OPINION: Britney's dad needs to know that loving a child means to let go

Britney Spears at the height of her pop career. The star has recently spoke out about the pain of li

Britney Spears at the height of her pop career. The star has recently spoke out about the pain of life in a conservatorship - Credit: PA/Kirsty Wigglesworth

When our children are tiny, we hold complete control over their lives.

We choose for them what they wear, who they’re friends with, which food they eat.

They are too young to make decisions on their own so they belong to us in a way it makes them almost seem like possessions, yet they are not, even then when they need us to decide for them, they are their own people.

Our job along with loving and protecting them is to help them flourish into humans who will eventually call the shots for their own life.

Bring them up and send them off into the big wide world letting them fly always willing to be the wind beneath their wings when they need.


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It's strange when you realise they have independence but should make us happy too.

When it happens for the first time, that first hello in the street to another toddler they know from nursery school, one you haven’t hand picked to be their play mate but it certainly makes me feel proud.

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It’s that first little step on a lifetime ladder which sees them become their own person and when it happened the other day with Raffie, my three-year-old, I initially felt a pang of “slipping through my fingers” but immediately afterwards loved knowing he’s a confident little boy who can make friends with someone independently of me.

My eleven-year-old was one time glued to my hip just like her little brothers and sister but now she commands her own lifestyle to an extent which means I’m simply not needed for a whole level of her entertainment, friendships and even fashion.

I yearn sometimes for the days she was tiny but it’s also wonderful to see her grow and while I’ll cling onto the days when I get the little ones as babes, I do embrace them flowering, and reaching their full potential too.

None of us should ever want to own our children and dictate their lives forever, if we do then we’re missing the point in raising them.

Reading about the conservatorship Britney Spears lives within I do wonder if some parents just don’t get that.

For Britney, in her fishbowl life which she has lived ever since she was a child, ever since her parents rightly did have control over her every being, I wonder if the ones who didn’t grow up and move with time are indeed her parents.

Listening to her transcript I heard a mature woman of a similar age to me, not begging but commanding that she is able to live her own life and of course she feels that way. Would anyone feel any differently? She sounded strong, unhappy and as she described, like she lives as a slave.

This is a middle-aged woman with a boyfriend she is not allowed to marry, a woman who has no control over her own life from wearing a birth control coil inside her own body to leaving the country and I’m flabbergasted that not only is this allowed but that her parents want it to be the case.

I understand that after a very public breakdown her family wanted to look after her, care for her, make sure that she was safe and well – a natural way to react for any parent.

Perhaps they hadn’t considered when she was a child being thrust into the limelight, how much it might affect her wellbeing?

I’m sure no mother or father puts their child knowingly towards harm but the breakdown will have been contributed to the lifestyle they gave her.

Surely then all they’d want is to help make it better and it’s possible in the beginning their decisions were necessary.

Yet here we are, 13 years on from this conservatorship which was devised in an attempt to keep her safe, and she is having to concisely and eloquently beg for her freedom.

A conservatorship expert in the state in which she is under the regime has stated that at no point in time has Britney met all of the criteria for having such a ruling lording over her life but that now, especially so, she meets absolutely none of them yet the poor woman cannot break free with a judge ruling that her conservatorship, run by her family and people employed by them, is to continue.

It has been stated that the people running “Britney”, which sounds like she’s a business not a person, are financially benefitting from the fact. That can’t be right?

A prisoner inside her own body with absolutely no way out is what it looks like from the outside in. If she kicks up a fuss the line will be “see, she’s unstable” however when she demonstrates with ease and intelligence that this is a blight to her life and happiness, it has somehow been ruled that she is wrong. That this will continue.

Her father has been quoted as saying he loves his daughter very much but it certainly doesn’t sound that way to me.

It sounds like he loves this life very much and is unwilling to change. Being devil’s advocate perhaps he is frightened for her and unable to see that today she is fine and deserves freedom however Britney certainly doesn’t feel this way and she does deserve, as we all do, to be free.

We should all want our children to be free, loving them is not squeezing so hard that they can’t breathe but I suspect instead it is the letting go, even if it makes us hold our own breath, that might be the only true way to love a child.

Ruth Davies has a parenting blog at www.rocknrollerbaby.co.uk

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