A Beginner’s Guide To Parenting An Anarchist

A Beginner’s Guide To Parenting An Anarchist

1. Pick your battles.

This is good advice for every parent but especially for the parent of an anarchist. Because EVERYTHING is a battle. The child anarchist will insist on doing everything their way, without help, and if you want them to do something, you can basically swivel. Life will be a long and draining fight if you insist on doing everything your way, so let them have the little wins and one day they might do something you ask them to do. Note, I said ‘might’. They probably won’t, but we Parents Of Anarchists travel hopefully.

2. Remember: They are utterly fearless.

Prepare to have a heart attack. While other children are making daisy chains, the anarchist has disappeared off into the kitchen to climb the cupboards so they can reach the shiny pointed things. Or maybe they are seeking out bottles of bleach or barbecue lighter fluid. Whatever it is, keep your eyes peeled because quiet always = trouble. I first realised my daughter was an anarchist when I discovered she had climbed onto the kitchen table and was jumping up and down on it. She was ONE. I can confirm things have got worse since then.

3. They have a strong sense of identity.

Anarchists love to stand out in a crowd, and if it’s not through words or deeds, it’s through their own unique sense of style. Dressing an anarchist is a little like dressing a cat: pointless and really bloody stressful. I can recommend filing this under point one: pick your battles. Let them put together an ensemble that would make Mr Tumble look stylish because it could be worse: you could have a naked anarchist. Mine loves to surprise me at the most inopportune moments, such as being two minutes away from leaving on the school run, whilst the new neighbour was there. How I wish I’d said yes to the day-glo leggings and Superman t-shirt.

4. Anarchists can be a lot of fun

Life with an anarchist is pretty wild. Sometimes their endless shenanigans will leave you feeling like butting your head on the kitchen worktop, or rolling your eyes so hard they spin in their sockets. But small anarchists can be so much fun – the giddy dances, the jokes, the total freedom they feel to do and say anything they please. It’s pretty liberating really and makes me laugh, a lot.

5. Anarchists have feelings too

Just because they are wild, doesn’t mean they don’t care. My little anarchist feels things very deeply. Especially when she is told she can’t do something.  The spirit of rebellion runs fast and deep, and being thwarted in your desire for world domination, or a lollipop, or whatever the current object of desire is, can lead to feelings of utter devastation. Hugs work well in these circumstances.  Mostly.
All that remains is for me to wish you well on your journey. Stay strong, enjoy the highs, don’t dwell on the lows, and when all else fails, there is gin. Lots and lots of lovely gin.

Alison McGarragh-Murphy

Alison McGarragh-Murphy writes and edits stuff for The Motherload, and is also a radio producer and broadcast journalist, a mum of two and a wife of one. Since becoming a mother she has (mostly) gladly swapped a busy social life of gigs, pubs, art galleries and museums for dancing in the kitchen, drinking on the sofa, finger painting and hanging out at the park. She talks incessantly about not having slept for five years. Follow Alison on Twitter @BertaFanta and on Facebook @ammblogs

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