I am horrified!
I am the mother of three, you all know that, and you also know that my eldest son turned ten in March and now he can walk to the shop, and school on his own, he is also allowed to go down to his Friend who lives down the road, today he went into the little park down the road with his friend, that kind of was scary for me, but he is ten, and his friends go with him. Now as I watch these parents, all from different races and backgrounds but all the same, all terrified, terrified of life. I don’t think I am a bad mother, I think I am a very good and responsible mother, but I can’t understand this level of worry.
I have seen young people die young, I know what life is like, how cruel and unfair it can be. But I live my life with the mantra that life is for living, and my children are constantly changing, obviously my job is take care of them, but that changes over time doesn’t it? A baby of 8 weeks needs more care than an eight year old? And just managing the needs of the child aren’t enough, does he have enough to eat? Check! Does he have a warm place to stay? Check! Is he safe from harm? Check! But you know you could answer yes to all of those questions and be keeping your child prisoner in a concrete cell! You would be providing all that he needed but in a highly fucked up manner, and I have to say some of the parents on the TV show weren’t too far off that.
Computer games and virtual chat rooms have replaced real play time and interactions, acting out what might have happened to “Maddy” with dolls and action men has replaced mummies and daddies and fear has replaced youthful curiosity. Now I understand how hard it is to let go, I am only human, and I am very attached to my kids, but I understand that from the moment they are born, they leave your body you have to start to let go, each step they take away from you that is confident and assured is a sign that you are doing your job well, we all know the saying “If you love something set it free”, well to me child rearing is like that, I feel like if I have a job, it’s to make my kids independent and responsible enough to deal with the real world!
One of the parents on the programme was considering getting an implant in their daughter, so she could keep track of her, she actually said to her daughter, “so if what happened to Maddy ever happened to you…….” Oh dear God! Then there was the father who wouldn’t let his 13 year old son out of the house, he kept him in the house, giving him bribes of the latest gadget or computer game console! His son was dangerously overweight but the dad was more worried about him being stabbed in school than developing diabetes! I just don’t get it?
Am I mad? Am I the one who needs a kick up the arse, will I regret giving my kids the same freedom I had, will they be drug addicts or criminals? It’s so difficult isn’t it? Now I have to say I don’t push them, I let them call the shots, they always set the pace, if my daughter wants to walk in to her classroom in Montessori alone that’s grand but if she doesn’t, that’s OK too! Having said that I have limits, there are very strict rules, I am not over lax! I am not gonna let him just disappear for hours on end, it’s all very organised with strict time scales and punishment if it isn’t adhered to!