Before I continue, let the record show that I do not have any children of my own. I have, however, been able to observe other children, whether those of the people around me, or simply other people’s kids while dining out/spending time at the mall. So, even though I am not a mother, I feel like I also deserve a say in this matter.
There are a lot of things that young parents do, which are considered ‘novel’ parenting methods. I remember during my own childhood days, my parents were incredibly strict. TV time was before 11pm only, same for phone calls (even though I secretly spent some nights talking to boys in the middle of the night, but that’s a different story). After dinner, plates had to be cleared. Homework had to be finished, and God forbid your mother catch you copying your classmate’s answers. That happened to me once, and it wasn’t pretty, I can tell you.
Here are 5 things I think the children of today take for granted. Blame it on bad parenting, or lack of proper judgement; but if things don’t change, it might pose as a potential social issue for future generations.
It’s NOT okay to spend too much time on your smartphone/tablet
Many a time have I seen this scenario play out in restaurants: parents with two kids, all of them busy with their own gadgets. The children are glued to the iPad and will only eat if it’s playing their favourite cartoons. The dad is distracted by Clash of Clans, and the mom is checking out Instagram and online shopping websites. Nobody is talking, except for the domestic helper, who is the only one feeding or interacting with the children. Mealtimes should be a time where you communicate with each other, not spend the entire hour with your head bowed over your phone. If 2-year-old children are taught that it’s okay to do so, they should not be blamed at 20 years old for not communicating well with their parents.
It’s NOT okay to play with cutlery
Please repeat after me: a spoon is not a toy. A fork is not a toy. A sauce plate is not a toy. It’s natural for children to become restless while waiting for food to arrive, but they should never be allowed to play with cutlery. It’s disrespectful to other patrons to have a toddler banging away on a plate with a spoon, not to mention the hazard if the child decides to drop a plate or glass on the floor, which I have seen many, many times.
It’s NOT okay to run around in restaurants
Even when the wait is taking longer than expected, it’s dangerous to allow children to run freely in restaurants. As they weave in and out, it’s hard for the wait staff to keep an eye on your children and at the same time, serve other customers in the restaurant. And why would you want your kids to play ‘chase’ in an environment where hot liquids and breakable items are everywhere? If a child runs into a waiter carrying a bowl of soup, it could result in disaster for everyone, but most importantly for the child.
It’s NOT okay to think that shouting/crying means getting what you want
I was having lunch at a casual diner at The Curve. At the next table next to me was a mom with her toddler, who was screaming because she wouldn’t allow him to play with her handphone. She issued her first few warnings verbally, but he continued to pretend to cry. She hit him (though not hard), and he immediately stopped. Even babies nowadays have mastered the art of pretend-crying, and more often than not, adults just give in to their every whim and fancy to shut them up. Even though it’s an easy way out for an extra 10 minutes of peace, it’s not a healthy process, in my humble opinion.
It’s NOT ok to talk back to adults
When a 3-year-old says something smart when you reprimand them, it’s cute. Think again if your child is 15. Would you allow him or her to say something like to you, or to other adults? We read about schoolteachers who have been sued by angry parents because the teacher punished the child in class. But what parents fail to understand is that teachers act as a symbol of law and discipline. Apart from teaching children, they also act as ‘surrogate’ parents to make sure these children become more independent, and know right from wrong. If you instil in children at a young age that they do not have to fear their teachers, and that it’s okay to talk back to adults, then what’s stopping them from disrespecting you?
My conclusion is: children are innocent because they don’t know they’re not supposed to do certain things, so parents should always act as a good example and exercise discipline whenever necessary. Hopefully, things will take a turn for the better as we all try out best to be a good role model for our future children.
(Images: cinfin.com, dailymail.co.uk, Jill Greenberg, huffpost.com, johnlewis.com)