Parenting is best left to the professional

by / Friday, 11 June 2010 / Published in Parenting
Kids do better with stay at home mom

Would you like this man “Caring” for your baby?

Many financially well off people seem OK to take this risk unnecessarily. But I guess successful careers are worth it. But consider this, sometimes living with less is actually living with more.

Money can always be made again if lost. Time lost with our kids is never regained. It becomes the seed of rejection we sow IN them that we can expect to harvest FROM them in our own twilight years.

Who’s raising our kids?

Today many parents are forced with the difficult choice of spending time with their kids, or providing for them financially. In many families, there is may be but one parent. Most often, that parent is a woman. She is faced with the difficult task of trying to provide the basic necessities for her child or children. She must do so at the cost of spending time with them.

In 2006, 12.9 million families in the U.S. were headed by a single-parent, 80% of which were headed by a female. Since 1994, the percentage of US households headed by a single parent has remained steady at around nine percent, although it has nearly doubled since 1970.

But there is another trend. One that is affecting the lives of many children as well. Selfish Parenting. Parents who possess the necessary resources to provide a stay-at-home environment for their children, but choose not to in favor of being a two-career marriage. Two separate lives being pursued under the banner of marriage. And, as if observing some right-of-passage, children must also be produced to complete the perfect picture. This usually comes right after the miniature dog. This prepared them for kids you see.

This has proven negative affects on children. A recent study was conducted in Great Britain. The 3-year study focusing on 35,000 children, parents and professionals, claims British children are less happy than those in almost any other developed country.

“The aggressive pursuit of individual success by adults today is the greatest threat to our children. There is unease about the unprecedented speed with which children’s lives are changing; the commercial pressures they face; the violence they are exposed to; the rising stresses of school; the increased emotional distress they feel.”

The Good Childhood Inquiry was a study commissioned by the Children’s Society in the UK. It blamed numerous factors on the difficulty in modern kids’ lives, including:

Family break-up. Children in “broken” homes are 50 percent more like to suffer problems at school or become depressed. A third of British teens live apart from their fathers. In the United States, only 37% of children under the age of eighteen were living with married adults in a marriage the reporting spouse rated as “very happy,” which social scientists agree is the best possible situation for kids.

Unbridled advertising. Kids watch much more than the prescribed two hours per day (which is still a lot!) and are exposed to ads for unhealthy food and alcohol. Here, children are exposed to 40,000 ads annually on television alone. A study last year found nothing good about TV viewing for kids.

Competition in education. The study criticizes the struggle for personal status and success, which it says has filled the vacuum created by the decline of religious belief and community spirit.

Many of the implications are those we see here in the States every day, such as the “me first” attitude of recent generations, which the study calls “excessive individualism.” As in, we get more pleasure from helping ourselves than helping others.

Income inequality. A quarter of British kids live at or below the poverty line. The rate in the U.S. is about 18 percent.

Today’s kids have an alarming sense of personal entitlement. A No-One-Can-Touch-Me attitude. Parents seem too afraid that discipline will either harm their children or get the parents accused of child abuse or at least looked upon by others as if they are bad parents.

It used to be you were considered a bad parent if you didn’t set limits on your child’s behavior and spank them when they needed it. Now, you are a bad parent just for trying to be a good disciplinarian. So, today’s parents have simply given up on discipline altogether and are instead trying to shield their children from all of life’s disappointments by bending over backwards trying to keep them happy.

They opt to leave it up to the “Professionals” instead to “socialize them”. It worked for Rover, why not Johnny? Daycare, preschool, public school, after school programs, sports, camps, malls, therapists… anywhere. Just send them anywhere so “I can pursue my life and career”.

Kids less happy as they're more plugged into TV, music, Web?

Illustration by Suzy Parker, USA TODAY

Are kids are less happy as they’re more plugged into TV, music, Web? A recent study say yes.

Most young people have a cellphone and an iPod — and nearly one in three own a laptop computer.

But according to a survey conducted by North Carolina’s High Point University they discovered that the more media they use, the less happy young people tend to be.

So, are today’s kids happy? They get what they want most of the time, so they should be. Today’s kids are growing up actually despising their parents. Late in childhood parental discipline seems to turn these kids into ruthless, violent, parent-hating murderers. I believe a big reason is because children simply don’t get the love, care, and parental guidance they need starting from birth. And I also believe it has a lot to do with the fact that many parents choose to forgo discipline and parental guidance until the children become teenagers. At that point they suddenly put their foot down, set all of the limits, and expect their teens to happily comply. This approach rarely works.

It would also help if parents started taking full responsibility for their children. Parents can limit what their children watch on TV, what kind of music they listen to, who they choose as their friends, how much time they spend on video games, computers, high-tech toys, snacking, and on the phone, what they buy with their money, how much money they spend, and how much money they give them.

Don’t give them any credit cards, for an example, then bail them out of debt when they overspend. Don’t let them keep a television set or a computer in their rooms, then expect them to magically know when they’ve reached their limit. Don’t give them a pet, then expect them to take full responsibility for it without your guidance.

But when a parent doesn’t spend regular quality time with their children, the temptation to buy their love with no limits on requests become a dangerous currency exchange. They attempt to assuage their own guilt and try to buy forgiveness from the child for time not spent with them. This is achieved by removing any boundary to the child’s desires and personal freedom. They in a sense try to again allow the child to pursue their own levels of enjoyment, again, without having to personally invest the parental time the child needs and desires.

Maybe that’s why young people are drawn to Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. It resembles a place where they spent most of their childhood. A place that was loud, free and without personal responsibility.

The negative results of this arrangement usually show up immediately in the toddler years. Popular acronyms are quickly applied to them. Drugs are prescribed. When kids are raising each other in daycare centers it usually brings about self-preservation tendencies. Yet parents are surprised when little Johnny  is “unreasonable” at home when not sharing his toy with Sally. Children play unrestrained for hours each day in loud chaos, and then parents are shocked when Johnny won’t sit still in church, in a movie, or at a restaurant.

Why should they be expected to become better teenagers, or compassionate, empathetic adults? Where would they have learned how to?  These values used to be taught by mom. By dad. By grandma and grandpa. Now we hope Miss Stevens in 3rd grade will make Johnny a great kid for us.

God bless the single parent who is trying to do their best to create value in their child with the limited resources they have. God bless the career-minded couple who understands they are not cut out for the sacrifice of changing diapers and reading nap time stories during the day.

Parenting is best left to the professional. So, become one. Don’t hire one. Opting to become one without taking the job seriously, instead, planning to outsource the position for the best price always carries a hidden charge later on.