Wednesday, 4 September 2013

when did we become a generation obsessed with parental guilt ?

when did parents start to loose control of their minds ?, does that sound a bit dramatic ? maybe it is, but the fact is that i am becoming increasingly baffled by the behaviour of many parents in my midst.

i may well get lynched for writing this post, but its something that i have been thinking about increasingly of late. parents seem to be wracked with guilt, beat themselves up for not doing the right thing, or what they perceive to be right.

i am certain that 35 odd years age when my mother picked me up from school , actually come to think of it she didn't very often pick me up from school, it was usually one of my older sisters, mum would have been at work or perhaps doing jobs at home. she would have felt no guilt at not being the one there everyday to pick us up, and as long as someone picked us up i really don't think we were bothered. ditto, sports days and school concerts plays etc, mum or dad never came to sports days, i can't honestly remember anyones being there, maybe the odd couple of grandparents, when it came to plays etc, mum would often be there if her work permitted (which at that time expecting time off to go to a school event would have been virtually unheard of !) when did this all change ?

fast forward and we seem to be living in a society where parents feel that every event needs to be attended by the whole family, mum, dad, grandparents and in some cases aunts and uncles!,
is this the children's expectation ?, perhaps, because they see that all the other children have lots of people to see them, or is it just another example of parental guilt ?, that if you miss something it makes you, less of or a bad parent ?

the two younger girls went back to school yesterday, as i am recovering from an operation at the moment i could not take them for their first day back (and probably will not manage walk them to or pick them up from school until next week), chris took them and freya (13yrs), picked them up as she is not back at school yet. did i feel bad/guilty ?, well, no i didn't actually, i will take and pick up for the rest of the year and don't think in the grand scale of things it really matters, and quite honestly i don't think they were bothered at all.

a was flicking through facebook yesterday, i have an account but must say i don't follow the currant trend of documenting my/my children's lives on there, in fact i don't write on it at all, but do sometimes have a look what other people are doing. there were lots and lots of pictures of children in school uniform going back to school, i was stunned to read a comment from a fellow parent that went something like this, " feel like such a bad one told me you are supposed to take pics on the first day of junior school - oops!", a couple of other parents commented that they weren't there and how unforgivable it was !, another said that her child had to go to breakfast and after school club, as though this was a deadly sin. why are these women feeling like this ?, will their children be scarred by their parents not being their for them to wave them in on the first day?, i don't think so , what do you think ?



  1. As an ex primary school teacher i can say that I often felt that children were the ruling class. They would roar out of school, fling their (very heavy) bags at their mum, or whoever, and expect them to carry them. No please or thank you, just taken for granted.
    Growing up in the 50s, long ago, children fitted in to their parents' lives not the other way round. I used to walk 2 miles from our little village school, with my cousin, on our own, unless it was dark or raining, when we would be met. Not in a car either.
    Good post.

    1. Thank you for your comment Elizabeth, you know I hoped that you would make a comment. I wanted to have some feedback from someone (a little!) older than me. Sometimes I think I am the only parent who's whole world does not revolve around their children. Much as I love them of course!

  2. I don't think that not being there on the first day makes you a bad parent. I don't remember if my mom was there. She probably was because she was a stay at home mom. When I got older she worked because she wanted to. I am 52 and well adjusted.
    So Women, STOP feeling guilty!

    Very good post.

    1. Thank you for your comment Mary, the fact that you can't really remember if your mom was there goes to show that it is the parents that are beating themselves up (for nothing in my opinion) not the children. I think this post will open up a whole can of worms for me, and I am sure there will be further parenting posts. I have many issues with 'modern' parenting.

  3. Loved your post. I took my child in for the first day of term in Year 2 last week, I stood in a massive queue of parents moving slowly towards the door with lots of newbies while I had little sibling holding my hand and then I realised school girl had scurried to the front and made her own way in! I saw her walking up the corridor through the glass and thought to myself "why am I stood in this big queue?" I leapt out and went home. Feeling guilty? not at all, what an independent girl she was. we just have a kiss and she goes in and sorts herself out now, no fussing. I get lots of comments asking me how I get my children to carry their own bags! They have always done it - I am carrying my own bag! Jo xx

  4. Oh how I love this post. It really struck a chord with me. I must be the worst !other in the world as my girls have to walk to and from school.... 45 mins each way or get a lift with me at 7.40 and wait till 4 for Darren or I to pick them up. They also have jobs to do after school everyday as we'll as homework, as I don't have time....or the inclination to do it all, and they don't have ballet, singing, tennis, swimming, ice skating, horse riding or any other extremely important extra curricular stuff to do!!

  5. Love your post and wholeheartedly agree with you! I had a key round my neck and let myself in after school!
    Today my darling single Mum, as she was then would have probably been investigated.
    Bet those women on Fb don't really feel like that I think they are just saying it because that is what expected of them. I too hate that parents parade their childrens lives on line at every oppourtunity. Good for you fro speaking out....
    bestest Daisy j