I'm a youngish single mother of a 12-year-old daughter. Since she was a baby, I've been dragging her along to fancy parties and other events where children aren't typically present.
It's hard to find a sitter when you're on your own. And I feel like exposing her to adult culture has made her more mature than the average 12-year-old. But last weekend, I took my daughter to a friend's party. Everyone was drinking and smoking and a loud band was playing. A few people gave me dirty looks when I walked in the door with a tween. Then my daughter looked at me and said, "Mom, look what you're exposing me to." I instantly felt guilty and realized maybe I've been a bad mom all these years. We left the party soon afterward, and now I'm re-thinking my parenting strategy.
-- The Cool Mom
Dear Cool Mom,
Since I don't have children, I'm probably not the most qualified person to give parenting advice. But then again, I'm supposed to "know best," so here goes.
I know a couple that takes her toddler daughter everywhere. They even toted her along to the Flying Saucer one Friday night. I didn't see a problem with it because she's only five, and I doubt she fully understands what a bar is. However, there is an age when this behavior should stop, and it's probably long before your daughter reaches 12. When kids are 12, peer pressure kicks in and alcohol and drugs start to seem more appealing.
Though it sounds like your daughter has a great head on her shoulders, repeated exposure to drinking adults might eventually influence her to take up the juice, not to mention the exposure to second-hand smoke.
It doesn't sound like you've done any lasting damage, but I'd advise you to make other arrangements for your child the next time you plan to go out with adults.
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