Leitrim Mammy Diaries: Parental advice: Never trust a three-year-old!

Fiona Heavey


Fiona Heavey



Leitrim Mammy Diaries: Parental advice: Never trust a three-year-old!

Would you trust a three-year-old to make a life changing decision? Nope, neither would I, children should be let be children until they are old enough and responsible to make important decisions

While I love my children dearly, would risk life and limb for them and spend my days worrying about them and trying to protect my precious pair, I do not trust them.

I say this after hearing about actress Charlize Theron and her parenting decision in relation to her now trans-gender child. She has told media that her child who was born a boy, told her at three -years of age that he is in fact a girl, so she is now raising him as a girl.

To be clear I have no issues with trans-gender people. I promote the ‘Do what makes you happy’ philosophy, don’t subscribe to stereotypes and You Be You idea, but the child made this decision at three-years-old.

I don't trust my children to eat their crackers away from the table, let alone make important life choices.

I know all too often that when I ask my toddler does he want another bite, or piece of food or drink and he shakes his head vigorously to say no - he does not mean no. Removal of said objects will result in a melt down, because despite his passionate communication, he is not finished and wants more food - always!

Also while it may seem like he is sharing a toy with his sister, after being asked to; the hand-over contract only lasts a couple of seconds before he snatches it back and lets out a roar, which I think means “mine.”

So he does not have our trust. He is untrustworthy and needs to be constantly supervised, I make all the important decisions in his life and schedule his day so he gets sleep, food and playtime.
As he grows older and becomes more credible he may get more choice but until then I must parent him.

The four year has lost our trust in a different way. She has a vivid imagination, almost all of her games involve pretend and fantasy and made up stories, which is great for development, creativity and communication, but not so good for making life changing decisions.

She is an actress, made for the stage but of course her skills are also used off stage. There is a blurred line between real and made up and this means that her imaginary stories often make it into real life conversations.
She has tricked us with many stories recently, and probably many more that we have not realised, but the result is that we do not trust her and the sense of mistrust is growing into our extended family.

Stories about dead puppies at playschool, children defecating in the corner and use of real knives during playtime would close down any childcare establishment, if they were true and not a really imaginative answer to “so what happened at school today?”

There is no rhyme or reason to these lies/ stories, I don’t believe she is lying intently but all the same she is not an honest candidate.

And so while I endorse choice and let her wear what she chooses (within in reason and in line with the seasons), let the kids play with what they are drawn to, the responsibility they have is age appropriate.

My job is to parent them. If I let them choose what to eat, what time to go to bed and when to wash, the house would turn into a zoo, a zoo filled with crisps and sweets and dirty children who cry with tiredness.
If a boy wants to wear a dress, let him, if a girl wants to have short hair do it - but maybe wait to change genders until they have some life experience behind them.

Also read: Sharing everything as a family - even sickness