Tag Archives: life skills

Proof: Modern Parenting Hinders Children’s Development

Well all of us old fogeys that have believed for years that kids not getting dirty was abnormal, that bottle beats breast and numerous other things that currently “seem all the rage” have been vindicated by a study carried out by the University of Notre Dame.

Darcia Narvaez, Notre Dame professor of psychology who specializes in moral development in children said:

“Life outcomes for American youth are worsening, especially in comparison to 50 years ago….Ill-advised practices and beliefs have become commonplace in our culture, such as the use of infant formula, the isolation of infants in their own rooms or the belief that responding too quickly to a fussing baby will ‘spoil’ it,…The right brain, which governs much of our self-regulation, creativity and empathy, can grow throughout life. The right brain grows though full-body experience like rough-and-tumble play, dancing or freelance artistic creation. So at any point, a parent can take up a creative activity with a child and they can grow together.” (source)

The report makes a direct correlation between rising numbers of young children suffering from anxiety and depression, an increase in aggressive and delinquent behaviour in kids and lack of empathy and moral fibre amongst college students.

Well I wonder why? Most of us don’t need a degree in psychology to know that modern parenting isn’t working.

  • Why is boredom frowned upon? Kids need to be bored once in a while. It lets them work out that they have to find something to do, then they have to decide what that something is, then they get together whatever it is they need to alleviate the boredom. Parents should be allowing children to work things out for themselves not constantly finding things for them to do.
  • Why don’t you see happily mud-covered kids anymore? Beautifully pristine lawns and concrete drives do not make happy children. Not only is getting mucky good fun for kids but it can also actually help build a strong immune system. There are way to many studies for me to list that point to ‘over cleanliness’ reducing the exposure of children to bacteria to such an extent that their immune system doesn’t cope when they are exposed to it later in life. Google if you dare, there are hundreds of them!
  • Why do homes have to look like something out of a glossy magazine – or something out of Life of Grime? There seems to be no middle ground in the majority of households. I have walked into friends houses, and actually into one family members home where the smell off bleach was so over-powering my eyes watered. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is no doubt that these homes were clean – clean enough to do surgery on the kitchen table to be honest, but that’s not healthy. Humans need bugs. Others prompt the reaction to my youngest of “yes you can go but don’t eat anything there ok?” It’s fine to have a bit of dust, it’s fine not to poison your guests with fumes when they come to visit…it is not fine to have a home so filthy it’s a heath hazard. Where has common sense cleaning gone?
  • Why are kids chaperoned all of the time? Now before I get ripped apart I am not talking about taking a five year old into central London and leaving them to find their way home but I also didn’t expect to be treated as a pariah when I let my almost 11 year old and her 12 year old cousin go two stops on a local train (they were deposited on the train at one end and met at the other)…oh my God I was waiting for social services to come to the door from the reaction I got. Ditto my now 12 year old leaving our home, walking half a mile to her friend’s, then them going another half a mile to collect another friend, who has also walked half a mile to the meeting point, before heading off to the sea front, park and local ice cream shop before heading home…in reverse order because the middle kid is not allowed to go anywhere alone.
  • Why is it not okay for a kid to get cold/wet going to school? The same kid will be doing outdoor physical education at school in freezing weather and there’s not a peep of protest from the parents yet they drive them the 1/4 mile on a different day because it’s raining – what’s that all about?
  • Why is it considered normal for a child to be on electronic’s for hours and hours a day? Especially in households where the parents say “No more TV”.  They tell their kids they need to get enough sleep then leave them with their devices in the bedroom…how’s that work?
  • Why can’t kids cook? My girl, and the two kids that came some 26 years before her were all capable of making a simple meal from scratch at 10 years old. This was normal with the other two but now it’s not.  “But they might get burnt” or “Oh I couldn’t trust mine to do that” seem to be common comments these days. Have times really changed that much? Allowing kids to make cookies and cupcakes is good fun but it won’t keep them fed when all they can afford is a few scabby veggies from the local market and a few ounces of ground beef will it? As for not trusting your kid…well that’s where teaching them and letting them help you out comes in. Replace the word cook with sew on a button and fix a fallen hem. Yup stabbed fingers galore from the needles but they got there in the end! I’m convinced this is possibly regarded as child abuse/neglect today. I can see the headline:

Woman charged after letting child suffer injuries from small, sharp piece of metal. Local man says : “I saw blood drops on the floor and knew instinctively the kid was hurt!”

I could go on but you get it. Being equipped for life has come to mean being computer competent and ready to join the rat race. No wonder late teens and early 20’s are suffering from anxiety and depression, they go to college, have no idea how to cope alone and then realise they have an almost total lack of real life skills.

As a final word my daughter, the younger one and I were chatting the other day. She tells me that one of her pals has to go to the local town shopping with her mother after school as “they have nothing in for dinner”  I was a bit like “well okay and?” She then adds on:

“Seriously, how can you have nothing in the house to eat? So many people say this at school.  We live on an island, if ever there’s a problem with the bridge the local shops won’t have nearly enough stuff for everyone – I really like that our garage looks like a regular garage on the outside but on the inside it’s really it’s more like Asda”.

The silly things children say…..

Take care

Liz