16 September 2014

Why I Will Always Be a Helicopter Parent (Life Rule No. 3)

helicopter parent (also called a cosseting parent or simply a cosseter) is a parent who pays extremely close attention to a child's or children's experiences and problems, particularly at educational institutions. Helicopter parents are so named because, like helicopters, they hover overhead. (Wikipedia)

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When I first began the intrepid adventure of 'life as a school-gate mum', I remember over-hearing a conversation which made a lasting impression on me.

One particular mum (a few years ahead in the game than me) was sharing her sudden realisation that no one in the world would ever fight for her child, quite like she would. The detail is hazy but in essence, if it wasn't for this mother's persistence, no one would have discovered the extent to which her daughter was being bullied.

That was almost a decade ago and I've never forgotten the sentiment. So much so that this mother's story is the reason behind my third 'Life Rule'.....

I will always fight my child's corner. 

This particular parenting stance isn't very popular these days. Being labelled a 'helicopter parent' and ridiculed for swooping in and 'rescuing' when the going gets tough is common place. 

If you're a regular reader of my blog, you will know that I'm not a soft touch. In fact my first 'Life Rule' pays testament to that: 'Never do anything for your child that they can do for themselves'. But I'm not talking about running up to the school with a forgotten PE kit or making my 12 year old's bed when she's perfectly capable of doing it herself, I'm talking about fighting my child's corner when instinct beckons.

Just last week, The Boy returned home from school muttering something about his new teacher. Being a typical boy, he doesn't usually offer much information about what goes on between the hours of 9-3, so I paid close attention. He proceeded to explain that his teacher had told him off three times over the last two days, for things he hadn't done. 

Now I know as well as the next parent, that things can be misconstrued and that any child who thinks they are in danger of getting into trouble will deny all kinds of things. But I figured that he didn't have to tell me what had happened as she had already (rightly or wrongly) punished him. And it bothered me. It bothered me a lot. The Boy isn't usually in trouble and it would be very uncharacteristic of him to be persistently disruptive in class. 

I considered going to speak to his new teacher, to find out her take on things but I quickly started to question my motives....to question what the school would think...to question whether I would be labelled the 'over-protective parent' and whether in fact my son could be glossing over the truth. Then I remembered the conversation above, the promise I had made all those years ago to fight for my child against all the odds. 

So it seemed only fair to give his teacher the opportunity to give her side of the story and I think my son deserved a hearing too. Of course it's not all that clear exactly what happened - it never is - but I felt better for instigating the conversation and she was receptive and seemingly 'happy' to speak to me. 

Whether I have done my reputation (or his) some damage, is still in question. But I feel very strongly that as parents, we should be more confident in following our instincts. We should never feel intimidated, or allow ourselves to be ridiculed by a label. It's for this reason that I will continue to investigate and will always fight my child's corner when the need arises - no one else is going to.

What do you think of the term 'helicopter parent'?  Do you live in fear of being labelled or are you more than happy to speak up when necessary? I would love to hear your views....

13 September 2014

The Week That Was / Project 365 week 37

I'm going to apologise now....this week's photos are boring. Fact. This week we've concentrated on getting back into the groove school-wise and the early mornings have taken their toll on all of us....so much so that I kept forgetting to take photos! And there's no Reggie - second fail.

There's a distinct absence of The Tween in this week's collage too, partly because she's been away on a team-building trip with the school this weekend but mostly because she's discovered Skype. Just before the new term started, The Tween and The Teenager inherited our old iPhones and a whole new world has opened up! The Tween in particular, has embraced the new technological age, spending every waking moment hooked up to one of her comrades....the same ones she has spent the entire day with at school. Baffling.

10 September 2014

The Sky

This year we went on holiday to a place I haven't been to for 11 years. Despite this lapse in time, it's very familiar to me; growing up, it was our favourite family holiday destination. If you follow me on social media, you will probably be pretty well acquainted with the place yourself, by now!

Tiree is one of the Hebridean islands, located off the west coast of Scotland. If your children are a similar age to mine, then think Balamory but on a much smaller scale. Tiree boasts one school, one shop, two churches, a restaurant and a cafe (only open in the summer months).

9 September 2014

Life Rule Number 2

My kids are liars. Harsh but true. As soon as they could talk, their instinct was to lie. Sometimes big, fat, juicy ones. Sometimes small, seemingly insignificant white ones. But lies nonetheless. Is it just my children who have a habit of flirting with the truth?

I've often wondered why they do it. Why do they not feel comfortable speaking the truth or owning up when they're in the wrong? I've tried punishing the bad deed.....offering rewards for honesty....throwing in threats if no one comes clean (on one occasion this lasted an entire day when no one would admit to being the master graffiti artist on the parquet floor!). But so far, nothing seems to shift this natural instinct to lie.

6 September 2014

The Week That Was / Project 365 week 36

I desperately tried not to spend the first half of this week killing time. School was looming large on Wednesday for The Boy and Thursday for his sisters so we attempted to prepare, by going to bed a bit earlier than the usual 10 pm and dragging ourselves out of bed before 9 am (the girls would sleep til midday if allowed). Thank goodness it's been a short week is all I can say!

Reggie is back today and I don't think it will take long to find him. This is what we've been up to in week 36 of 2014....