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Parenting in Hebden Bridge

From Jill S

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Late this afternoon, I witnessed a worrying and, frankly, shocking incident in Hebden Vale park, when a boy and girl of about 7 or 8 began fighting - ostensibly play fighting initially but it soon deterioriated into very physical punching, scratching, hair pulling and kicking.

Before anyone shoots me, yes, of course, I intervened by remonstrating with the children, while trying to stop my daredevil two-year-old perform a backwards somersault off the pirate ship ride.

The fighting stopped but then recommenced at the other side of the park, where I could see one of the children kicking the other in the head as that child (trying to fudge the gender issues to avoid identifying the children in question) lay on the ground sobbing.

I raced over (with my own child) to intervene again, to discover that what looked like the mothers (certainly they appeared to be responsible for the children) of each of the children were sitting on a bench watching the proceedings and joshing about the 'play fighting'. The boy in question appeared to have sustained injuries as a result of the fighting and was sobbing very loudly for nigh on 15 minutes as his mother comforted him.

The other adult bystanders in the park were as shocked and appalled as I.

Now, to raise the thorny issue of class, these women were your Boden-wearing (more likely Ruby Shoesday and Harold Crabtree) denizens of Hebden Bridge.

It's left me pondering the state of parenting in the town. I'm no expert, and believe me, I'm making masses of mistakes with my toddler, but I am consistent in my boundary setting and I always teach my child to respect others and not to hurt them, be it emotionally or physically.

When would it ever be right to allow your child to punch, hit, kick, scratch and pull the hair of someone who was your friend and cause them extreme pain and misery? Where will it end? A quick glassing in the pub when they've both turned 18 (ha!) and have a falling out? Is this just liberal parenting taken to extremes or is this pretty much par for the course in Hebden Bridge? I'm genuinely interested to know, because I have soon to make a decision about where to enrol my child in school, and, to be honest, I would be fearful about my child being exposed to the products of such a brutal upbringing. And before I get laughed at for being naive, I attended a comprehensive in a city where children are now searched for guns and knives at the school gates. But what I saw today was seriously warped.

From Proinseas Ni Uigin

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

One fight and two alledgedly lax parents is hardly a representative sample against which to assess the standard of parenting amongst the Boden-wearing middle classes of Hebden Bridge.

Take a deep breath and relax. After 7 years of living in these parts and sending my children to school here I can say with confidence that things are not as bad as you might think.