Many parents have lost confidence in how to bring up their children properly and feel inadequate, isolated and unsupported in coping with the pressures of modern family life, the government has warned. Mothers and fathers often feel 'disempowered' as parents, and find it particularly difficult to enforce rules so their child does not misbehave, according to Beverley Hughes, the Minister for Children and Families.Source: Parents 'powerless to bring up their children' | UK News | The Observer
First let me say that I'm not buying into a kind of "Daily Mail" alarmist, "oh my God-our children are out of control and society is crumbling" bullshit. We're talking about a minority here, although possibly an increasing one. And to a certain extent I'm being deliberately provocative.
So why would this be? Could it be because parents are concentrating on other things, rather than bringing up their children?
I'm not talking about parents that go out to work. I realise that people have to make a living. What I mean is that when parents are at home are they spending their time raising their children? Or are they so self-obsessed that all they're worried about is their own needs and if that that means parking the children in front of some mindless cack on the T.V. or turning a blind eye when they're roaming the streets shoplifting, tying fireworks to cats and gobbing at people, then so be it.
We've all read the horror stories about children pushed out of the door in the mornings and left to their own devices - "Get out from under my feet. Go out and play!" With no boundaries or regulation set on their behaviour children will grow up to do exactly as they please with no thought or regard for the consequences of the actions or for effect they have on others. And what happens when children like this reach child-rearing age and have kids of their own? Will they ensure that their offspring grow up with any kind of social conscience? Will they hell! They've never considered anyone's needs of feelings other than their own and they won't start with their own children.
By the law of averages not every child will grow up to be an "'orrible little scroat". You'll get a fair proportion of the kids growing up to be decent people but with no parenting skills at all because they were shown none when they were growing up. Hence the problem - reasonable people with no clue how to set boundaries for the kids or how to enforce those that they do set.
When did this vicious cycle start? Although there's always been "disaffected youth", it only seemed to seep into the public consciousness that children were starting to run out of control in the late 70s and early 80's. This suggests to me that the parents of children who were born in the late 60's and early 70's may have started the rot. Could it be that the Hippies are to blame? Anti-establishment, anti-authority and stoned out of their minds, what did they teach their children? And what have their children taught theirs?
When you have a child you have a duty to parent. Yes, go out to work if you must but when you get home - parent! Interact with your children, teach them how to behave, to respect other people before they expect respect themselves. If this means you can't go out to the pub/club/whatever - tough! If you want a full social calendar - don't have kids. if you want to concentrate on your own wants and needs - don't have kids. If you want kids - parent, even if it means learning how to.
(This post will also appear at Solid Gone, my personal blog.)