One of the things my mum has always told me is that, as adults, we should fall out over our kids. Children have a (nasty?) habit of hating each other with a vicious, fiery passion one minute and then the next minute they are total BFFs, spreading around the love like its 1970 and flower power is back on the go.
That’s just kids.
I’ve had my first taste of children falling out in class because they have overheard (or blatantly been told in the hope it causes trouble it would appear in this case) the disagreement that has been had between parents – a minor thing that seems to have been blown out of proportion with children thrown into the mix. Bleeding out of the playground into the bigger playground known as the dreaded school gates filled with cliquey parents. It’s insanely frustrating and it’s something that no one should have to put up with.
Look, we’re all different, we all parent differently. We start it at birth: some co sleep, some controlled cry. Some breastfeed, some bottle feed… we’re really pushing to become more and more understand of each other’s choices but one we get last the home cooked or shop bought differences we seem to fall into the trap of judging each other again and trying to have an overall “right” way of parenting.
– Elsa homeschools, Anna says her kids are going to become crazy fruit loops with no social skills.
– Paul sends a pack up with sweets and crisps, Mike believes that should be banned and only quinoa on the menu.
– Carla encourages her kids to join in with afterschool clubs but Diane thinks that is being a pushy Mum.
– Dave is happy for his kids to not do homework and has said he would rather they didn’t have as much but Trevor thinks that makes him a lazy parent.
– Maria talks to her children about being badly behaved and disruptive in class, Olivia had labelled that child a problem child with lax parents.
The judgement goes on.
Reuben has sworn a couple of times at school lately; and he’s been a bit more disruptive in class and at playtime he’s let all his energy out and got over excited. He’s been a bit of a bellend to be fair, but he’s six so rather than expect him to self moderate; we’ve had a chat about why he’s doing it and it’s not acceptable. I know other parents might think we’re lax and too laid back, that we should be standing up on a platform in assembly (preferably nude for maximum shame – think Cersi Lannister, I jest of course, no one wants to see that…) and explaining how we intend to curb our errant child, but that just isn’t going to happen. Children are all mean to one another at times, children all play too rough or don’t think enough about how their actions will impact others – this is normal and as adults it’s surely our job to stand together and support each other in saying “hey, that isn’t cool.” We can’t do that if we are busy blaming each other for our children’s poor behaviour, or the poor behaviour of other children towards ours.
I’m not suggesting that if your child is being bullied or victimised relentlessly you just take the “ahh kids are kids” attitude.
Far from it – but I am saying that I’d much rather have a parent come and talk to me, person to person, free from judgement and say hey, this is what’s happened, I know kids do this sometimes but I bought you should know so that you can have a chat with them. Then I can act. Then I can teach. I can learn too. Lately I’m really questioning the way I’ve done things with Roo and I want to try and have a shake up with him, maybe I need to change my parental tactics in order to help him grow up and show how he can be that boy that I know is in his core.
I also appreciate that what I’m saying isn’t always possible but I just *wish* that as adults we could lead by example – talk to one another and help our children grow together, without the bitchiness and back biting.