Musings about life in the Pigeon household

Age Appropriate


I’m starting to enter into those years I’ve dreaded since the doctors first said, ‘its a boy!’

My little Pigeons are growing up – and way too fast.

I’m actually really enjoying these years right now. At this moment. I want to freeze this time. They’re out of the baby stage where everything is a blur of sleepless nights, endless diaper changes, extreme joy and cuddles; but also a lot of physical work.

They’re out of the toddler stage where you can’t even carry on a conversation with another adult because you’re keeping an eye on them and having to run after them so they don’t come too close to anything sharp or steep or slippery or hot or cold or electric, etc… (a.k.a. – a lot of physical work).

They’re out of the preschooler stage where the physical work is of a different nature – as in; if I didn’t have these boys dressed and ready to go out of the house by 9:00 am, the energy bugs took over their little bodies and the wrestling and eventual crying (theirs and mine) would rule our day. So there were bunches of trips to the pool, the zoo, the science centre and the neighbourhood playground.

Endless. Physical. Work.

And now they’re at a great age. Six (almost seven, thank you very much), eight, and nine years old.

They’re so much more independent. They put away their own clothes, clean their own rooms, we assign them chores and when we go out to a restaurant or the mall, more often than not we can actually enjoy ourselves before the herd mentality of three brothers being thrown together in a situation where they have to behave takes over and it all falls apart.

But overall, it is good. It is great.

But along with age comes the mental stuff. No longer the physical strain for Momma Bird. No, no. Now we’re entering into the mind game region – and me without a map.

Of course with me being a girl, the mind games these boys throw at me are nothing for my skill-level.

But I’m sure over time they’ll hone their craft and I’ll be on the losing side… I’ll try to stay optimistic.

But the one thing that is bothering me in a huge way lately, and something I’m not at all ready for, is letting go enough to have these boys make their own decisions as they are bombarded by things that I strongly believe are way too inappropriate for their age.

For instance, my oldest has been heading to a friend’s place after school. And at first it was them playing on this kid’s iPod Touch and checking out their 3-D TV and playing video games on their PS3 or their Wii (first of all, how much dough does this family have?! Seriously – I clearly need to get to know them better.)

But lately these ‘play dates’ have morphed into an afternoon of the boys playing video games.

‘M’ rated video games.

Now for those of you who might not be familiar with this, E is for Everyone, T is for Teen, and M is Mature.

As in; not really recommended for a nine-year old kid.

In my mind.

And the M-rated game they play is Grand Theft Auto.

And that’s the one I know of. There could be others.

Now I’m pretty ignorant when it comes to any techie stuff and in particular where video games are concerned (in fact, just the other day my oldest had to set up the gaming system for me because I’m a bit of a dolt).

But Grand Theft Auto? Even I’ve heard of this game and what I’ve heard had alarm bells ringing all around me when I saw that these guys are playing this violent game.

So now what? Do I say to the mom that I don’t like my son playing this game and I would appreciate it if they wouldn’t play it anymore?

And embarrass the crap out of my son?

But I’m Mom here. I have to wield my power while I can, right?

I’ve talked with my oldest about this and he assures me he knows it is inappropriate and he knows it isn’t real and I shouldn’t worry…

I’ve tried to think of it in terms of ‘their house, their rules’…. or ‘when in Rome’…

But I heard a story the other day about a friend of ours whose 11-year-old son was at a buddy’s place with a few other kids the same age and they switched on the horror movie ‘Saw’.

Now I’ve seen quite a bit of that movie and I don’t think its even appropriate for me to watch; let alone a pre-teen child.

So where does this all begin, where does it end?

Does it start with something like a video game that has swears in it and ends with the kids watching blood-shed in a movie?

I’m at a loss. I know I should go with my gut on this video game dilemma, which is to actually talk to the mom and say that my kids are not allowed to play those kinds of video games at their house and I feel very uncomfortable with it.

Then again, do I want to be the ogre mom? Seriously, my child has been inhabited by a rude, pouty, surly 16-year old boy. Do I want to push it so he hates me forever?

Then again, isn’t that one of the signs of being a good Mom? Who else is going to watch out for this stuff besides Mom?

Or do I just want to pick my battles?

I mean, this mom has her three-year old watching the boys play these video games. And while I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t follow this mom if she jumped off the proverbial bridge, I’m thinking I should chill out and just let these boys have fun – there are worse things, right?



4 thoughts on “Age Appropriate

  1. Oh Tracy I feel your pain. My oldest is 13 and I have been struggling with those same issues for what seems like years now. For the longest time he was the one who wasn’t allowed to play these games or watch these movies. Over time (and him aging to the ripe old age of 13 but I said that already) I have learned to trust that he understands my/our morals and that his judgement is sound (at least as sound as a 13 year old can make judgements on). Follow your gut, call the parents, (did you know that the “gore” can be turned off on many of these games) and let him grow up a little slower. Our children might end up being the nerds but they will find their way.

    Did I tell you that none of my kids own a phone yet. My daughter told me that from what she has heard her older brother is the ONLY grade 7 in his school without a phone…”how can you do that to him mom!” Seriously?!?!

    • Just goes to show what kind of a tech-weenie I am. I just trying typing a response to you, Liza, and it suddenly disappeared on me – not sure what I pressed there…
      Thanks for your comment though. I agree with letting the kids stay kids for as long as humanly possible.
      My oldest might be a bit more naive than some of his peers when it comes to violence and what goes on in these video games and movies. I’m good with that.
      This post was started a little while ago and since I started the draft for this story, I made my feelings known to the Mom. I said that while I didn’t like having my kids play those kinds of games, it was ‘her roof, her rules’. She got my drift. Things didn’t change too much over there, so playdates have been limited a bit and lately they’ve moved on from the video games and have started actually interacting… I believe some people call it ‘playing’?
      Outside, no less.
      Go figure…
      Fingers crossed for all of us!

  2. Great post Tracy! This is an important issue because you know it is going to happen, but it is up to you to mitigate the damages. Parents need to be more responsible with what they let their kids watch, read or play, and in turn be sensitive to what their friends parents might find acceptable. It takes a village to raise a child, we need to communicate more and it sounds like you did in this instance. Communicating with kids is the most important. Miss you! Love you!

    • Thx for the comment Seany!
      It definitely takes a village – always a struggle when some of the citizens aren’t like-minded.
      Ah well – this is only the beginning, isn’t it?
      Miss you too! Keep in touch!!!

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