The One Where I Get Cross About Overly Indulgent Parenting
Dear readers, this particular post is in grave danger of dissolving into an incoherent rant of epic proportions - hopefully I can hold it together long enough to put forward my argument in a sane and sensible way... Hold on to your hats, boys and girls.
Let's travel back in time a little. I am six years old. My Mum (at my insistence I might add) has signed me up for a ten week term of ballet classes. At first, I am overjoyed. I love ballet more than anything else in the world. I fully plan on being a ballet dancer one day.
And then, quite inexplicably, half way through the term I change my mind. No-one knows quite why. But I don't want to go any more. Cue stamping of feet, slamming of doors and much wailing. My Mum stands firm. She tells me that I have to go - I'm signed up for the full term, she's paid good money for it; and besides which she knows that I actually enjoy it.
Sulking, I go.
And she's right - I do enjoy it. I enjoy it so much, that at the end of the term I beg and plead her to sign me up for another term.
Fast forward to the present day. I'm chatting with a parent about how her little one is getting on. I mention that they've missed quite a few sessions - I enquire as to whether the child has been unwell. No, it seems the child has been in perfect health... It's just that sometimes, the child would rather watch TV than come along to class.
So their child says they would rather watch TV... and they just shrug their shoulders and let them.
I'm beginning to despair of a certain breed of parents.
Quite apart from the fact that their child can watch TV any time - do they really think that a sedentary activity like watching TV is going to benefit their child more than coming along to a class where they'll get some exercise, interact with other children - oh and have a good time?
With a wan smile from the parent I'm treated to a "Well, what can you do?"
What can they do? Here's a starter for ten:
They could start acting like a parent rather than a doormat. Rather than indulging their child's whim of the minute, they could put their foot down, explain that the TV will still be there when they get back - but right now they've a class to get to.
Thinking long term - they're only making a rod for their own backs. Are they always going to let their child decide what they will and won't do? Most of the time, children are simply not equipped to make those sort of decisions. Parents are surely the ones who are best equipped to decide.
This kind of overly indulgent behaviour can ultimately only do harm. To all such lily-livered parents, I say "For goodness sake, be a parent and take charge".
Otherwise they may find that the fruit of their loins is still slumped in front of the TV aged 30-something... because they've never really fancied work - and besides which they wouldn't want to miss any of the live feed of Big Brother 35 - the housemates are amazing this year.
Rant over... Goodness, that feels better.