The Absolute Fear of Being a Good Parent
I was told many things to except when I became a parent. No one mentions the absolute terror that comes with the job.
Driving down the main road today after a day out with the little one. Walking up the middle of the road is a 3-year-old Nepalese girl. Yes, you read that right. Now, this road isn’t the main road, but it is a busy B road.
We stopped the car, got out and retrieved the child, bringing her to the pavement. The first thing that interested me was the number of people who drove around her and didn’t stop. Not to mention the six people on the pavement stood there watching her wander up the road. What this says about society is a post for another time.
Once we had retrieved the young girl who jumped straight into my partner’s arms we tried to find her family. There were no obvious searching adults in sight.
Two minutes later a group of 4 Nepalese walked around the corner. This is where the story took a dramatic change. As the family walked towards her, the child screamed and gripped onto my partner. We were already on the phone to the police.
We asked the lady if she was the mother and she said yes. As we tried to hand the little girl over, the child refused to go to her. We asked if they had a photo of them with the child, they didn’t have their phone with them. All this time the police on the phone was telling us not to let the child go.
The family said the child had a speech problem. They were conversing with her in broken English not Nepalese. Another warning sign for us both. The police arrived in super fast time and took over. I know a limited sign language from a job 25 years ago and Mr Tumble. I asked the little girl, using sign, if this was her mum. To which she jumped into my arms for a cuddle, still avoiding her own family.
We left the police with the situation. The best case scenario we could come up with was the little girl was frightened of being in trouble. This was why she behaved the way she did and was reluctant to go to her family.
The Fear of Being A Parent
This made me think about my own little girl and the fear that has been inside me since she entered this world.
First, she was born by emergency Caesarian and needed to have a brief stay in special care. I say brief, 30 minutes, it felt like an hour.
Then there was the fear of her sleeping at night. Would she be ok, sudden infant death syndrome was a real concern for us. This anxiety was alleviated by an angel monitor.
Now I am faced with the fear of
oh good I have a climber
She climbs everything sofa’s, units, tables, windowsills if it has a foothold it’s climbable. I also have nightmares about her going missing. The fear these parents felt (presuming they were the parents) must have been horrendous.
I have said to my partner many times I wish I could microchip my little one. I am only half joking.
I know what you are all thinking she is only two, I have years of worry ahead. I already have shares in hair dye it isn’t going to get any easier.
Encourage Our Children To Develop
How as parents do we deal with the fear, whilst allowing our children independence? What is enough independence? Too little independence, you are an overprotective parent. Too much and you are seen as a bad, irresponsible parent.
Children have to be allowed to explore their environment. Whilst we stay close enough to catch them.
In the case of my daughter, this is exactly what she does. When I am about and it’s safe to do so, she can climb. I am quite literally there to catch her when she falls.
When I fostered teenagers, they were allowed out with a curfew. When things went wrong I was there to support them and help them deal with what had happened. I also supported them to take responsibility for their actions. With support and love, I empowered them to make good, informed decisions.
I am a big believer in gut instinct. If something doesn’t feel right then don’t let them do it. Sure you will be an ogre for a week or two, at the end of the day it’s worth it to keep your child safe.
We as parents can only judge what is right or wrong ourselves. Each parent will have different expectations and limits.
As parents, I believe all we can hope for is to do the best job we can.