Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Julie Myerson: Monsters in the making?

[...] The rights and wrongs of whether Myerson should have published (she has certainly been damned for it) have become something of a side issue. What she has succeeded in doing is lifting the lid on our darkest fear, that through our own well-intentioned but wishy-washy parenting, we are creating a generation of teenage timebombs.

“I wish you weren’t my parents! I want to live with Phoebe’s parents. At least they respect her.”
As the door slams behind my furious six-year-old daughter (yes, that’s six, not 16) I am left wondering what on earth I’m supposed to do next. I have no idea. Should I run after her, rugby-tackle her on the stairs and demand she acquiesce to whatever request I had made – to hang up her coat perhaps, or tidy away her toy farm? Quite possibly, but I haven’t the energy, or, if I’m honest, the will.

I stand as guilty as the next modern parent of believing that benign is best, and if the price to be paid is picking up a few handfuls of 1:32 scale Friesians, then so be it. My daughter is generally a sunny, sweet child, so why make a fuss when she throws an occasional strop? Yet there remains a nagging suspicion that my generation of parents has got the balance wrong and that, far from our reasonable boundaries being adhered to by our hopefully reasonable children, we are in fact in danger of storing up a host of problems in years to come by treating our children so democratically now. Like many parents reading the Myerson story, I wonder: what can I do to avoid a full-scale teenage rebellion? And, just as importantly, am I already too late? Read more
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