Monday, August 07, 2006

Lady Swatting Flies

I just read that, we are raising a nation of wimps.
http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/index.php?term=pto-20041112-000010&print=1

Well, I've got to tell you, that England is NOT!

Kids have to experiment. It's the only way they develop an "inner knowing." I always say, "if they aren't filthy by 4:00 in the afternoon, then they haven't learnt a damn thing all day."

On the other hand - I see vast execesses in this philsophy. I have seen the exact parents about whom this article is written. (And at times - like when my son was 17 months old, walking and determined to climb the 6 - 9 year old climbing frame - I am that parent. Yes, I coached, helped, encouraged and was there to break his fall. Of course, if I hadn't been - all the other parents would have been talking smack about me and when we had to make the ER visit because I was "chillin'" on a bench - some social service agency would have been called. )

Then, there are the parents who take this to excess.

On the other hand - living here in London - I have seen the results of this article's opinion. I witness self-absorbed, over-indulged, bully/brats whose parents are on eternal chill. (And yes, they are quite often having their full measure whilst chillin on the bench or are just "letting them 'get on with it".)

What this turns into is a Lord Of The Flies scenario where the children turn into brutal, narcissistic, violent creatures. I have actually been feeding my child a snack whilst someone's child was brutally pummeling another child.

I - with my American sensibility - jump up to intervene.

Another adult sees me jump up. Runs over to me and says, "Oh, they've got to work it out."

I say, "First, he did a jump kick and nailed him in the kidneys. Now, he has a hammerlock and is punching him in the stomach!"

To which she says, "Oh, that's my son, he's got to learn to work it out." She sits back down, pours a cup of tea and begins chatting her friend up again. A little blood later - and she's walking home with her screaming, bruised child, yelling at him about how he has to learn to get along.

And then you have parents like me who don't particularly care for cleaning up someone else's household mess. I don't think it is important for my son to learn to get along. As far as I'm concerned, he has a right to play without threat of harm or injury.

So, I have to hover about waiting for the inevitable bully to push him off the 8 foot tall climbing frame. So I can tell him off. (Of course, Winston is only just 3...eventually, he'll develop the skills to do it for himself. Right? And as far as I'm concerned, my job is to model the expected behavior until that time.)

Besides - what do experts know anyway? Until they prove me wrong, I'll be that nasty lady swatting flies.

2 comments:

Jax said...

you swat away, I'd be right up there too.

Em said...

Thanks for sharing that article. It made interesting reading. I don't think it is saying you shouldn't parent at all. I would also be there fly swatting too, and engage in far more play with my children than many parents I know. I won't stand around and let children bully each other, although I will let them have a certain amount of space to find their own solutions first. I have been the only mum (out of about 10 others including THE mother) to let a hyperactive boy running around banging people on the head through the side of a gazeebo awning and thinking it was funny that it was actually not very funny at all. There is a huge difference with that and hothousing them to try and set them up for some wonderful academic career.