This blog post asks some tough questions. I worry about my boys, and whether they’ll find healthy ways to find risk and danger before they hit teenage-hood and drivers licences and kids they know at school who can get them drugs and alcohol.
I’m looking into sending Mr 9 to Scouts (Cubs, at his age), so that someone else can be teaching him responsibility and how to light fires and taking him tramping and hopefully that way he can get the urge to leap off things and break limbs out of his system under adult supervision, and particularly, not mine. (I have no problem with him breaking limbs, I just don’t want to watch and be the one feeling guilty. I think that possibly makes me a bad mum, except that as my friend says, “I’m not a bad mother, bad mothers hit their children with hammers”.)
I’m hoping Mr 7 will use up all his crazy energy in sports – soccer, running, gym – and eventually music. (I know he has musical talent, and I assume that one day he’ll realise that playing in a band is just as much fun as playing with a ball.)
I remember when I was a little girl my (feminist) mum sighed because I would only wear things that were pink and shiny, and my dad rolled his eyes because I would always have to introduce some irritating little girl character into whatever pretend games my brothers were playing (which tended to involve exploring the galaxy or the South Pole or Alaska, I think). Now I wonder what was so wrong with those things. And my daughter now does something very similar… but if the boys join in with one of her games, very quickly some character starts misbehaving and violence ensues.
You see, I also wonder why every pretend game the boys play involves explosions, weapons or travelling at high speeds. (Preferably all three. At once.) My brothers were less obsessed with fighting (or “versing”) than my sons are, possibly because we grew up without a TV or any videos, while my children watch a DVD or play on the computer every day. (We did have a computer from when I was about 7 or 8, with such exciting games as Battleships, Othello and Chess, and Dad wrote us a drawing program which I mainly used to draw contour maps of imaginary islands.) I don’t think the boys are more competitive innately than my daughter and me, but they definitely play conflict more often.
I really really wish I could see the future. I find it impossible to imagine what my children’s world will look like, because of the rate that technology is changing. In the meantime, I kind of let them find their own way, mostly, in terms of their playing. “If you want to fight, go outside!” for example. And try and make sure they all get the same responsibilities at the same ages. Lets hope it works.