Are You Doing Your Best For Your Child?

So you think you know how to bring up your children and what is best for them. Right? Sorry, but the state of the world today dictates otherwise for many. All is not lost however, a group of researchers in Utah have dramatically discovered what is wrong today.

Is This Your Child?

Even a superficial look at the figures for teenage crime, violence and drunkenness in many western countries will prove the current ‘softly, softly’ approach to bringing up a child is way off the mark. So how have we developed as a species to the extent where a lot of parents are afraid of their own offspring?

Many parents today will readily admit they have no control over their children so you have to ask, what has changed? What cataclysmic event allowed our children to change from being obedient, considerate and respectful into monsters to be feared?

A Child of Today

The answer in my opinion is two-fold. On the one hand we have a distinct lack of discipline in the home and schools brought about by the interfering ‘nanny’ state, and secondly, the steady erosion of family life within the home over the last forty years.

The 'Hoodies'

Ever since the first Anti-Smacking Law was presented to the New Zealand Parliament in 1961 to combat escalating abuse against children, and in particular the last 20 years when various other nations have also applied such laws, teenage violence, drunkenness, and crime have escalated to such proportions that in many countries people will take an alternate route rather than pass a pair of youths hanging around on a street corner.

The researchers, from Brigham Young University in Utah USA, found that children with “a strict and loving upbringing” were more likely to grow into honest, responsible and respectful youth than those with (a) little or no discipline, and (b) excessive or little love. Their findings indicate that too much love or discipline, or too much of one and not the other, can be detrimental to the way children view life and behave as teenagers. Obviously, the trick is to find the right balance.

What I find so amazing is they have ‘re-discovered’ a formula that has been working for centuries prior to the mad last half of the twentieth century!

Children of the 1950's

I was born in 1942 and know all there is about discipline as a child and I continued with bringing up my two children in the same strict way. Neither one has ever been in trouble, never taken to drink as a substitute for enjoyment and are now respectable grown-ups.

Any comparison between the old and new ways of bringing up children reveals quite simply the new ways don’t work, and are the reason we are in this mess today with our youth. I have for years advocated that all this crap about anti-smacking is just that; Crap!

As I said to friends of ours who had a baby boy about eighteen months ago, they must ensure the child knows who is boss right from the cradle. Not doing so can lead to a life of misery for both parents. For the first ten months or so, both parents got very little sleep each night because the baby would wake at all hours crying and wanting attention, so they stayed, sometimes for several hours, until it fell into an exhausted sleep.

In this way the baby became dominant in the household and for a long time he would squawk for attention any time he felt like it and mummy or daddy would come running. Since then, if the child wants something and doesn’t get it there follows a fit of pure temper until the parents gave in.

Violent Children

Once a child has asserted its supremacy there can follow years of misery for the parents, who may try and gain control, but it’s an uphill battle and almost impossible to achieve.

As in days gone by, and as the research team have recently ‘discovered’ (tongue in cheek), a strict disciplined upbringing and shows of love and caring are essential for the future well-being of any child. It is imperative children are taught from the beginning that the parents are the boss, and they should do as they are told. Without this approach, any child will get the feeling that they can do as they please, and life owes them everything for free! Much as many children and teenagers think today.

In supermarkets everywhere we hear cries of; “I want… – I want…” and so often the reply is “Oh alright” just for the sake of keeping the peace for one more precious minute.

Temper

Currently, most children have no idea what ‘No!’ means, for they are fully aware that if they pester their parents for long enough, or throw a tantrum, they will eventually get what they want. A sad indictment of parental control today.

The days when you could properly discipline your child for wrong-doing are sadly long gone, as is evident from occasional news stories that highlight cases where a mother has had her children taken away from her by Social Services, for nothing more than giving a recalcitrant child a smack on the leg or hand for being naughty in public. These stupid laws should be repealed immediately, for the simple reason you cannot expect any child to follow the right path if no-one is allowed to tell them what it is.

The Horror of Child Abuse

Don’t for minute think that I condone child cruelty, for I do not, and anyone found committing such an act should be severely punished to the full extent of the law, but there is a wide chasm between such things and the smacking of an undisciplined child.

Yes, I hear some say, but where do we draw the line? For these simple-minded people who need to be told; the line not to be crossed is that of leaving a bruise, breaking a bone, or breaking the skin and thereby causing bleeding. All of these are a long way from giving your child an open-handed smack on the legs, hands or buttocks.

Earlier I also said the loss of the ‘family unit’ has been a contributing factor in the failings of youth these days, and I meant it.

Who's Looking After Your Child?

Since WW2, and the advent of women going out to work for a living, family life has all but ceased to exist. The children are rushed off to school or left in the care of child-minders or crèche centres and never get to see their parents again until they come home tired from a long day’s work. Perhaps, if they are lucky, a couple of hours television and then off to bed to start the whole process over again the next day.

This is not family life for a child!

A Family Day Out

A child needs to know it is loved, needs to have someone there to tell it when it’s doing something wrong. As a parent, you can love your child to bits, but it all means nothing if one of you is not there to welcome them home from school and listen while they tell you about their day. If they hurt themselves while out playing, they need to know someone is at home and will kiss it better, not have to wait until five o’clock when mummy or daddy comes home from work.

It all comes down to one basic fact that is more often than not overlooked in today’s society, Having a child is a responsibility for life! Any couple who decide to have a child must make the conscious decision that someone needs to be at home all the time if you are to be responsible parents and raise responsible children. You can’t have it both ways!

Roy.

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