Tag Archives: children

Do we push our own fears onto our children?

I’ve been pondering, as I do most things, whether as a nation of Brits, whether we are pushing our own fears onto our children?

George is now three and we’ve attended many a baby and toddler class, read many a children’s book and watched many a program aimed at children his age. He’s a child who is learning all about his surroundings, feelings and emotions and how the world works.

The most recent thing we watched that actually sparked this post was a program on a well known British children’s channel. In the show, the children were practicing their nativity play. Two of the girls got up on a stage and acted out the role of Mary and the Angel. After the girls had said their lines, the teacher asked the girls if acting on a stage had made them nervous. They both said no. “Did it make you excited?” she asked. A weak yes response came from both. Fair do’s for asking if it incited varying emotions but what the teacher said next irritated me.

The teacher then turned to the rest of the class and said;

“It’s very hard to get up on stage in front of everyone. “Girl A” usually has a lot of confidence in class but it doesn’t mean it’s easy to get up here, she did really well”.

I get what she’s attempting to do. Praise and credit the girls achievements, but can you see the point I am trying to highlight here?

She has just told a class full of impressionable children that it is a difficult thing to stand up and talk in front of others. And so (to my mind) a potential class of nervous and shy children have been created. You tell a child something, they believe it (typically) For many you have just planted a seed of negativity right there.

And before you think I’m one of those 2017, gets offended by everything types, I so couldn;t be further from it. What I am is someone who says things as I see. We all know that if I tell you long enough the sky is green that eventually, if you are impressionable (as children are) you will start to believe it.

I’ve also on countless times heard the mention of “scary spiders”. Yes, agreed, arachnophobia is a big thing in the world but we are never going to stop it by teaching children that spiders are scary. It’s a never ending cycle of fear being programmed into one generation after the next. Children don’t come out being scared of spiders. We teach it to them. I know the end moral of stories like the one I’ve seen on Peppa pig is that you needn’t be scared of spiders like Mr Skinny Legs but by then it’s too late. You’ve planted the seed. Where are the programs about scary sheep, scary balls or scary paintbrushes? There aren’t many you can name are there!

Then there’s rain. Think about it. As a British nation, specifically in England, the majority of us believe that rain is a negative thing. Admittedly this mentality is changing but there are countless posts about what to do on a rainy day at home. But why does a rainy day have to mean you stay home? And so I draw your attention to a well known nursery rhyme.

“Rain, rain go away, come again another day”

Don’t even get me started on;

“It’s raining, it pouring, the old man is snoring, he went to bed and bumped his head and couldn’t get up in the morning”

I’m sure you are thinking that children don’t over analyse these things.  But you have to admit that we could be planting seeds in our children’s minds that suggest rain is negative. You can’t go out in the rain, it needs to go away, no one likes it. Why!?

It’s hard for me as a mother who grew up scared of almost everything. The dark, spiders, going fast, swimming, the wind, loud noise, heights, going upstairs by myself, ghosts, dead people, being shy. I’m not saying it’s anyone’s fault I was that way. I can almost pinpoint a life event that caused each of those fears but I bet I’ve forgotten about the episode of a programme that first instilled that idea into me, or a lady saying something to me on the bus, or a book that was read to me at the library.

As an adult I now try my hardest to not be fearful of anything. Using willpower, hypnotherapy and just a basic “couldn’t give a shit” attitude I’ve managed to conquer most of those fears. Post natal depression will do that for you as well I found. Once you’ve seen the lowest parts of yourself you aren’t scared of much else your daily life has to offer. But for George I’ve always wanted different. If I can avoid him gaining a fear of things I will.

He has already developed several fears that affect him in fits and starts and to be honest I can only think they are things he has seen on television as he certainly hasn’t witnessed them from me or his dad. We greet spiders like they are long lost friends, we poo poo suggestions we hear on tele of people saying they are scared of the dark etc. We encourage him to discover, explore and push himself, safe in the knowledge that we will be there if he feels he needs us to support him.

Once he starts full time school I know this will become harder. Perhaps we all need a little fear to make us rounded individuals. I personally feel fear holds you back and you miss out on areas of life because of it. Shyness for example. Would I have taken part in so much more, been part of so many groups had I not been shy. I wouldn’t have taken so much bullshit and I may, possibly, have been happier for it instead of feeling bitter about a lot of my school years.

