Holding my precious newborn in my arms at a local coffee shop, I looked on in horror as a mother shouted angrily at her kids: ‘Get here… now! Don’t touch that! Leave her alone…!’ etc etc. I was horrified. I could never imagine speaking much more above a whisper to my child.
Fast forward 3 years.
Someone once said to me talking to a mother is like witnessing multi-tasking on steroids…
‘So how was your…. “stop that! Get out of there!” … weekend?
‘Then I said… “Stop it immediately!”… we should try that new place.’
Our kids can infuriate us at times and it can feel like the only way to be heard is at the top of our lungs.
The National Association of Head Teachers and the charity Family Action have created a leaflet to be distributed amongst schools in the UK, offering guidance to parents, like ‘stop shouting at your kids.’ Necessary? Or ‘nanny state’ type of stuff?
The leaflet includes advice like:
• Praise your children’s efforts and let them know it is “okay to make mistakes”;
• Listen to your child and show them that you value their views and opinions;
• Help your child understand about a balanced diet and the importance of eating fruit and vegetables to keep them fit and healthy;
• Let your child help with baking and preparing family meals so they understand about food;
• Encourage children to exercise for 30 minutes a day and adopt at least one hobby involving physical activity, such as dance, swimming or football;
• Get out and about as a family, including playing tag in the park or going for a bike ride;
• Think twice before lighting up cigarettes in front of children;
• Talk to children about the “importance of personal hygiene, such as showering regularly, having clean PE kit and using deodorant when they need to”.
Things that used to go without saying, don’t any more. Common sense parenting isn’t so common sense and the support networks once available to new parents are no longer there. But is it our schools’ responsibility to train parents? What do you think?