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What do you do when you disagree with other's parenting?

I am finding lately that my child is kind of right in the middle of a major transition time regarding the things that interest him, which of them are appropriate for him, and which he is clearly 'growing-out' of and I'm wondering where best to look for guidelines that may support my decision making here. He is almost twelve now, with (EEK!!), facial hair becoming visible, and a speaking voice that is a virtual lucky-dip of peaks and troughs, you honestly never know what's going to come out next.

I am feeling very blessed that he has in his life at this time a few mates whose parents seem to hold values pretty similar to my own, but am acutely aware that the more he spends time in other households and with new people, the greater the chance that he may be exposed to ways of life and areas of media that I may prefer he wasn't but will probably not have a lot of say in.
A few years ago when he was around eight years old, I had a sort of falling out with a dear friend whom I care very much for, because she was allowing her child of the same age to frequently play an X-Box/Nintendo game called "Call of Duty'. Aside from the fact that it was rated ma15+, (and for very good reason), it was simply one of the most graphic, true-to-life and ugly video 'games' I had ever seen, and I wondered then, as I do possibly even more now, what harm it was doing to the developing minds and spirits of kids all over the globe. With the horrors currently unfolding in many parts of the world, I am convinced that this kind of medium for our children is at the very best continuing to de-sensitise them to such an unspeakable level of violence, and at worst is influencing decisions to join in or at least support the fighting and unrest.


Guest blogger Tamsin Wolfe

Even at the age he is now, I would honestly prefer that he never engage in such forms of very questionable entertainment, but am very concerned that the time is approaching when these things are becoming more the norm than the exception among his peers and I struggle to maintain the balance between allowing him to feel as if he fits in with his peer-group, whilst also protecting him from ideas and concepts that I truly doubt are ever really necessary to confront at any stage of child-hood or even beyond.
Another friend with pre-teen kids was telling me recently how her daughter has been undergoing counseling after attending a friend's sleepover where they had been permitted to watch 'The Exorcist', on dvd, with 'The Hills have Eyes', to follow up! I remember seeing both these movies as a young adult and feeling quite traumatised for weeks afterward, so what effect do these things have on still developing children??

I would be very grateful to hear of any approach you may have employed when dealing with this stuff? Have you spoken up when in disagreeance with other parents? What is the best way to avoid any embarrassment on your child's behalf? At what age do you feel that you are able to trust their own judgement on these kinds of matters?
I imagine that many of you experience different levels of this dilemma at various different ages. Do your little ones watch the Simpsons? Are they present while their older siblings play the more confronting video games? How do you navigate this minefield? (pun intended, sorry).

All the Best, Tamsin.xx

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