We need to talk about suicide, but it's not a social-media conversation
It really needs to happen away from the emotionally-charged atmosphere of Facebook, where susceptible teenagers can be influenced by one another.
Soft soap treatment for Children’s Referendum
Just when you thought Irish referendum campaigns couldn’t get any more Pythonesque, a minor surge in late opposition to the Children’s Referendum has come from an unlikely quarter: Albert Square.
Hats off to the scriptwriters at EastEnders for keeping yes campaigners on their toes, with a plot about the battle between a young mother and a social worker over the forced adoption of her child. According to Fianna Fáil TD Robert Troy, the soap’s “Lola” plotline has been exercising voters, and he has been asked about it quite a few times. No doubt it beats some of the other stuff he gets asked on the doorstep.
The soap even made it on to the front page of the Catholic newspaper Alive, as a warning about what can happen when the State is given too much power. What – we’ll all be forced to sit en masse and watch EastEnders?
The Enid Blyton guide to parenting
Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books are being revived for television by a British company. I suspect it’s not just the children who are behind this renewed interest in midnight feasts with lashings of ginger beer.
We could learn a thing or two from the Enid Blyton guide to parenting. Yes, yes – I know, she was the mother from hell. And yes, the children in her books are undeniably awful: they are rude to foreigners, and insulting about gypsies. (I’d still take tomboy George as a role model for my daughter any day over Barbie, though.)
But what I love is that the books hark back to a time when parents weren’t scheduling every free second of their children’s lives with violin tuition. On the contrary, they barely seemed to notice where their children were from one end of the summer to the other.
As a parent, part of the job is to give your children the tools to cope with adversity – even toughening them up so they can cope with the disappointments life throws at them. I’m not sure the modern compulsion to wrap our children in cotton wool does them any favours – especially some of the practices espoused by schools, such as giving everyone a medal at sports day, so no one feels inadequate, or not allowing the distribution of party invitations unless the whole class is invited. Is this really the best preparation for life? By gum, I know Enid wouldn’t have had any of it.