I’ve noticed a lot of parents repeating the same mistakes. Sometimes I walk around and see crabby women shouting at their babies or toddlers, trying to force them to behave like the bad parents they are. These people don’t realize that how they raise their children not only determines how children see them, but it also determines the children’s future as well.
For instance, parents who are good to their kids are more trusted by their kids, and the kids grow up leading rich lives (it doesn’t necessarily have to be literally rich). Parents who are bad to their kids pay the price of not being trusted by their kids, who would grow up to have numerous unresolved psychological issues, or grow up into criminals.
Being that I actually care, I want to list the things that I think parents should stop doing.
1. Choosing a child’s religion before they have a choice
I already mentioned this in my post about Catholicism, but I think I should elaborate on it. As long as religion has been dominant in society, parents have always been trying to force their religion on their kids. That, I believe, is wrong because it belittles a child’s free choice. This is why I was against the very thought of my nephew being Christened when he was only a month old.
As Richard Dawkins once said, it’s stupid to label our children with a political party, so why should we label our children with a religion? Kids don’t give a damn about religion, so of course they might not follow it. Religious parents attempt to resolve this using fear.
We shouldn’t label kids with a religion before they can even talk. If you decide for kids what’s true and what isn’t, and then they find out what’s actually true, then they won’t trust parents.
2. Making kids do chores
In practically every kid’s cartoon ever made, there’s bound to be one scene or episode where a kid is forced by his parents to do chores. It’s basically a bunch of menial tasks like mowing the lawn, washing the dishes, basically anything adults should be doing.
What I hate about the concept of chores is that essentially the adults are simply trying to make kids do things they can easily do themselves, but are apparently to lazy to do. If you’re going to have your kids do chores for you, at least thank them, and give them a reward that makes it worth their while. Many times however, it is only a meager reward.
I’ve heard of one guy who’s dad is so horrible, that he’s made him do every task for him, with no pay, and no gratitude. We call that SLAVERY.
If the idea of chores was to have kids help around the house, then the parents should a) do it with the kids, and b) offer an incentive for them to do it, not punishing them for not doing it.
3. Grounding and curfews
One of the classical forms of punishment is when parents ground their children. This involves banning the child from leaving his/her room or house unless the child is required to. Parents typically combine this with the removal of things like computers, video games, TV, and so on.
I have one major reason that parents should stop doing it. It simply doesn’t work. Kids will always find a way around it. They’ll always find a way to escape their confinement, and grounding will actually encourage youth rebellion, and therefore have the opposite of the parents’ desired effect.
Another typical and immoral punishment is the curfew, where the parents will order a teenager to return home by a specific time during the evening or at night. I believe this is immoral because it curtails on their freedom. They are trying to spread their wings, but it’s really sad that all the parents are focusing on is clipping those wings.
Besides, like grounding, enforcing curfews will surely fail, and it will only further diminish the level of trust between parents and teens, and encourage the rebellious attitude of teenagers, which, again, is the opposite of what parents want in the first place.
4. Using TV as the educator and babysitter of children
Over the past few decades, it has become common for parents to just sit their kids in front of a TV screen, expecting it to be the sole educator and babysitter of their kids. I think I’ll let Kyle from South Park field this one.
“I think that parents only get so offended by television because they rely on it as a babysitter, and the sole educator of their kids.”
– Kyle Broflovski, South Park (“Death”, 1997)
They do this because it frees them from their sacred responsibility to raise their children properly, and the results of their negligence has become obvious. Children doing drugs and alcohol, tweens and teens trying to look sexy, teen pregnancy, youth violence, and even suicide can all be blamed on parents shirking their responsibility.
The worst part about this trend is that whenever parents screw up like this, and TV lets something slip, artists have to suffer for it, because television executives are too cowardly to just ignore those concerned parents, who are obviously too lazy to even deserve to have kids.
5. Lying to children
Back in the first few weeks of my site’s history, I wrote a post on why I believe parents should stop telling kids that lying is wrong. When you were a kid, how many times have you been told not to lie? I understand the need to teach kids to be honest, but telling them that lying is wrong is not the way to do it. Why not give kids an incentive to be honest?
Also, if you’re reading this, and want to defend the parents that do, why not look back, and ask yourself. How many times have your parents lied to you? My parents lied to my about religion, saving the environment, morality, the existence of Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, and some aspects of the influence of autism in my life. With all probability, your parents must have lied to you as well (unless they were actually good parents).
My point is, most parents choose not to be honest, and instead seek to control their children through lies. I think parents should be more direct and honest with their children, because if they do, the children will trust them more.
I believe that parents should be more compassionate towards their kids, and they should respect their rights, and their individuality. If they don’t, then the kids will continually hate their parents until they get to the stage where they will never listen to their parents, and go on a path to self-destruction, simply because it contradicts what their parents say.