According to Wikipedia, taboo is defined as:
A social or religious custom prohibiting or forbidding discussion of a particular practice or forbidding association with a particular person, place, or thing.
When it comes to parenting, we have list piling up with all the things some part of society says we are not to teach, not to expose our kids to, or allow them to do.
As parents, we have evolved through the generations. We are now responsible in our own right to raise our children with the option to express themselves, throw off the mantle of societal pressures, and encourage acceptance.
In our family, one of the first lessons we teach is equality and love. Despite one’s religious beliefs, all are created equal. They understand diversity and embrace cultural differences, feel no confusion about LGBT rights, understand gender equality, and don’t discriminate against anyone’s religious rights.
These are the core principles my husband and I choose to teach. My kids find nothing odd with same-sex marriage. They understand transgender and intersex. An interracial couple, not even a double take from them. Early in their development, we had conversations they could conceptualize. Those discussions continued as they grew and will be a constant as they develop into adults.
When my 14-year-old asked for blue hair, we allowed him to embrace his expressive nature and help his personality evolve. He is a beautiful reminder that good people exist, and our unique generation of parents have the power to help maintain all the past efforts to bring equality to light.
Talk about sex with your children, don’t make them fearful. Talk about the natural process of life and procreation. But, also talk about the responsibility of having sex.
Have real discussions about the state of the world, don’t shield them from things they will become aware of with later in life. Teach them to have perspective and that life is not perfect, but we can still enjoy it.
The rules that once applied to parenting caused fear, misunderstanding, and very angry people.
Allow exposure at a responsible level, allow them to have a mature perspective. Our children will be the ones who take our place one day; we need to give them the tools to be more brilliant than us, our parents, and grandparents.
Teach love and remove the fear.
Over the recent months, the media has painted a horrible picture of discrimination and the violence it can lead to. My children have seen the problems discrimination and racism can cause in our world.
They were not shocked. Instead, they brainstormed how to help.
My youngest decided she was going to draw picture of all races together and take them to school. She wants the walls in the school to be wallpapered in everyone’s art promoting diversity.
My oldest decided to delete friends on his social media networks who posted anything hurtful to anyone. Including race, gender, sexuality, body image, and disabilities. He said he did not realize how many people are so insensitive to others. I explained sometimes people don’t realize they are being hurtful. Example: He found an acquaintance had posted a meme labeled “Fries before Guys”, with a picture of an overweight young girl. He said “Wow, I can’t imagine how that must feel if you are an overweight girl.”
That was a defining moment in my journey as a parent. My children want to contribute to change. Imagine all our children growing into loving adults who practice acceptance. What a beautiful world it could be. It truly can put a lump in your throat to think they could rise above the challenges our society faces today and start repairing the damage we have created.
I have been, stunned, brought to tears, laughed, and felt anger towards the ways we raised our kids in the past. Now, they have a chance. They should have a voice. They can make choices, and become amazing contributors in our future world.
Forbidding discussion, avoiding reality, and keeping the real world a secret doesn’t help our kids, it hinders their social development. It does not allow for an eclectic understanding of the world we live in.
Sheltering our children from reality and only allowing them to be exposed to narrow views on controversial topics creates ignorance, and reinforces barriers. These barriers were put in place by the idea of taboo throughout the decades. You can see a shift in parenting choices, and as this continues the next generation will take a little more of the taboo away and add a little more the real beauty of being alive.
Image Credit: Unsplash | Used with permission