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Swinging through life (not with the greatest of ease)

TAKING A LEAP: Parents generally try to do what's right for their children, but we're still only human, we're going to get it wrong sometimes.
TAKING A LEAP: Parents generally try to do what's right for their children, but we're still only human, we're going to get it wrong sometimes.

I CAN be (and most likely have been) labelled a helicopter parent over the years.

This is the first year I haven't helped in my son's class and he's in Year 4 ... just to give you an idea.

But I like to think I'm also pushing their boundaries, encouraging calculated risks and stepping back to let them experience life on their own terms.

We've moved out into the country on an expansive, very dense with bushland, acreage. Very "free-range” of me. And any day now I'll let them explore it on their own.

I am confident in their ability to gauge their own capabilities.

My daughter has a robust self-esteem so I'm not going to tell her she can't compete in a talent quest with children almost twice her age.

My son can shimmy up poles and trees like he's part-chimp, so I'm not going to tell him to come down. Even when I see other parents gasp in horror.

But that's not to say I don't worry for their physical and emotional safety, or feel the sting of others' judgment.

Because though it mostly goes right, it can also go very wrong.

As it did over the holidays when I took my monkeys to a trapeze school.

While I won't divulge which child froze when they reached the high wire (and it is very high wire), I will say when they came down, they were Not Happy.

They had felt pushed into something they weren't ready to do and I, helpless on the ground beneath them, had let it happen.

When it was my turn (penny, pound and all that), I experienced the stricken fear they'd just gone through and felt even worse about the situation.

The supervisor said sadly, "your child hates me” and I replied "I'm the mother, they hate me more”.

When I got down, I approached the Upset Child who had already rebuffed my peace offering of biscuits, to sincerely apologise.

Eventually, the Much Despised Supervisor had a quiet chat with Upset Child and before I knew it, a tiny voice was behind me saying they'd like to have another go.

Concern for my child, and whether I was being judged harshly by those around us, melted as my child conquered their fear and soared through the air, cheered on by the beautiful, supportive people around us.

The takeaway from this is that parents generally try to do what's right for their children, but we're still only human, we're going to get it wrong sometimes.

But it never hurts to support a family - even if you don't always agree with the method to their madness.

Peta Jo is an author and mother of three and is not running away to join the circus anytime soon. Visit her on Facebook.

Topics:  family life helicopter parent judgment parenting



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