In Summary
  • Parents are dealing with children who are seeking the approval of the world through likes, comments and followers.
  • Parents are doing their best in this complex world, so let’s support them.

A long, long time ago, all a parent needed to correct an errant child was a few well-aimed thwacks on his behind.

The child would scream for forgiveness and all would be well after that; the offending behaviour beaten out of him for good.

The “weapon of choice” depended on what the parent fancied. It could be anything from bare hands to thick, bendy canes.

Punishment for a deviant child used to be meted out by all and sundry.

It was an unwritten rule that if one “sinned” next door, he was punished there and at home. It used to take a village to raise a child but the village has become global.

Take the viral video of a boy that went round social media this past week. It featured him spewing expletives to tell off one of his schoolmates who allegedly called him gay.

Some comments on social media about the boy bordered on cyberbullying but all seemed to agree that he needed help.

CHANGE

Additionally, his parents and those of the girl he was addressing were castigated by many, with their parenting skills being analysed on TV shows and on social media.

Bad and absentee parenting was largely blamed for the boy’s foul mouth.

If this child had grown up in the early 1990s, perhaps all his parent would have needed was force him to wash his mouth with soap, slapped the f-bombs out of his head and made him write an apology letter to the girl.

But times have changed. Parenting has become complex. Children have become complex. And everyone is trying to keep up with the changes.

It doesn’t help that the society has become more and more individualistic.

People are happy to report children’s misdeeds on social media and offer their unsolicited advice on parenting from the comfort of their smartphones.

JUDGEMENT

The claim that children have been left at the mercy of househelps, TV and electronic gadgets is quite exaggerated, but technically true.

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