’16 and Pregnant’ star’s dinner dates with son spark parenting debate
Every month, Nikkole Paulun’s six-year-old son treats her to a dinner date with his allowance money.
“He opens doors for me, pulls out my chair, talks about his day and asks me how mine was, pays the bill with money he earned by doing chores, and even tips the waiter/waitress,” the former 16 and Pregnant star wrote on Facebook.
Aside from a lesson in math, table manners and the art of conversation, Paulun believes the experience teaches her son “how to treat a lady.”
“Too many men these days have no idea how to treat women or how to take them on a nice date. It’s nice to know my son won’t be one of them.”
Paulun’s reasoning doesn’t sit well with a lot of people. One man went so far as to say the boy should be placed in a foster home.
Others felt the mother’s actions were promoting an antiquated ideal.
“You’re teaching your son that he is the one who will always have to buy the girl dinner,” wrote Michael Wainright. “He’ll just grow up assuming he always has to be the one to pay for women simply because he is male.”
“Basically all she is teaching her son is that he has to pay for a woman’s time … even his mom’s,” Josh Webb echoed.
Dr. Joan Grusec, a developmental psychologist at the University of Toronto, initially agreed, saying: “she’s teaching him that you should pay for the woman, an idea which seems outmoded these days.”
She also questioned how the whole thing might make the boy feel.
According to his mother, though: “He enjoys doing it. It makes him happy. … He prefers to spend his money doing something special with me than to spend money on toys.
“I give him extra money to be able to do this … having a special day for just us two is something he truly cherishes and looks forward to, as well as using his money to pay the bill.”
She maintains that she “would never force him to do something he didn’t want to.”
Upon hearing that, Grusec changed her tune.
“If all she says is true…she’s making him feel grown up, they’re having a special time together — these are good things to learn because it makes the relationship a stronger one.”
She still thinks that can be achieved without incorporating the payment aspect of it.
“Playing with our children, spending time with them…those are all positive things parents can do.”
SOUND OFF: What are your thoughts? Are the dinner dates a good idea or do they send an outdated message?Follow @TrishKozicka
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