I was delighted to join @Nihal Arthanayake at #bbcradio5live along with @Marc Levene of @soundlikedad yesterday on the ‘School Runnings’ show; focussing largely on parents’ opinions of a variety of subjects.
Harry & Meghan – Our first area of discussion was around the Duke & Duchess of Sussex. As an adult, you would have to have been hiding under a stone not to have noticed the hype surrounding Prince Harry & Meghan and their recent announcement that they wish to step away from their duties as Senior Royals, and move overseas part time; But how much influence does the media have on how our kids think about this announcement.
During the show, I was unable to answer, as it is a subject which has never come up with my two boys, so I asked them when I got home….. As I predicted, Amos age 12 said “To be honest I don’t really care”!! Harvey age 10 said “They should be allowed to do what they want – so long as they pay back the £2 Million for their Wedding!!!
Personally, I like the Royal Family, and especially the younger Royals who have been stepping up to duties. I was pleased Harry had found someone to share his life with and for him to have his own family. Whilst I don’t have a strong opinion on their announcement, I am disappointed as I feel they had begun to breathe fresh air in to the Royal Family; I am however not surprised with their decision. Even prior to all of the media trolling, I felt Meghan was a strong character who would not be bullied, or made to do or be something which she didn’t want to be. And I never felt they would be here to stay – I just didn’t realise it would be so soon.
It has been apparent that the media has been determined to tear Meghan apart with constant criticism and comparisons to her sister in law Kate. Nobody really knows what affect this has been having, whether this move was part of their initial plan, or if they have found enough to be enough.
As a young boy, Harry, watched the media and ‘the firm’ literally run his Mother to an early grave. He has openly admitted that he has struggled with her loss and the grief, and subsequently his mental health has suffered. You can then not blame him for not standing by and allowing the same to happen to his wife and the mother of his son. I wish them all the happiness…… naturally not at the cost of the tax payer!
When your kids move to Secondary School from Primary School – Nobody prepares you for the changes you experience when your kids move up to Secondary School. As a Primary School parent, especially at our small village school, you know virtually all of the children and parents in the whole school. You are kept in the loop with everything going on, and receive regular updates, seeing your child’s teacher on a daily basis. Once your child reaches Secondary School age, you wave them off on to the school bus in the morning, and welcome them back late afternoon…..you know where they go, but you don’t know what they do or who with!!
We do have an app which tells us which lesson our Year 7 son is in at which time of the day, and what homework has been set and when it is due in. There is also a behaviour point system, for positive and negative points, so we are not completely in the dark ; But apart from his form tutor, we have not yet met any of his teachers and only hear of his new friends when he tells us.
When organising your child’s future education establishment, quite rightly you are consumed with finding the right place for them and hope that they find some nice friends to hang out with. What you don’t realise is how life changes for you, as you step away from the school gate catch ups, and knowing when its world book day or spellings etc, as your fellow school runners will tell you/remind you (funnily enough, I do have a few Mums message me and refer to me as ‘The Oracle’! lol when checking up on School info).
You then enter into a world of relying on your secondary school child to keep you informed, and hope that you have also given them the right tools to be able to choose the right people to hang around with. Before Amos started at Secondary School last September, I told him we just ask 3 things of him: 1) Be Happy 2) Work hard and to the best of his ability 3) Don’t hang around with the ‘dick heads!!!’
What do you do if you don’t like your kids choice of friends, or you don’t like their parents? I think that if your child has a friend who you feel is a bad influence on your child then you should step in. If its merely that the child is not your cup of tea, then back off and leave them too it. Our children themselves need to become good judges of character and we can help and guide them, not rail road them.
If we don’t like the parents of our children’s friends, then I think we can only intervene if its more than just a personality clash. If we feel a child’s parents would not have our child’s best interest at heart while in their care or we deem their values to be less than ours then yes, I do think we should steer our child away from spending a lot of time with that friend, but explain why (and have the chat about discretion!! Its usually when they are younger that you have to be worried about them blurting out “My Mum says I’m not allowed to be friends with you because she doesn’t like your Mum & Dad!!)
Snow-Plough parenting – A term I had never heard of, but is used to describe an overprotective parent who clears everything in their child’s path in order to ensure success. I would say that since Amos began his time at Secondary School, I have stepped back and let him organise himself. We learn from our mistakes and if we pave the way entirely, then our children will not take ownership or responsibility for themselves and what they want to achieve in life. We can only guide them, asking what it is they want and helping make them aware of what they need to do to achieve it. We also advise our children what will happen if they don’t put in the hard work themselves.
Kids Packed Lunches – A new study from Leeds University found 98 in every 100 packed lunches eaten by children at Primary School failed to meet nutritional standards. I have always endeavoured to send my children with a ‘balanced’ pack lunch, but also one which is going to be eaten and not just put in the bin after it has taken a ride to school and back!
Whilst aiming on ensuring my children are gaining nutrients, it has been important to me that they have actually eaten something, and are suitably full in order to function for that afternoon at school. I can then ensure that on most occasions, (they love a chippy tea on a Saturday, and pizza for quickness one night in the week when its footy training) they receive a healthy meal in the evening – its amazing how many veg you can chop up small with a #pamperedchefchopper and hide in things like mince!!!
The guidelines for a ‘child’s healthy lunchbox’ is: a sandwich, side of carrot sticks, piece of fruit, healthy snack like a teacake and a bottle of water. Looking at Harvey’s lunchbox today, I have almost succeeded, except he wouldn’t eat a teacake if I gave him one and he doesn’t always eat the biscuit bar or pack of cookies which I send.
Family Viewing – Are there many tv shows or films which you can ALL sit down together and enjoy as a family? There’s definitely a male/female divide in our house and the boys will often sit down with their dad and all enjoy an action or Marvel film, but that’s really not my bag (I’m more of a rom-com kinda girl!). The only films which do unite us are the Bond films and our boys have enjoyed these from a young age – and not just the recent ones, they enjoy watching those Circa Roger Moore as much as the Daniel Craig ones!
So, plenty to discuss and cover with Nihal and Marc during School Runnings, and I hope to join them again some other time. I’ll keep you posted!
If you missed the show and wish to listen in, School Runnings ran from approximately 3.10pm until 4pm on the following link https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000d88z