Picking Your Parenting Battles

16/05/2016 10:57


Just like Luke Skywalker spared his father's life, thus declaring his allegiance to the Jedi Rebellion, in parenting you must pick your battles. Pardon the Star Wars reference, but my house has been overtaken by the George Lucas franchise thanks to my three-year-old.

My son insists we read every Star Wars book in existence, and so I've learned about Wookies, Droids, and Ewoks, because I love the kid (and also because he pesters me with the tenacity of Jabba the Hutt at an all-you-can-eat Klatooine paddy frog buffet.)

This morning, my boy asked if he could wear his Darth Vader costume to accompany me to a garden centre café. My first instinct was to tell him no, because I hate making a scene. Whilst garden centre cafés are replete with Yoda-like grandmothers eating scones, having coffee with a Sith Lord comes across as attention-seeking of Kardashian proportions.

Especially in Britain. This country prides itself on subtlety.

It is a place where wearing purple is considered ostentatious.

It is a place known for humour so deadpan, it makes present-day Tutankhamen look lively and animated.

It is a place where the conversational response: "That's interesting" roughly translates as: "Please stop talking. You are boring the feculence right out of my tweed trousers."

To comply with my young boy's request would mean making an embarrassing spectacle of myself, but was shutting down his innocent petition a battle worth fighting?

As parents, we are constantly telling our kids no-and for good reason. We are the keepers of their wellbeing. We need to make sure they are eating properly, sleeping, and treating others with kindness. We are responsible for their safety.

They can't subsist on sweets.
They can't watch too much TV.
They can't stay up late.
They can't hurt their friends.
They can't run into the street.

But a funny costume? What was the harm in that?

So I said yes.

In the midst of the elderly eye rolls, there was a happy little pre-schooler reminding me that The Dark Side may have won this battle, but love has won the war.