What do you think? Do you think this is a British thing? I can’t help wondering if children raised in other countries/cultures/environments have different fears because of different exposures. For example in countries where they don’t a lot of television, if any, do children have these fears? Or as Brits are we creating the next anxious and fearful generation?

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

2017 – When every day is judgement day.

2017 has brought with it an increase in access to the internet, which, in my opinion, has increased our so called “knowledge”. We all think we are so damn knowledgeable about everything. Parents are literally the worst culprits of this.

Looking at my examples below, you’ll come to the conclusion that as parents we can’t do right for doing wrong. There will always be someone who doesn’t agree with what you are doing or have done. Is it any of their business? No! Are they with you 24/7? Doubtful! Should you give a toss what they think? Absolutely not! Will our children all turn out ok in the end? More than likely.

And those that supposedly turn out perfect may no doubt make some poor choices in adulthood. Perhaps they’ll make choices that mess up their lives and make us judge them moreover. There are many, many ways to live and grow. Very few are the “wrong way”. Please just stop judging.

Stop judging yourself, judging others. Stop making snide comments and passing hurtful looks. Instead try offering help to a parent that looks like they are struggling. Try offering praise to someone who looks like they are doing a “good job” by your standards. Appreciate that there are other ways to parent, and enquire with the person politely about their method. You may actually find a “better” method for your own parenting/grand parenting.

Any of these sound familiar?

Did you see that mum in the cafe, bottle feeding her baby? Poor kid is missing out on all those nutrients. Why doesn’t she breastfeed. Why doesn’t she want to give the best to her baby?

Did you see that mum in the cafe, breastfeeding her baby? Attention seeking she was. Getting her boobs out for everyone to see. Just so she can make the rest of us feel inadequate like we aren’t doing the best for our babies.

Did you speak to that that mum at the park? 5 kids she has and she wants more! She’s so selfish. Those kids will never get the attention and love they need with that many to look after!

Did you speak to that mum at the park? Her little boy is an only child and she doesn’t want anymore! She’s so selfish. That child is going to miss out on so much without a sibling to share it with.

Did you see that mum at the zoo? All her children drinking juice and eating chocolate and sweets. More fool her. All their teeth are probably rotten and it’s all her fault.

Did you see that mum at the zoo? All her children drinking were drinking water and eating homemade sugar free muffins. More fool her. First chance they get they will be stuffing their faces secretly with sweets, chocolate and fizzy drinks. And they’ll miss out at birthday parties. It’s all her fault.

My gosh did you see that mum letting her kid run along on the pavement? He could’ve run in the road and had an accident any minute. I was on edge just watching. She’s so irresponsible. (I’ve actually heard this one).

My gosh did you see that mum making her kid hold her hand and wear reins whilst walking along? Give the kid some space or he’ll never learn. She’s making a rod for her own back.

Did you see that mum ignoring her child and looking at her phone? Look at your kid for crying out loud! Watch him play.

Did you see that mum following her child on all the play equipment? Step back and let him breathe! Let him play by himself.

Did you see that mum shouting at her child in the supermarket? You should never speak to a child like that! She should always remain calm and composed.

Did you see that mum in the supermarket letting her child get away with lying on the floor screaming whilst she quietly stood there? She didn’t do anything! She’s teaching him it’s ok to be a spoilt brat.

The list goes on and on. Moral of this post…we all do things different. Every child is different and has their own needs. By all means if you are genuinely concerned for the safeguarding of a child then please take action by reporting to the appropriate authorities.

If you believe you may be guilty of being judgemental of your fellow mama, try our three simple steps;

(1) Take a moment to think of some of the reasons this mum is doing what she is doing. Appreciate that she knows her own children and her own mind. She may be having an off day. She’s made her own choices after weighing up the facts for herself.

(2) Close your eyes and walk away. It’s not your child. It’s not your way. If there’s no safeguarding issue. You are just being a bitch. Mind your own business.

(3) Do you remember when you had your first child and when you no doubt did exactly the same thing she did? You’ve since changed your style but it doesn’t make your choice any better. It’s YOUR choice for YOUR child at THAT time.

Just to be clear. None of the above opinions are my own. Thankfully I don’t hang in circles where opinions like this are expressed. You only have to click on the comments of most Facebook stories to see this type of know-it-all negativity.

Do you think we are giving each other too much of a hard time? I know I give MYSELF a hard enough time. I don’t have anything left to berate others and wouldn’t dare. We won’t judge here.

 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday