As part of what feels like an ambitious leap into the world of academia at 45, I am attempting to complete a psychology degree with the Open University that I began 5 years ago when pregnant with my youngest. He was born two months premature so that scuppered plans to continue for a while as I needed time to adjust. He is now 4 and just started Montessori so I figured time to get stuck back in.
Right now I am deep into one of the modules that concentrates on child psychology and boy is it an eye opener. I am reminded firstly how learning new things fires up those brain cells that are sitting there in us all just waiting for something to do. I am also reminded that I can have an inclination to mimic the parenting I experienced as a child rather than be open to a new approach. Modern childhood studies (which features heavily) encourages us to listen to what our children have to say, especially when it is about a decision that effects them. In my day you were seen and not heard.
It also raises the question, “is childhood as we know it in crisis today due to technology”? Then offering the opposing argument that “the only crisis childhood is facing is the lack of freedom and independence for our children due to rising fears in parents”. Just one of the interesting debates it has opened for me and certainly makes me step back and look again at the decisions I make for my own three children everyday. Do I listen to them? Do I hold them back because I’m so afraid they will be hurt or worse, abused or abducted? When am I a help and when am I a hindrance? Lots to think about.
The great thing about studying with the Open University is that the structure it’s built on is so comprehensive and supportive that you feel it’s all achievable. It doesn’t patronise or condescend even the least academic students like me. You can study whenever suits you as long as you complete all weekly takes. A tutor is at the end of the phone if you get stuck writing up one of your papers and although it is a huge commitment time wise and financially, I’m convinced it will ultimately be truly rewarding for a few reasons. Firstly I’m hoping it will enhance my interviewing skills for ‘The Couch’ and help me delve deeper. It feels great to hear the cogs of my brain turn once again and whether I decide to practice as a therapist when I’m finally qualified (hopefully before I’m 50) or not, I know for sure it is a great thing to study when you have small children and I hope their childhood will benefit from it.