My worst parent - No profit in motherly love

10th June 2011 at 01:00

I'm not sure what the seven deadly sins of parenting would be but my worst parent probably exhibited most, if not all of them, over the prolonged period of our acquaintance.

If good parenting is a skill that can be learnt and honed to perfection over the years, then this person is best described as being stuck at the very foot of the parental learning curve.

I think we had six of her children at the school over the space of 15 years. Now, they weren't candidates for social services intervention, so things could have been much worse. No, they were not abused and they were clothed and fed and most of the time they turned up. But there was just a void in their lives where some sort of maternal affection should have been.

In fact, this was a mother who left the impression that the whole child-rearing business was just that: a business. On the cost control side, this was apparent at every stage of their school careers when she would negotiate a subsidy for each activity.

On the revenue-generation side of the domestic balance sheet, I'm confident that every income stream was maximised with the same ruthless efficiency. I'm less confident that the children enjoyed the benefits of any activity as they turned up in recycled clothes, which stood in contrast to their mother's garish wardrobe choices.

For all this, the real deprivation of the kids was an emotional one. No affection was given or sought. But were the children any trouble? Did they disrupt and challenge and kick against the system? No: they were compliant to the point of inertness - and denuded of any spirit.

The writer is a business studies teacher. Send your worst parent stories to Those published will receive #163;50 in MS vouchers.

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