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These islands

Tolerant parenting nil, intolerant parenting nil

By prospect   April 2001

My first child was a girl. From the outset she was a dolls and tea sets child. Other children occasionally pressed toy guns on her when she went to play in their houses. Out of politeness she played with them. She had no choice, she felt. And she was always very diplomatic, always fitted in with other children. But she had no appetite for guns or indeed anything boyish.

Her mother gave her a garage once, in order to rectify this. Our daughter was appalled. She recognised, as children do, the ideological premise behind the gift. The garage went in…

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