27/03/2013 10:54 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Do Your Young Children Control You?

Do your young children control you? Alamy

I adore my child. I really do. His handsome blonde locks, his big blue eyes, his sense of fun and his affectionate hugs make my life complete. But if he was a grown man, I would be bemoaning his controlling behaviour and contemplating a restraining order.

Young kids are control freaks. They always want to call the shots, and they don't care whether you've just sat down to have a coffee, or you're having a nice chat with a friend, or you're on the phone to Ban Ki Moon about the human rights record of the Congo. In fact, they will deliberately choose that moment to detonate a thermonuclear attack of tears or poo, or both.

Your basic needs mean nothing to a child. Get up five times a night, woman, and get me a glass of water/investigate wardrobe for ghosts/soothe my fevered brow!

Find this tiny bit of Lego invisible to the naked eye, or I will have a tantrum so immense that it will register on the Richter scale!

It's like living with an unexploded bomb, or Nicki Minaj. God knows what young kids would do if they were able to contact social services. It would be all: 'Mummy don't cut my nana into bits. I neglected.'


Of course, we all need to find a balance between appeasing our children and living our own lives, or they will grow up to be monsters. If we don't tackle it when they're young, we will be dried out zombie people, lurking around Asda looking for the right sort of crustless bread to go with their room temperature eggy cup - and delivering it to their university halls of residence.


But when they're little, they're already monsters. Manipulative, completely self-centred and on a mission to destroy their parents' very souls. Who hasn't cut short something they like to tend to the demands of a child? Or given up careers, homes, hobbies, and favourite TV shows to ensure their happiness? And as for your social life – don't make any plans - theirs eclipses yours immediately.

"My child's schedule dictates everything," admits mother of two Sharon. "My daughter has Rainbows on Monday, gymnastics on Wednesday, dancing on Saturdays and swimming on Sunday. I don't even have time to dye my hair."

This compromise starts from day one. You give up necklaces in case the baby pulls them. Lipstick, so you don't stain their angelic faces. As they grow, you have to be their Sherpa, following them around with a bag on one arm full of snacks and a scooter on the other. You are essentially an unpaid runner. This carries on for so long that you forget what you liked in the first place, putting the Peppa Pig theme tune on your ipod and replacing your Facebook profile photo with a picture of your kid.

You can't even watch the news (not suitable for children) or listen to your own music - as father of two Alex has found. "My two have recently become music nazis. They demand to listen to their music in the car, which is traditionally Dad's music space. So we have to play One Direction, Rihanna, Gaga. Whenever I stick on something I like, they groan and shout "this is rubbish Dad, change the track, change it change it..."

"My son Robin definitely controls TV viewing,' says Ida, 'though he's still too little to work the remote properly. So when his dad tries to watch a spot of rugby of a weekend, he'll grab the remote from him, bring it to me and demand: 'Mum, put on Bobbin telly NOW!!!'"

Then there are supreme diva demands of the very young, which would make Mariah Carey's eyes water. I have friends who are busy right NOW drawing faces in squeezy honey on porridge, or spreading every sort of jam in the cupboard on toast in multicoloured stripes because their children demand it.

"My son spent yesterday being a marmoset and only communicating in squeaks," says Michelle.
"I had to try and translate 'Eee eee!' and various degrees of frown to figure out what he wanted to eat or if he needed the potty. Then he turned into a cat. 'Mummy, you have to say 'Good cat. Say it now, mum. Meow.'"

"I had to drive around the other week trying to find a blue horse to prevent my 3 yr old son having a meltdown," says Steve. "I mean, a REAL blue horse in a field. After three quarters of an hour I just had to tell him all the blue horses were asleep."

But it wasn't always like this. Life wasn't always this child-centric. I seem to recall sitting through the endless boredom of Grandstand on a Saturday as my dad watched the football scores.

When I visited my great grandparents, they never had anything in the house to play with, so I used to play with the ASHTRAY.

Sorry for sounding like a crusty old git, but these days, if kids don't have fun-packed weekends involving soft plays, bouncy castles in the shape of Spongebob and goodie bag infested birthday parties, there's hell to pay.

So do we need to take back control? Let them sit on the floor with some fag ends while Mummy watches QVC? Does having children mean a permanent end to our freedom of choice? So many questions - questions we have no time to answer, because we're too busy hiding vegetables in our homemade spaghetti sauce and ironing their pants.

"Sorry to rub salt into the wound, but now my kids are teenagers I can leave them for hours and do my own thing," says Tania. Ahh, imagine that. Parents of young children, rejoice, for there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Until then, watch that episode of In The Night Garden for the 3000th time, impersonate a marmoset and go out and find an imaginary blue horse, will you?

More on Parentdish: Let's pretend! The rules of role play for parents