Friday, 18 May 2012

Just Say NO!

Anyone else out there old enough to remember the old Grange Hill anti-drugs song? It has sprung to my mind recently, but for totally different reasons.

At the risk of sounding like a Grandma way before my time, I have begun to watch a new generation of parents emerge. Parents who do not seem to have the confidence, skills or determination to give their children boundaries and (dare I use the word?) discipline.

I watch toddlers running rings around their mothers, who sit and blandly smile at their precious angels. I hear mothers discussing their babies who apparently don't 'like' bedtimes (and I am not passing judgement on this - I had 3 non-sleepers, but there is a difference...). I see school aged children only eating a limited diet of breadsticks and chocolate ice cream. I hear mothers desparing. I also see laughing mothers watching their children, totally oblivious to the fact that their angel needs some boundaries setting. I hear about fathers who just do the playing and fun stuff with their children, instead of taking the responsibility.

I wonder how this all happened. How did we reach this point where parents are unable to discipline their children? Why is the 'no' word such a bad word these days? I am all for allowing children to explore, experiment and make their own choices but surely a parent's role is to guide and set limits on that exploration. How can children feel safe unless they are given boundaries? How can they really learn about the big, wide world of disappointment and failure if their parents, who love them unconditionally, are not the first people to say 'no' to them?

It is a dangerous place to be. What will happen to the babies and toddlers of this generation's parenting? How will they learn that the world does not revolve around them? How will they learn to share, to show kindness, to be respectful towards others or even to go to sleep on their own if they are not taught? Parents need to be the ones who say 'no'. We need to take the responsibility. We must step up to the challenge - and it will be a challenge - of disciplining our children. It is one of the best ways we can love our children. We must love them by saying 'no'. If we don't, the consequences for the next generation could be disastrous.

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