If you’re anything like me then you probably apologise more frequently than you blink.
I apologise when people bump into me on the tube. I apologise when I take too long to answer the phone. I apologise when they can’t open my front door. “Yes, it’s because we live opposite the brook, sorry, it sticks horribly.”
As a parent, I have an apologetic reflex. Seriously. Today Flea went out horse riding with her best friend from school, and aforementioned best friend’s parents.
Flea came back from the trip full of beans and I thanked the friend’s mother profusely, apologising (of course) when she expressed surprise that Flea has never tasted Coke (“Ah, yes, it’s easy when you’ve got one, isn’t it? Sorry, she just prefers milk, really.”)
I’m very English, basically.
But chatting about her day a few minutes later, Flea mentioned casually that after horse-riding, they had gone to the playground, and her best friend’s father had told Flea she didn’t need to wear a seat belt, because they weren’t going far. I’ve chatted with her about it a bit, and ascertained that yes, they did drive in the car without seatbelts on.
On the one hand, I know where they drove, and I know it’s a slow journey and best friend’s father is right, it really isn’t very far. But I also know, had I been in charge of someone else’s children, they’d have made the journey on foot, or they’d have been strapped in to a car.
So now I have to make the really awkward phone call where, no doubt, I will apologise if I seem neurotic but actually, yes, I am going to insist that if my child is in a car, she is belted in at all times, please. Although part of me is tempted to just tell Flea to insist next time that she’s belted in to her seat, she’s five, and I rely on the adult taking care of her to – well – take care of her basically.
What do you think? How do you approach parents who do things you wouldn't do?