Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Doing What I Want


'You', says my 10 year-old as I march her a mile to school instead of defrosting the Skoda, 'only ever do what you want!' I point out that I only ever do what is good for her, but my words evaporate in the chilly morning air, for children only acknowledge that a thing is in their best interests if they enjoy it. Thus, in my daughter's eyes:

My sitting for an hour on the floor of a leisure centre corridor while she learns gymnastics is good for her.
My sitting for an hour on a cupboard ledge while she reluctantly learns to swim is doing what I want.

Browsing T-shirts in Hollister is good for her.
Buying supper at Coop is doing what I want.

Submitting to an iPod for her birthday is good for her.
Barring her from Facebook is doing what I want.

Crumpets in front of the TV is good for her.
Wholemeal sandwiches is doing what I want.

An afternoon of Diary of a Wimpy Kid at the cinema is good for her.
Making her walk there is doing what I want.

Clean sheets and laundered clothes are good for her
Transporting them herself from bedroom floor to laundry basket is doing what I want.

I know that in 30 years time she'll see things my way. She'll be inflicting wholegrain on recalcitrant offspring and hectoring them on the health benefits of walking. But 30 years is is a long time to wait for enlightenment and I am battle weary. Maybe just this once I'll take the car to school pick up.

27 comments:

  1. Ah, the battles. How tempting do you find it to grin smugly at her and reply breezily "yes dear, that's the benefit of being a grown-up. We get to do what we want ALL the time"?

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    1. I've used that one for years, and for all sorts of reasons - swearing, drinking, staying up late, going out, watching what you want on tele.

      If you do it all when young, there'll be nothing to look forward to when you're older.

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    2. I've never tried that. I want her to believe in my martyrdom!

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  2. I hear you. If only they knew. I try hard not to turn into my mother, but it's happening slowly but surely.

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    1. I became my mother almost before she became it herself.

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  3. Having one at almost 13 and two under 2's Im not sure which battles are the hardest. The verbal ones with the tweenager or the physical ones EVERY time the boys need feeding, changing, dressing, undressing.... Battle weary, oh yes!
    Hope you're enjoying doing what you want ALL the time just like me! xx

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    1. Child rearing suits my egocentric character. But my, you really do syffer at both ends of the spectrum!

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  4. Oh yes, this is absolutely my 11 year old son..

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  5. They grow up so fast? Indeed they do. That's why I have a 9yr old 'teenager' who would totally agree with your daughter about everything. Fortunately the school is a three minute walk away so I'm spared the daily cries of "Whyyyyyyyy do I have to walk"?! Small mercies...

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    1. I doubt that would deter mine from lamenting! She'd drive round the corner to te church if she could...

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  6. LOL I think. My DD is only 4 and I only ever seem to do what she wants atm.

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    1. You wait. She'll come to realise that all those things you seem to do for her are for your own self-gratification!

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  7. I've been my mum for years. Whenever I used to say 'oh but why????' she would reply simply'Because '. And that was the end of the discussion, or argument. So now I take great pleasure in giving the same response to my own offspring!
    (anon rach)

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    1. You've hit on the fundamental difference between the 70s/80s and now. Then parents were shored up with unflappable authority; now people like me feel they owe their offspring a logical explanation for every diktat.

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  8. Funny, this. Most of my life (which consists solely of school/choir/music practice/housework/paid work) is regarded by the children as doing what I want. Why doesn't it feel that way to me?

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  9. I hear these words uttered from the mouth of my 11 year old daughter almost daily! I've said it before but I think our daughters may have a lot in common! I my have finally learnt, the hard way, that there is no point in responding to her accusations....she will learn....in time as will your daughter.

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  10. I have a two year old and I'm noticing some striking similarities. Toddlers, tweenagers, teenagers... all the same really.

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  11. So relate to this. Fifty arguments a day with your daughter isn't good for anyone. And the sooner my little darling realises that the better it will be for everyone. *digs heels in*

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    1. My policy exactly. But why does it take them so long to realise it? Are they thick or deludedly optimistic?!

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  12. My recent experience of a 25 year old daughter returning home for refuelling and laundering stops before reverting to 18-year old gap year mode completely wore me out. I am too old to go back to intensive parenting like this!

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  13. How the table turns eh? I can imagine you thought exactly the same of your mum ... and here we are turning into our parents - my mum wouldn't let me have 'trendy clothes' for as long as she could get away with it, and I have a suspicion I will be rather similar in my approach.

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    1. I was born a middle-aged matron. My mother used to nag be to be trendy and wear make up and go to parties and I'd skulk in a tree in the churchwarden's hand-me down tweeds and refuse to try on the mini skirts she brought home. And now I have a 10yo who would have been my mother's delight and who, like my mother, drags me round chain stores on Saturdays!

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