It’s refreshing to read an article in the press that doesn’t suggest that we are all damaging our children through whatever random thing we are or aren’t doing depending on what the media currently want us to worry about – in fact this article seems to suggest that the angst that many parents feel about their actions during the early years is based off a whole heap of analysis that quite frankly adds up to very little hard evidence.
Which is nice.
Although I doubt will do a great deal to slow down the tsunami of unwanted and often conflicting advice that parents are bombarded with.
However it does raise the issue that maybe we need to start focusing on parents and making them feel supported and confident in parenting and perhaps working on the assumption that children are really quite resilient.
Because when you think it through, babies are rather parent-proof. If not I’m assuming that the human race would probably have died out a while ago as generations of new mothers accidentally dropped their child on his head (communication incident with the midwife, totally not my fault), allowed them to eat chicken poo (on Mr Muddling’s watch not mine I hasten to add) and climbing up ladders (ok we both weren’t watching closely at the time but I blame Tumble Tots for teaching her to climb ladders, seriously what 2 year old needs to be able to climb an adult sized ladder?).
Being a new parent is totally daunting – you are left with this small person who you can’t communicate with and who is entirely dependent on you. When the midwife left us with Littler after she was born, scarily quickly after she was born, it took us three attempts to get a nappy on her. Two adults with degrees and professional qualifications needed three goes to put a newborn nappy on. Even worse, Bigger was still in nappies at the time so it wasn’t as if we weren’t used to nappy change.
Fortunately nature is a clever beastie and has given us childhood amnesia which gives us a get out of jail card until they are three or so and babies that have been designed to survive.
That toe clenchingly piercing cry that you can’t sleep through, yes designed by clever Mother Nature so you can’t sleep through it. The fact they start to smile at 8 weeks just as you fall into an abyss of exhaustion, yes that’s Mother Nature making sure you don’t turn up at the maternity ward asking if they might possibly take the baby back. The really thick bit at the back of their skull, yes that’s to protect their brain when they go through the trying to sit up phase. The fact their bones are all malleable is so that they won’t break things when they throw themselves off the sofa as a toddler.
Mother Nature has been really clever and designed babies so that they can survive whilst they train up their parents to be the best slaves possible.
Except that nobody seems to be telling parents this these days – instead we are bombarded with gadgets we have to buy, books that we must read and strange bits of advice from all and sundry.
New parents need to be told repeatedly how well they are doing IRRESPECTIVE of what choices they have made about how they are rearing that child and absolutely irrespective of whether those are the same or different from your choices. New parents need to be given a year’s supply of wine and told the two mantras ‘they won’t remember this when they grow up’ and ‘this too shall pass’. That covers off the early years more or less in my view.
What do you think?