Monday 20 November 2017

Carol Hunt: We should be mothering children, not smothering

Children need more freedom in order to develop the skills to cope with day-to-day life, writes Carol Hunt

LIKE most doting parents, my mother has a collection of embarrassing stories she likes to tell about each of her children -- weapons of mass destruction, we could call them, which she deploys at the optimum moment to maximum effect.

Her most used one about me concerns an experience I don't remember, so can't contradict, which involved me -- at three years of age -- leaving the house without her knowledge, and heading off to the local park for a go on the swings. After eventually realising I had vanished and failing to locate me in the usual spots, she headed to the park, where she saw me swinging away happily, oblivious to the furore I had caused. But the best bit, according to her, is that when I realised I'd been sussed, I jumped off and sprinted across the nearest main road, where she only just managed to grab me as I looked set to collide with an oncoming lorry.

Every time I hear this story, I hang my head in shame at the trouble I put my poor mother to. Never did it occur to me that perhaps it was odd for a three-year-old to get out of the house and be gone for quite a while without the absence being noticed.

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