There are to major elements to power in an engine — the throttle, and the clutch.
The throttle controls the speed of the engine, NOT the car. So long as the clutch remains disengaged, the engine can speed up and slow down to its heart’s content and the car will go absolutely nowhere.
The clutch controls the amount of power transferred from the engine to the rotation of the wheels. I can have my throttle to the floor and only partially engage my clutch, and the car will only creep along the road.
Parenting is like driving a stick-shift. Society, TV, advertisers, schools, friends, family … they are all the engine. They can chatter and natter and clambor for your child’s attention, scream its ideologies and beliefs, the shoulds and should-nots of society, and any number of other healthy and mostly-unhealthy things in the community you may not want your children engaged with.
Your job as the parent is not to slow down or speed up the engine, but to control the clutch. When you control the clutch, you control how your children engage with that great engine of society. Whether that’s through controlling television use, online use, and which community you live in, your responsibility is to not only engage that clutch for the child, keeping it low-engagement until that child is ready, but also to teach the child when and when not to engage in society.
The engine wants the car to go at full-speed, regardless of what dangers lie ahead. They want it fast and they want it now. Your child’s ability to control his or her engagement in society helps that growing adult to mitigate how much power the world holds over him. Individuals must learn to think for themselves, free of undue influence, and influence is only as powerful as the target allows it to be.
In other words, one man has the ability to deny a room-full of peer pressure, if he chooses not to engage. If he does not engage, peer pressure is meaningless and has no bearing on the quality of a person. You must teach your children how to do this, and if you, yourself, cannot deny that pressure, start learning.
And parents have control over the type of engine, too. This will come at a cost, however. If you choose to live in car with a fast-running engine (i.e. high-paced society with a bombardment of input and pressures), you will face the challenges of teaching a child how to engage themselves with it safely. If you choose a slower, more stable engine (i.e. rural or small suburban life that’s more family oriented and slower paced), then you can teach them better and take your time.
This isn’t complicated, but you will have to choose what you want for your child, and that may mean giving up things you, yourself want. You cannot have both. Sacrifice must come at some point.