18 October 2012


When I was employed and working in a paid jobs I had a boss who once said to me with regard to managing people I give them enough rope but not so much that they hang themselves.  He was of course referring to metaphorical rope!  At the time I was starting out on the managing road, it was a hard and slow journey to gain skills that are crucial to managing others, but I always returned to the rope analogy.  That boss was one of the best I ever had in my working life.  He always knew when to leave staff to get on with it and when they might need a hand to hold, he was supportive but not intrusive, skills to me that make an excellent manager.

Mothers are managers.  Having been in both roles they are, without a doubt, one and the same.  I still use the metaphorical rope to let my children explore and learn but not so much that I put them in a place that will be unsafe.  It is hard to let you children go, to let them explore it takes a great amount of trust.  You have to trust that you are doing the right thing and you have to trust that your child will not come to harm.  But if we don't how will they learn.  If we keep the rope too tight all the time, so there is no or little chance for exploration, how can learning take place?  If the rope is loosened as the child gets older if there has been little chance for self directed exploration and learning will they know what to do or will they come to harm and so the rope is tightened again.

I know a child who I feel is in a situation where the rope has been too tight until recently when it has been loosened.  The result is that they have come to harm, seriously enough to warrant an over night in hospital and then came home, did something else and vomited all night.  Mother feels the child is on a self destruct path, I disagree.  If this child has been as I suspect, on a tight rope they have had little or no opportunity to be trusted, to learn, to explore the world for themselves.   The sad thing is, is in my view, and this is my personal opinion so I may of course be totally wrong, I hope this does not lead to a continuing breakdown of the relationship between mother and child.  As the child grows older I hope it does not lead to resentment, anger and distrust.

If you are not able to trust your child how can they learn to trust others or themselves.  Will they think that they are not capable of doing what they thought they could do.  As mothers we have to learn to trust ourselves and then we are comfortable trusting our children so that they can go out into the world and trust others.

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