It is a parable all parents might do well to listen to. “Lighten up, find joy in your children and in your life”, Dr. Vincent Molony told delegates at a recent annual conference of Mental Health Ireland in Westport recently.
Dr. Molony, a Consultant Psychiatrist, is author of a number of books aimed at helping children cope with adolescence.
Parents nowadays have a tendency to drive their offspring forward and involve them in a range of activities such as Irish Dancing (the Riverdance influence) and perehaps Speech and Drama classes as well as other forms of extra tuition.
“Parents are driving their children here there and everywhere”, Dr. Molony said. “They are always looking at their watch. They should make time for their teenagers. They should make time to smell the roses, fly kites or put their arms around their children.” Dr Molony bemoaned the fact fewer couples nowadays live near their parents. This deprived granchildren not alone of closeness but also the wealth of knowledge that grandparents have in regard to the rearing of children.
Finally, Dr. Molony quoted from a poem,
If I had my child to raise all over again
If I had my child to raise over again I would finger-paint more and point the finger less.
I would do less correcting and more connecting.
I would take my eyes off my watch and watch with my eyes.
I would care to know less and know to care more.
I would scale more heights and fly more kites.
I would be firm less often and affirm much more.
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars.
I would build self-esteem first and clean the house later.
I would teach less about the love of power and more about the power of life
If I had my child to live over again.
(Connaught Telegraph, 29th May 2002)