Childhood is so brief and we are supposed to look back on it with fond memories in our dotage.
So why is society intent on making our children grow up too quickly. Sex & drugs education at 5, careers advice at 7, pregnant at 9 or 10, in AA at 12 and drug rehab at 15.
Wow! What wonderful childhood memories to look back on. Paints a scary picture though and if things carry on this will be the norm for the next generation.
So how do we stop the rot, so to speak.
Initially parents! The buck stops there.
Whether it be single parents, married (hetero or same-sex), we are responsible for our children’s upbringing. We are their role models and their guides through to adulthood.
Think back to your childhood would your parents have let you stay up ’til all hours, or watch inappropriate films/television. If the answer is no, then ask yourself why it is now appropriate to let your children do this.
How angry would your parents have been if you hadn’t said please, or thank you? Why is it now the norm for children not to say this. ‘Thank you’ – those two little words carry such weight.
What would your parents have done if you had been rude to a teacher at school? Why do we now hear so many stories of teachers being abused by pupils, or teachers disciplining children only to have the parents turn on the teacher instead of backing them up?
So parents (and I do appreciate it’s not everyone) take responsiblity for your children. It is not the school’s fault if they don’t teach your children discipline and manners – it’s yours. It’s not society’s fault that your children don’t know right from wrong – it’s yours. It’s not the computer games company’s fault that they sell inappropriate games – it’s yours for buying it.
It’s up to us to instill a sense of decency into the next generation and the only people who can do that for our children is us as parents.
The next on the list is the media.
Children’s programmes and there are a lot of good ones out there, but they should be appropriate.
There are far too many where, again children never say please or thank you and are shown to be self-centred.
Do we need cartoons where the ‘bad guy’ is drawn in an unpleasant way – the character comes from the voice. Bullying starts because people are different – if young children are exposed to bad guys being different then they will assume all people who look different are bad. That might not make sense to you as an adult, but think about it with child logic!
Sketch shows should have age appropriate humour. Slapstick is great but it is not suitable for a show aimed at preschoolers/infants to show someone failing to get into a cannon (with the intent of being fired out) and then having the cannon explode on his face!
After children’s programmes come adverts – yes Milkshake! I’m talking about you. How suitable is it to show trailers for 12+ movies during a break when it is obvious that preschoolers will be watching – ditto 18+ computer games.
Adverts should, again be age appropriate – and gosh, can’t you tell Christmas is upon us. How lovely it was to have a few adverts before September (again totally irrelevant to children’s programmes – life insurance, washing machines, etc) between programmes, whereas now each programme is separated by a good 5 minutes of adverts. But I digress…
I think the worst advert for a toy I have seen, again on Channel 5, during Milkshake, is something called a blade spinner. Now I’m not blaming the television company for this one but the toy manufacturer. How intelligent is it in this day and age when teenagers are being knifed left, right and centre to produce a toy called “blade spinner” where the object, a car, is aimed towards this monster who has “knife-like” claws and spins around trying to whack the car out-of-the-way. I’m sorry, I just find it irresponsible.
Finally on adverts – Lalli-Kalli. Love the shoes, but is it really necessary to give away free make-up to 5 year olds!
Let’s grow up a bit and leave pre-school behind. Teenagers – bless ’em. We were all one once, but were we really that scary that when an older person came across a group of us they crossed the street?
Note to teenagers – being a celebrity is not a career option!
Why do so many teenagers go out and get drunk? Because it’s cool? Because there’s nothing else to do?
I think it’s partly to look cool – but believe me there is nothing cool about being so drunk you end up either in casualty having your stomach pumped, or you spend several hours staring down a toilet bowl!
Would I be right in assuming boredom plays a big part?
If it’s boredom, as the old saying goes “go out and find something less boring to do instead”.
OK, so I know youth clubs and scouting are not perceived as “cool” any more – so make it, or anything else cool. Channel your bored energy and find a ‘hobby’ – who knows it could turn into a job??
Talking of jobs and teenagers – soap producers take note – why do no teenage soap characters on British television ever seem to have any career ambition. They all seem to drop out, or leave school at 16 with no idea what to do and so they drift.
So I say to everyone – parents, media and society – STOP! THINK! And let our children enjoy being children for as long as possible