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Mollycoddle children at your peril!

PUBLISHED: 10:15 05 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:13 06 July 2010

I CAN'T abide a weedy child.

The sort who throws a hissy fit if he or she gets a speck of muck on a t-shirt, is terrified to stand close to a tree let alone climb one, refuses to run in case they fall over and constantly has the "sniffles.

I CAN'T abide a weedy child.

The sort who throws a hissy fit if he or she gets a speck of muck on a t-shirt, is terrified to stand close to a tree let alone climb one, refuses to run in case they fall over and constantly has the “sniffles.”

A weedy child invariably comes from a weedy parent who mollycoddles, squirting everything with anti-bacterial spray, instilling a fear of “dirty” animals, especially dogs - eeek. Nasty germs - and treating other children with runny noses like lepers.

The type of parent that stalks her toddler at playgroups in case he falls off a trike, gets shoved in the argy-bargy of boy play or touches someone else's dribble-stained toy.

These children barely see sunlight - playing outside is so dangerous, don't you know? - bikes are lethal and climbing frames are the devil's work.

They're constantly told “don't do that, you might get hurt” so they never try and never learn.

They grow up seeing danger and fear everywhere, are rarely out of their mother's sight and are experts at colouring inside the lines when they start school because they've done little else.

The invention of anti-bacterial gunk and the killjoy health and safety killjoys has nurtured legions of these children, winging and whining about danger and fear.

So terrified of risks, they're driven everywhere, have never known the feeling of crashing off their bike, falling off a wall or scraping their legs climbing trees and have no idea where real danger lies or how to face it.

Even in schools, risks have been removed. Bunsen burners - the fun stuff in our day- are now slapped with stickers warning, “This might be hot.” Never.

They turn into teenagers who are so pathetic they have to take their parents to university with them. Universities are reporting an alarming rise in parents staying with their children for their first weeks as an undergraduate to help “settle them in”, sleeping on the floor of their halls of residence.

Once upon a time this would have been unheard of and totally unacceptable.

You can probably guess that my boys got the opposite treatment. They were pushed up trees, encouraged into puddles and allowed to run around like little savages caked in muck. Not that they needed encouragement.

“Immunities”, I would say, as they ate biscuits dropped on the floor and sported permanently grubby hands to the disgust of clean freak Mums who were always offering me wet wipes.

We had our mishaps, I was spoken to by doctors in A and E about head bumps -but they survived, are never ill, and are robust, fit and strong and, I hope, are confident to grab life with both, grubby, hands rather than quiver behind a bush at the first sniff of danger or threat.

In short, they've learned by themselves what hurts, how far they can go and if a risk is worth taking.

How will anyone ever push boundaries, be adventurers, achieve great things if they're scared of getting hurt or the odd germ? I can't see Bear Grylls' mum being lavish with the anti-bac.

A new book Fifty Dangerous Things You Should Let your Children Do had me dancing around the kitchen. It urges parents to help children learn to judge risk and gain responsibility through experiment and is top of Amazon Kids' Active Books.

Although I might draw a line at letting my toddler lick a nine-volt battery, playing with fire, learning about boiling water and throwing rocks are just what children should be learning.

Health and safety has thwarted our children's natural development so, to create rounded, courageous and balanced adults, we have a responsibility to encourage them to take risks.

If we don't, we'll end up in generations with a nation of pale weeds scared stiff of crossing the road in case of what could happen.

Monday was National Sickie Day, the worst day of the year for people calling in sick to work.

Skiving workers who prefer their duvet on a dark morning to dragging themselves to work cost industry more than £30 million.

Bosses are too soft, turning a blind eye to the odd day off, and just accepting excuses because workers can self-certify until they have five days off.

It's cheating. Lying and getting paid for working while you're watching Holly and Phil is dishonest.

As a self-employed worker who has just paid a hefty tax bill, taking time off to be ill means I don't get paid. No work, no money. Paying bills is a big incentive to take a Lemsip, put on an extra cardi and get on with it.

