A very wise friend, a daughter of an avid Buddhist type, once said that ‘all our problems are caused by our desire to possess and control’. When she first said it, I did not believe it. But then I thought about it and the penny dropped. It’s so true, it’s scary.
When you initially consider it you think of it as monetary. Yes money. We are told L’argent, as the French call it, is power. Power ultimately leads to being in control. Money also gains you stuff or ‘possessions’. You can shop till you drop.
But what else does it apply to? Well everything. Friendships, relationships, shopping habits, fitness plans, diets, dog handling, cooking, nail painting, bikini waxing, dry January, sugar detoxing and my favourite……parenting.
Taboo I know, after all I am not a parent. But I figure I can comment as I witness parenting first hand, daily, hourly, in various guises, at the school gate, supermarket, bus stop, parties, you name it, it surrounds me. I also deal with parental emotions first hand being a stepmother. You see what it really does to someone when they only see their kids half the time, for the good and bad.
From experience, looking in from the childless world I navigate, to have a child, is to many, like having the ultimate possession. They are priceless, one of a kind so it appears many feel the need to behave in accordance with this. Think security which tops that used on the Crown Jewels.
Parenting is seemingly all about control. That’s reasonable. In many cases, it has to be. The child’s safety, health and happiness often depends on it. However, like the control on the Queens favourite hat, sometimes it’s control gone mad. Control for the bad, the obsessive. The ‘crap on anyone you see fit along the way’ kind of controlling behaviour. Think pushy parents, tiger mothers and the ultimate, mother of the bride. All controlling. All barking mad.
I know what you are thinking, that this is a biased perspective from someone who knows shit as she is not a biological parent. Maybe so. But like Tim Wilcox BBC journalist, or maybe not for much longer, I am entitled to an opinion. Just as he touched on Jewish behaviour I can touch on parenting.
But is it all healthy? What I refer to is this attitude. Possess and control. Possess and control. Possess and control. It’s like watching the Dalek’s on Doctor Who. It’s crazy. It’s a possession alright, a human possession of the psychotic, irrational kind. Intelligent individuals, even some very dear friends, quite literally have leave of any kind of sensible, common sense behaviour when it comes to their kids.
I thought parenting was a selfless thing, ‘it’s all about the kids’ I am frequently told. Well I’m sorry for many it’s not. Or rather it is an attempt that often fails miserably. It’s more about them. They have to be owner and chief. Their way or the highway. Give the kids a break.
The desire to control the kids, their behaviours, their whereabouts, even when they take a number two it appears, come what may, no matter what continent you the parent might actually be in is paramount. It is a painful thing to watch, let alone be on the receiving end of. I mean do I need to text you the lunch menu so you can agree their food choices whilst we holiday in the jungles of Bolivia?
If it were a movie, it would be ‘sleeping with the enemy’. The kids will however end up like Julia Roberts, throwing themselves overboard to escape, if you continue to be so controlling.
Or worse still they will turn into control freaks themselves. Remember the concept of learned behaviour??
So obsessive parents, why not let them be. After all they often have two parents. The ‘left home alone with the kids’ parents are more often than not savvy and capable. Some kids even have a bonus parent like me who is equally in possession of a working brain with common sense as a bonus skill. So wherever you are globally, even Outer Mongolia, staying on the side of said country with no phone lines, no transport links aside from donkeys and a population of five, four humans and said donkey, your child will be well looked after in your absence.
Furthermore, you will only cause trouble whilst trying to run your own life and everybody else’s simultaneously. It would be a pain in the ass if you did this without a 12 hour time difference let alone with one. Remember, nobody likes a control freak. FACT!
What’s more the kids themselves, like all dogs, need to get off the leash sometimes and do as they will. But hopefully not pee against a lamp post or shit on the pavement. Let them go. Let them do their own arranging. They will not forget you, they might even appreciate you more when they realise how much stuff you actually do for them.
And if they don’t, well you can tweet, text, snapchat or BBM them incessantly till they return. I have also heard satellites are cheap to hire now if you really want to stalk them in style. Helicopters can also be rented by the hour.
This controlling behaviour is all well and good. But will you have the energy for it when you are elderly and they are middle aged? I think not. Simple #GIVEITUP. Let them go.
Controlling and possessing them in whatever manner you see fit is not caring it’s stifling. Treating your child in this way is weird. After all, there is no ‘child’ category on eBay so you cannot buy and sell them as objects, at least not in this country, so why treat them like you can? THEY ARE NOT POSESSIONS, THEY ARE HUMANS. (All said in a Dalek voice.)
On a final note. Take yourself back. How would you have felt treated like this by your parents? There is silence. I rest my case. As I tell my stepdaughters daily treat people as you want to be treated yourself.