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What are we doing to the children?

Updated on August 31, 2012


I admit to being somewhat 'traditional' or 'old fashioned'. I am a grandma so I am probably categorised by many young mothers and fathers as a bit of a bore, or 'behind the times'!

There are some things that I see as just stupid! Parents seem to have no idea of the risks they are submitting their children to, and there seems to be no 'common sense' any more.

Two events this week have really got me angry.

One is the story of a family from Queensland who took the family to Bali for a holiday. Apparently the dad is one with a penchant for tattoos, and their five year old son wanted to be like dad too, so they allowed him to have a tattoo on his arm. It was a 'henna' tattoo, but unbeknown to the family, it was contaminated by a chemical which can cause problems, and for this little boy it did.

"His horrified parents,have since discovered local artists had added a toxic chemical, para-phenylenediamine (PPD), to the usual vegetable dye mix to darken the tattoo." Courier Mail

Apparently this chemical can cause allergies, and for this little boy, when the dye faded he has endured some burn like welts on his arm, which must be treated on a daily basis. The family have also heard that he may suffer from allergies as a result of this, for the rest of his life.

Around the same time, I saw on television, a little girl about five years of age, whose parents have had their daughter's hair dyed blue. I am not aware of any problems with this little girl, but when I saw the vision, I wondered if the parents really have thought this through.

Hair dye also contains chemicals - and I wonder if there will be any ramefications for this child in years to come.

Of course children want to be like their mothers and fathers, but in the days when I was a parent, I would explain to my children that there are some things that must wait until they become an appropriate age.

I see children with body piercings (just to be like a parent) and know that even the apparently innocuous ear rings can cause problems later, and I wonder why any sane parent would get an eye brow ring for a small child. It beggars belief to me.

Apart from the fact that children have little to look forward to as they get older - for most have been permitted to do or have things that sensibility says that are best left until adulthood, or at least when the child is able to make an informed decision by his or her self.

It is the same with mobile phones and other devices. While there is still argument about the risks of using mobile phones, I would do anything and everything I could to limit my own child's exposure to these devices, but I see young children with their ears seemingly glued to a phone! I am disappointed that my own granddaughter, just turned 12 years, has got her own mobile phone. There is no need - but because a lot of her school friends have one, mother succumbed. The additional cost to a family who continually whinge about the cost of living and the challenges of raising two daughters, astounds me. I shake my head in disbelief some times.

It seems that modern parents have a determination for their children to have, or experience anything and everything that is on the market, without giving any thought to any long term risks (e.g. health), and the other costs.

When parents tell me that the child wants to be like his/her parents, etc, I remind them that there are things that by law children are not permitted to do until they reach the 'legal' age. One is drive a car. Just because a child's mummy or daddy drives a car, does that mean the child should be allowed to do so?

Just because daddy drives a speed boat, or motor cycle, do parents really think it is ok to allow a child to do so? (OK, I know children can race in a controlled sport, but that is different, but I know as a parent, I would not willingly allow my child to participate in an extreme sport unless they were 'mature' enough to do so, knowing the risks.)

Children now seem to 'have it all' - toys, gifts, experiences, devices etc - as if they are forever on a free smorgasbord of what life would offer them now and in the future.

Can't we let children just BE children?


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    • profile image

      JThomp42 5 years ago

      The truth if it were ever said!! Great Hub.

    • Nan Mynatt profile image

      Nan Mynatt 5 years ago from Illinois

      Great hub! We need to hear about more things that the parents are doing that are ruining their kids. Their kids will be the ones taking care of us someday, and what will happen to us. They are not thinking. Some of the things that they are doing should have their kids taken away from them. I marked you up!

    • JanTutor profile image

      Jan Thompson 5 years ago from London, England

      Perhaps we should start a movement - putting commonsense back into parenting.

    • Aussieteacher profile image

      Di 5 years ago from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

      Phew!!! I am not the only one who thinks this way. Thank you to those wonderful people who have commented on, and agreed with me. Now, if only we can change the world.

    • K. Burns Darling profile image

      Kristen Burns-Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California

      I agree with you. I was a child of the seventies, but my parents were older than the parents of most of my friends, so I was a child of the seventies who was raised by parents whose values and child rearing beliefs were quite a bit different from a lot of my friends. I was expected to say yes ma'am and no sir, to say please and thank you, to treat others and their property with respect, to earn the things that I wanted, and to obey my elders. As a teenager I sometimes believed that my father was the second cousin to Atila the Hun, I had more chores, more responsiblity, an earlier curfew, and less freedom than almost everyone that I knew. I was still expected to mind my manners and my language, to treat others and their proprerty with respect, and my father was in my face and in my business all of the time. In time I realized that my father wasn't mean, he love dme enough to discipline me, and cared enough about my future to want me to succeded. I am the mother of three, an eighteen year old son, and two daughters ages seventeen and five. The two older ones have been raised the same way that my father raised me, and even though they have their moments, they most definitely have never given me the problems that I have seen with the children of some of my friends and acquaintances, I am raising my five year old the same way. There is something to be said about the tried and true so called "old fashioned" child rearing beliefs.

    • profile image

      Phoebe Pike 5 years ago

      I would never allow my child to get pierced or dye his hair until he is old enough to truly understand what it means. As for the cellphone, no way.

    • kat_thurston profile image

      kat_thurston 5 years ago

      I completely agree. We have 5 kids and I would never dream of doing or allowing any of them to do some of the things I hear and see. My kids dont have all the fancy gadgets and whatnots and yet they are just as happy if not happier. They understand that if they want something they have to work for it. Yes we give them money but they chores they have to do to get that money it's not just handed to them. From the youngest to the oldest everyone in our family works in some way or another whether its as simple of putting a toy away or helping to take care of an animal to something bigger everybody does something.

    • Aussieteacher profile image

      Di 5 years ago from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

      No Jan, you are not just old and crotchety! As I said, I think 'common sense' has gone. I can get quite irate about it. Certainly the rubbish that we are exposed to on television and movies, lets children think that they can do anything. Few understand the difference between real life and what they see on the screens. Thanks for your comment.

    • JanTutor profile image

      Jan Thompson 5 years ago from London, England

      Well said! I too am way too old fashioned for these modern parents. But I'm determined my little one will not be over-exposed to the excesses of modern life. I despair of the stupidity of parents. Just today I got angry with a mother (who I expected to know better), who was suggesting an hair style for my daughter that, I consider inappropriate for a 4 year old and definitely not suitable for school - but I guess I'm just old and crotchety!