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Let's Talk Parenting

Parenting and Decision Making

Join the conversation and let us know how you approach parenting and decision making. Do your kids get a say? Do you consult them? When? Why?

Getting Real with Dynisha Smith

I’m hoping that today’s blog becomes more of a conversation. I am genuinely so curious about how other parents make decisions for their house and whether they include their kids. So the whole premise of this is some social media posts – because where else do we argue nowadays – about the difference between millennial parents and boomer parents. I also think that your culture has to come into play here, so while the video was funny, it was based on a white societal normative style of parenting. So I’m going to write this based on my experiences, and if we haven’t met yet IRL or digitally, I come from a black household; so there are definitely going to be differences here. That is actually what I’m banking on.

My Experience with My Role

Okay, so when I was growing up, the line between parents and children was thick, bold as hell, there was no mistaking who was in charge, and even if you were going to be negatively affected by a decision, you didn’t get to have a say. That just is what it was; and when you don’t know differently, it doesn’t really bug you. As I grew up and got into other people’s families and saw some differences, I started to wonder what it might be like to be a more active participant in the way the house works. Overall, I had a good childhood; this isn’t a critique on that. However, it is an exploration of what my world would look like now if we were consulted on things. I do firmly believe that the ultimate decision has to be with the person whose brain is (hopefully) the most developed in the room. But what if?

What I Do Now

I wouldn’t say that my daughter and I are equals by any means, but as a single parent, she is my ace boon, my ride or die. It’s #teamus. So when I go to make decisions like dinner, weekend plans, chore lists, vacation options, etc., I am more likely to consult with my kid than I perceive I was consulted. I find myself asking questions like, ‘Hey would it be fun to go see Grandpa this year?’ or ‘It’s a home day; what do you feel like doing?’ My kid also has a general sense of what we can and cannot afford to do. So sometimes she’ll say I really want to go to Jumptime, and I can say, ‘Oh, I can’t really afford that this weekend but what about next?’ And we may still have to go and do some things she didn’t want to do, but at least she got to make her feelings known. And honestly, it makes those experiences less of a nightmare when I already know she isn’t feeling it, and I can explain, well this is why we have to do it. Now I’m not saying that I don’t still make choices that she didn’t agree with, but I am saying that she knows what’s happening, and has a chance to be vocal about it.

Now here is where you come in. I have also been very open with her about wanting a new house – we are on the same page – and wanting to foster some kids. And we have those dialogues (as much as a five year old can).

What decisions do your kids get a say in? Do you include them at all? Why or why not?

And let’s use designate this as a judgement – and shade throwing – free zone.

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