I recently unfollowed an Instagram account that posts stuff like “Be Kind Always”, whilst simultaneously being anything but kind. Has it just become this catchphrase like ‘You only live once’? That used to have a point but now it’s just a thing people say (YOLO!!) and it means nothing.
This lead me to look further into Instagram and I discovered that many of the “be kind” crew, don’t particularly treat children very well. So the idea is we treat children like crap in order for them to be wonderful members of society, that’s how it works right?
Children learn through experiences or what is called “modelling behaviour”. So if you want a kind, caring and conscientious child. You need to treat them and others with kindness. If you shout, they will shout. If you use violence, they will use violence. It’s a seriously simple and obvious concept to understand. Yet western society has shunned this idea in favour of obedience. As if children do not have free thought.
I don’t think it’s the norm in the UK to use violence against your children although it certainly happens, but many Americans feel children will grow up to be violent criminals without fear of violence. (Yes, really).
And because the UK is becoming more and more like little America everyday, we are growing more and more to accept that treating children like dirt is just normal and part of everyday life.
Children should do what they’re told! – Obedience is counter productive in raising children. You are the first authority figure in your child’s life, and (presumably) you have your children’s best interests at heart. But every authority figure they meet in their lives will not. Think about bosses you’ve had, even teachers, Doctors and police officers (the ones we are taught have high authority). Are they all good, do they always have your best interests at heart? Of course they don’t. Many (most I expect) people are concerned about their own interests first and foremost, if these clash, are they going to throw you under the bus? Many would! And how can a child learn to question authority if you never let them voice their ideas? If you never explain to them why you have the opinion you do, how will they understand ethical treatment of others?
Children should be seen and not heard – This honestly irks me. Adults aren’t seen and not heard, so why should children? I’d rather listen to a child tell me their thoughts and ideas with serious enthusiasm than have another conversation about the rubbish weather with another adult. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had many an enlightening conversation with an adult, but I’ve had just as many with kids, and although their conversation isn’t quite as articulate, it is no less inspiring.
Kids need to learn some respect – Respect is earned, respect them and they’ll respect you. Age does not equal wisdom, I’m sure there are kids much wiser than myself, I would never have such an ego as to assume I know everything better than someone else simply because I am older. Many adults can be disrespectful to children simply because if their age. I would never encourage a child to respect an adult that does not respect them. It is a mutual term.
I am the boss in this house – When did parenting become a dictatorship? Why would we even want to be the boss? By being the boss it means the buck stops with you. It means every fault, mistake and accident becomes your problem. But it isn’t. Children need to learn to problem solve. If you’re the boss then you are the decision maker. Why wouldn’t you want your children to learn how to deal with their own problems, you’re not raising soldiers, you’re raising people, one day they’ll go out into the big wide world and if you’ve always been the boss, they’ll need constant reassurance that they’re doing everything right. It’s nice to be able to tell your kids you’re proud of them. Not so satisfying to have to talk them through every new problem they encounter.
Kids aren’t scared of their parents anymore these days – I can not say this enough times but – that is a good thing!! Children that fear repercussions for everything they do wrong are not going to go to their parents when they’ve landed themselves up shit creek without a paddle. If they’re too scared to tell you what has happened when they’ve gotten themselves in too deep, how are they going to get out? Sometimes no matter how hard you try, there are just some problems so big, that you need someone to help, even if it’s just a shoulder to cry on. If your kids are afraid of you, it will not be you they confide in. And as I’ve previously said, not everyone has your child’s best interests!
“Give the children love, more love and still more love – and common sense will come by itself” – Astrid Lindgren