But workers who know they'll get paid whatever and expect someone else to pick up their slack can just pull a fast one.

It's sad that docking pay or making them take holiday is the only way to encourage honesty.

People are chosen as captains because they command respect.

Once respect goes, their role is untenable.

“Footballer cheats on wife,” is hardly earth -shattering news and no one can claim pampered preened and overpaid footballers are ideal role models for our boys.

But John Terry is a serial cheat, on top of punching a nightclub barman and urinating in public. Trying to gag the press to hang on to his lucrative sponsorship deals showed how greedy he is.

Worthy of the national captain's title? No way.

But it's interesting how people jumped to his defence, spouting that his private life should have been kept private.

Adultery is dishonesty. Captains cannot be dishonest.

Adultery is cheating, scheming and lying to the very people he is contracted to protect, deceiving his wife and betraying his children. As well as deceiving his friend with his wife's best friend. It takes cunning, planning, lying and moral bankruptcy.

Call me old-fashioned but in my eyes adultery is a sin and if that's not enough to strip him of a national title, I don't know what is.

And, yes, the heir to our throne did it - but he hasn't been made king yet, has he?

On the very day Tesco announced it was banning people from shopping wearing pyjamas in one of their Welsh stores, a harassed looking Mum got out of her new Audi at my son's primary school with her pjs flapping around her ankles and slippers under her winter coat.

She shuffled along the road hoping no one would notice. As if.

Anyone who thinks it fit to schlep around a supermarket in novelty pyjamas is deluded. Although the pj-wearer turned away said she only wanted a packet of fags and would never do a full shop in her jim-jams. Class.

Appearances do count. Looking smart and making an effort shows respect - self-respect and respect for others.

But, if stores are banning pyjamas, they must consider stopping the summer parade of hotpants and crop tops that raise far more eyebrows than a pair of flannel pyjamas.

More than one in five adults aged 18 to 34 are still living with their parents because they cannot afford to move out.

Is this such a bad thing in Broken Britain?

In an age where people don't know their neighbours, live lonely existences in single households in disparate communities, extended families under the same roof might turn the clock back to a time when family and community mattered.

It's typical for generations of Asian families to live together and they have the strongest of family bonds and community spirit.

We can learn much from how they live.

When “compo” hunters sue for grazing a knee on a wonky pavement they should remember with shame the words of Captain Kate Philp who lost a leg after it was shredded by a bomb in Afghanistan.

Her amputation was “just a scratch” compared to other soldiers' losses, said the royal Artillery Officer, who begged doctors to take off her leg so she could get on with life.

Compared to a triple amputee, she was lucky, she said.

She is now back at work and hoping to get back to active service with a false leg.

A truly amazing woman who epitomises the grit of the servicemen and women who stare death in the face every day. An inspiration and role model.

If parents can be hauled before the courts for smacking and allowing their children to truant, why can't they be prosecuted for smoking beside them in cars?

Every day, babies are strapped in car seats - ironically to protect them from harm - in a fug of smoke from the fags mum and/or dad puff away on, windows shut and tiny undeveloped lungs breathing in the tarry haze.

I'm far from anti-smoking. If people want to smoke, away from objectors, that's fine. But babies have no choice. They can't move out of the way.

Parents are neglecting to protect them by smoking in an enclosed space with them and knowingly inflicting harm on them.

With the myriad of unnecessary and nonsensical Nanny State edicts in the last decade, you'd have thought the Government would have taken action about the real issue that's so blatantly staring them in the face - and going up babies and children's nostrils.

It's hardly a surprise that one woman in five now earns more than her husband and boyfriend.

Girls have been outperforming boys at exams for years and come out of universities better qualified and more confident and capable than ever.

Becoming high earners, decision makers and breadwinners is what we've been educating our girls for.

And, by now, it should really be more than just one in five women.

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