Back to offering unrequested advice again. This time parenting advice, like it or not.
It’s almost Boy Three’s seventh birthday. (Seven! I know, can you believe it?) So it was necessary to organise a celebration.
Interesting how there’s an inverse correlation between the number of children’s birthdays you’ve presided over and the level of advance planning.
Which, obviously, is how there was no home-baking fuelled large-scale football-card themed gathering for Boy Three and his classmates. Instead, he took a handful of his top friends trampolining, followed by pizza and cake at home. Pizza cake, you might say.
Also, not really a party so, clearly (to me) no need for party bags. Not, it turned out, a view shared by one of the guests at the non-party. This young man was most emphatic at the unfairness of his attendance not being rewarded by the presentation of a party bag.
There followed a discussion of the relative merits of party bag contents (mostly rubbish) and whether or not fun had been had (yes, but…).
I think he came round to my way of thinking and if one child no longer believes that a bag full of pointless and irritating tat is important, then I’ve done my good deed for the day.
And while philanthropy is on me, here are more things your children don’t need:
Entertainment. If they don’t have the chance to get bored, they’ll never learn to cure boredom by themselves.
To be consulted. Sometimes things happen “just because”… And they just have to suck it up.
A kids’ menu. They won’t break if they have a small portion of something the grown-ups are eating instead of beige meals with breadcrumbs and ketchup.
Stuff just because their friends do. Phones, fancy toys or later bedtimes. Doesn’t matter, dealing with “unfairness” is just one of those things.
Complete protection. Obviously, it’s a good idea to keep them from injury and abuse, but if they are insulated from all of the bad stuff in life – bad luck, uncertainty and disappointment, for example, it’ll be a nasty shock when grown up life comes to get them.
To get everything they want. Without the desire to get stuff for yourself, you’ll be stuck on life’s sofa forever.
So there you have it, top tips from an expert someone with children.