Friday, January 06, 2006

Redmum column January 5

I must have been on a roll for the last two columns, cos here is another new one.

Redmum column January 5

Repeat this phrase: ‘it’s only a phase!’

2005 has certainly opened my eyes to parenting I’ll tell you. It was forever be the year where absolutely everything I know and feel has been tested to the hilt.

Up until recently I felt like a fairly competent parent, on top of things but that was before the Young Wan was replaced by a teen monster. So I have gone from feeling like I know enough answers to feeling absolutely and completely clueless.

But somehow I have gotten through the year and I do not know how. Despite it all I am looking forward to a much different new year.

Considering most of my friends have only really started their families, I generally feel a little isolated in terms of what has been happening.

I met another mum whose son is a year younger than the Young Wan and as we walked to the bus one morning I could hear my own concerns and fears in her telling of broad stories of her family’s life.

And it struck me that when the Young Wan was small there were people I could talk to, there were other mothers and fathers from school or playgroup or even the people who worked in crèches.

So even though as times I felt isolated, there were outlets to talk about things that worried or even amused me. Parents share so much when their children are young, then when they get older we stay quiet.

We are losing out on so much valuable information and support by this. We should be talking to other parents. It would make the world of difference to know that we are not the only ones who are enduring a particular ‘phase’.

The ‘it’s just a phase’ is a term I haven’t really heard in a number of years well until recently anyhow.

It was the generic term I heard a lot during those times when the Young Wan was a toddler and would insist on feeding herself though she managed to get little actually into her mouth, unlike her hair, ears, clothes and walls. Or the times when she would just not sit down in her seat on the train preferring to continually bang her head on the carriage tables in a bid to say hello to everyone there.

It was almost like she grew out of behaviour that happened in phases but somehow grew back into having phases. And it makes me yearn for the best advice ever – from other parents of teenagers now who are experiencing the same type of events like me.

After all, teens travel in packs so maybe its time for parents to do so too. There has to be consolation to know there is nothing at all that hasn’t been done already and experienced and endured by another family.

On a purely practical reason alone times to be home by could be coordinated so there can be no argument about times ‘Oh such and such gets to stay out until 10pm’.

Parenting is tough, we know there is no manual or no rule book, so being a parent is a learning curve. So the bottom line is who better to seek counsel from than other parents?

Happy New Year and remember it’s only a phase. It’s only a phase, IT’S ONLY A PHASE.

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