Thursday, 14 May 2009

I'm a bad parent....

Or really, I'm trying to be a good parent.

Both my husband and I were really rebellious as teenagers. Some of his horror stories include shaving off all of his curly, curly hair and going completely bald for quite some time (this was before 'bald is beautiful'... and he was 19 at the time... and not black), and refusing to wear shoes for over a year (in a part of the world were we it rains more than 10 feet/3.5 meters a year).

I on the other hand, shaved the sides of my head, had my hair temporarily colored purple and was the first girl that I knew of in my neighborhood to have the top of my ear pierced.

All of these things seem to be so tame now, compared to lip rings (you choose your bodily location on that one), plugs, facial tattoos, and piercings that make even me quiver in disgust. And I can tolerate almost anything.

But now my husband and I can see our children already following in our footsteps.

My son, at the age of 7 has started creating his own sense of fashion. He is no doubt paving the way for his little sister to follow right behind him.

It started with blue hair gel. This was actually pretty cool..... I do remember how my mother responded when I came home with my hair shaved at the sides and purple. Not only was I not going to act like that, I actually think blue hair is really, really neat.

I wish I was young enough to dye my hair blue.... or had the figure to pull it off.

But now my son is pulling it one step further. While out shopping for some shoes for a formal day coming up, he saw some blue, sparkly nail polish. He wanted to have this.

For the first time I hesitated. Do I want my son wearing nail polish? What if he gets teased at school? Do I want others to be mean to him? I tried to talk him out of it, without actually telling him he wasn't allowed to wear it. (My husband and I have sworn we will never tell our kids that they can never do opposite-gendered-related things. My son has two dolls along with his lego and muscle cars, my daughter has two mechanical excavators along side of her barbies).

But he was insistant. He was going *TO HAVE* that nail polish.

And then I thought of me and my purple, shaved hair. I looked really awful with it. This is true. From a fashion stand point, it was something I should have never, never done.

But you know what? The world did not stop. Nothing bad happened. It didn't even hurt.

I dared to do it. I dared to do it in a long line of things I have dared to do. Not all of them turned out great (purple hair one example, a couple boyfriends another example) but some of them turned out better than I could have ever dreamed (that I dared to move to a foreign country where I couldn't even speak the language is the best example).

Suddenly I was really proud of my son. We bought the nail polish. We put on some nail polish just before he ate his bedtime snack.

While I am a little nervous of what his friends will think of his fingers tomorrow at school, at the same time, I'm amazed at the inner strength he is already showing. He has the courage at 7 that I did not have until I was 17. I needed to have angry, chaotic, teenage hormones rushing through me to help me have courage. He does it all on his own.

Good for you, N. You're really awesome.

[As an afterword, I came home to find two of his friends home for dinner.... N. had painted their nails already. And a third mother sent me an SMS to find out if the story was true. Then a second message to ask me where I bought the nail polish.]


vaisto said...

I think you did just the right thing! He's lucky to have a mom like you :}

Ravenhill said...

I love this post!!! Thanks for sharing such a wonderful history of your past and your soul searching about your son's own rebelion. I think he is super cool!!!!
~Emily xx

Jess* said...

Hey Nichole,

This is a GREAT post!! And no you absolutely are NOT a bad parent, infact just the opposite. It's a parents job and responsibility to love and accept their children for who they are, and encourage individualism and creativity. I think so many children lose their creativity and uniqueness as they age because parents are not supporting this. You with out a doubt did the right thing, keep it up. Like someone else said, he's very lucky to have a Mom like you!!


ingermaaike said...

Kids need to find their own way and experiment away! (some resistance is good though, so they have something to rebel against. That is important too!)

Anonymous said...

well written post. i was also rebellious but not as brave as your son. cool!

glasfaden said...

*taking my hat off for your son and yourself* :) I hope, I'd react as cool as you, if my son has a similar wish (I rather belong to the sort of chicken in parenting question).

matchstickgirl said...

nice one ....

thinking outside the tiny sphere of supposed normality ....

your son will be so rapt to be being creative with his appearance ...

well done !!!

Star of the East said...

Such a lovely story, at least nail polish is removable :)

LeelaBijou said...

What a great post! You are a GREAT mother! :)

ana carina said...

Ohh what a great story!!
I loved it, your son rocks!
And hey.. it's not like it was barbie pink nail polish.. ehehe

And you're a great parent, by the way.


ArtMind said...

Great post, Nicole! SO cool of you to let your son figure out his own way without judging!
He's a lucky boy to have you as a mum! :) Happy weekend!

Jane_Bo said...

I think you behaved in right way, restrictions is not the best and don't work even with 2yo boys).

Matilou alias Anne Cresci said...

your words really touched me :)
That's so sweet :)
Maybe his friends will mock him, but i'm sure he will find a way to show them how cool it is ! (and has nothing to do with being a girl or a boy ! )
my 3 years old girl wants to be a boy right now, it's so funny ! I think it's because she just wants to do evrything like her big bro :)
and ok she's a boy (so no dresses !!!) but a boy who's favorite color is ... pink of course !!
i love the paradox :D

you did the good choice I'm sure. for thse kind of things he already can make his own decisions (and suffer or not the consequences, that's life right ? )

La Pomme said...

Such a sweet story. And he sounds like my kind of boy!

AgapeLiz said...

Kids dare to explore and are curious. Teenagers are like kids too, second phase into childhood. : )

Rita from said...

Bravo! You as parents and your son are awesome! Th last sentence was the BEST!!!

Hopscotch said...

Confidence is a great asset along with a true sense of self - Well done for allowing it to show!