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Friday 23 March 2012

Responsible Parenting

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.


  1. Of course you are not a bad parent!

    With regard to schooling: My older brother went to a public school. He didn't want to, but my parents knew he needed a kick up the backside. It did him good.

    I absolutely didn't want to go to public school. I knew that my brother's school pushed the kids hard and I already pushed myself hard in my studies. I didn't want to go to an all girls school either (which the public school was). Thankfully, my parents heard my wishes and although I wouldn't say that I thrived at the local comprehensive, I survived in a way that I wouldn't have done at the public/all girls school. I am glad I was given a choice.

    As for Fat Face clothes... I love them... Too expensive, but given the money I would dress from there all the time!

  2. Charlotte, I'm so sorry that painful experiences have made you so wise, but I'm with you. You are strong loving parent who has learned how to to the hard things not the easiest or most popular things for herself and the people she loves. I'm with you..btw your amazing daughter's blog is so impressive. Shes a chip off the old block and thensome! I learn from her every time she writes, and I am in awe of her!

  3. Charlotte - you are one of the best parents I know - and a very kind, hardworking and loving one too. And you have two of the most delightful and fun children. I was determined to go back to TH after leaving to do my GCSEs at the no longer Amberfield - and mum and dad let me make that decision - because they felt the same as you - it was me doing the studying etc not them! But they really regret letting me make that choice for myself - because it didn't work out as well as everyone hoped although I am so determined to this day to believe that it was the right thing to do. I do totally support your plan to let E and G choose where they go to school...they will do so well where ever they go! Love love love to you all xxxxx