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BLIP @ 6

6 October 2017 Posted by No Comment

So our wonderful Blip turned 6!!! He is well and truly a BOY now!!! No ‘baby’ signs at all remaining for us to cling on to a time where there were no questions or challenges, just complete and utter devotion, acceptance and dependency.

Since my last update when he was 3 ½ years old (cos that’s how long it took for me to get here again!), he has changed in leaps and bounds – finally in dadda’s esteemed, much awaited ‘big school’, which included a shift to Mt. Lavinia this year; Taller (most certainly and most dreaded); much more talkative (Why? Why? Why? Oh why?); far too astute and aware of his surroundings for his own good (roll eyes); memory of an elephant who forgets nothing, specially the things you WANT him to forget and which he never fails to bring up at the most ‘contextually appropriate’ time, so as to have the most impact; calls you out on all your shit; puts everything in proper perspective – though I must confess, I do give in to social dictates of time, hurry, stress, much to his dismay, as he decides to go slowest, when things are busiest and most rushed in the mornings. Try as I might to keep my cool, I fail miserably, as everything becomes much too overwhelming, specially the last few weeks with no help. However, I do repent very quickly and do ask his forgiveness and do explain that this doesn’t in anyway alter my love for him, nor (and I always find any possible occasion to add this)does it in any way change the fact that it should ALWAYS ONLY be mamma or dadda to whom he turns to for ANY issue and for ANY reason whatsoever!! To which he dutifully agrees and nods along.

Having got through the initial years(just barely) with the invaluable help of Baby Centre, Dr Spock and the like, one now finds oneself in a quandary with the issues and challenges one now encounters..! Clearly Spoc did not anticipate technological advancements at the exponential speeds at which it has done and Baby Centre does not look too far beyond the pre-school ‘milestones’, which thankfully, Blip met and exceeded well beyond expectation.

However, as with every phase so far since conception, the previous phase seems a breeze, when you encounter the issues of the next. Now with ‘big’ school comes the “big” challenges and the “real” test of one’s strength and resolve that one has, as a parent, been preparing for all this time – i.e. how do we intricately balance letting our child enjoy growing up and not getting caught up in the ‘rat race’ of competition, school curricula, extra activities, tuition classes etc. etc., whilst also not being side-lined and singled out in the process? How does one consistently maintain a ‘laissez-faire’ attitude, coupled with nonchalance, in the face of great opposition and pressure? How does one bring up a ‘millennial’ or Gen Z or Gen (-) or what have you, in this crazy fucked up world??

Renowned motivational speaker, Simon Sinek,attempts to shed some light on the situation. He makes a very harsh, yet astute and timely commentary against the modern,soidisant “progressive” parenting strategies, which, along with technology and social media fanaticism, has taken a very heavy toll on the well-being of “millennials” (i.e. those born in or after 1984).

Sinek says that these kids are often referred to as “tough to manage” and accused of being “entitled”, “narcissistic”, “self-interested”, “unfocused”, “lazy”…you get the idea..?!When corporates ask millennials what they want, they say they want to work in a place with ‘purpose’, they want to make an ‘impact’and they want ‘free food and bean bags’ – but still they are not happy!Which then begs the question,WHY?? He says it is because kids nowadays are dealt a bad hand – they are set up to fail from the outset by being rewarded for mediocrity; being given undue praise and recognition for mere ‘participation’, almost as much as the actual achiever / achievement; they are given a free ride throughout school by way of parental interference, which façade inevitably disappears in the real world, shattering their self-esteem and self-worth; they use social media to place filters on their otherwise hum-drum existence and live in moments and versions of reality that they choose to show the world; they are  impatient to achieve and be someone, without really making the effort or taking the time to enjoy life in the present;they are part of a very negative environment,with severe competition amongst kids and more so amongst parents,driving more and more of them into disarray and disillusionment.

In essence, what he is saying, and I have to agree, is that the fault lies entirely with the generation PRE-‘millennial’ (i.e. those of us born between 1974-1984). We are a paradox in terms. We were raised by parents who didn’t care two hoots (or to be fair, gave some hoots, but had a very ‘healthy neglect’, laissez-faire approach to parenting), so we, in all our ‘worldly’ wisdom decided, that we should become more involved and ‘progressive’parents. And without realizing it, have become the complete antithesis of our parents. We have become ‘over involved’ to the point of ‘interference’ and ‘smothering’, resulting in our kids becoming completely paranoid, dependent and helpless, with little or no common sense, inner-strength or self-worth, which naturally frustrates and makes them rebel and become more demanding. This then results in the ‘“tough to manage”, “entitled”, “narcissistic” kid that Sinek talks about.

These traits would have been fine, if it was arrogance coupled with self-confidence,intelligence and maturity. But unfortunately, it is not the case, as most ‘millennials’ are unable to negotiate themselves in life, finding themselves lost, alone, confused and insecure – evident in the enormously high suicide rates, depression, drug addiction, crime etc.

So how do or SHOULD we parent our kids today? I’d say we strike a healthy balance between the strategies employed by our parents and the so called ‘progressive’ strategies now – i.e. give our children the independence, confidence, strength of character and maturity they direly need and lack, whilst also assuring them that you’ve got their back at all times! No one should be their ‘go to’ other than you! COMMUNICATION is KEY with NO SUBSTITUTES!! –i.e. with your spouse, with your kids, with his grandparents, with his aunts, with his nanny, with his friends, with his teachers – with anyone who has, does or will have any interaction with your child.

Communicate the same message of love and protection, having the CHILD’S BEST INTEREST AT HEART AT ALL TIMES AND OVER ALL ELSE, specially warding off the “other” / the “social gaze”, with as fierce a force as one can muster!!


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