Dear Barb – To Serve or Protect

Dear Barb:

My sister and I each have two children.  Mine are 10 and 12 and hers are 16 and 18.  We have always had different ways of raising them: I am a very protective parent, while my sister is more relaxed.  We’ve had an ongoing debate about whether a parent should shield their children from unpleasant situations.  I think we should try our best to protect our children as long as we can, I feel they will have to face enough hardships when they are adults and they don’t need to begin dealing with these issues as children.  But my sister thinks we should let them face whatever comes their way.  She thinks it will make them better adults.  We were just wondering what your opinion is.  Thanks, Emily.

Hi Emily:

We all want to protect our children from the unpleasantness of life, but that is not always best.  Children need to learn the consequences of their actions.  If they don’t, when they become adults who, unfortunately, may make bad decisions, they may not be able to cope with negative outcomes.  We learn about life through the choices we make, some good and some bad.  If you protect your child from harmful outcomes, they will not have the ability to work through these issues and make healthier decisions next time.  Pain is a part of life and our children need to realize this.  As a parent you can take the time to discuss these struggles with your child and help them to develop better ways to manage the ups and downs of life.  I don’t agree with your sister in that we should allow our children to face everything that life throws at them.  As parents we can help our children deal with age appropriate situations.  Encouragement and support is the best way to educate our children about the ups and downs of life.  Hope this was helpful.  Thanks for writing Emily.

Dear Barb:

A few nights ago, I was out for a birthday party; there were twelve of us at the table.  My question is, “Should we wait until everyone is served before we begin eating?”  It seemed to be a long time to wait until everyone was served, as our meals were getting cold.  This doesn’t seem right to me, what do you think? Thanks, Josh.

Hey Josh:

Good question.  The general rule is, if there are less than eight people dining at the table, it is polite to wait until all are served.  If there are more than eight people, usually it is acceptable to begin eating after three or four people are served, or your host may suggest you begin when you are served.  Enjoy!