When we were children our parents held authority in high esteem. Teachers, policemen, priests and doctors were treated with a sort of reverence. Now our society has become less trusting with the exposure of paedophile priests and corrupt police. We have learned that they are only people and we have the right to challenge them in the best interest of our family and our health.
This week I’ve been quite upset by an ‘issue’ raised by my six-year-old’s teacher. She was implying that our daughter has ADHD and requires medication to calm her down. My initial reaction was confusion because that’s not my experience of my daughter. I thought about my child’s enthusiasm and how much energy she has. Of course, having serious fatigue makes some parts of caring for kids very difficult. Mealtimes are a real strain and this particular daughter is not a great eater. I started to wonder if the teacher had a point.
And then I took a step back and tried to see my child as objectively as I can. I saw a little girl who can follow a long series of instructions, who can sit for hours doing a puzzle well beyond her age category, who gets so immersed in her art and drawing that we have to pester her to go to bed. She can sit quietly for hours doing things that she enjoys, she has good friendships at school and is responsible with her belongings. Being a December baby, she is a full year younger than some peers in our schooling system. And yet she is just as capable.
Looking at my daughter in this way left me feeling a range of emotions. Firstly, guilt that I even considered the teacher could be right. And anger that the teacher is so ready to medicate my child as the first course of action. I’d guess that my daughter is probably bored as she is on top of all the work and is a creative person. The repetitive routine of the lessons is probably not that enthralling.
And then I felt a strange sensation about my childhood and I realised for the first time that my parents never gave me the benefit of the doubt when challenged by authority figures. It was probably linked to the ‘children should be seen but not heard’ upbringing that my parents had. But I felt that they didn’t trust me above an outsider in a position of authority. The feeling that your parents aren’t on your side can have a detrimental effect on self-esteem.
I sometimes chuckle at those parents who are so fervent in defending their child, even if it’s quite clear that they were in the wrong. Yes, it is important to be fair, but I never want my children to feel that I’m not in their corner. I want them to know that I have their back regardless. Those parents are getting it right in supporting their children and giving them that sensation of being loved unconditionally.
At this age, children become quite pushy and tend to make more demands. I get ordered around not to sing in the car and to put on this song and turn off that song. In trying to make sure my needs are met, I’m conscious of not giving in to every demand. But it also occurs to me that they don’t have a car in which they can decide the music. This is the time for them to start asserting themselves and it’s quite cute to watch them getting interested in music that is not sung by a purple dinosaur.
What followed for me felt like a rush of love, acceptance and approval of my beautiful, intelligent and capable child. I looked at her with a new respect and I sincerely hope that I can help her to keep her strong resolve and be unfazed by those who don’t appreciate her worth.Follow me: