In the last 24 hours I've seen this article posted on both Facebook and Whatsapp. It's an article by 'parenting guru' John Rosemond - a family psychologist who has written a lot of parenting guides and encourages raising 'obedient children.' This article is an attempt to rethink how we place children in the role of the most important members of our family. Rosemond argues that parents are the important ones who keep children safe and without whom there would be no family at all. When I first read it I felt quite sad as it reminded me of how I was parented. As children we had low to no status in the family and respect was conferred on elders regardless of whether or not they deserved it. As a result I parent my children more with consent than enforcement. It is not easy. At times I would prefer it if I just told them to do something and they did it, however, I'm not like that. It means I get frustrated at repeating myself, but it also means I get to enjoy my boys' hilarious personalities too.
I'm not especially confident in my parenting. I am, however, the mum they have and I have to trust that what I'm doing is the best I can. I don't always get it right, but I am human. If I could read a manual to make them behave better would I ? Hmm, I'm not sure really. There is a lot to be said for giving my children space to have feelings, to get angry, to be stubborn, to be happy and most of all to love others.
This is all on my mind at the moment because today I visited a project for vulnerable young people and it saddened me to hear how many of them no longer talk to their families. Yesterday morning Brown Bear told me he will visit me when he is older. I said, "but you're going to live with me forever aren't you ?" He smiled at me in a pitying way and said, "No Mummy, I can't always live with you, but I will visit you every week. " I'll take that.
The other reason it's on my mind is because in the run up to Mother's Day I'm aware that some people can't or won't be with their mothers. In a society where we claim to hold mothers in such high regard why is it reduced to mugs with twee phrases on and overpriced boxes of chocolate ? The other morning Brown Bear left his bowl on the table after breakfast so I said, "Your butler isn't here today." "What's a but Mummy ?" "A butler is someone who does what your mother does, only they get paid for it." Still I'm looking forward to breakfast in bed, a box of lemon only fondant fancies and a day out without my children. I think Rosemond would appove.