It’s always something that is easier said than done, braking bad habits.
I was 23 before I stopped biting my nails and I still gnaw on them now when I am stressed.
I think a habit never really leaves you. Smoking, again, hard to do, easy to say but difficult to actually follow through with what you’ve said.
The same goes for parenting. On your first child as a parent you will most likely make the most mistakes.
Your first child is the child that shows you how to be a parent. They make you realise just how tired ‘tired’ can mean. They teach you all about late nights and early mornings when you thought you knew already. They give us the tools to multitask and coordinate our selfs. They improve our organisational skill and time keeping skills.
What we do, to our children, is fuck them up. We don’t know we’re doing it, but somewhere along the line we’ll say or do or maybe even not do something that will stay with our children for they rest of their lives.
Did you know that from the age of 0-7 is when our children become who they are, who they will be when they’re older?
No, you didn’t, neither did I until last
By the age of 7 our kids are who they will be for the rest of their lives. How we treat them now will affect them in their older years.
I fear, for all the time I tell willow “No!” And “you can’t!” Will transfer into her later life and possibly alter her abilities as an adult, what if she fears to progress in work because she thinks she can’t? What if she would like to buy herself something but it’s a little on the pricey side and she tell herself “No.”
Those are just examples. Here’s another.
When I tell willow that she can’t climb, the sofa,the table,the climbing frame at the park, or wherever else. Essentially I am installing into her that she is not capable. Of course her abilities will improve with her age but for now, I tell her not to climb, because it’s dangerous.
On the flip side of this, can you just imagine, for a tiny moment, that thing they want to climb is their adventures, they put their might into getting themselves up to where they need to be. Just imagine the adventure, imagine the thrill of being up that high from the ground, the excitement of seeing the world from a whole knew perspective. Just imagine, that height, that adventure, that new perspective is from the top of a mountain, you’re there, looking down on the world, you can see for miles and what you see is sublime, pure natural beauty, this sight, is something so new to you, you had no idea your eyes could even see that far, that clear, all the new things! Imagine if you were there soaking up all the new things and a helicopter just came sweeping over you, grabbing you and taking you back down to earth immediately.
How devastating would that be?
This is some thing I have thought about intensely. My little girl, if she wanted to climb mountains then I would tell her to “Go! You have one life! Live it!” But what if, right now, when I tell her she can’t climb, when I say she’s too little, not capable, what if I am the hypothetical helicopter, taking her away from her adventures? What if, when she’s older she has an opportunity to climb Everest and she turns it down because she thinks that she can’t do it, that’s she’s not capable enough or that she’s too small?
It’s my bad habit that needs breaking, I need to join her on her adventures instead of taking them away.
Let’s eat chocolate for breakfast and cereal at bedtime. Let’s dance, let’s sing. Amongst all the fucked-up-ness I am installing, unknowingly, I hope and I pray that I am installing confidence and bravery.
I hope that willow doesn’t feel incapable of doing something. I know I do, because my parents fucked me up.
Just Like yours did you, like willow will do to her children and them to theirs.
“They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.
But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.
Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.”
– Philip Larkin.