Parenting in Crisis
Today’s modern parents have become too soft and lenient with their children. Discipline is no longer meted out as harshly as in the days of yore no wonder many parents are bringing up spoilt children. There is also the notion that pampering the kids is the best way to bring them up.
And with many of today’s couples working, it is clear some do not have time to be with their children unless on the weekends or on rare occasions. Young children from as few months old are increasingly being dropped at daycare centres and picked up in the evenings. Others are left at the hands of the nannies or house helps.
No longer do we see families at meals together with meals being eaten at separate times depending on the time individual family members’ gets home. That the family set-ups are slowly disintegrating and going the way of some in the Western nations is not in contention.
And taking into consideration the economic situation that have forced many, especially men, to work away far away from their spouses, with no quality time for their own families, there is a feeling of estrangement as they only visits infrequently with the effect of strain in the family. Their spouses can cheat or divorce them and there is probability the absentee husbands/dads could be having parallel families or secret liaisons out there.
In the homes of many absentee dads there is no firm leadership. A woman, being gentler than a man, may not be able to discipline the children appropriately as it takes the stern qualities of a father and the gentler ones of the mother to mold the children in the right way. This situation can be complicated for single parents.
On the other hand, the modern woman is too independent following a career and her role as a housewife is becoming antiquated. In situation where she is married, she subscribes to the equality doctrine in a home setup and may stand against the husband in matters to do with disciplining their children. The curse of delinquent parenting can be discerned from this fault line.
Witness the situation where one spouse overrules the other when it comes to disciplining the children, take the example where the stern male parent orders the child to do this or that as a disciplinary measure but the child runs to the overprotective female parent who shields it from any punishment being meted. Such disharmony is seeing the kids growing up as spoilt brats.
Gone are the days when a man’s word was law. No one, including the wife, dared to contradict the head of the family. There was nothing like equality but utter submission of wives to their husbands. There were little cases of indiscipline as the man of the house was feared whenever he barked orders.
According to parenting experts, the environment some of the children are brought up in encourages indiscipline in one way or the other. “The parents may be in disharmony where one disrespects the other and the children may end up doing the same against one parent,” says Susan Karimi, attesting this as a dysfunctional home.
Because the mind of a growing child is so receptive, she says, it will capture everything the child sees and observes. More evil than good is easily captured and treasured in the recess of the child’s mind.
Recently, she was disgusted to hear children in their play making weird sexual like sounds. “I don’t know where they may have picked them from. There is possibility they must have been exposed to pornography materials or seen mature adults at it,” she says. This goes into picking profanities from their playmates for, she wonders, where does a ten year old learn to make swear words from, raise the middle finger and say the ‘F’ word?
“The lack of close supervision from the child’s set of parents, and the external influences they picks, is what is bringing indiscipline and rebellious attitude in the child,” she says. She laments that, even in case where the parents know the children are on the wrong bend, each spouse believes it’s the responsibility of the other to bring them on the mend.
“Disciplining is the collective responsibility of both,” she says.
Love for children must be tempered with tough discipline, she observes.
A research done by the University of New Hampshire in USA shows the uber-strict parents who rules with an iron fist will likely have disrespectful children with delinquent behaviours.
Such parents are not viewed as a legitimate authority by their children and are likely to break rules, the researchers observed. The three kind of parenting styles the researches observes are authoritative, authoritarian and permissive. Authoritative parents’ shows discipline but also some warmth to their children. The authoritarian ones are all discipline but no warmth while the permissive ones show a lot of warmth but no discipline.
The authoritative approach is the best style in bringing disciplined children. The parents set the discipline standards and the children lives by them. However, they are receptive to the children’s needs and show some warmth to them. In case of indiscipline, the child is given chance to explain themselves but the parents do not give in but metes out appropriate disciplinary action.
The researchers say giving the child a voice doesn’t equal to giving him a vote in the say of discipline.
But shouting angry words to a child is not same as disciplining him. This will only bring mental and emotional pain to the child which will in turn create tension that can provoke mental disorders in the child’s later life.