The car seat conflict
The car seat conflict
Congratulations to 94.7 Highveld Stereo and JMPD for car seat road blocks and giving out car seats. Having survived a large articulated truck overtaking and smashing headlong into us I know seat belts were the only thing that kept us alive, badly injured but alive...
But I was struck by a parent saying that ‘I have one at home but my child cries when I try to put him into it’.
Two things strike me:
1. The link between car seats and seat belts and their life saving functions have obviously not been made strongly enough by many parents.
2. Parents often avoid conflict with their children because they do not have the emotional strength to accept their child’s anger with them.
Most parents will insist on all sorts of things that small children really hate (not unlike adults of course). Like vaccinations, medicines, operations, warm clothes, clothes, bath time, wiping their noses, sticking their fingers into plugs, playing on their own near a pool, playing with knives...
Why? Because we care about our child’s health and safety. So why do we give in on car seats – something that if you are in a car is an absolute essential for safety. Just like a hard hat in a mine or a life jacket on a boat...
We need to love our children, play with them, make deep caring connections with them but we also need to do things to and for them to keep them safe. No relationship only has sunshine in it and parents are not being good parents when they let their child lead wrongly in matters of safety.
Yes, if you have dished them up too much food to eat – why should they finish the plate? Or if they want their yellow jersey not their blue one to go out on a cold day with – fine. If they want to play with their truck and not with their new doll – no problem.
But take their anger about the car seat, let them shout. But be absolutely sure you are doing the right thing and do it consistently and soon your child will accept the new rule. And it won’t hurt them. Your calm, loving insistence and acceptance of their angry protests will teach them something about what a good enough parent is...Don’t shout at or smack them – it will just worsen the situation!
But also I will never forget my friend’s experience. The car seat had been in the sun and she didn’t see a the R2 coin that must have dropped on the seat earlier. Her daughter shrieked and screamed until eventually she picked her up out of it. She found a round bright red burn on her little thigh! Devastating. So watch out for hot buckles, hot coins and prickly crumbs.
My children did once or twice protest against the car seat but this was a short lived boundary testing exercise. As soon as the boundary was established as immovable they happily settled down. Secure in the knowledge that I would always try to keep them safe...
And just in case you don’t wear seat belts because the Lord will keep you safe remember – you have to give 100% and he will give 100% back. Don’t test his care for you! He gave us free will but he also gave that foolish truck driver free will too – so use His gift wisely and with humbleness!