Have good parenting skills become increasingly difficult to define? And harder still to put into practice? We live in an era when UK government proposals are seeking to make sex education compulsory from an early age, with no parental control – though the child may opt in or out. At the same time, social media dictates much of the lifestyle influence on our offspring. Does this mean I am to defer authority to my child? Should I be someone who bows to their every demand? Am I to be a friend? An equal? Or . . .
What, precisely, is our relationship?
It was the doll’s clothes I’d made for my daughter, long ago, that reminded me of the dilemma. She had decided that, at nearly four years of age, her twin offspring were now old enough to play with some of her most precious toys. So they’d arrived at my house, each armed with a doll’s buggy in which Katy and Lillibet lay, plus their entire wardrobe. My heart did a little skip of pleasure as I recognized the tiny Liberty-print dresses, with their puffed sleeves and patch pockets, and the lace-trimmed matching knickers, coats, and headscarves. I had made them decades earlier, from scraps of materials left after dressmaking for my daughters and myself.