Balanced Melting Pot

Norm(al)

In Parenting, Questions on August 18, 2008 at 9:36 am

Whether we realize it or not, there are many social norms that have been ingrained in us by our parents. This is a multi-faceted topic, so to begin I want to talk more about the  activities in which we consider it normal for our children to participate.

The first thing that comes to my mind is sleepovers. Growing up, I was always allowed to have friends spend the night at my house, but was rarely allowed to sleep at theirs’. My mother’s rationale was that she did not know what kind of parents these other people were. Of course I thought this was absurd at the time and “life just wasn’t fair”, but now having children of my own, well…

There are many pasttimes for children that are simply not universally accepted among cultures. The hardest part for parents is that deep down you want your children to enjoy their childhood and at the same time there needs to be a level of comfort with what you allow them to do.

What are some of the American activities in which you refuse to let your children participate (please share how they are viewed in your culture)? Which are the ones that you have learned to accept?

How do you try to teach your children pasttimes from your culture of origin. I’m still trying to figure out how to teach my daughter the intriguing game of osle, which is the Haitian form of jax; only with the joint bones of a goat (it sounds a lot stranger in English 😛 ).

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  1. I will start by saying hello and extend my congratulations to you for such a wonderful job. I read all three topics but will only comment on one because of time factor. I will come back to this topic and post my opinion perhaps tomorrow. For now, I will move on to the next topic, meanwhile, keep up the good work and talk to you soon.

  2. Thank you and I look forward to reading your comments!

  3. Let me start by complimenting and encouraging you in this great initiative. Not often that people goes back to reflect on subject as important as the way we educate our kids and what part of our culture stand still despite of the cultural blend with a stronger and a more organize system of beliefs.
    My comment for this week topic is a little historicity of our collectif beliefs rooted in voodoo to explain our reluctance to let our kids sleepover at a friend’s house. Here i am not saying that because we dont allow them to sleepover, that we are following some voodoo rules. No, it just mean that as a nation we were brought up under the same collectif beliefs and most of the time we are passing on some norms and rules without knowing where they come from.
    Here is an element to make us understand our unwillingness to sleepovers.
    Voodoo understand the design of Human Being in 5 different and distinct parts. The part that concerned us today is the “TI-BON-NANJ”. The Ti-bon-nanj is the source of personality, knowledge and experience. Therein lies the will and individuality of the person. Highly vulnerable to witchcraft, ti-bon-nanj may leave the body during sleep or possession.
    This for me encapsulate the reason behind the fact that Haitian parents are affraid to let their kids sleep to someone else house, that people don’t take over or change their ti-bon-nanj while sleeping.
    I am sure there could be some other elements to make us understand this behaviour, please share your thoughts to enligth us and that way we will better understand ourself and our cultural heritage.

  4. You have given me some insight as to why my mother may have been so adverse to the idea. It is so true that beliefs are sometimes placed into our subconscious and as much as we would like to think our decisions are our own, they can actually be traced back to our “roots”. Having not heard this rationale before, the reason that I would hesitate letting my own children attend sleepovers is really based on my level of trust with other parents. I think that I will probably allow this on a “case-by-case” basis and hope that I eliminate some fear while still being cautious.

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