Friday, 23 March 2012
Having a breast cancer diagnosis changed my parenting almost overnight. I decided that my children needed more freedom and responsibility and to learn about things that, had I not been diagnosed with cancer, I probably would have protected them for a few years more.
I know some of my peer group with the same age children (nearly 15 and 16) still buy their teenager's clothes for them. You can spot them a mile off. They are the ones wearing the Fat Face fleece at pony club camp - the mothers that is. They also buy their teenagers underwear and talk disparagingly about other other teenagers wearing "unsuitable" clothes and "too much makeup". We took the view that experimentation now, whilst still secure in the bosom of their family, was the way forward. After all, teenage years are all about finding your own way in the world, discovering your limitations, pushing your boundaries and falling flat on your face. It is made much easier if you have a loving, supportive family to pick you up afterwards.
We got told off loudly and aggressively a few weeks ago for not being good parents when making a decision about schooling. It was implied that my children should have no input into their schooling and that HWISO and I were being "bad parents" for consulting the girls and listening to their wishes. I have mulled this over for a while, especially as we are still looking at schooling options and I have decided that my daughters should have the final say. After all, I am not the one going to school. They are.
It is a bit like their clothes really. I wouldn't choose to wear what they do. For a start, I'd look like mutton dressed as lamb. Also, I think mothers wearing the same clothes as their daughters looks sad, desperate and ridiculous and it is just so embarrassing for the teenagers.
Letting my children learn to stand on their own two feet, make their own decisions and face up to the consequences of those decisions, with a loving, supportive set of parents to catch them when they fall makes sense to me.
Perhaps I am not a bad parent, merely parenting from a different perspective.