Hobbits and A Double Standard


My three-year old quoted JR Tolkien yesterday-Bilbo Baggins to be exact. 

Kolby swiped at her runny nose and waved her arms around for emphasis.  “Stop, stop.  I’ve forgotten my handkerchief.  We must go back.”

The whole family burst into raucous laughter as we pulled out of the driveway.

If you know the Hobbit like we do you know this tiny kid has a serious sense of humor.

 We do cover her eyes for the Ork and Goblin scenes for all you parents out right now tsk-tsking us for introducing violence to our young impressionable child.

I had to laugh the other day as I recognized the hypocrisy in my parenting.  We were at the beach and our young friend-Luke, who is obsessed with Star Wars, was asking question after question about the characters.  Luke is not yet allowed to watch the movies.  Seeing that he is only four years old this seems very appropriate.

But the problem is that our three-year old, a much younger child (in his eyes), has not only seen the movie but can also quote Darth Vader, Han and R2D2.

“Kolby has seen Star Wars?” our young friend wailed with indignation.  “But she’s smaller than me.”

‘I know buddy,” I replied.  “But she’s our third child and the third child has different rules than the first child (like you are) and someday you will understand the conundrum.”

Luke looked at me blankly, adorably pouted and dragged his sweet little feet in the sand.

I felt like a schmuck.

What I should have said is, “Here’s the deal Luke, the third child watches everything the first child had to wait years for.  As the first child, you will have more rules and be the guinea pig for your parents.  I’m sorry bud, but that’s the plight of a first-born.”

Or, maybe I’ll let him figure it out on his own.

Our son Kyle, my first-born, wanted to watch Harry Potter in pre-school.  And I as a young Christian mom I freaked out.

So, I made him wait until he was six years old and then made him read the novel along with the Bible passages on witch craft before he could watch the movie.  He also was required to explain the difference between fantasy and reality and promise to never engage in spells or incantations.

By the time Kolby rolled around, we just hid her eyes when “He who shall not be named” was on the screen.

Oh the double standard is terrible!  But it’s so hard to kick the baby out of the room when the teens are watching PG13.

Have you noticed a double standard when parenting your first and last kids?


  1. Anonymous says:

    Yes, all the time!! My older kids make me aware of the actions. My responce is “You didn’t have older kids to set the good and bad examples” Also i have learned to pick my battles more, don’t sweat the small stuff. I have found that there ae much bigger things to sweat about.

  2. brucecarlaronson says:

    Since parenting is the single guiltiest human activity on the planet let’s not confuse the very idealistic notion of wanting to be a great parent, first time out, and therefore being hyper-careful, with hypocrisy or double-standards. Unless, you were also an uncle or aunt in your formative years, there is plenty you haven’t a clue about and plenty you want to do well straight out of the chute.

    Having lived that particular guilty-hypocrisy out with my own children, all I can say is, “You do the best you have with the information you have at the time.” Real shame is only to be borne by those who have learned nothing from one kid to the next.

    One of the few things my wife and I did right was to continue to foster open dialog over the years between ourselves and our kids. You do not get to always hear what you want, but, you do get a lot of uncomfortable truth, which is far better than living in a darkened fools’ paradise.

    Hooray for the learning curve. Hooray for parents who want to keep getting better at it. And, God bless you for a forum where these issues can be aired.

    “Bookish Bruce”

    • Hi Bruce,
      I saw you out walking the other day but I’m not sure if you knew it was me when I said good morning. Maybe my pony tail and workout clothes threw you off. I do look different when I’m in mommy mode 🙂
      You are so right about parenting. It is a learning curve and things that matter deeply when your kids are young take on less significance as we grow and mature into our roles. We fight the battles worth fighting and release some of the minor stuff.

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