What are we doing to the children?
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?