Are you a ‘good’ parent?

ARE you a good parent? Being a parent is a minefield and none of us parent the same way.

This even comes down to what age we can leave a child home alone for short periods – there is no clear definition in law, as long as the parent believes the child is responsible enough.

Sometimes I think I would like to have clear guidelines and rules, so that I can stop questioning if I am bringing my children up the right way.

I have two boys. One refuses to come out of his room, unless a plug is attached and has no interest in anything. The other is a typical outside boy forever on the go, climbing trees and getting very dirty. Yet, both have been brought up the same way.

When I was a child, all the neighbourhood kids were out playing together, building camps and we only came home to be fed or when it got dark. We put so much more pressure on children today, and expect them to be more mature than we were at that age.

This Easter holiday, I have seen barely any children out playing. I do not let mine play out on the streets, as I do not feel that it is safe for them.

So I question whether society today is more dangerous for kids or are we, as parents, just more paranoid about their safety?

There is no evidence to suggest that the dangers today are greater than 20 years ago, but maybe we are hearing about them more, due to social media. Are we restricting our children to the point that they are not having the same childhood experience we did? Or could it be that 20 years ago there was not the option of computers and internet, so we had to go out to play?

I personally think that children today are attending many more structured clubs after school than ever before. I justify that although my boys do not go out to play, they still get interaction and experience from attending many clubs.

But are they learning to be independent by doing this? I have been disappointed this Easter with the lack of local events for children and families to attend. Not all of us drive and most of the events are not accessible for those who don’t.

There have been several social media conversations about children causing trouble locally, but is it any wonder when they are so bored? I do not justify their actions but realistically, with money being so short for everyone, what can we do to occupy older children for two weeks?

Could we solve the problem within our own communities? A neighbourhood getting together and organising an activity in their street, to allow parents to let go of the reins a little bit but also have them being watched too. Would solve many problems, childcare and also bringing communities together.

I would like to see Yeovil putting on more events aimed at the 10+ age group to keep them occupied, so they do not gather in large groups, kicking stones around a car park, bored stupid.

We can blame parents for the behaviour of a child but many have to work and cannot afford to take all school holidays off. You can be the best parent in the world but when you get even a sensible group of children together, they will start to act like caged monkeys.

I hope that by the time we get to the summer holidays, not only will the constant rain have disappeared, but more organisations will have put on events for our children.

For those that will play out, can we all try to remember that we were exactly the same years ago.cray


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