Monday, September 27

Our children voluntarily accepted a National Trust hike. Is it Stockholm syndrome? | Parents and parenting


secondBeing locked up for the winter, with young children, brings new challenges in terms of keeping them occupied. They would happily play on their consoles all day, every day, and in fact, you’d have a much easier weekend if you allowed them to. But then I get that nagging feeling that their brains are dissolving, and that one day in the future, the police will notify me that my son has made a rampage with guns that they have traced back to the day during the second lockdown in 2020. allowed them to play Grand Theft Auto.

What this means is that I tell the guys that we’re all going for a walk a little later, and they say it’s okay, because when you’re six, “later” feels like forever. When it’s 9 am, “this afternoon” seems like it will never come; you have oceans of time to relax and kill people on screen.

Then, “this afternoon” appears to you by surprise, and your parents tell you that it is time to take that walk, and you decide to scream as if they were attacking you, shouting that this is not fair and that you do not understand why we have to walk all time, and we went for a walk last week, and his friends are never forced to walk, and that this is a violation of their human rights.

Because the National Trust sites are open, we have decided to visit several gardens near us. I really don’t know what we expect from children. When they seem bored looking at the bushes, we tell them to stop moaning and enjoy it, but to be honest, if our nine year old were to comment on how wonderful a walk in the garden was, he might find it a bit creepy.

Instead, what often happens is that we get angry at three children for not enjoying an outing that is not directed at them and that we force them to continue. It feels unreasonable, to say the least. Then my wife will say, “Well, maybe if some people were a little more positive about this trip, we would have enjoyed it more.” There will be an icy atmosphere in the car on the way home. Such is the joy of the confinement excursion.

But a couple of weeks ago, something changed. We managed to get them in the car without complaint. We had a hike with only three incidents involving blows to the arm. On the way home, we all talked about how nice it had been. Last week something even more remarkable happened: the children asked us when we were going to walk.

Had we really managed to do something right, parenting-wise? Had we educated our children in the value of a walk through beautiful landscapes, an upper middle-class activity that, in fact, I had to be trained by my wife first to appreciate? The early days of our relationship saw numerous Sunday afternoons where I would lie on the couch, while my wife asked me what we were going to do that day, and I explained that I was actually doing it. He then explained that he walked and that some people do, not to get to a destination, but to take a tortuous route that takes them back to where they started, in what I would describe as a complete lack of appreciation of the fact. that life is short.

What is much more likely is that, in some kind of locked-in Stockholm syndrome, the boys have decided that it is much easier to accept their fate; they simply asked when we were going to mentally prepare for the test. Either way, we win.


www.theguardian.com

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