I listened to an interesting debate on LBC Talk radio the other day. The presenter ( the affable James O'Brien) discussed how he and his wife disagree slightly on how they verbally support their two little girls. James, almost on a daily basis, tells his daughters that they are beautiful. His wife prefers to highlight their " beautiful behaviour"' a kindness, a Noble deed, a polite word. For her, their self worth is not just skin deep so to speak and she thinks it is important not to concentrate on the physical, nice as it is to hear.
I listened to the discussion with interest, and was reminded of it again , when I was on the phone to my elder sister just yesterday when we were chatting about her grandson who has a short term but painful disability. I reinforced that he comes from a supported and level headed family, who has instilled self worth and confidence into their child from the start. Huge skills that buffer the brickbats of life. The boy, I am sure,will do very well indeed.
My parents did not have had the skills or the knowledge to emotionally support their children. We were never told that we good at anything, we were never told we were beautiful. We were never told we were nice people....In general good deeds were overlooked and minor discretions were pounced upon....then it was normal...today,subscribers to mumsnet would be screaming from the rafters if they witnessed it.
How something's change.
How, for the most part, has parenting changed.
This morning, out of the blue, but probably on the back of this blog subject, I remembered a moment in primary school when I had a poem printed out in a collection of pupils work. It was a wonderful and celebratory moment that I can still almost experience and certainly appreciate some 41 years later, That poem game me some vindication and pride in myself, vindication and pride that I should have received from my parents consistently throughout my childhood...
I was feeding the ducklings this morning with a large plate of sloppy egg.
And I have just remembered that I told them both just how beautiful they were looking and how clever they were at scoffing the lot from their plate
I would have made a decent parent me thinks
.............Despite my upbringing.