First a little background on this story: My wife as previously stated is a Jehovah’s Witness, although not as dedicated as she once was. She is an old fashioned disciplinarian with our kids. By that I mean if our kids step out of line, they will get punished via a spanking (not as much any more, but used to be), grounding, items taken away, or a combination of all–with no chance of getting said items back until the date specified when punished. Our kids know this and are the best behaved children of ANYONE I know. And I know a lot of people with kids.
My oldest children are a son, 10, and a daughter, 9. My son has a friend who lives up the street who is the same age, and he has an older brother who is 12. Both of these boys are good kids. Over the past year both my son and daughter go over their house and they frequently are at ours as well. My wife and the boys mom get along good, although not in a best friend let’s go shopping type of way. They attend an evangelical church. A fairly popular one that even a few of my co-workers go to.
The 12 year old has another friend that sometimes goes over to their house at the same time my kids do, and apparently he often teases my daughter. From what my son says, he puts on a good show when the other boys mom is around but starts in when she isn’t there. Reminds me of Eddie Haskell actually (the link is for all you under 25 individuals that have no idea who Eddie Haskell is). My son and the eldest friend have apparently asked him to stop but to no avail, and who knows how hard they really tried. And they did not tell the boys mom.
We have attempted to solve this by not allowing my daughter to go over if we know or think the third friend is going to be there. While truthfully I am not 100% happy with this solution-as I don’t mind a confrontation, it does at least eliminate the possibility of causing some parents to have some bitterness towards each other or each other’s children. Although for my wife and I it is too late I suppose. So my son went over yesterday and the boys mom asked why my daughter didn’t come, and being the honest boy that he is he told her the story above, sans the Eddie Haskell reference.
This brings me to the reason I decided to write about this. Her response to my son was something along these lines (keep in mind I am paraphrasing a 10 year old): He (the third boy) is in the Catholic Church so he isn’t as disciplined or basically as spiritual as our kids and hers. My son’s response was what does the church matter? When my mom disciplines us it has nothing to do with the church. Of course that’s what he said he told her, I don’t know if he was that blunt about it.
First and foremost: That’s My Boy!
This situation brings up many different topics-including if we or my wife should confront the mother of the third child, but of course, ;-) I will focus on the religious part. I think the most important thing is exactly what my son said. When it comes to raising and disciplining your children, religion doesn’t matter! What matters is the parents. Luckily I have a job where my wife can stay home with the kids. I have excellent children, and I attribute a large part of that to her and the fact she can spend time with them. Of course I say this now but reserve the right to retract it in their teen years. My wife will credit her religion for the way she has raised the kids. But I know her and it wouldn’t matter if she was in another religion or not in one altogether. She instills them with her morals, which have nothing to do with a belief in a supreme being, and she never pressures them in the religion the way my nieces and nephews are. We know a good number of Jehovah’s Witnesses too and our kids are much better behaved than them also.
So, as has been brought up in other blogs lately, including but not limited to here and here, why do many still attribute morals (or a lack thereof), to religion? And while I found the remark about the third boy being Catholic being part of his problem humorous, I don’t really believe that to be the case. Everyone gets taught the difference between good and bad at an early age no matter what religion you are in. It is then up to the parents to reinforce these beliefs. And if no one is reinforcing, you get incidents like this.