Poignant memories

I was grocery shopping the other day when I came across a mum and her three children. One child was very young, so was being pushed around in his pushchair and her other two children were walking behind her, messing around.

The elder child had his arm around his younger brother’s neck and when he complained to his mum that his brother had tried to strangle him, their mother told them both to leave each other alone. Although she never acknowledged her younger son’s comment, her comment for either child wasn’t particularly helpful.

When I was growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, it was more commonplace for a parent to say, ‘you’re as bad as each other’ and ignore their child’s comments. I believe it’s so important to deal with children individually, so they go on to have a voice in their adult years.

This lady’s comments brought back such powerful memories of how things were done for me and I thought the world had moved on from that kind of parenting. I have to say I felt so uncomfortable, not only for me having to go down memory lane, but for the child too.


26 Oct, 2013

8 thoughts on “Poignant memories

  1. This never really happened to me as I was a mischievous child, but my siblings weren’t so if anything was broken in the house or went missing it was down to me and if one of my siblings complained that I had done something to them, then I probably had. I was in trouble daily.

    However, I can see how frustrating it would be as a child not to be treated individually and I know from growing up in that period that this was commonplace in the UK in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

    I suspect that this is an element of parenting in all eras and one that adults of all ages remember was a feature of their childhood. What is interesting, is how many of those parents change it for their children?

    1. From my experiences this week, things have changed, but not so much as I would have liked. At least no blame was apportioned on either child, but unfortunately why the situation arose was still being ignored.

      You being so mischievous as a child it would be easy to see why you would be blamed for most things, if not all things. You have already said some things were probably justified, others not I would think.

      I think if parents’ were to listen to their children (not all parents will do this) instead of clubbing their children together, justice would prevail on the right child. I think children also need to own up to their responsibilities instead of allowing their sibling to pass the buck on whoever is the most unruly. That’s not fair.

      You clearly got a bad press with your siblings and your parents. It was easy to continue to blame you regardless of whether you were actually guilty or not.Unfortunately I believe any bad press follows us into adulthood with our families.

      From my own experience that never changes, neither do our parents’ opinion of us and that is sad.

  2. Yes I tend to have a lot of those, especially when I hear someone yelling at their child which makes me cringe!

    In my childhood it was either that or being totally ignored. I always felt like we could have been laying there gravely injured and my parents’ wouldn’t have noticed. It gave me the impression that anything I may have done to make them proud of me would have been in vain so I gave up on so many things in my life!.

    I truly regret the things I did do for attention, like snitching on my siblings all the time, but I was only a kid and didn’t really know any better.

    The hardest part for me has been knowing that I wanted to do so much better for my own children and ended up doing so much worse. My daughter grew up with a father who was in and out of her life because of fighting his own demons and failing so often.

    I struggle everyday with all the ‘what If’s?’ but I’m not Doctor Who, so I can’t change the past as much as I want to. The best I can do now is try my best to be there for her when she needs me!

    1. Your second paragraph was particularly poignant for me too Randy. I also cringe when I hear someone yelling at their child. I also gave up, particularly when it came to school, but never gave up hope that one day I would change things for myself when I was old enough to take control for myself.

      It’s wonderful that you’re doing your best now for your daughter. What’s past has gone, children understand more than we give them credit for. I believe the bigger picture always prevails.

  3. I understand what your saying and totally agree with you.

    The mom should have acknowledged the younger son’s request somehow. My mom was the same way with my sister and I.

    1. Thanks Lisa. It’s nice to know I wasn’t the only one! I agree with you, it would have been nice for their mother to acknowledge her younger son’s request.

  4. Yeah I can see why the mother was quick to dole out a solution that didn’t really solve the problem. When you have multiple children like that at the store it can really be trying, especially three. I don’t know how she can handle it.

    I used to do things with my son when he was little but tried to explain to him why somethings were wrong or right. Of course he always had such a good demeanor that he on his own was fairly easy to raise.

    I worried that if I had another, I might not be so lucky. I’m glad we shutdown production after one. I used to tell people that he was a limited edition, once you make a good one you could just leave it at that.

    I also used to think of what a good big brother he would have made. I don’t know what it feels like to not have any siblings. I bet having both parents’ full attention at all times didn’t stink, plus we didn’t have to worry about spending money on other kids. We never spoiled him because we would explain why or why not he could get something.

    Back to the stressed out mother you encountered, I wonder if she has help at home. I pretty much agree that it was probably how she was raised, I agree with the saying that it takes a village to raise a child. Most especially it takes patience to raise a child, and that is something that a lot of people lack.

    1. Thanks Maria. It’s amazing what memories come back to us. I like your last paragraph and you’re absolutely right, we do need patience to raise a child. I say this with the utmost respect, but this is something most of us lack in this fast paced world we live in and our own upbringing, that tends to play its part too.

      The scenario I encountered in the grocery store would have played out differently I am sure, had the mother had patience to deal with the problem that arose with one of her children.

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