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The Perfect Child

19th Jul 2015
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When you become a parent, you find there is so much literature about parenting and none of them seem to agree. Plus there's always new research going on and so articles are always coming out on how to be a good parent.

Recently, a Harvard report stated that mums who went out to work had daughters who achieved better at work. So it's a good thing to go out to work. But I work from home, so it's that the same thing? I want to be closer to my daughters especially when you hear news of grooming, kidnapping etc I think if nothing else I want to be able to physically protect them as much as I can.

The next article that came out was in the guardian about how women shouldn't rush back to work and stay at home to look after the kids. In principle that sounds good but not everyone can afford to do this and even this makes me feel guilty. Although, I'm at home, in not always playing with them or looking after them because I'm working.

Ever since I started reading about parenting, there's apparently been this big debate about attachment parenting versus putting them in a routine. With my oldest daughter it was more routined with my youngest it became more of an attachment parenting more due to circumstances rather than anything else. They're both different but I feel guilty about the way I treated them when they were both young. Every time they misbehave I wonder if I've done something to damage them which is why they are acting the way they are.

Then I think back to my parents and grandparents and think that somehow we've all come through childhood, maybe slightly damaged but somehow we're ok. I might not have everything or be able to do everything we want but generally things are pretty good. Just need to stop worrying so much.


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Replies (8)

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By Fizzy
19th Jul 2015 17:54

Basically, whatever you do you'll be right, and you'll be wrong. It just depends on the day of the week and the latest parenting surveys.As long as you love them, show that you love them, teach them a certain level of ethics and morals and generally decent behaviour, and try to get it vaguely right most of the time you'll be fine and so will they. And when you make mistakes (which is inevitable), well that gives you something to learn from and them something to discuss with a counsellor / blame you for in later years. A win-win situation. Oh and kids misbehave. If they don't ever then you're probably doing something wrong because they'll obviously be feeling like they don't dare - and that's far worse. So put your feet up, have another drink and stop reading those books!

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By coolmanwithbeard
19th Jul 2015 23:32

Don't beat yourself up



My twenty two year old and youngest had a tantrum aged 8 as i would lrt her climb on castle ruins in boots with heels on the entirely unreasonably context I was worried she would hurt herself. Her great line that day was "You have ruined my entire childhood".

I hadn't and I'm sure she only remembers that day as its one of my favourite stories.If she ever gets married it is already in the wedding speech.

Our children are shaped by the life we give them but are amazingly resilient and hopefully well attached to us. They will learn that treating fairly is not the same as treating the same. They will learn life's not fair - I did as my younger brother consistently got away with more than I ever did. 

We are not perfect but if we strive to be the best we can then that will be great. You make choices and your children are part of those choices - but not exclusively and always to their whims. You working from home will not harm your girls chances in life and they'll appreciate the extras that brings. 

I see through your blogs a thinker (sometimes an over thinker?) and one who is deeply concerned about your girls' welfare. I would say if you are not sure and cannot decide either option is fine as you would not entertain a damaging option.

Certainly do not be swayed by an article here or there as usually they are written by people justifying their own choices to the world and often themselves. 

Love your girls, have fun, and don't fret every decision. As long as you see your relationship with them as a "going concern" you've done OK.




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By Alan Davies
20th Jul 2015 09:35

The perfect child

Doesn't exist! Neither does the perfect parent.  The reason there is such debate about 'methods' of parenting is a) different things work differently for different people (because people are different!) and b) no-one really wants to admit to being a bad parent so you only get to hear the succes stories.

I have 4 young boys - they are all completely different personalities and react differently to the entirely consistent (ish!) parenting that my wife and I give them.

As long as you enjoy your time with them and involve them in your life you'll be giving them what they need.  Think back to your own childhood - the good memories won't be the big planned holidays or events but the everyday things where you are involved with family life, my own memories are things like mending the car with my father or cooking with my mother.  

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By tom123
20th Jul 2015 19:20

"you know nothing about my life"

My daughter said that to me - aged about 4. At the time I struggled to think of much of the day when her life and a parent's life didn't overlap.

If we were to go through this again, I wouldn't bother reading any books. I did that the first time, and spent ages trying to put a wide awake child in the cot at 2pm because the book said so.

A wise older colleague said to me once - children are great, apart from bed times and meal times.

That is so true.

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By thatsnumberwang
22nd Jul 2015 13:02

It's all nonsense

Ignore the press and the research and do what is best for you and your children. Don't lose sight of the fact a major factor in your children's happiness is your happiness. If you are constantly stressed or unhappy this will impact on your daughters no matter how well you try to hide it.

Parenting isn't an exact science,so I try keep it simple; gives lots of love and good quality attention (ie put the phone down). 

And don't forget...

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By DebbieFranklin
24th Jul 2015 10:53

I think children have difficult phases in life regardless. I have been a full time working Mum for the past 19 years in a high pressured job with often long hours. I don't believe my children have suffered in any way.

I have never read a book on parenting and don't intend to start (often those who can do and those that can't teach!). One size does not fit all and we all have different circumstances. I agree with the previous comment, put down the book and put your feet up.

I have a fantastic relationship with my 19 year old daughter (who is training to be an accountant also) and my 14 year old son is a typical stroppy teenager. If you hang on in there you will come out the other side.

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David Winch
By David Winch
27th Jul 2015 10:07


There is so much very good advice in these responses there is nothing I can add - but I will try anyway.

I would suggest you support your children in being who they are - without any preconceptions as to who they ought to be.

My wife is a lawyer & I am an accountant.  Obviously careerwise we made a great impression on our children who have turned out to be a vet, a psychologist & a musician!  But seriously we are thrilled with the choices each of them has made (& of course totally supportive).

Although they are now in their 20s & 30s we are still very much their parents.


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By A mum and an accountant
31st Jul 2015 17:45

Thanks for all your replies! 

Thanks for all your replies!  It's so good to know what other parents and kids or older kids are doing.

I do hate dinner time and bath/bed time but some days are better than others.

I really should get them more involved with helping me with the things I do. I can't even joke about getting them do double entry bookkeeping since everything is computerised and sometimes they already seem to know as much as I do about iPads! They do like to hoover so I might as well make the most of that while they think its a game!

I think I do need to cut down on the parenting books and articles I read though.

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