Tuesday, 8 May 2018

THings to do with being a parent.

Parenting is a complicated business. Actually, parenting is a term I really don’t like. I don’t know how long it has existed but it seems to me to be a very modern term. Instead of saying “bringing up children”, a new term has been invented, one of those take-a-noun-and-make-a-verb terms. Be that as it may, bringing up children is not something everyone finds straightforward.

And nowadays it costs a lot more than it ever used to. Our daughter’s in-laws bought them a very pricey pram for the smallest member of the family. It was one of those that started off as a tiny baby carrier on wheels, had a carrycot attachment, morphed into a full-blown pram and finally into a stroller. Even in the reduced section of the baby-supplies shop it cost about £700. And now it hardly gets used as they have progressed to a lighter weight stroller for the baby who has progressed into a toddler. I look back at the second hand pram/pushchair that we used for both our offspring and which cost us about £25. Were we cheapskates?

 In Finland, I think it is, they provide new parents with a baby box. This contains all sorts of essentials for a new baby and the box itself is of a size that can be used as a crib for the tiny one. Someone once told me that it was common practice in Victorian times for a new baby to be put to bed in e bottom drawer of a chest of drawers, hoping that nobody closed the drawer and forgot the child was there (joke!).

Scotland has followed Finland’s example and organised baby boxes dor new parents, a great idea except that some expert has been questioning the health and safety aspect of such a box. One concern seems to be that it is too high-sided to be used as a decent crib; the parent has to lean right into it to pick up the baby. And then, it has a lid, a closed-fitting lid, which might cause safety concerns. Is anyone really likely to put the lid on the box with a baby inside!!!

Further along the stages of parenting comes the question of how much parents get involved in arguments their offspring have with their school mates. As a rule when kids quarrel, you just leave them to get on with it. All through primary school my best friend and I fell out on a regular basis. Both sets of parents ignored this totally as within a day or so we were thick as thieves, joined at the hip once again. Some parents, most often mothers as they do a lot of the picking up of children from school, get really worked up about it and fall out themselves with the mother of the other child. So you end up with a situation where the children have forgotten what they ever argued about but the mothers look daggers at each other at the school gate. What a lot of nonsense!

 More serious is the case if the father who shot and killed the stepfather of a boy who had argued with and possibly bullied his own son. Here’s a link to the story. Several things strike me.

  • The father, the one who shot the stepfather, had 23 guns in the house! Even for a clay pigeon shooting enthusiast this seems like an excessive number of guns. 
  • Then there is the fact that when the parents of the other boy (mother and stepfather) came banging on doors and windows to try to settle the problem between the boys, if they were really a nuisance why did the father not phone the police instead of selecting a gun, loading it and shooting the bloke when the door was opened? 
  • But most of all, he then persuaded his fourteen-year-old son to take the blame and pretend he had shot the other guy. 
 Good grief! What kind of parent does that?

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