It’s pretty easy as a parent to adopt a ‘cotton wool’ approach towards your kids. After all you spend nine months carrying and nurturing the little ball of life inside you and it’s only natural you should want to do everything you can to protect them when they are born into this harsh and unforgiving world. But as you become a stronger, more experienced parent you begin to wonder whether wrapping the kids in cotton wool is the ‘best’ approach.
As adults we know all too well the stark reality of every day. It’s a jungle out there, a dog eat dog world and now more than ever it’s every woman (and man) for themselves. Now it’s not 10 people who apply for the job you want its 50 and you have to strive that little bit harder to continue to afford life’s little luxuries. You only ever want what is best for your kids.
From agonising over their name choice (will it lead to playground ridicule?), through to the nightmare of selecting schools, you do everything in your power as a parent to put them on the right path. I’ve had friends who have even selected who their child can play with so that they don’t mix with the kids from the ‘wrong side of the tracks’ and I’ve watched other parents play silly games like only inviting ‘the cooler kids’ to their birthday party (seriously….yes there are people who do this).
There are times though when you have to relax the reigns, take off the stabilisers and just see what happens. Occasionally your kids will need to do something, that you’re not keen on, that quite frankly scares the shit out of you and makes you take a sharp intake of breath and some valium pills. It’s these times when you need to ‘man up’, tell yourself that stepping back is the right and best thing to do. Stepping back will allow your child to find their feet their own way rather than relying on you to place them where ‘you’ think they should be.
Recently, it’s this very approach I’ve had to adopt with decisions about Roo and her future; ultimately decisions we’ve made together now require me to let her get on with it and deal with the fall out as it happens.
We just traveled for over 13 hours from London to LA and despite my cajoling, mothering and pushing to go to sleep on the plane Roo was defiant and did not. Only caving in for about 90 minutes towards the end of the journey. My fear was I’d be that parent no one wanted to sit next to because their child was being wingey and noisy. Nope. That didn’t happen. What happened is I watched my girl deal with a monumental journey in the best way she knew how….headphones on, iPad in hand, Nintendo 3DS at the ready and let’s watch 22 episodes of Scooby Doo.
Sometimes just sitting back and letting them decide how they want to tackle a situation or what they want to do isn’t a bad thing. I’ve noticed lately my little girl isn’t quite as little as I thought she was, she can be a rational thinker and applies her own logic to a situation. I sit and listen to her conversations and smile at her ever improving grammar and language – even without me actively teaching her, she’s learning from me and my mannerisms.
Pushing them off a cliff and seeing if they bounce is all ultimately part of their growing up, isn’t it? Not mollycoddling your children to me is all about instilling vital values such as self confidence and responsibility.