Micro-managing the Kids Playtime? I’ve Joined The Fun Police!

It appears that I have accidentally joined the Fun Police and become a Helicopter Mother.

Every time the kids play lately I find myself like the harbinger of doom… on a bad day. “Don’t touch that”; “Don’t eat like that, you’ll choke”. “Don’t put your fingers in that socket you’ll blow yourself up” and on and on and on…

helicopter mother - Caitlin sat on the sofa looking bored
Caitlin, enjoying an afternoon of micro-managed playtime with her mother

Ieuan rather enjoys the idea of being blown up and is going through a phase of identifying (correctly as it happens) every “Danger of Death” sign on every generator / electrical gadget/lamp post within the Vale of Glamorgan.

Since I did a mime of what it’s like to be electrocuted (no personal experience so I might have exaggerated a bit), Ieuan loves to state that smoke will come out of his ears and his “todge” will fall off. I’m not sure I’ve succeeded in putting him off since the mime was based on the original film “The Taking of the Pelham 125” where the baddy dies by touching the electrified train line in the New York underground.

Every game carries with it the possibility of injury, whether physical or psychological. Every bike ride requires a paramedic on standby. I see danger and villainy in each and every corner of the Vale.

Now I know that part of being a parent is really empowering your children to explore their physicality and learn about risk and boundaries through play and exploration but it’s really difficult, isn’t it, to stand back sometimes and let them go. As a helicopter mother, you are permanently in orbit just in case of drama.

The latest bruise or scratch usually produces the sage pronouncement from the hubby – “you wait till we take the stabilisers off their bikes” as if this is akin to taking up skydiving or some other generally sponsored way of trying to meet your maker a bit earlier than planned.

Alright, I admit it – I’m am a little risk-averse. And I’m going to have to get braver or I’m going to be duller than a wet weekend in, well anywhere in Britain at the moment. At least the kids are having swimming lessons now so walking by large puddles is less heart-stopping (you can drown in just a few inches of water, you know).

Surfing (like the gear rather than the water), bungee jumping (prefer making one of those large bouncy balls out of rubber bands), skiing (once went down our local hill on a roasting tray during a snowy spell) and skydiving (you are joking, aren’t you?) are not activities that grab me. Paintballing looks like it hurts and those “Go Ape” type adventure centres are my idea of hell. I do go swimming although when I take my glasses off it tends to be a while before I find the pool.

helicopter mother - Ieuan looking very cross

Ieuan, overwhelmed with glee at the prospect of an afternoon out with The Fun Police

I’m going to have to develop a ‘fun persona’. Now, who shall I base it on? Most of the Milkshake presenters are so jolly they set my teeth on edge. Justin is a ‘lege’ it’s impossible to beat.

Nope. I’ll stick with my usual fun inspiration.

Jo Brand.

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