June 15, 2011

A Woman's Place

Apparently...I'm more liberal than I thought...surprising  news when you consider the fact that I've always called myself an ultra-conservative. Don't misunderstand, I have friends all throughout the political spectrum and I respect their opinions, I just often find myself socially and fiscally to the right of most people.

Last night I read a blog not written by but posted on facebook by a homeschool mom I know (for the record I'm very pro-homeschool) about the parenting of teenage boys...ok, granted, my son is about ten years away but it was one of those articles that you have to read twice to really believe. For the record, I don't know the author and have never read her blog before this post.

Basically in the blog post the author advocates that mothers of teenage boys refrain ALTOGETHER from enforcing discipline or correction...that should be solely their father's place. The example given is a messy bedroom but the author goes on to say "I don’t just mean the messy room but ALL of your young man’s discipline and accountability."

Now I've heard the argument made before that teens are at an age where discipline is less necessary and that in general parents should guide their teens but allow more natural consequences to take root...for example, if you don't set your alarm and wake yourself, you'll be late for school or work or wherever you needed to go which I can see as an valid step to adulthood but that's not what this author is saying. She essentially goes on to imply that the reason mothers should back off is that it's not a woman's place to correct a man. And most surprising to me, she argues that it will negatively impact his relationship with his future wife...daughters...all the future women in his life. She believes women should "Instead of cleaning, nagging, lecturing, hassling, belittling, derailing, fussing, fuming, arguing, undermining, complaining, comparing, and tearing down - You are now free to spend the rest of your precious few moments of your son’s life in your home BUILDING. Building a foundation for him that teaches him how to respect, protect, and provide for all the future women in his life." My question is why does it have to be either "nagging, lecturing, hassling, belittling, derailing, fussing, fuming, arguing, undermining, complaining, comparing, and tearing down" or essentially relinquishing all parental authority to the man of the house?

I can't wrap my mind around the idea that if I discipline my son (especially while his father is away) that I am somehow presenting a non-submissive, nagging controlling image...I want my son to grow up and marry an independent, strong, capable woman...granted, there is a certain strength which comes through submission and in our home my husband is the leader but we CO-parent and our children are expected to respect me and my authority as equal to my husband's.

As a military family, not only is this parenting philosophy impractical, it's impossible. When I mentioned that this mentality could contradict my authority while my husband is away, a woman (again, whom I don't know) replied that skype would be there to help...seriously? I'm supposed to look at my teenage son and say "son, what you're doing is very disappointing and sometime in the next two weeks when your father finally gets the chance to video call home, he'll talk to you about it." Yeah, I don't think so.

What do you think? Should teenage boys ONLY be accountable to their father?


Milwife Mama of One said...

Initial impression: YIKES! Next reaction: Isn't there already a significant problem with sloughed responsibility and finger-pointing in America?

The concept of never disciplining a child (for yes, teens are still children, albeit ones hopefully well on their way to becoming mature adults) because you ~might negatively impact his relationship with you or any future women~ strikes me as selfish and poorly reasoned. Personally, I remember very little of how my parents "parented" until I was a teen or just before. I just accepted. They were the parents, I was the kid, end of story. As a girl growing into a young woman I started paying more attention to how my parents and other adults parented, made decisions, talked, etc. What I observed then has had a significant impact on who I am and how I parent.

I think if I were to see my mother avoid disciplining my brothers as teens I'd qualify it as a cop-out. An act of weakness. The last thing I would want to instill in a young man is that women are weak and cannot, will not, or have no right to stand up to men. I'd much rather take the opportunity of their "soaking up" years to give great examples of how both men and women are strong, that they can work together, and that authority is authority, gender aside.

Milwife Mama of One said...

My husband's reaction: "No, that's just stupid."

Dea said...

1: She says:
Now it doesn’t mean you never correct or direct – but you are not the one he is needs to be accountable to or who enforces discipline and correction.

2. Did you read the Building points:
They are pretty darn good!

(Did you read them thinking of your child AS a teenager and AFTER you've done training/disciplining and realizing you're really talking to a pre-adult that you've preparing to send out into the world and you hope comes home regularly)

3. Remember: she's not talking about a preschooler, a grade-schooler or a preteen. It's not like you've giving him timeout or a spanking. He's a Man (or pretty close to it) She's trying to express how to CONTINUE a relationship established to a changing person. A person who is LEAVING your home and you WILL want a relationship with.

4. The writer of the blog is a respected homeschooling mom of 5 children ages 16 - 31 who has/is raising great Godly children(from what I hear. I've only met her and seen postings from one of her daughters). She does a Q and A for parenting and parenting of teens. (I've never been but have friends that try not to miss)

****And you should know: She's WIDOWED (when the youngest was 4) So,I'm sure there are some exceptions to the rule.

Brianna Renee said...


1. It seems contradictory to me to say that "ALL of your young man’s discipline and accountability" should be left to his father and then to also say that it doesn't mean you ever correct or direct. How do you correct or train if you have no authority...if the child is not accountable to you?

2. I agree that the building points are great but I don't think that a mother should forfeit her authority in her child's life in order to achieve them.

3. A teenager is not an adult. They're not done learning and growing and they continue to need guidance and sometimes guidance requires discipline.

4. I have all the respect in the world for any mother of 5 whether or not she home-schools and especially a widowed mother. That's not the issue. I just disagree with what she believes is submission.

Dea said...

I think I had the same thoughts when I first read it. I'm an independent woman. I'm a competent do it your-self-er. I am capable of disciplining my sons. I can do it all.

but since then I've reread it alot. concentrating on the builders.

I felt like she was trying to tells us to step back a bit. Don't be on them so much. Listen more, talk less. You're on the slide down with them.

Shift the way we deal with them.

Let them build a relationship with their father, he being their accountability partner.

I mean isn't it a fact that God's perfect design is a mother and a father, each having their own roles, that do overlap of course. But there is a reason for both. Each being equally important.

and of course that gets off balance when someone is a single parent or has an inactive parent or an absent parent for that matter(by choice or duty). They have to fill both roles. There are challenges with that. She did not address that type of situation.

Did you hear Craig's message where he talked about Boomerang children! Ha! This reminded me of that. They are not an adult but that message changed the way I perceive how to parent my 12 and older. I don't plan on giving away my authority either.

Oh and not an adult but I want them ready to be one! Crud...I still need some guidance and discipline. Do we ever stop??

and my point about her being a widow is that she is the one disciplining her son.

More importantly. It got me thinking what I believe about parenting my teen. It wasn't on my radar and I'm a year away. I like reading her perspective. It started a good discussion.

And I'm a eat the meat, spit out the bones kind of girl too :) so I took what I wanted from the opinion and left the rest for someone else ;)

Man it goes fast!!!