Friday, April 1, 2011

Not too aware of personal space

Remember that excited feeling you used to get before Christmas as a child?  Counting down the days, wondering if  Santa will remember everything on your wish list. "Have I been good enough this year?  What if Santa saw me steal my sisters Easter eggs that she has been hiding since April?", am I on the naughty list now? Then the closer you get to that magical day arriving, you started to feel anxious, frantic, and put yourself in a tizzy.  This is my current feeling!  Only Santa is not visiting with a casette player and tapes by 'Mel and Kim' or 'New Kids On The Block'.  My parents are visiting, bearing gifts of vegemite, Bio Oil and Paw Paw cream, (hopefully)!  On their way from Australia, I am so excited, and it has got me thinking about family.

In Italy one of the most important things is family, ‘la famiglia’ as they say: the foundation of all things Italian can be traced to that respected foundation, oh and food also!

Italian children make the rules

It became apparent to me at a parent teacher evening at my daughters school a few weeks ago, that my opinions on raising children differ from the italian ways.  The younger children appear to be smothered allowing no development of self help skills, but they definitely rule the household and dictate the family routine; apart from cooking, paying the bills and driving the car, I am pretty sure they are the boss of all family decisions. 

This would be my children by 9pm!
 My husband had mentioned to me before about his discovery of the bizarre sleep routine of Italian children. I was under the impression that this was just applicable to his work colleages.  But after listening to parents talk at this information evening, I am convinced that all italian parents are crazy.  (Please do not take offence, I refer more to a bizarre crazy, not a mentally deranged crazy!)  The average bed time for a 3 year old is 11 oclock at night!  "By the time you have dinner and play..."  I sat in disbelief, almost embarrased to admit that my children are fast asleep by 7.30pm most nights.  Am I so extremely selfish with my time that I find it inappropriate for a child to go to bed after a parent?  Am I so self centered that I think parents need some alone time without making brmmm brmm noises or adjusting simple instructions to fit a fun nursery rhyme tune?  I enjoy grown up time when the sun goes down!

We have also met others who have children of a similar age to mine and listen to parents saying, "they only eat bread or icecream".  Are you serious?  Toughen up parents, who is actually doing the disciplining here?  My children know to eat what's in front of them, it is all they are getting, (I need to stop my son from eating the cutlery and plate once the food has gone)! 

This is what happens when the food run out, "Hello Hulk"!

A goal of the traditional family should be to maintain family unity and create permanent relationships, but it can became a problem if over-protective parents continuously surrender themselves to their children because they regard them as fragile. This will prevent their growing up.  I am not saying send your 3 year old to the shops for milk and bread by themselves, just be aware that they can pull up their own pants, and feed themselves food if they are hungry.

Yes there are two sides to the coin.  Perhaps over protective, but then this follows on to an extremely strong sense of family commitment.  Italian 'young adults' are living at home for longer, then after a few years respite, quite often it is the parents that then move in with the children.  Sunday lunches are a definite custom that is religious and involves more than just immediate family, and their appears to be one of the strongest links between generations that I have ever witnessed.   What will be the outcome of my child rearing attitude.... my children will be strong and independant, and will use their own initiative and drive to succeed in life, (they may also check my husband and I into a local retirement village way before our time).  We will just have to wait and see.

More importantly, "I love you so much" is said hourly to us and by us; hugs and kisses are given for no apparent reason; and our priorities are based on each others happiness; which is where they should be.  I think we will be just fine!  There is no shortage of love and affection in our household, (to be honest I can not remember the last time I sat on the toilet without simultaneously cuddling a child).  Nanna and Pa on the otherhand... be prepared to be smothered with love, we are not too aware of personal space!  I promise to leave you alone on the toilet, I can not on the other hand speak for my children!

1 comment:

  1. Well, if it's any consolation, they find 'our' (that is British/Australian/American) ways of parenting equally bizarre. Not that I have first hand knowledge of either (other than once having been a child myself, of course).

    Yes, it is weird, isn't it? It still catches me when, nearing midnight, I see parents walking around with toddlers in pushchairs. Just wait till the winter though. They wrap up their little darlings to ensure that not a tiny bit of that cold air gets anywhere near their pretty, precious necks. A Canadian friend of mine (who has lived here for years and knows the score) has been severely admonished in the park for her little one not having a scarf and hat.

    Friends I have are quite jealous of the way that I was brought up - to be so independent - but they wouldn't actually allow that to happen to their children, of course.

    Good luck. I'm not sure how long you're here for but once your children get old enough, the idea of going to bed much before midnight may not sit so well with them when their friends can be up much later!