5 Terrible Things I Let My Kid Do

Catherine Crawford

Am I more lenient with my pre-schooler than Madonna is with Lourdes? I think this may be true, and I'm not quite sure how I feel about it. It seems slightly absurd as Madonna and her music were not welcomed by my parents (to say the least) in my childhood home. And yet, here we are -- Madonna won't allow Lourdes to dye her hair until she's 14, but my daughter received her first permanent hair color when she was 3 (a purple streak, in case you were wondering).

In addition to listening to Madonna, which my kids have been doing since before they could walk, I'm beginning to realize that I allow, sometimes encourage, many of the practices that my own parents outlawed. Am I rebelling through my kids?

Here are the top five activities that would have got me grounded but that I allow my children to do ....

1. Polish their nails -- My father was not a fan of nail polish. Of course, all I ever wanted was red nails, which are impossible to hide. Now that I'm the boss, not only can my kids have a bright top coat on their cute little fingers, but I often let them paint their own. When a toddler paints her nails, it often comes out looking as though they've just put their hands in a blender, but they are still so proud!

2. Jump on the bed -- My two daughters practically think it's a requirement to head straight to the bed and commence bouncing the moment we check into a hotel. I really love jumping on the bed, but since I could only do it when my parents weren't looking, I always felt guilty. I want my kids to know the pure joy of the springs (and Lord, I hope they don't fall off and break an arm).

3. Eat whipped cream straight from canister -- We rarely have a can of whipped cream in the house, but when we do and I can tell it's getting to the end, I like to surprise my kids by asking them to open up. Then I spray it straight in their mouths and watch the joy spread like fire. I can just hear my dad saying, "Why don't you put your foot on it and growl?"

4. Win grocery store prizes -- The first time my child discovered those little machines at the grocery store that dispense all kinds of crap from gum balls to plastic rings to crazy balls, I couldn't contain my glee when handing over a quarter. I know it's a waste of money and the crap always ends up in the garbage, but I NEVER got them as a kid.

5. Swearing -- As devout Catholics, my parents were none too happy if they heard any of their kids using the Lord's name in vain. Perhaps because it was so taboo when I was a kid, I have a really hard time censoring it out of my adult speech. So, it's not infrequent that I'll hear a "Jesus Christ!" come out of the mouths of one of my kids. Just yesterday I had to explain to my 6-year-old that, although I find it amusing, she should probably not talk like that in front of other kids and, especially, their parents. I don't know what to do about my 4-year-old using the term "douche bag."

Do you allow any of the above? What "terrible" things do you let your kids do?


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