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#1 Modern parenting is rubbish: let's change it03-29-2010, 10:28 PM
There are few subjects that unite the middle classes more than bad behaviour in schools. Because although no one comes out and says it — it wouldn’t quite be form — the debate rests on the cosy assumption that the middleclass children are the victims and the working class the aggressors. As the well-heeled mother shelters her precious from the masses at the school gate, muttering “I blame the parents”, what she means is, “I blame poverty”. When did you last see a Boden family subjecting themselves to the wrath of Supernanny?
It is time, says Mary Bousted, for that to change. This woman — an academic, mother and the first female general secretary of a leading teachers’ union, is breaking ranks. She wants to smash that smug assumption, and make parents, people, politicians of all kinds wake up and change their ways. Why? Because after a lifetime of rearing and teaching children, she has suddenly started to see something new. Some of the 160,000 members of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers are meeting at their annual conference in Manchester today, and they tell her they are suffering from a disturbing development.
Children are arriving at school lonelier, less able to share, to respect and to wait than ever before. Their middle-class parents often “buy them off” with screen-time instead of the hard knocks of traditional family life. When the screen becomes the electronic babysitter, the parent stops laying down the law. And the indulged child, she tells me in her London office, is the unhappy child.
“Is the problem of bad behaviour confined to a particular class? No it is not. The middle classes are not exempt.”
That is the assumption, I say, isn’t it?
“That is the assumption. But there are new forms of inappropriate parenting that prevent young people achieving what they are capable of. I am concerned that some children are the product of benign neglect in the home. It’s not cruel: the family when they do meet up might get on quite well. But children are in danger of leading increasingly isolated lives. That is a problem that crosses the social divide. I think some commentators can over-focus on the problems of a particular section of society.”
Bousted is a provocative, passionate, parenting traditionalist, and that’s quite a surprise. Not just because she heads a teachers’ union, so often the refuge of the loony left, but because she doesn’t resemble the scary schoolmaster she can sometimes invoke. She has got a funky haircut and laughs ruefully about her own difficulties as a working parent.
CONTINUEDStand up for what is right, even if you have to stand alone.
03-29-2010, 10:30 PM
This leads on to the next big problem in Bousted’s eyes: parents wanting to be liked rather than respected. “When my parents had children, the job of a parent was to ensure your child was good. Then came all the work on child psychology, that led to all the books on parenting, some of which went to the extreme that all needs of the child should be met immediately.
“Today’s parents don’t just want their child to be good, they want them to be happy, and they want to be liked. When I was training teachers, in my first seminar, I would say to the room, if you want to be liked all the time, please leave now. Your job is not to be a friend, but a teacher.
“The same is true of parents. If you want your child to be happy, and because of that overwhelming desire you give in to them, it’s a facade of happiness, because you are unhappy to be giving in, and they are not happy as they never get enough of what they want. It happens — for all the best reasons — far too often.”
What is her best piece of advice for parents? “As a parent you are not your child’s best friend. They will grow up and make their own best friends. As a parent your job is much more serious than that. Your job is to show by example and through the exercise of proper authority how to grow up.”
“Parents are under tremendous pressure to provide for their children. Resisting that can be very wearing, I know myself. I understand, I’m guilty of it myself. The sulks, the rages, the tantrums; it is very hard.
“But we have gone too far in the belief that if a child asks for something they must need it, and if they demand something they must have it. That all rules are negotiable and that children know what’s best for themselves in the long run.
“Some children arrive at school unable to realise that they may sometimes have to do things they don’t want to do. One of the most important skills parents can teach children is the deferral of gratification.”Stand up for what is right, even if you have to stand alone.
03-29-2010, 11:46 PM
She makes a good point: too many parents have stopped being adults and settled for being the embarrassing "friend" of the kid.
Not all that long ago parents expected to be adults themselves. They felt fine about "grown-up time". They didn't expect to be continually amused by their children's interests. They had high expectations of their kids. Kids were expected to contribute to the running of the house. Delayed gratification was the norm, not the exception. Kids were expected to amuse themselves - not be entertained by any available adults.
Beyond all that, most kids grew up in families with siblings and often with other random relatives. You can't run a house with that many people if all the minors are pretending to be divas. Kids had to learn to wait (for the bathroom, for the TV), they had to learn rudimentary table manners (everybody ate together), they had to learn conflict resolution (Mom! He's looking at me!), and they had to learn to put the needs of others before themselves at least some of the time. That's a whole boatload of intensive socialization going on.
03-30-2010, 12:58 AM
I think Jeff Foxworthy said it best(can't find a youtube on this). In one of his standups he was talking about modern parenting and he brought up "time out". He said something like this: "Time out? Yeah, our dad took time out of his busy day to whoop our butts."The Obama Administration: Deny. Deflect. Blame.
03-30-2010, 10:17 AM
- Join Date
- Oct 2009
- Southwest Michigan (in Exile)
we need to get back to spanking our kids when they get out of line. NOT abusing them and beating them senseless but discipline and letting them know from an EARLY age that there are consequences to our actions. THAT is the real problem.
That and we do need to teach and allow people to show proper affection to our children. Kids are so deprived of proper touch, and that is a large part of the reasons we have so many cases of abuse and assault.
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