Parents aren’t perfect

I’m annoyed again this week and once again it’s the fault of perfect bloody parents.

I am an avid conservationist and I was hugely saddened to hear the news about Haracombe the 17 year old silver back gorilla who was shot in Cincinnati this week. I was sad that this glorious animal had lost his life in a tragic accident and I felt for the keepers who would have had to make that awful decision.

I use the word accident on purpose because that is exactly what it was. An accident. Some could say it was an accident waiting to happen as the fences were too low, some could say it was an accident because the child ran off, some could say it was an accident because the parents weren’t watching but you can safely say it was an accident.

We won’t know exactly what happened that enabled that child to be unsupervised for the time it would have taken him to get through that barrier but it could just as easily have happened to me.

I love my daughter. She is the light of my life and one of the best things to ever happen to me but that doesn’t make me blind to her faults. She’s a runner, she doesn’t listen and she is constantly pushing the boundaries we set her. This weekend she opened the front door and walked round the side of the house – if she’d walked forward instead of turning she could have ended up in the road and if she’d gone the other way she could have ended up in the fast flowing stream by the house. We usually have the front door locked but I took my eye off the ball for a split second while I was loading the washing machine and the next thing I knew my husband was walking her back in the front room.

I’m not a negligent mum – I know she is a runner and I constantly keep an eye out for her and have become an expert in likely outcomes and seeing disasters that could happen but I made a mistake. I took my eye off the ball for a few seconds and I was lucky she didn’t get hurt.

The internet is now full of parents shouting words like neglect, abuse, child endangerment and prosecution – people who are obviously perfect parents and have never had a child just disappear before their very eyes. I’m not saying the parents aren’t at fault here – of course they are but I think to start screaming child endangerment and saying the accident is obviously a reflection on the family’s home situation is a little presumptive.

A magnificent animal tragically lost its life this week, a young child was very lucky and the parents will never ever ever stop living with that guilt or get away from the ‘what if’ factor.

To all those perfect parents shouting that the adults should be looking at the children every single second I ask them – have you never ever taken your eyes off your children? If you have more than one child how do you pick which one to stare at and which one to leave to the dangers of the world? Have you never had that heart stopping moment where you realise your child has stepped out of your sight? Have you never had your child not listen to you when you ask them to stay close and not run off?

Parents aren’t perfect and children are mischievous, clever, sneaky and have no idea why we set the rules they do. They have no idea why we don’t want them to run off so they do it anyway.

Parents aren’t perfect, children aren’t perfect and accidents happen.


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