“I’m going round to Jacks to play tonight,” my eldest enthuses before school. I listen and then tell him I’ll still pick him up at the usual time after school and if he is still going over to play, I’ll drop him off.
“We’re not allowed to play anymore,” comes the sad face when I picked him up from school.
“Why, what’s happened?”
“Well, you know mum, he’s grounded and has to do chores.”
“Aww, that’s a shame, what happened?”
While secretly glad I didn’t just assume he would be going off to play at Jacks and went to make sure, I was a little gobsmacked and slightly shocked at the response.
“He got pushed over on the hill at school, and his clothes are muddy so he’s got to do chores for going home dirty.”
Whether that is true or not is neither here nor there, but the child believes he’s being punished for coming home mucky.
I really can’t understand the mentality of any parent who grudges their kids a little muck here and there. Ok, it might be a bit boring and cumbersome to have to wash clothes and yes, it might be a bit annoying if you were heading out and about, but this isn’t the first time I’ve heard of kids being punished for coming home with some dirt on them.
Before someone says it, I can understand where someone is so skint that the price of hot water is a challenge, but come on, for most of us, it isn’t really an issue.
For the kids I am talking about, they are mostly middle class comfortably off families with often several holidays a year and gourmet fast food outlets on speed dial, so it’s not as if they can’t afford a cycle in the washing machine or they have to slave over a sink with a washing board and a bar of soap.
I don’t understand the “must be clean at all costs” school of parenting and I suspect I never will.
Kids should be allowed to get dirty, mucky, muddy and downright filthy with black gunge under fingernails. Those are memories they’ll remember and a quick soak in a tub washes it all away.
Why are so many parents against their kids getting mucky if paying for electricity and hot water to wash the clothes isn’t a problem?
Don’t they understand that for most kids, getting mucky means they have usually had fun?
I guess I’ll never understand it.