Our Discussions

Shall we open madar-pedar membership to the "children"?
1 ( the listkeeper)


In the past, we have had opinions and questions from the younger generation and college students. This time, we have a request to join from a young girl.

Shall we open madar-pedar membership to the "children"?


---------- Forwarded message ----------

Subject: Hello!


I'm 15 year old Iranian girl living in Finland. I discovered your site and discussions accidentally while I was searching for some information about two cultured children.

I found your site fascinating and I guess it would be cool if I would be able to be a member of the "club." If it's only for parents just let me know.

I send the message and the rest is in your hands.


2 (a pedar)

Let her in!

3 (a pedar)

Why not. It's a great idea!

4 (a pedar)

I consider it a great insight to how the children think.

5 (a pedar)

At first glance I thought it would be a nice idea - it will allow for some open communication between generations and we can learn a thing or two from interested teenagers/kids.

The concern I had was that in this forum we discuss (or at least attempt to discuss) all topics - controversial, emotional, gheyrat-raising, and the like. The parents of this particular 15 year old (or any other teenager/child for that matter) may not be necessarily amenable to their kids witnessing dating/sexual relationship/gay-lesbian/ religious/etc... discussions. Not that this is an x-rated list but we do occasionally touch on topics that some parents may not want their kids exposed to. I think we should respect those desires - even though we may not explicitly know them. In addition we have no mechanism of getting "parent approval" and if we open the list to a 15 year old, we may get a 10 year old next and a 7 year old after that. It is hard to decide where to draw the line (in terms of age).

On the same token, a teenager can easily pose as a parent and get in. So there is no full-proof method of detection here.

But at least, legally speaking, there is a difference between admitting a teenager knowingly versus admitting a teenager who poses as an adult, unknowingly - in case a parent of such children are bent out of shape about the topics their kids are exposed to here.

I don't know what the right answer is. I think it is productive to have teenagers make comments and participate in discussions. I fear that their parents may not necessarily agree with that.

6 (a pedar)


I think the name madar-pedar explains everything. Why we want to open this to children at this time. I think they have a lot of other important learning to do ?

7 (a madar)

Well put, Pedar # 5. I, too, at first, thought a teenager in the group might be a great idea. My son is 13 and I wouldn't be against his participation. As parents, one of our major obligations is to get our teenagers to open up to us and, likewise, to hear our opinions without the interference of an emotional fog. However, your point about allowing this young woman to participate in discussions that perhaps her parents would not approve of is a concern. Thinking more on the issue, I tried not to cloud my opinion with a V-chip mentality. Personally, I think a fifteen year old girl is old enough to make her own decisions about joining our group. She is no longer a child, and despite my reservations, I think we should take a chance and allow it. The fact that she wants to join shows a certain amount of maturity and a desire to discuss serious subjects. Besides, I'd love to know more about life in Finland!


8 (a madar)

We could ask for her parents' permission.

I think that a young lady who is interested in joining a parents' group probably can handle the discussions. It is true that we could learn a lot from a different view point, but she could also learn a great deal by getting an insight to parents' world.

Children are much smarter than we give them credit for. My eight year old reminds me of this every day. Also, these days inappropriate material is so readily available that I doubt our discussions even come close to anything they see on TV or internet every day.

At any rate, That's just my two cents worth. It is so hard to get children, especially teenagers' attention that when one goes out of her way to listen to parents' thoughts and ideas, it would be a shame to shut her out.

9 ( Pedar # 4)

Communication is the key and this certainly facilitates it. I wish my teens would join too.

10 (a father)


I think this site should be open for all family members including our children. We need to get our children involve with our discussion, we need their feed backs, their opinions and feelings in order to make us a better Madars or Pedars.

In my opinion if your sit is designed to help Madars and Pedars, and perhaps assist us with problems with our children, then we need our children to be involved with our discussion. Their opinions are most helpful since they are insiders.

However, to be legally guarded, we may need their parents blessing.

11 (the listkeeper)


After all, I decided to let the teenager in because of your votes. However, her email address was not valid anymore!


p.s. I asked the listkeeper for UCB Parents what she thinks about opening the list to the teenagers since UCB Parents has been around longer and we could use their experience. You see her reply below (# 12).

11 (UCB Parents Listkeeper)

---------- Forwarded message ----------

I don't think it is a problem at all. The benefits outweigh the risks by far. It's not like you guys are running an X-rated mailing list! :-) I would be strongly in favor of admitting any teens who want to join. How wonderful that a teenager wants to participate with a bunch of old fogies!

This also came up in the "Parents of Teens" list. We talked about it for a while. In our case, there really are a lot of discussions about sex, drugs, etc. because parents who have teenagers are worried about such things. But our main concern was that we didn't want teenagers chiming in on important parental issues - they are so naive sometimes we thought. We decided to admit teenagers as "observers". They can read the newsletters but we discourage them from participating in the discussions. It has turned out really well. There were not many teens who wanted to join, as it turned out. We have only 2 teens subscribers that I know of out of 750 members. But one of them once sent us the most wonderful letter, anonymously, about what teen parties are REALLY like. It was a very memorable contribution and everyone appreciated it very much.

So, I think you will find that very few teens will actually want to join. The ones who do are probably very exceptional young people who will contribute greatly to the list. Later, if it happens that your list becomes very popular with teenagers, then you could create a new list just for teenagers.

p.s. People can subscribe to any of the lists here:


no, we don't post the newsletters on the web, though we do post summaries of the advice. we remove all last names and email addresses first though.

Please send your replies and/or opinions regarding this subject to madar-pedar@surya.eecs.berkeley.edu.

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