Monday, 27 September 2010

Ask the experts

Thanks to this blog and my contributions to Parentdish, I am sometimes referred to as a 'parenting expert'. I am not sure what this tag means. I have no qualifications in parenting other than having given birth to four boys, and so far kept them relatively free from harm. Perhaps that is enough though, as to me parenting has never been something academic based on ideologies and theories.

When my boys were born I learned first hand the meaning of unconditional love. I didn't think about it, or plan it; it just hit me like a train. I had brought these precious, vulnerable people into the world and it was my job to try to protect them, to be a port of call in whatever storms their lives will bring. To be their cheerleader, their shoulder to cry on, their champion and their biggest fan.

I am under no illusion that children need to be given boundaries and sycophantic love is in no way beneficial, but if my mother love can help them to feel safe in the big, bad world then I believe I have done my job. But that makes it sound like a chore, and I have found it to be more like an instinct. As I would shy away from fire, or avoid a precipitous drop, I love my children. It is built into me like the primeval urge that it is.

I cannot imagine giving birth to a child and simply not feeling that way. Or feeling that way but letting life get in the way of that emotional response. Perhaps I have been lucky that it was so simple and straightforward for me, maybe for others it is a hard fought battle that can never be won. That is so sad for all involved.

I make no claims to deserve the title of expert on anything in life, but I do believe that the one thing that qualifies you as a good parent is if you make sure that love for your child informs every choice you make. I believe we all owe that to our children, as we are the ones who chose to take on that huge responsibility by bringing them into the world. The only payback we can expect is to hope for their happiness and wellbeing.


  1. The Beatles said it best "All you need is Love", start from there and you can't go far wrong.

  2. Unconditional love. That's the key. Love, whether they are geniuses or dunces, athletes or sluggards, happy-go-lucky or depressive. Just because they are who they are, ie yours.

    Have you read "We need to talk about Kevin"? It's a horrifying book, but it addresses this issue well. What would your child have to be like for you not to love him?