Before you read this post, I’d like you to read this article…
I read that article this morning and I have to be honest, I thought it was a case of a mum receiving a letter and being a little over-sensitive in her reaction, assuming people had complained about her 3 year old daughter but being a mum I get that, you’re lucky to have a safe area outside your home and let your 3 year old play outside in the fresh air with neighbour’s young children. They pick flowers and bark and act like young children discovering the world around them.
I happen to log into facebook and a certain tabloid rag has a twisted version of this story advertising their latest edition on their page talking about ‘kids running amok and ransacking other people’s garden’s’. This has escalated into a huge thread of people slating this woman’s parenting skills and her children. Comments like @she looks like a little monster!’ and ‘a 3 year old out on the streets, 2 words… BAD PARENTS’ and a barrage of people offering ‘useful’ snippets of advice like ‘social services should get involved’ and ‘the mum should get an asbo’ and ‘the mum should tan her daughter’s backside’.
It’s obvious no-one actually read the article properly, or I’ve totally misread it myself because what I got was that little girls were playing and maybe picking flowers and trampled a few plants. There has been some degree of anti-social behaviour in the area so the police decide to issue each house with a warning about how anti-social behaviour won’t be tolerated. This mum felt as there wasn’t a problem in their particular road, that it was aimed at her children and got defensive. Why do tabloid rags have to turn it into ‘Britain’s youngest child threatened with an ASBO’???
Let’s get this into perspective now, they’re not smashing neighbour’s windows or shouting profanities or smoking drugs or stealing cars, they’re picking flowers… that’s what children do.
My children have spent the best part of the last 2 weeks exploring our local woods, discovering plants, (and yes, picking some!) collecting sticks, leaves and basically being children! We’re so lucky to have the woods so close by, there is a children’s playground built into the woodland and a bmx track so children can enjoy the space.
When my older 2 boys were younger, we lived in London and the streets and local parks were their playground. They were good kids and I knew roughly where they’d be if I needed them. I had an ‘open door’ policy, our door was always open to them and their friends for drinks, snacks, lunch, toilet or a safe place to be for a while. They had the odd mischievous moment, #2 came home one day soaked to the skin and ran upstairs sheepishly, 2 minutes later a frail lady knocked and told me she’d just thrown a bucket of water over him and followed him home as he was playing ‘knock down ginger’ at her door and she was poorly. I made him come down to apologise and told him off, apologised to the lady and that was that. I have to admit to having a giggle later on as I remember being 8 and doing the same (without getting caught!) as I’m sure most did. It was naughty but hardly deserving of an asbo. He’s now almost 20 and working at the same engineering job he’s been at since he left school at 16, my eldest has just graduated from University. Neither has a criminal record or an asbo. 🙂
My point is, we’re so quick to judge kids behaviour and adults parenting skills nowadays, they really can’t do right for doing wrong. If the children sit indoors playing games consoles or watching TV- the parents are bad, they play outside and their parents are still wrong because it’s irresponsible or the kids might get an asbo.
Really? Is this where we are now? Have people forgotten what being a child was about? Full of wonder, full of energy, a bit mischievous but today’s discovers, explorers, creators, inventors… are tomorrow’s Lord Sugars, Richard Bransons, Larry Pages, Cesar Pellis and Sir Norman Fosters.
How can it be ok if we imprison our children and stop them from reaching their potentials by holding them back out of fear of being branded ‘bad parents’?