Friday, 23 January 2009

Perceived Parental Cruelties

When I was a kid, I used to think my parents were really rotten to me.

Once, we three younger kids were sent up to bed as usual but for some reason were mucking about, running in and out of each other's bedrooms and so on. My mother, hearing the patter of not-so-tiny feet, called up to us several times to get into bed "or else". Stupidly, we ignored her and carried on.

Then she came upstairs.

The surprised and guilty looks on our faces must have been really funny because she could barely contain her laughter, so she was smiling as each one of us dashed past her to our rooms, but still gave us a good wallop. That's an image we tease her with to this day: her smiling whilst giving us a good hiding

Then there was the time when my mum threw my favourite shoes on the fire in front of me. I'd come home from school and put on these old shoes that I used to love slobbing about in. I was whining about some paid in my feet which had nothing to do with the shoes at all, but she just grabbed them off me and threw them in the fire. I'm still annoyed about that :-)

Then there was the time my Dad threw all our Lego in the bin. We used to keep it in a biscuit tin and instead of tipping it out onto the nice quiet carpet to find that all-important piece, we just used to rummage noisily in the tin for it. Thinking about it, the noise would have been terrifically irritating I suppose.

Still, if that's all I've got to complain about from my childhood, I reckon I've got off pretty lightly. Looking back at it, I reckon the parent-beings did a pretty good job in not very easy circumstances (not much money and four kids).


  1. Who was it that said the role of a parent is to put a few kinks into your character so you can cope in a twisted world?

    I feel sorry for parents that actually try to bring up their kids consistently and with rules and boundaries - they are up against so many parents who just don't care.

  2. Parents who just don't care - that is pretty bad. Something to ponder, though: Parents who care more about imposing their own zealously religious ideology than they do in cultivating individuality and the urge to express rather than conform.

    In their own minds, I'm sure my parents considered themselves caring. What got lost was the precious uniqueness of each of their children. Harsh, I know.

  3. I'm not sure which is the worst of those two extremes. Myself, I always believed my parents didn't much care about me as I was growing up - we were not a demonstrative family, either physically or emotionally and I felt quite isolated as a teenager. Other kids would come into school with happy tales of what activities they had got up to with their parents and I had no such stories to tell and was very envious. Ironically, I was the one who, having found a home of sorts with my local fundamentalist church, wanted to impress my views on my parents (Don't worry, I'm over that now). As an adult, things were better and I have a great relationship with my mum now and do know that she actually did care about me more than I knew. If I could have known it then though, things could have been so much better, ah well.

  4. I am often amazed at the lack of discipline in children and many adults these days. My parents believed that we had to grow up knowing that our actions have consequences. If we were naughty, we were punished in various ways and the ultimate punishment was a good hiding - normally when we did something that caused danger to either ourselves or others. I did the same with my children and all three of them developed into responsible, well-adjusted adults. Yes, so I am glad to find that someone else used to get a good hiding every now and again, and are better off for it. I wish some parents today would take a lesson from their grandparents who knew nothing off the dire pshycological effects that plain old-fashioned discipline would have on their children.

  5. Yes, there's a lot of silly political correctness here in the UK over the smacking of kids. I don't advocate beating them severely, but a well-timed smack can do wonders. Little kids especially are too young to reason with so a little tap teaches the lesson in a way they can relate to. I speak as one who had no kids by the way, but I like to imagine that if I had them I would give them appropirate discipline. It didn't kill me after all.


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