Are We Raising Stepford Children?

When my boys were smaller, they both loved a book called ‘How to Be a Baby by Me, the Big Sister’ by Sally Lloyd-Jones.

They adored this how-to guide to the everyday visceral idiosyncrasies that go hand-in-hand with being a tiny human. And how they can’t do anything but somehow excel at impulsive and uninhibited activities because, well, they’re a baby!

How my boys tittered when the Big Sister relays how her baby brother can’t help writing on walls or pooing on the carpet (huge snigger) or pulling people’s glasses off.

I think they recognised that, as babies, they got away with a lot more then than they do now!  ‘Did I do that, Mummy?’ they used to question with sheepish glee!

In a way, it’s a shame that as they get older they start to conform to the social norms that we, as parents, instill in them.

Yes, of course, manners are important, as is being well behaved.  And growing out of throwing food and full-on, face-in-the-carpet tantrums are also excellent (and welcome) signs of maturity!

But do you ever wonder if bringing up our children to be polite young members of society is robbing them of their uniqueness?

I never want my child to stop asking bonkers questions (usually in public) like ‘is milk just cow’s wee?‘ or insisting on walking round Sainsbury’s with a box on his head or every night singing most of the ‘Matilda’ soundtrack. But, sadly, I know he’ll stop that soon. Probably.

There comes a time when they realise things they used to do are just childish and should be relegated to the ‘I’m too old for that now’ box. And yet they can’t remember their freedom as babies and toddlers when they got away with all the crazy stuff!

So should we hold back the next time we say ‘God, don’t do that, darling; it isn’t what nice children do!’ and let them be children just a bit longer?

As Bob Newhart once said: “I think you should be a child for as long as you can….don’t rush into adulthood, it isn’t all that much fun.”


Valerie Spanswick

I hope they’re still silly and demonstrative about *Welsh* *Cheese* when they’re 18!

Stephanie White

How could they not?!

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