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An old man on a bus told me how to raise my son – I’ll be doing the opposite

An old man on a bus told me how to raise my son – I’ll be doing the opposite  

It wasn’t long before he struck up a conversation (don’t worry, I live in the north, it’s allowed).

‘Are they on half-term?’ he asked, nodding to my two children.

‘Next week, it’s late this year,’ I answered. Putting my arm around Theo, who was unusually quiet, I rolled my eyes good-naturedly. ‘I’ll be glad when it comes though. He’s ready for the break, he’s shattered.’

Instead of just nodding politely, or carrying out any other kind of social grace, the old man shook his head grumpily. 

‘You need to toughen him up,’ he replied.

Immediately, my smile froze on my face. I knew then and there our brief conversation was over. 

Because that was one thing I certainly wouldn’t be doing. I will not be toughening up my son.

I don’t care if the older generation say we’re raising snowflakes these days, I want Theo to stay as soft and lovely and innocent as he is for as long as possible.

Ever since he was born, Theo has always been a total softie. He loves a cuddle, he is forever smiling and, an early walker, the staff at his nursery would comment that he liked to take toys over to the babies who couldn’t get around yet.

Immy, on the other hand, has always been a tougher cookie. She’s far more independent than Theo – she stood on her own two feet, both literally and metaphorically, as soon as she was able.

‘Oops a daisy,’ she’d tell herself whenever she took a tumble as she started tottering around. Not bothering to wait for me or Tom to pick her up, she’d dust off her hands and take herself off again.

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