It only really hit home last week. At my little boy’s party, us parents stood around chatting and the subject turned to screen time. Immediately everybody got a little furtive and murmured things like ‘only half an hour a day’, ‘bad for their health’ etc, and not meeting anyone’s eyes for fear of being scorned for allowing their six year olds to watch TV at all – never mind let loose on your iPad on the weekend to play a game. The same thing happened when it came to the subject of sweets. Again, everyone went quiet and muttered things like ‘only on special occasions’ while our little ones gorged themselves on chips and birthday cake – and never once looked like it was a strange thing.
Why do us parents always feel we’re being judged by other parents? Why do we feel the need to portray ourselves as perfect parents? Yes we know screen time isn’t great for our little ones’ growing brains and sweets will rot their teeth, but isn’t it a case of everything in moderation? Why don’t we just tell the truth and perhaps as a group do something about it – for example, if we’re finding it hard to prise our little ones away from the screen, agree a time limit as a class and make more of an effort to get them together on weekends for a bit of fresh air?
So, we’re starting the ball rolling – here are five parenting taboos we’d like to see gone NOW.
TV for kids
There are times when the TV comes in very useful – my little lad learned his early numbers through Jake and the Neverland Pirates. We’re not suggesting that they sit staring at it all day long, but an hour or so at the end of a tiring day can be just what they need to unwind – and to give you a break. Just keep an eye on what they watch and that they’re not watching in excess – most kids will only watch it for a few minutes anyway. Obvious if they’re inclined to watch it to the point of being hypnotised, it might be a good idea to turn it off.
Sugar is bad for kids – we’re not debating this. And for kids under two and three, you should avoid it as much as possible – there’s an obesity epidemic in this country and we’d always advocate healthy eating from an early age. However, once your child hits party age, they’re going to encounter sweets and fast food. Don’t beat yourself up about it. The key is to allow these only on special occasions and not as a daily thing. Banning them completely could end up in your little one binging on them when he gets his hands on them.
Why is there such competitiveness among parents when it comes to toilet training? Every child is different, and just because little Cyril was sitting on a potty on his first birthday doesn’t make him a better child. Wait until your child is ready before training and remember that nighttime dryness takes longer – and yes, you’ll have bedwetting even after then. Do your kids a favour and let them know it’s okay and part of life and growing up.
There’s always one parent who boasts about how their child’s favourite food is broccoli – while the rest of us stare despondently downwards. Most kids go through phases of refusing anything green, even if they were the best veggie eaters ever when they were weaning. Solution? Go for the hidden vegetable sauces and stop feeling like you’ve failed just because your kid makes gagging noises at a plate of salad. Get inspiration here
Finding parenting difficult
Probably the ultimate taboo of all – admitting that you find parenting difficult. This can be especially true of new parents, who suddenly find themselves on a rollercoaster and no time to barely breathe. But the fact is that everyone finds parenting hard at times, even past the early days, and it’s okay to admit it. In fact, we could probably all benefit from a bit of honesty at times rather than pretending that life is a bed of roses.
maternity & infant
Originally posted 2016-11-22 14:45:41.