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Conditioning your kids



My parents were teachers. Teachers are in many ways like doctors, over worked, underpaid, struggling with stupid government policies and unreasonable demands of their ‘clients’ and their relatives. But there is another similarity – my brother and I needed to be moribund before we were permitted a day off school. 

I’m proud and ashamed in equal measures to admit that I have inherited this compassionate parenting style. Although I obviously follow the HPA exclusion advice to the letter, it has been known for the offspring to be dosed up, given packs of tissues and pushed through the childminder’s door at 7am, as I shout ‘Good luck, see you in 10 hours’ and rapidly jump into my car waving.

When my youngest falls over, the oldest one shouts ‘Just give your knee a rub and get on with it’.

This seems to have bred a stoical attitude to illness. On more than one occasion I have been woken by a febrile five-year-old, carrying a forlorn expression, a bottle of calpol and a syringe. When my youngest falls over, the oldest one shouts ‘Just give your knee a rub and get on with it’.

On one occasion a chicken-pox-riddled two-year-old managed to get into the spice cupboard and coated himself in cayenne pepper. Some would say this was an accident resulting from a catastrophic parenting failure. I would argue this showed a very acute knowledge of gated-pain theory in a pre-schooler.

But I digress, my smugness at helping form stoical kids, did rather fall flat in a public way this week. We were queuing up outside my four-year-old’s preschool and the parents were chatting about that week’s URTIs. One parent lamented at how little Johnny had been off for a week, and was still so snotty he was bravely dragging himself back to pre-school. My youngest tutted loudly and gave his most disgusted look to the parent and child opposite.  He looked at me, and in his loudest voice said: ‘Is that the sort of rubbish people come and see you about at work? They just need to have some calpol and man up don’t they Mummy’. I died a little inside.

He is shortly to be our youngest employee.

Dr Susie Bayley is a GP in Derby and chair of GP Survival