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My reaction to the weekend’s shennanigans…

August 27, 2012

I am the very proud mother of two children – an elder son, and a younger daughter. The age gap is nearly three years.

Soon after my daughter was born, my son was able to walk in and out of her room more or less as he pleased. After all, it is his house and it is his right. No one was worried because he caused no trouble and no damage, certainly not deliberately.

In later years, as any parent of children of different genders knows, this began to change. He began deliberately intervening when her friends were around; he began deliberately obstructing her from doing what she wanted to do; he began, frankly, being a bit of a nuisance sometimes. Inevitably this led to a situation where I, as both children’s mother, had to adjudicate on this childish behaviour. I had to determine whether his protestations of innocence were genuine; I had to determine whether she was over-stating the problem; I had to determine what the appropriate bounds of his entering her room would be. There was no doubt that he still had every right to do so, even theoretically when he was not wanted, but not if he was setting out deliberately to cause her offence or nuisance.

I seriously doubt, by the way, that every one of my own determinations was fair. There are no doubt times when I allowed him to cause nuisance for too long; there are also no doubt times she over-reacted and I was too hard on him; but in the end, someone had to determine these things and do so, on the basis of experience, as fairly as possible.

Needless to say this was another weekend when I had to determine whether his initial actions were appropriate: whether he had breached rules I had previously laid down for him; whether she had over-reacted; and what penalty if any would be appropriate. As any parent knows, it is not easy. While I admit I may not always get it right, I would not appreciate some outsider intervening on behalf of either child and suggesting that someone else should make these determinations!

I should note that, on the vast majority of occasions, they do behave reasonably; most of the time they get on perfectly well in her room, watching videos or playing games. If they behaved reasonably all the time, there would be no need for me to make any determinations at all. As they get older, the need for me to intervene becomes more infrequent. Nevertheless, the simple fact remains that until they reach full maturity, my adjudications are still sometimes needed as a last resort, when there is no agreement between them.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 28, 2012 10:30 am

    Love this analogy Paula. Very clever angle to look at it from.

  2. September 1, 2012 12:15 pm

    Nice little story Paula, you should try your hand at writing a modern day book of childrens fairytales.
    Problem is that too many people are content to behave in an inmature fashion. Out of interest, have you every charged your children with a baton round to enforce your adjudication. Ho! Ho!

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