loves it, why should she change it? Dad insists it's inappropriate and makes him uncomfortable, and he wants Mom to stop. Advice?

What would you do?


Kristina P. said...

I didn't participate in that thread, but I read it, and not surprisingly, I agree with you completely. I agree that if one parent in uncomfortable with something, within reason, then the behavior should stop.

Joanna said...

I agree also. I think you and Sven have the right angle on this. If one parent is uncomfortable, then the other needs to rethink.

The Domestic Flunky said...

I, too, support the power of the VETO and am horrified that any parent would think that what they do is "none of [the other parent's] business". What?!?

And, I think the lady should TOTALLY stop tickling her son awake. Two words: morning wood. It'll happen, and, when it does, mom does NOT need to be in the room. Gross. Plus, she may want to think about why she insists upon treating her pre-teen son like a 4 year old. Middle school teachers of the world, Can I hear an AMEN?!?

CMGould said...

I think that there is a definite reason that children have two parents by design... two heads are better than one.

However, my ex husband has told me that my children are in essence "none of my business" while they are in his custody. I have to live with that, however uncomfortable I am with it. It is a good thing that they are rarely in his custody.

Sneaky Momma said...

Totally agree. Not only on the parenting front, but on the marriage front as well. If one spouse is doing ANYTHING that the other considers to be inappropriate, I think the other should seriously look at what they are doing and make an effort to stop it. When it comes to kids, though, there's just gotta be a veto power. :)

Josmery said...

The wife should definitely honor her husband by waking up the son in a different manner. In fact, here's a great idea: the kid's 12 years old! He should have his own alarm clock. :D

Also, the parents should definitely discuss the underlying issue: the kid's hitting puberty. How will they handle his new-found-interests in girls? How will they help build him up into a respectable young man? How will they help him gain wisdom in sexuality whilst the rest of the world is saying "Whatever feels good, do it"?

Mummy McTavish said...

Absolutely both parents need veto power.

For that situation I think other than respecting her husbands view she needs to remember that HE HAS BEEN A 12 YEAR OLD BOY AND SHE HASN'T. Do you think that might give him just a tad more insight into what his son is feeling???? Ugh, mum, get over it, he's not your little boy anymore, it hurts to realise it but it's true and you need to start preparing him to be an adult because he still believes you know what you're talking about and pretty soon he'll hit puberty and will doubt every word to leave your mouth.