Review: Cheerios UK: Are You a Lenient Parent?

I was out with my children the other day at a place which we all love, and what I’m about to write doesn’t in any way represent what it is usually like, or to be honest, what it was like this time, but this week, my son cut his back. Not seriously, he just landed on the prickly side of some velcro and somehow managed to slide down it. There was blood and tears, but thankfully it was very superficial. A young boy was also made to cry, because he was scared of the very loud roar which was done right in his face, noses literally touching. A mother was also slapped.

Behind each of these three occurrences was a boy. A boy who dived into the tent inflatable my son was playing in, causing him to fall. A boy fronted up to the baby and roared very loudly in his face completely scaring him, and a boy slapped a mum, who politely but firmly told him that we wait our turn to use the slide.

Each time this happened, the boy’s mum laughed, and maintained that ‘that’s what boys his age are like.’ It did make me question whether sometimes I overreact. Was she right, that all boys are like that, and a bit of rough and tumble is all in a day’s work? Children will be children, I accept that, but if one of mine had made another cry, even accidentally, I like to think I would still address the issue, and try to help them understand why their actions may have upset someone else. My son is no angel!

It’s interesting that on the same day as this happened, I was contacted by Nestle to see if I’d like to review their Easy Yes Campaign. Nestle Cheerios recently commissioned some research which revealed that today’s mums tend to take a more lenient approach to parenting, with 42% claiming they are more lenient than their own parents.

The study questioned mums with children aged six to seventeen so I’m not quite there yet with mine but it does make me question things, and wonder how I will feel about these ideas in the future. I don’t think of myself as being a particularly strict parent, but when I see what other children do get away with I wonder if perhaps I am. I have high expectations but is this a bad thing?

The research shows that mums generally feel very comfortable saying yes to things like letting their children have friends over or  playing computer games, but is this just a result of the credit crunch, because inicdentally, almost half of the parents questioned were saying no to requests for clothes and nearly a third don’t get pocket money?

I think Sarah Beeny, a Cheerios ambassador and celebrity mum of four is talking sense. You can read her thoughts and advice on the CheeriosUK Facebook page. Obviously we want to say yes to our children, but it is surely a more important part of our job to help them learn the importance of respect and education and the value of money.

Here’s a collection of some findings from the survey. Did you take part, or can you identify with anything on here?

There’s no one way to be a good parent, I guess at the end of the day we just need to remember that we’re all doing a good job. I’m sure we weren’t all brought up the same way yet we’ve all turned out okay!


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jane
    Mar 31, 2012 @ 11:12:37

    Leniency is a lot different than teaching your children good manners. That boy’s mom should have pointed out to the little tyke that diving into a tent where there are other kids is bad form. I would have made my son apologize to yours in that situation.


  2. The Boy and Me (@TheBoyandMe)
    Mar 31, 2012 @ 22:17:33

    (I need to say that this has had me fired up all day and I might rant. Not at you though!)

    Do you know what? I’m sorry but I do not believe children will be children is a valid excuse for one of them hurting someone else repeatedly. I also don’t think any mother can say “That’s what boys his age are like!” and think that’s ok. That’s lazy, bad parenting and offensive to all the 2yr old boys who don’t hurt others. The Boy has never ever hit another person, let alone a child. He’s never roared in someone’s face, and he’s never thrown himself on someone. That’s lapse of her.

    I’m possibly a bit of a tyrant with my parenting, I am one of those parents on the converse of the percentages; I parent nearly the same way that I was. As a teacher I know that children need boundaries and need to have them enforced.

    I’ve ranted, haven’t I? Sorry!


  3. Kate
    Mar 31, 2012 @ 22:49:12

    I am quite strict with mine. Like you say, we have boundaries, as much consistency as practical, and also there are consequences if they fail to obey. It does shock me when people are that lenient – I mean, boys will be boys and they are a little rough and quite physical but at the same time, all of those things are just plain nasty. If that had been Monkey at that age, I would have made him say sorry after all of them and I definitely DEFINITELY would not have laughed. I’d have been mortified. Another mum “friend” of mine had a real downer on Monkey when he was doing the terrible twos (her child was still a baby at the time, she had no idea what was coming her way!) and it made me cross but I know he never ever did anything to hurt another child intentionally. He was just a bit shouty.

    I have high expectations of my kids but they live up to them and when I need them to be, they are angels. I am lenient about stuff that doesn’t matter and I know I can be flexible but when it does, I am firm.

    That said, I do know a boy who was pretty similar to this one at the toddler group we used to go to. He was always with his adoptive grandmother who somewhat indulged him and he drove all of us mad. Then one day, he did suddenly stop and that was before he started school – possibly, pre-school had knocked it out of him. You often find the worst ones are the ones that haven’t had much opportunity to learn about playing with other kids in other settings. Still, there is parental involvement in this too and parents can play a part into making it easier for all.

    Won’t comment on the survey as it’s a Nestle product.


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