Saturday, 12 January 2013

Anyone for cotton wool?

To wrap your kids up in? Big bulk issue as standard these days. Now this tale could have been worse until I got my facts right but it did get me thinking about parents imposing their neurotic hang ups on their kids. So what you banging on about now then missus I hear you all say.

Okay. It started with a discussion on facebook about aliens if you please.  Now primary schools ain't what they used to be. No sorry. Not like they were in the 70's/80s - they're actually good fun.  The latest thing that is going around is the notion that aliens have landed at your school.  We had it at our school. It was great fun. We arrived in the morning and were handed out 'alien's have landed' leaflets by a proper police community support office and everything! The picnic area had been police tapped off, there were alien eggs, a machine making humming noise under wraps - the crashed spaceship, the head teacher and his deputy in forensic outfits and various signs saying "why us?" The children loved it. They were fascinated with it all and their reactions were comical. My daughter announced she could speak alien language and proceeded to do so.  It started a week of creative writing and brightened up a normally dull January.  My children did look out the window that night and said "I wonder if they'll be more aliens?" I didn't tell them it had all be a hoax and we played along with it. Funnily enough they didn't question it at all - it was just accepted and they moved on to the next thing.  A bit like Father Christmas.

Anyway, my friend asked what had gone on at her school as her daughter had been off sick. It seems that the aliens had landed but in a different way.  A large bang on the roof and talk of aliens being in the school cupboard.  One mother was commenting about how her child could not sleep that night until 2am and someone said their child still wouldn't sleep in their own room.  I did think and I suspect others (judging by the likes on "it was good fun"comments ) did too, oh for goodness sake get a grip. Granted the school probably could have staged it a bit better but I'm sure their intentions and that of the company that arrange this wasn't to scare the living daylights out of the children.  I'm sure they presented themselves in a calm manner and the notion of aliens in the cupboard was sold as fun rather than terrifying. Equally as a parent you could also dismiss it as scary and brush it off as a bit of fun - can't you?

But these days parents don't do that.  Instead of waiting to see if a child is worried or scared of something they pre-empt it by putting the fear in the childs head in the first place. Isn't this their own insecurities and hang ups merely being played out on their child? For instance, I don't like fairground rides. I can never see the point of paying money to go on something that makes you sick and fear for your life.  My son has no such fear. He went on his first wooden roller coaster when he was just 4 (just about passed the height). Prior to going on I was like "are you really really sure?" "Its going to be fast and have big dips and will be scary and dark."  Crikey talk about put the fear of god into him! Luckily my husband is far more relaxed about these things and was like "it'll be fine." Had I continued to say this about every ride as he grew up I'm pretty sure he wouldn't like rides too. What I was really doing was telling him what I thought of the roller coaster and naturally there was no way I was going on it. My husband endured it instead. He loved every minute of it. My son that is definitely not my husband!

I think parents give too much gravitas to children's anxieties and instead of alleviating them they have the complete opposite effect - they just heightened their fears. A fear that could have lasted a few minutes.  Now someone may say that's very  judgemental of you which is a bit rich as these parents are constantly judging parents who, like me, say don't be so daft explain why its daft and move on. They would judge that as being dismissive. In the same way I wouldn't allow my child not to sleep in their own bed because of 'aliens'. I wouldn't pander to a fear, that could be resolved quickly, by allowing them to sleep in with us. Who is in charge? Who is the parent? Sometimes I think its easy just to pander to children rather than have a bit of hassle. The parent that was sympathetic to the alien fear would think me harsh. I think they are making the problem bigger than it is.

So there you have it. I really don't care how other people deal with their children. But I do get irratated when we're all supposed to be sympathetic and agree that, in this case, the school was foolish and should have thought about the impact of children not sleeping. No. The school was being creative and these children are going to find adulthood difficult if they are continued to be wrapped in cotton wool by their parents.

In other news, I have been brilliant on the diet this week if I do say so myself. I have worked out twice. Which means I have to do 3 workouts over the weekend. I have a busy week ahead as its my son's birthday on 18th. I will be making a Skylanders portal of power cake with Giant Skylander - nothing like an easy cake then! I will post it on here later on in the week.

Have a great weekend!





16 comments:

  1. What an awesome idea!
    Aren't people wet now?
    I loved my babies (still do, natch)but I thoroughly expected them to fit in with me, not the other way round. I just had better things to do in bed with their Dad than lie rigid with fear of smothering them in the night. I fear behind every neurotic over nurturing-smothering parent lies a deeper sign of something lacking in their own psyche. Of course there are no right and wrongs, but if one prissy brat spoils what everyone else thinks is damn good fun, good luck to them in the work and social life ahead of them. Good luck to the parents of that child when it's still at home and bleeding them dry or self diagnosing itself with social anxiety conditions on Youtube for all the world to see. But thats another story. As always, excellent post

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    1. May, you always manage to sum up very nicely what I am thinking. Maybe you should write my posts they would be half the length but say it all! In particular the precious one that everyone has to be sympathtic too when the vast majority are okay with what ever is going on. Thanks for your comment I do so love them! x

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    2. I'm a terrible person really. But I couldn't afford to be soft, as an eventually single parent of two boys. I remember as a kid jumping off a swing mid air to save knocking into a toddler wandering dangerously near my downcoming seat.
      I broke an ankle. The toddler was fine.
      No connection x

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  2. My step daughter unfortunately has had every fear pandered too and now at 12 is unable to bear to be away from her mother for even one evening, meaning she misses out on school trips, sleepovers and visiting us.
    Sadly, I think this children-centric attitude is taking over and is going to be the ruin of many young people.

    Lucy

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    1. I hear you! I also know a teenager and young adults who have said "I'm scared of growing up" - that's because everything has been done for them etc. They can't handle any responsibility and everything is scary! x

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  3. oh yes Amen to that!!!!! New to the blog and now subscribed, looking forward to reading more!

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    1. Hello and welcome! Lots more where that came from...all in the archive all in the archive! x

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  4. Another "Amen" here. Children need to be taught the difference between rational and irrational fears, and how to deal with them. It's an essential life skill which, sadly, many adults don't have.

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    1. Very true pandering to an irrational fear is not helping the child at all. My son had a totatl irrational fear towards spiders when my husband's daughter kept freaking out and saying she hated them etc prior to that he wasn't bothered. So it was more like a fear had been planted. Anyhow, I don't really like them either but I showed him how to catch them, the normal stuff of they are more scared of you and they are actually useful re flys etc. Now he picks them up for me and puts them outside x

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  5. I couldn't agree with you more! I think there are so many parents who pander to their kids in this way and in so many others. Kids need to experience fear to understand how the whole process works and how to conquer those fears but to criticise the school like that is just silly. They stage things in the reception class at the boys school all the time but there aren't any traumatised kids, just kids who are having an education with something a bit different thrown in to help the learning process along and to make it all more interesting.

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    1. I'm loving these comments as you all are saying better than I have and sometimes I think am I the only one who thinks this! x

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  6. Parenting is a lifetime of letting go. From the moment of giving birth and cutting the umbilical cord, we begin that process. While letting go is liberating it can also be scary and painful. But it must be done. http://ritesforgirls.com/parenting-a-lifetime-of-letting-go/ Cotton wool is for cleaning out belly buttons and making collages of sheep - and not for encasing our kids. Great post.

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    1. Hi Kim you have managed to convey this in a more gentle way than I ever could! Thanks for commenting x

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