Hands up if you’re fed up with being told either what you have done wrong or what you need to do to make your child perfect. There have been two stories floating around the media this week about this very topic.

First it there was an article reporting on a study undertaken in the UK. It was all about the name of a child being an indicator of later behaviour. So, if you call your child Alexander, instead of Alex, there is a greater chance your little munchkin will be well behaved. Longer names, it said, seemed to produce nicer children. A weird theory, although I don’t think the study was taking itself too seriously. How do you study ‘naughty’ and ‘nice’ in kids? (check out the full article at – http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/lifematters/beth-and-josh-top-naughty-list-20101207-18nik.html)

The second article was all about the effect of mobile phones on children’s behaviour. It also cited a study that found that,”foetuses regularly exposed to mobile phones in the womb had a 30 per cent greater chance of behavioural difficulties at the age of seven.” And that if you expose your kids to mobile phones post birth up to the age of seven (again) their behaviour will also be off the chart. Phew. Two things here. If mobile phones affect foetuses and kids so dramatically, can’t they cause cancer? And secondly, is our culture kidding? Are we simply looking for reasons for stroppy kids or is it really truly real scientifically proven fact? (Here it is – http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/mobiles/controversial-study-finds-mobile-phones-a-risk-to-foetuses-20101208-18op3.html)

It seems we are looking for the answer for the perfect child. How do we manage behavioural problems? How do we produce angel children with serene, calm faces and manners; children with the right amount of courage and independence and drive? It cannot be done! What I love about being a mum are the colours of my life. Which means the absence of the BLAND! Yes my kids have meltdowns and yes it drives me crazy and YES I don’t always handle it the right way but isn’t that just life being colourful?

What we are looking for doesn’t exist. While it is great to know what can help parents manage their families more successfully, sometimes it just comes across as critical or it simply adds to the guilt basket we all carry around on our shoulders. “Oh crap, I shouldn’t have let my kid use the mobile phone, I shouldn’t have used it when I was pregnant, I shouldn’t have called my child Josh, but Joshua…. What was I thinking!!!!!? Bad, bad mother!”

We can get so wrapped up in the regrets of the past. Those clumsy, careless days when nothing you say or do could be classed as ‘perfect parent’ material. Remember that time in the car when you yelled and everyone was crying so you turned up the music to give yourself a moment to calm down? Remember when you were at the end of your tether and you lost it, stamped your feet and acted like a spoiled brat?

Regrets, shmegets! All you can do is your best and if, on one particularly bad day, it’s poor, then it’s poor! As one child psychologist said, “Don’t aim to be the perfect parent, aim to for ‘good enough'”.

 

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