Now I’m not knocking the Suffragettes and all the sacrifices they made to earn women like me the equality we enjoy today but, to use a dreadful but rather apt cliché, I can’t help feeling we threw the baby out with the bath water as far as parenting is concerned.
I look at the news reports of rioting by teens and the distinct lack of taking responsibility for one’s own actions that is so prevalent in today’s society and shudder. Even an article in the Daily Mail yesterday quoted how a fifth of primary school children in the UK are now being classed as having “special needs” and that poor parenting is to blame. Late bedtimes, very few books, too much television, poor diets and lack of physical exercise to develop basic motor skills are leaving our children lacking in vital everyday life skills.
We women were all so keen to get out and show our stuff in the workplace that somewhere along the line, we all forgot that raising children is a job in its own right – and probably the most important anyone ever does. It is also the one that has the most lasting effect on society. We’ve been raising the next generation and that generation, I’m sad to say, seems to be lacking in basic everyday life skills. We live in a “blame culture” these days, always looking to point the finger and this mindset leads us to pose the question “who is to blame for the behaviour of youth today”. Many scream it’s teachers, the government, society well it’s not. Quite frankly IT’S US and it’s about time we accepted that responsibility. It’s up to us to take control of the life skills our children learn.
Whether we like it or not we have to accept that IT IS NOT possible to have it all in life and, while we as parents may feel we’ve achieved a better life having subcontracted out the majority of our parenting to nannies, teachers, babysitters (read here television), sports clubs, brownies, computer learning games, etc., the ones that are suffering are the children. Lack of involvement by parents in the lives of our children is having serious consequences.
Now many will sit smugly by saying “well I don’t have any choice, we can’t afford for both of us to stay at home, we have to work to make ends meet”. My answer: while I’m sure there are parents where this is the case there are also many more cases were it isn’t. At least two thirds of the families I know that are on benefits have multiple televisions, DVDs, iPods, the latest mobile telephones, sit down the pub drinking their unemployment benefit and/or take holidays once if not twice a year.
A final word for those staunch feminists out there. I’m not suggesting it should be women that stay at home but surely, if a couple feel they are responsible enough to raise children, it makes sense for Mama OR PAPA to stay at home and actually take on the responsibilities of raising them.