Family holidays can be a special challenge for us parents. It’s good to spend time together. But often getting to the holiday destination can be stressful, and by definition, everyone is tired and worn out to begin with. We parents are often really, badly, in need of some down-time.
On our holiday, I’ve been sitting pool-side, watching things unfold. Three children – siblings – happily playing, running off the deck into the pool. It’s a cheerful, creative, cooperative game. Something about chicken wings (hands tucked under armpits as they jump into the water) that seems to be hilariously funny.
When things turn bad
But suddenly, the game turns. Middle brother is trying to push younger brother off the edge into the pool. His face is locked in a tight, focussed grimace. Younger brother fights back, initially with laughter but as he resists with growing fierceness, it becomes a yell of protest. He looks frightened. Being smaller, he loses the fight, and ends up in the pool. He surfaces in tears and heads to the other side of the pool to Mum, and middle brother drifts off up to the other end of the pool, carefully not looking in her direction.