Unruly Children: Who Is To Blame?
I have never been a fan of the proverb, "Children should be seen and not heard." I like to hear the opinions of children as much as I like hearing the opinions of adults which, depending on the day, can have a very different connotation. Every being has something to offer. If we tell a child to be quiet when they have something of worth to say, we might as well write out a check for their therapy now. Yet, while I still don't fully agree with that proverb, I understand it more now.
When I was younger and would act up, my mother would look at me once and I'd feel like a block of ice and stop what I was doing. While I knew my mother loved me, I also knew that if I didn't behave, I'd be made sorry. The children of today don't seem to have that fear put in them. Along with no longer spanking children, parents no longer seem to reprimand them. Parents are told to talk to their child and try to understand their motives. While I believe there can be benefits to this, from the children I've seen lately, I know that this technique doesn't work. If children are never taught that there are consequences to their actions, how will they know this as adults? Aren't parents of today setting their children up for failure?
On Friday, while waiting in line to buy movie tickets, I had the misfortune of being in front of three ten year old (I don't know for sure if this was their age, but, if they were older than ten, I'm a land owner in Spain.) girls. Unchaperoned, they were swinging on the rope, pushing each other and screaming. When she could take no more, the ticket seller told the girls to calm down or leave. Laughing hysterically, they ran across the room to the other ticket counter.
To begin with, why were those young girls alone? Call me a late bloomer, but I didn't go to a movie alone with my friends until I was twelve or thirteen. Also, why didn't their parents teach them how to behave? Call me a weirdo, but I never acted in public in a way that I wouldn't act in front of my mother. When asked why she was so strict with us, my mother would always say that she didn't want us to act in a way that would cause people to not want to ask us back. I understand now.
When did our society stop caring about our children? When did teaching a child manners and respect become too much of a chore? I realize that not every child misbehaves or that every parent allows their child to get away with murder. However, there is enough child/parent miscommunication for this to have become a societal problem. Society wants to blame the behavior of children on the bad influences in television, movies and music. I firmly believe that the blame rests solely on the parents. The parents of today want to be friends with their children and not disciplinarians. The parents of today want to lead successful lives and cross their fingers that their children will learn through osmosis. We are a society that thinks its wrong to give a child a slap on the bum, but are fine with parental control free television. We know that something is wrong with our children and with our society, but think too highly of ourselves to look within. Why are "please" and "thank you" such rarely spoken words?
I am not a parent, but I hope to become one someday. I fully intend upon teaching my children manners and teaching them to behave. I predict that my children will be laughed at and will stick out like sore thumbs because they undoubtedly will be a part of a small population of respectful, decent children. I hope that I will raise them to be proud of this difference and to want to raise their own children the same way. However, wouldn't it be nice if our society turned around and started encouraging its children to behave?
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