I had the following discussion about roaring with two other parents today (bear with me it will make sense further along..!). My husband and I frequently say things about our children in a jokey way, in a way that only close family or very few very close friends can. Our children are our worlds, and if anyone else made the same jokes about them, we make sure they don’t have much influence in our daughters lives!
This may seem hypocritical. If we can joke about the girls being a*%holes, why can’t someone else say they are? Firstly, we say it affectionately, no other two children mean as much to us as they do. They are our absolute world. So no-one really thinks that we think those things about them. Secondly, its the same with all families, you can criticise your own, you don’t criticise other people’s, it’s not on. Family relationships are unlike any other, you can be terrible to one another sometimes because you’re so close. It sounds ridiculous but we all know it to be true.
Some people however, seem to think it’s ok not only to join in on those jokes (sometimes ok if they’re involved or part of the situation), but to make them without you being involved, to instigate them. To say ‘funny’ jokes or make comments about someone else’s children or family (not ok).
I’m quite fussy with who looks after my children. It’s important to me that they’re around positive influences. Positive in several different types of ways. And for me that includes being able to know that when we’re not there, they’re not going to be told negative things about themselves. We may teasingly tell them they’re nightmares after a sleepless night, but our priority is always to make sure they know how much we adore them, and all manner of positive things.
So a friend today was upset because someone they know had told their child (when babysitting) that ‘their parents were right, they were a demon child’, ‘as a joke’. The child was upset and asked their parents about it. She asked myself and another parent if she was being unreasonable by being annoyed with this person. Our faces said it all. Not at all. Not cool. Strike that babysitter off the contact list!
It got me thinking, it’s a running joke with some of the people in our life that we are quite blunt and can be scathing about our girls. It’s also a VERY widely known fact that we cherish and adore our two daughters. I’ve always assumed that it’s a given that it is NOT ok for other people to be blunt and scathing!! And there have been times when someone has made a ‘joke’ that we don’t find funny, and we don’t make a big deal out of it, but we always notice and we tend to ensure that those people don’t look after our kids or be around them without us there.
At the moment my baby girl is keeping me awake most of the night, she’s really struggling with teething, and Scarlett is a two year old going through a typical toddler stage. So they are not easy, no children are. My husband and I make jokes to get through the bad parts. One of my close friends and old housemates is a firefighter, he used to make the most horrific jokes after coming home from a particularly difficult shift. Like, REALLY terrible. HOWEVER, there is no way the rest of us would make similar comments or jokes, it would be totally inappropriate. He had the right to, it’s a way of dealing with the tough parts of an incredibly rewarding job. And even on a less dramatic scale, we all have in jokes and teasing between very close friends, if people outside of that get involved in a less than affectionate way, it’s not ok!
I said this to the two mums today a we agreed that if the person in question is over 21, they’re old enough to know that it’s a dick move! After a couple of cups of tea, a lot of laughing, and sharing of stories, my friend felt better and I gave both my girls an extra big cuddle!
But as parents we all question ourselves, all the time. And we all have the right to be lions or lionesses when it comes to our pride. But so many parents are all the time questioning themselves, and that includes times they’re not sure they’re being over sensitive or over protective. And it’s not just about your children, if you think you need to roar because some jackass thinks they’re being funny or makes a hurtful comment about your best friend, or your Uncle, or anyone else you care about, you shake back that mane and ROAR!