Faulty parenting

12 Nov

Long gone are the days when my daughter would actually listen to me. Something has happened since she turned 4. A fracture in the time continuum occurred on Tuesday 25th September 2012 and added a ‘1’ to the front of her true age and left her a teenager imprisoned in a pre-schooler’s body. And that angry teenager is trying to get out …

Forgive me if I’ve said it before (and if I have it may well be evidence of a paranoia that I can add to a long list of others) but as I freewheel uncontrollably down the cycle lane of parenting it is blindingly obvious that being a parent brings with it an awful lot of guilt. As soon as the placenta has been delivered (or sooner if you want to count the ‘natural’ birth versus c-section debate) you’re faced with an ongoing volley of (apparently) moral dilemmas. Breast or bottle? Attachment parenting or send them to live with the in-laws 400 miles away? To return to work or not to return to work? These be the questions.

When you’ve had enough of other parents thrusting their views on you the last thing you need is your own child turning round and lobbing a nappy bucket full of guilt in your face. But that is exactly what has happened since my daughter turned 4. Completely incapable of accepting any responsibility for any of her actions, and truly in the spirit of the teenage years, the finger of blame now points firmly in the faces of me and her father. An example:

“Mummy! You’ve made me drop the huge bogey I was playing with.”

“Daddy! You made me do that!” [As she falls over attempting something that would make Sportacus split his lycra pants. Daddy cannot answer as he has been in another room for the last ten minutes. You get my point.]

If we were in the US she’d be suing our butts off. We daren’t move. We daren’t talk. I wouldn’t be surprised if she has social services on speed dial on her Barbie phone. I cannot fathom where this desire to lay the guilt on Ma and Pa has suddenly sprung from. Oh … hold on. To blame others is of course one of the best forms of self-preservation. My little girl cannot stand even the merest hint of being told off. To open one’s mouth in the shape of a potential retribution causes tears to shoot from her eyes and you are forced to carefully reconsider the tone of your voice (“Mummy, you said it in a cross way, not in a loveable way”). She has decided to take a massive baseball bat to Mummy and Daddy’s authority.

This is my little girl becoming independent. She’s discovered the blame game and the time it can buy you. (Long may that skill continue into her adult life.) Of course she has no understanding of the externally imposed and internally inflicted guilt that her parents shoulder (gawd, I’ve just seen an advert for Kirstie’s Vintage Home), but she has spotted our weakness and that’s our desire to be perfect parents. What’s another layer of guilt to add to the mille-feuille of parenting?

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8 Responses to “Faulty parenting”

  1. beeandbarliesbooks November 13, 2012 at 8:13 am #

    M and E are going to get on like a house on fire! Try telling M off and you will see a waterfall of tears – instantaneously! And then, she willl point the finger at her sister! x

    • Crumbs & Pegs November 13, 2012 at 12:31 pm #

      They can all blame it on W for 3 days next week!!

  2. simonsometimessays November 13, 2012 at 8:23 am #

    There’s not much you can do about this – your children have you over a barrel. Whatever happens, parents are conditioned to feel guilty; so instead of feeling guilty about imaginary slights you might as well get on and do stuff that they can actually blame you for. Start by hiding the Barbie phone.

    Is Kirstie’s Vintage Home a good thing or a bad thing? Kirstie is almost worshipped in our house. I was even made to divert a journey through Honiton in the hope of seeing her carrying a wicker basket in and out of the antique shoppes.

    • Crumbs & Pegs November 13, 2012 at 12:33 pm #

      Kirstie isn’t bad. Just a reminder of the domestic goddess I’ll never have the time, money or inspiration to be! More guilt …

  3. Isabel (for it is me) November 14, 2012 at 9:28 am #

    I read this post on the sofa, Harry lying at the other end with his feet in my lap. I moved slightly, and he said ‘Mummy, you hurt my shoulder!’
    ‘No I didn’t, I’m only touching your feet.’
    ‘You broke my bone!’
    Perfect timing!

    He’s probably mirroring my telling off / blaming of him, which has ramped up a bit since he turned four (because he seems to be naughtier, not because I’m feeling meaner!)

    • Crumbs & Pegs November 14, 2012 at 10:33 pm #

      Ha ha! Sounds like E is entirely normal then!

  4. notmyyearoff November 15, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    Oh god yes!!! This is exactly how I feel today. Z has been poorly for days but I was trying not to be the over protective parent that runs to the doctor…so here we are on day 5 and I end up taking him and being told they can’t do anything because its viral. Oh ok, so now I still feel daft for taking him but guilty that maybe I should have taken him sooner. Hubby and I have also been playing pass the poorly toddler today as we both try to look after him whilst working from home.

    • Crumbs & Pegs November 17, 2012 at 11:52 pm #

      Lordy, don’t feel guilty. You were using your parenting instinct! You would have known if a dash to the doctor has been needed on Day 1. If you’d thought it was serious you’d have been there in a flash. I absolve your guilt! If I can do that in a god-like way! 😉

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