Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

The Friday Rant - 08.06.2012

Is it a modern parenting thing or am I living in the dark ages and trying to ignore the fact that things move on ? My wife, Del and I went out for supper one night in the Isles of Scilly earlier this week and as we walked into the pub at I suppose about 7.30pm, there's a table in there with a young screaming child. Perhaps I am unsympathetic personified, but my first thought is categorically not "poor child, I hope it's ok". No way. The first thought that pops into my head is "why in the hell is the child not in bed where it should be ?" I just don't get it. Is it old fashioned these days to put your children to bed at a "sensible" time, or is it a generation thing where for some reason "modern parents" seem intent on keeping their children up for longer and longer and subjecting the rest of us to their overtiredness ?

I am a parent of two girls aged five and seven. I love them in a way that I could never have imagined before I had children. If you have children then you will know all about the feelings that a parent has for their offspring, but just because I love my girls does not suddenly mean I don't want any time without them. They lead very active lives and they need their sleep, just like we do. We have a blast together, but I want them in bed at a proper time, end of. Half the time they ask to go up to bed because they're dropping. It could well be utter rubbish, but I am pretty sure our generation seems intent on keeping their children up later and later, to the point that having any time outside of them becomes essentially impossible. As I said, I love my girls, but overtired children is nothing short of hell on earth........

If I sound like a curmudgeonly old git then guess what ? I simply don't care. Parents don't get it right all the time, indeed I think that perhaps it's all too easy to forget what it is actually like to be a kid and then apply that rationale to parenting, but if there is one thing that I am immovable on it's getting my girls to bed in the evenings. Does this mean that I am right and the parents of children who don't go to bed at a decent time are wrong ? No, but my wife and I do get our evenings to ourselves here at home and my girls have always been very good sleepers from a very young age. The girls go to sleep and we don't hear from them again until the next morning - unless of course one of them is ill or something like that. I am not completely heartless !!

Perhaps people are less inclined to say no to their children these days ? Why though ? Each to their own when it comes to parenting, but surely it's just plain common sense to do all you can from the off to get your kids into good sleeping habits. Maybe it's a collective loss of common sense these days that pervades our society ? Whatever happened to good old fashioned instinct, whereby one trusts their judgement and ability without having to consult some guide book, speak to a specialist or consult a group of friends to canvass collective opinions ? If you don't put your young kids to bed nice and early and instead enjoy having them up in the evenings with you then that's just great, and I hope you have huge fun doing so. Just don't ever come round my house.............