When I asked for guest bloggers for this week, I suggested that it would be great to hear from people who wouldn’t usually post ie non-bloggers etc- not “just” parenting bloggers. the first person to answer my call was Sheridan Webb! To read more about Sheridan, see her bio at the end of this fabulous guest post.
Have you ever wondered why people turn out the way they do? Why do some turn to a life of crime whilst others become business leaders? Why do some throw themselves into building a great community whilst others seem intent on dividing it? Why are some popular and others socially excluded? What makes a child grow into a good citizen?
Let’s face it it’s something that we all want: for our children to turn into pleasant, successful, happy individuals that embrace life and contribute to society. For them to ‘turn out well’. If there was a magic formula for making sure our children turn out well would we want to know what it was?
There are of course countless studies that claim to tell those how to give our children the best start in life. Whether it’s exposing them to classical music, feeding them organic food, engaging them in sport, or encouraging different friendship groups, they can all provide evidence that supports happier and more socially adjusted children.
There are also studies that link happy and socially adjusted children to education, wealth, two-parent families, large extended families, exposure to culture and various other things. Again I’m sure that this has some bearing on the child’s outcome.
But the one thing that I am convinced has the biggest impact on the way a child turns out is the extent to which they spend time doing things as part of a family. It doesn’t have to cost anything apart from your time. Sure, if you can afford it, taking a family trip to Disneyland is a great thing to do, but I truly believe that spending the day together in the local park having a picnic and kicking a football around is just as beneficial for the child. Going to the theatre is great but it’s expensive, and to have the whole family sit around and discuss a TV programme is good too. It isn’t about money it’s about contact and shared experiences.
It is too easy for different members of the family to go off and do things by themselves. Dad goes to the football, Mum goes shopping, kids go to visit relatives or friends. We all need time to ourselves but if this is at the cost of spending time together, I think that is when children are missing out.
I was brought up working class, and our family time involved going for walks, working together in the garden, and cooking together. My parents always had time for me and as a result I have ‘turned out well’. This in turn means that I can offer a greater range of experiences to my children. But whatever we do, we do as much of it as we possibly can together as a family.
Why do YOU think we turn out how we do, what factors influence us? Is it nature, is it nurture? We’d love to hear your thoughts!
Sheridan is based in Merseyside, UK. You can catch up with her on Twitter. Sheridan runs her own business, Keystone Development, specialising in training design and business ghost-writing (mainly HR, Comms and Ops projects). She is a wife and Mother of 2.