The lift with a mind of its own
The lift with a mind of its own
Parent24 Editor, Scott Dunlop
Ever climbed into a lift which seemed to ignore whatever instructions had been keyed into it? We have those at work: Just when you think you’re going to number five, you find yourself trapped in between the seventh and eighth floors. Much like parenting.

It doesn’t matter how many books you read on parenting or how many websites you visit, your child will never quite respond the way children are supposed to. You think you’ve got all of the right buttons programmed in, forgetting that your kid is an individual.

A lift which isn’t responding to instructions can be vaguely terrifying. You have no idea where you’ll end up, and you have to keep a fixed smile on your face so everyone else on the lift doesn’t sense your panic. After all, they seem to be coping. Until a minor slip. The tiny plunge when a lift feels like it’s dropping and may not stop. Then everyone is uttering involuntary little screams. Okay, to be fair, that’s just me, but I know they feel the same. Everyone pretending not to observe anyone, but you may as well be in a cage at the zoo.

If you’re stuck for a protracted period and you’re lucky, you’ll have some friendly people with you to offer reassurance. Being in that closed space on your own can be, quite frankly, terrifying. It’s just you, and somehow you have to remind yourself not to worry, but you’ll get to where you want to be soon.

Lifts can be dirty and smelly and full of dreadful music (yes, that is a “thank-heavens-my-kids-are-too-old-for-the-Barney-theme-tune” allusion), and they often come with wall-to-wall mirrors. There you stand, feeling alone, and the mirrors amplify that isolation. YOU’RE ALONE, they scream. ALSO, YOU HAVE A ZIT. WHAT KIND OF GROWN UP HAS A ZIT?

The great thing about lifts, though, is that t episode hose miniscule moments of insecurity, uncertainness and terror are soon over. You get to a floor where you can spend quite a bit of time before you have to get back on. The weird thing is, you don’t start on the ground floor and make a floor-by-floor journey to the roof; there will be times when you head back down a floor or two to relearn a lesson.

You know the saying, “that person’s lift doesn’t go all the way up to the top floor”? Well, for most of us, we will, at times, feel inadequate- maybe even deranged- but we’ll get there eventually. The top floor, I mean, not insanity. I think we should have a party on the roof, right?

Have you ever felt trapped by a parenting situation? Tell us about it at and you could win a R250 voucher.

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