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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Mother knows best

Motherhood is about repeating yourself, frequently. You say the same things to the same people many, many times. A friend of mine who was caring for her boyfriend's teenage girls, spoke to me in a state of frustration. She couldn’t understand why she had to ask them to do something more than once. They were intelligent young women and her request was reasonable. She couldn’t understand what the problem was.

The problem stems from the relationship between the speaker and the spoken to. If you ignore the parental bit, you basically have an adult [authority figure] to child [minor with no power] It seems to me that's the root of the problem not necessarily the individuals involved. I have first has experience of this;

“What are you whittering on about now Mother,” said senior daughter. I command very little respect around these parts.
I repeated ‘all I’m saying is, that I have been saying the very same thing to you for years!”
She gave me a sideways glance. She acknowledged that this was true, but confirmed that she had dismissed my advice as being irrelevant due to my status as mother. It would appear that the same information, provided by an indifferent third party was somehow more valid.

I just have to learn to live with it. In fact it’s surprising that after 25 years of being a parent, that this message hasn’t managed to become embed in my own memory bank.

For the current generation I will adopt a different approach. I will find a suitable candidate, some cool, hip peer. I will prime them with the relevant information that I wish to impart to my children. Then I'll role play the exchange with him / her until they’re word perfect. Lastly, I will set them loose on this set of children. These youngsters will then listen and abide by the sage advice of the ‘stranger’ who is not their mother.

Overall, it will be a much more efficient system and hoik them up the learning curve at a speedier rate than I managed with the last generation of children. I suppose that's why they say that 'parenting' is an on-going process.

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