Where Does The Control End?

Friday, 6 February 2015

Where Does The Control End?

My name is Louise and I am a control freak. I am aware of this, know that it isn't the best quality to have, and try my best not to be. I am also a Mother. In my book, being a Mother is a special thing. Your job as such is to help your child(ren) learn how to be good human beings and look after themselves. This is where I get worried. More and more, I am seeing parents controlling the lives of their children rather than teaching them to be independent. I think that it is a fine line between wanting the best for your children and controlling them.

School seems to bring out the competitive and controlling behaviour of parents. Talking about a homework project over the holidays there were jokes about being able to tell which projects had been completed by the children and which by the parents. There are always pushy parents at clubs, probably living out their own dreams of things they wished for when they were younger.

I'm sure you have all seen the response from Mylene Klass about the request from parents to club together a tenner each so Birthday children can have "studious gifts" for their birthday. This upset me for a couple of reasons. Firstly it suggests that whatever you choose to get the children isn't good enough and secondly it is a form of control over what the birthday child is getting. If people ask me what my children would like to get them for their birthday I will give them ideas but I would never dictate to party guests what they should bring. Infact I would love to say "just bring yourself as your presence means more than any present and while we are there, don't expect a party bag because I hate wasting money on the rubbish that goes in them."
The e mail Mylene Klass received came as no shock to me. My sister had it years ago dropping off a friends child to a party. We ourselves have had an invite with an Amazon gift list attached for ideas. This is fine if you want ideas but can be interpreted as controlling. I will hold my hands up, I have been a control freak in the past. I still am a bit with my sister (our house would be filled with giant soft toys from ground to roof if she was left to her own devices.) But, I try not to be. I like gifts from other people as they are usually things I wouldn't buy myself or have not even heard of. 

My biggest worry, however, is where does this control end? I am forever seeing on facebook groups, discussions about what age children should be allowed to walk to school or go into town by themselves. Usually accompanied by some rather damning opinions. Rarely is there consideration into the child's maturity. Then I read an interesting post on micro chipping children.
What is the world coming too?

I grew up in an age where there were no mobile phones. I would finish school and turn up for dinner. My Mum had no idea where I was. I am sure she worried, but she also knew I was sensible. We had trust. What worries me more than anything about this Big Brother, controlling parent situation that seems to be growing, is that trust isn't there. If we as parents are controlling as much of our children's lives as we can, how are we allowing them to grow up? How are we as parents doing our job?


13 comments:

  1. Interesting debate Louise and I think most of us parents are pretty easily led and end up going along with the crowd. Micro-chipping certainly isn't one I will go along with though! I do think all the other things you mention should be at a parent's discretion. X

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  2. Very interesting especially since I'm about to appear in a national newspaper talking about how I "track" my family and friends (with their permission) using my phone. This is not because I don't trust them but because I don't trust the other people out there! And it means I don't have to ring my husband every day now to ask what time he will be home! As to birthday present lists - I know a local prep school has a system that every parent in the class pays into a birthday fund so that the child gets one big present on their birthday. Such a shame - my kids love the random tat other people choose for them. Under 10 it's usually more about quantity than quality anyway!

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  3. Louise Fairweather6 February 2015 at 09:08

    I wonder how my opinions will change when the boys are older and do wander off. Still against micro chipping full stop though! I must say whilst I don't like the idea of giving money it is sometimes easier and as children get older I would give them vouchers.

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  4. Louise Fairweather6 February 2015 at 09:11

    Ooooo look at you in the newspaper - looking forward to seeing that :-) As technology changes so do we so I could see that I could do the same when mine have mobiles. You are right, my kids are on the quantity rather than quality one - not helped my some of the toy manufacturers that just make rubbish and market it really well.

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  5. I think children often enjoy the more random presents rather than the ones that we choose for them or even the ones they chose themselves. I'm starting to wonder how easy I will find it to 'let go' as H gets older. He's nearly 8 now and when I was 9 I was walking home from school without parents.

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  6. Louise Fairweather6 February 2015 at 15:01

    Scary isn't it. I think about what I did and I know I will find it hard to let my kids do the same

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  7. A very good post I agree with all of it actually. I wouldn't dream of chipping my kids no way! I won't be letting go as easily as my parents and as you say yours probably did I trust my kids and will base descions on maturity as you say but the sad truth is whilst I trust them I just don't trust others sad but true x

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  8. But part of the fun for kids are getting random gifts! I think for my kids he loves the opening part more than the gifts themselves but its just me. #pocolo

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  9. As parents, we have to exercise a degree of control to ensure our kids' basic safety and development, but as in so many things in life it's about finding a balance (and obviously where that is will be different for different people). Personally I believe in exercising the minimum possible control where I can, giving our kids enough space to learn for themselves while offering them enough support when they need it to give them confidence and ensure their safety, even if my natural tendency is to hold on more tightly.

    The current challenge is letting the boys (aged 7 and 5) ride their bikes into town. They've been carefully drilled in road safety over the years, and the only rules we have when they're on their bikes are (1) always keep us within sight and (2) they do not cross or ride on the road until a grown-up says they can. We could keep tighter control to ensure they're 100% safe, but we trust them and their road sense just enough to give them a little bit of slack. So far they're responding to this very well, showing their maturity and not complaining that we're being too controlling.

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  10. I agree with Tim. I think finding the right balance is all important without a complete takeover. I think that the parents who give out birthday gift lists are FAR too presumptuous! Thank you for linking to #PoCoLo x

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  11. Getting the balance right as a parent is never going to be easy. Children grow and mature at different rates, they also keep different friends, so what works for one child may not work for another.

    As you said we had no mobile phones when we were children and had to be trusted to get home on time and not to get up to too much mischief when out and about. This allowed us to learn a sense of responsibility. When parents take too much control, they are not allowing their children to grow and learn, which in turn is doing their children no good at all.

    Great post by the way.

    #PoCoLo

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  12. Louise Fairweather8 February 2015 at 20:01

    I was worried about my 7 year going on the road with his Dad but he has to learn doesn't he

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  13. Louise Fairweather8 February 2015 at 20:02

    It is easier said than done tho isn't it. If someone asks fine, but if they don't prob best not too x

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