The Hand That Rock The Cradle Rules The World
A day does not go by that I do not read on-line comments that refer to children in a very negative manner.
When I am out shopping and I listen to conversations that I have no business in, I am sure to hear about spoilt children and children with no manners. A child only has to throw a tantrum and all eyes are glued onto the child and under breathe comments speak about the children of today.
Is it possible that parents, teachers and other care takers are moulding the brains of children in the wrong direction? With the best intentions could it be that the brains of children are being weakened by what they are being taught or encouraged to do by the very people that complain.
Let us look at how we influence the behaviour we see today.
Parents try their best to ensure that their children get what ever they want and when they want it and sometimes this is done without even realising that it is being done.
Think for a moment about the times that your child complained that he or she is bored and you offer them your Ipad or even your phone to occupy them. Think about the times, that you were out running errands or waiting to pick up one child from a practice session and another child decides that he is hungry or thirsty and despite being an half an hour or so from getting home where you will make lunch, you look for the first available place to grab a snack. Instant gratification.
Without a doubt, parents are encouraging children to think that they are entitled to everything they say that they want and when they want it. Our actions of satisfying the child’s needs immediately are not allowing the child to develop the ability to function without getting what he wants. This means that the child will grow up unable to function under any form of stress.
By giving the child the phone or the Ipad, you are using technology to occupy them. When you keep pushing a piece of technology at them to entertain them, you are also playing with their brains which will soon become tuned to the high levels of stimulation that such technology provides.
While we provide our children with all the digital gadgets that you can imagine to keep them entertained and happy, we deny them many opportunities to develop good social skills and patience.
I have met many parents who tell me that they do not allow their children to ‘mix up’, but they are at home on facebook, snap chat or instagram or playing video games.
In reality. parents are creating an artificial world for children where life is all fun and there are no dull moments. This results in the child’s inability to function well at school where there are no gadgets to run to and they are expected to sit quietly and perform a task. The child is out of his comfort zone and he is bored.
At school, children are ignored when they refuse to perform, there is no effort to motivate them or drive them to do what is expected of them. If they want to learn, they will, is the apparent attitude taken.
Most schools have few clubs and while the focus is seemingly on passing exams, the development of talent is not a priority. Social skills are not taught and emotional intelligence is unheard of in schools.
When children are allowed to dictate to adults, they learn that they can do what they want and without working to achieve it. They are not trained to set goals and to achieve them because everything is there for them and when the child has to face the harsh reality of life which is that they can not always get what they want and that they have to work for what they want, the child is disappointed and reacts to suit.
The ill manners, spoilt behaviour and mean attitudes that we see in children are therefore almost always created by the parents and adults in the child’s life.
As our beginning quote states, ‘the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world’ and what that hand does we are going to see in society.
Parents should be setting limits for children. They should insist on the child’s participation in healthy activities that can develop social skills, build character and help the development of their minds and brains.
Children should be playing outdoors, riding bicycles, hiking, and getting involved in activities such as boy scouts or girl guides which exposes them to social skills, help them to learn life skills, work as a group, patience and respect.
Very few children participate in a sporting activity and most sports allow children to learn how to win and lose gracefully when they compete. Sports also help children to develop socially when they travel on teams to compete or meet friends with similar interest who come here to compete. Sports can open doors for children and help them to learn about and to respect other cultures.
So often the parents give children these devices and would tell you that they cannot afford music lessons or dance classes that teach children patience, how to be calm, improve social skills and positively impact on their academic studies.
Spending time with family by playing board games or an evening out together instead of endless hours on social media can help parents to connect with children and learn more about the child, while it helps the child to value family relationships.
Teach children to wait. Instead of rushing to the nearest fast food place to grab that snack when you are almost home, let them wait and when they arrive at home, let them help in preparing lunch or the snack, ’quickly’. Do not rush to hand over your phone or Ipad, allow them to use their ‘bored time’ to be creative or to learn patience and for goodness sake do not rush to change the shoes, make them appreciate what you made the effort to buy.
Teach your child to do monotonous work from early years as it is the foundation for future “workability”. They can care for a pet, help with laundry, unpack groceries, make their beds, pick up their toys and do age appropriate chores.
Social skills can be taught in many ways through music, dance, the arts, sports and service clubs. I love the idea of children participating in an activity that can lead to competitions where they win and lose. Children who win, learn how to win without boasting and they also learn how to smile and congratulate their opponent after they get a good trashing.
They carry these skills into adulthood and into careers and they make better employees.It therefore is up to adults to change our perspective on parenting and help our children succeed in life. It is not an exercise that calls for much money, at least no more money that the electronic gadgets.
Parents and adults can therefore change our societies, by changing how the hand rocks the cradle.
We offer a host of parenting tips on this site under the section for parenting.