Friday, March 31, 2017
Freedom of expression.
I was in a kiddies play centre in Singapore which Katherine and Adam love. Lots of children running swinging, jumping, sliding and bouncing and lots of bored moms staring at their phone screens. In the middle of all this chaos was a screaming toddler in a high chair - her older sister was playing with - whoever - I don't think the mother even noticed who her daughter was playing with because she was busy tapping away at her phone screen. Noticing the toddlers distress I clapped my hands and tried to distract her......and that's when the mother said,"My child isn't crying - she is expressing herself." in quite a defiant, challenging tone.
I was taken aback more by the tone than the words - I am not it the habit of commenting on any child's behaviour when the parent is present. However, I have heard this expression before - it seems to be the current craze among young parents and quite frankly I don't know which child behaviourist served up this rubbish that they have latched on to as an excuse for not bothering to interact or discipline their kids. It is a crock of shit!
So - I did the world a favour and replied quite pleasantly,"Yes she is expressing herself isn't she, she is telling you that she is confined in a high chair and cant get out to play with the others. She is telling you that she needs your attention. She is asking you to entertain her as she is too small to entertain herself" I looked at her phone as I said the last statement. I felt really good expressing myself!
Recently my sister and hubby had to endure a long haul flight with a screaming toddler who cried every time Peppa the Pig went off - about every 20 minutes. Obviously there wasn't a Peppa the Pig film on offer on the flight. Another lazy parent finding an 'electronic' baby minder easier that using her own energy and skills to entertain her child and inflicting stress on 200 people. No doubt the excuse if challenged would be " My child is expressing himself".
The mom in the playcentre put her phone away and packed up her stuff a few minutes later. The little was lifted out of her chair and clung to her mom as she sauntered out.....and the crying and screaming stopped. Perhaps her mother got the message after all. Having children is a fun loving and joyful and rewarding experience. It is also hard work, challenging and demanding!