On raising an adult

The child requested painted nails. Whore red. Although she didn’t request it in quite that shade… just “red”, as far as she was concerned. Anyway, it got me thinking a bit, as she doesn’t bite her nails [yet], about the things that we hope to pass on to our offspring, and those that we don’t. Actually, I totally lie. I was going to post this picture and be all “We hung out and painted our nails together!” but it was when I was uploading this that I remembered I’d thought about it when Han got her immunisations tonight (her 4 year old imms. Errr… I was delaying the vaccinations…? Not because I’m laaaaazy as hell…? OK. Just lazy.).

So, we were driving back in the car and I was thinking about how brave she was getting the injections, how utterly unconcerned she is about stuff that freaks the shit out of other people, and I realised that her bravery was a trait I had consciously tried to instill in her. Which is awesome.

Then I remembered that there’s a few things that I’ve been saying lately that have been trying to encourage a response in her, in social situations, that is more me (and my hangups) than it is her. And that needs to stop. Right now. Because, while I kick ass at taking needles, I’m really bloody terrible at other stuff. Like feeling that it’s necessary to apologise for Hannah’s need to break out into spontaneous performance at a friend’s house, demanding everyone’s attention. Trying to prevent her from asking questions of an acquaintance because she might be bothering them. Telling her she should always be nice to other kids, when she’s trying to tell me about the injustices of the child world.

That last one especially came up today. And while I expect that she will always treat others with respect, being nice at the expense of expecting decent behaviour from your friends hasn’t really done me all that well. It means that sometimes I haven’t felt all that confident about speaking up for myself. So I think I need to watch which of my hangups that I pass on to the child. It’s so hard, this parenting lark, because you don’t really know if you’ve done a good job or not until it’s miles too late.

Stress.

Another thing I hope the child doesn’t pick up from me.

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11 thoughts on “On raising an adult

  1. I worry quite a lot about how I tread the line between teaching my kids to be polite and considerate, and repressing their enthusiasm and self-confidence. It's really not easy.

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  2. For the record,
    I love when Han (or any other kid) asks me questions. You never know where the conversation will end up. You're a great parent.

    Ali xoxo

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  3. I find once I start thinking down that tract it gets very overwhelming and scary.
    The enormousness of our responsibility in raising these little people to be the kind of adults we want them to be….

    Eek.

    Also, Ella has lost her new, new school shoes. I am going to glue the next pair to her feet.

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  4. Yeah, I hear ya! For my two cents….

    There's not too much (well, anything I can think of) that you need to worry about passing on to Han. You're pretty awesome you know!

    And Han is a great kid – wonderful just how she is! I love her questions and funny wee statements. And as for the showing off – there's nothing you can do about that – she's a kid who is always going to demand centre stage. And there's nothing wrong with that. Age and experience will(sadly) crush her enthusiastic spirit without you having to help! (or she'll be come an actor, lead singer in a punk band or a comedian…in any case you'd have a LOT more to worry about then!!!!)

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  5. Also, just read this in a very old blog post of my own, talking about the daunting responsibility of shaping our children:

    I know I can give [my kids] a lot, but I also want them to have everything I can’t give them as well.

    The rest of the post was tat, but I like that part!

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  6. I wish it was easier to pop up and visit. Teo still talks about Hannah. By the way, I love your ape cardigan. I've been meaning to make one of those up for a future offspring… with all of the spare time I currently have 😉 xoxo

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  7. I suspect my daughter has overheard me (when trying in vain to make allowances for her public exuberancy) once too often saying 'oh but i think that stroppy girls are great, no chance of them being led to do stuff they don't want to'…

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