I do believe my husband and I are about to leave our "halcyon days" of child-rearing behind us. While I don't miss hauling car seats, diaper bags, and playpens around, those issues were minor compared to questions and concerns we face now.
1. Our son recently turned 13 and received a Facebook account and a cell phone. This is big time, you see...he is on the cusp of entering the young adult world. About three days ago, he approaches us with a persuasive argument (typed up and everything). He would like to purchase the game "Call of Duty" for his xbox. This game is rated M for Mature by the ESRB (not to mention 17+ in several other countries), which is a red flag in and of itself.
The reason he wants this game? About four of his other friends have it, and in particular, one friend is very good at the game and getting "cocky" about beating my son at it. Beyond that, there is no other logic. We cannot think of a way that this game helps our son, or provides him any benefit (other than social). From what we gather, he is not being ostracized for not having/playing the game.
He recently wanted the Final Fantasy game, which is rated T for teens, and so we felt that was an appropriate step. That was about two weeks ago, and it was his first teen-rated game...and now he wants to leap into the Mature games? Nope, Mom and Dad need more moderation than that.
While we will probably say 'no' at this time, this issue is not black and white. I *do* feel that my son is able to discern the difference between a game and reality, and I don't think the game would make him violent. Also, he does not spend hours on end playing video games every day. These two reasons alone prompted me to almost say 'yes'...until I realized I needed to go with my gut feeling on this one...and say no.
2. Then, there's our daughter. She's 11. She wants to wear bras and shave her legs. Already! It's time to have conversations. And in this complex society we live in, these conversation topics are not just the typical "birds and bees". We must discuss things like vanity and the media and compassion and being a role model and technology and sexuality.
As with any conundrum I have in my life, I turn to books. My initial search results prove a little disappointing: many of the books speak of raising strong, courageous, confident daughters (yay!), but these approaches and theories are heavily Bible-based (uh!).
Suffice it to say that I really can't get behind a Christian-centered approach to raising my kids. And I don't like the idea that I can't do it well without the Bible. Thus, I will continue to search for reference materials that are more secular. Of course, at some point, I must stop reading about it and just do it.