What do we owe the children?

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posted on Sep, 20 2008 @ 10:20 AM
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I am posting this in response to several threads that have come up as of late. In all of them, I see one continuing philosophical question: what should we do for our children?

In every case, the discussion has strayed from the issue of the children's best interests, to one of social injustices. Thusly, I post this, in hopes that we can talk out the problems as they pertain to our youth, arguably the most vulnerable in our society.

In Teach 'the pleasure of gay sex' to children as young as five, say researchers, the debate is over whether or not the program will make it easier for gay folk to coexist with others later in life.

In Homeland Security Uses Sesame Street, the issue is about whether or not DHS can be trusted to not turn the program into indoctrination (a'la Hitler).

In Woman Gets Life Sentence For Sex With 5 Year Old Boy, the talk is turning to whether or not a child can consent to sexual relations.

In Chicago Proposes Separate Schools For Homosexuals, the talk was about whether or not this was a return to the days of segregation.

These threads all have one thing in common: they concern children. They have another thing in common: the discussions for the most part ignored any concerns for the children. Now, this may be a sensitive subject for some, but the fact is that none of us will live forever on this earth. We all grow older and get feeble, and we all eventually die. That is true no matter how much you exercise, how well you eat, how many doctors you see, or even if you give up any of the myriad of vices our society has available. Smokers, non-smokers, drunks, tee-totalers, druggies, naturalists, we all will someday die.

In our place will be the next generation. It's a circle of life (to quote an old children's movie). I have cared for my children and tried to raise them to be upstanding, compassionate, intelligent people. I could do so because I have my health and I am able to work and support them. Yet I also have wisdom of a few years to impart to them, hopefully to ease some of the potential problems they have faced and will face in the coming years.

Someday soon, they will be adults. At that time, my role will diminish to simply advisor, and hopefully, friend. They will make their way into the world, and stake their own claim to everything life has to offer. Someday after that, I will become too old to work. Then it will be my children who are now raising their children, and I will have the honor of helping to impart a lifetime of experience and wisdom to their children. Perhaps they will help care for me when I am so old that I can no longer care for myself, as I cared for them when they were too young to do so.

This cycle has repeated itself untold times throughout human history. Parents raise their children, grandparents advise, and children learn. The roles continue from one generation to the next, with each generation able to build on the successes and avoid the failures of those two directly preceding them.

But today, I see a change in this pattern, and it troubles me greatly. We, the parental generation, seem to be ignoring our roles, instead using the children for social experimentation and as pawns in political power plays. Instead of concentrating on what is best for the children, we seem more concerned with using them to force social agendas on themselves and their parents, or as social guinea pigs to test new approaches to 'fix' the ills of society as we each see them.

So what is our role in this circle of life? Are the children 'property' to be used to test our own philosophies? Are they tools to be used to force others to conform to our own beliefs? Or, as I believe, are they a precious gift to be nurtured and taught so they can improve our society as they see fit, based on what we have taught them?

What is the role of school? Is it to teach science and mathematics and language and literature? Or is it there to teach more subjective things, like compassion and acceptance? What happens when the school curriculum is at odds with the beliefs of the parents? Should the parents step aside, or should the school? Which will best serve the children and not ourselves?

What about trials? Should we allow our children to learn the hard lessons that come from being a unique individual in a society? Or should we segregate them from these trials until they are adults? If we allow the trials to exist, should we make our children handle them themselves, or should we try to ease the trials for them? Perhaps we should force our own personal beliefs on them? Or perhaps we should allow them to make up their own minds, even if that later puts their beliefs at odds with our own?

Should we allow them to be children, encouraging the happiness and blissful ignorance of those younger years? Or should we expose them to the trials and hardships which adult life will inevitably bring?

Exactly what is best for the children?

TheRedneck




posted on Sep, 20 2008 @ 10:39 AM
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Excellent topic redneck. My approach has always been to discuss everything with my children and to teach them that no matter what anyone else says to form their opinions on what they feel is right, not what others want them to think is right. Even if this includes they don't agree with me. I realize this is not the case with alot of parents in todays society, as a matter of fact most parents do not talk to their children much at all. I am sure there are times when they wished we talked to them less... rather than just grounding them when they do something really wrong we sit them down and have a long talk about what was wrong with what they did and make them evaluate it as well. The biggest problem is that people just don't take time to raise their children. They would rather that they just raise themselves but that is just not the reality... children cannot raise themselves. They need their parents and alot of parents need to wake up and stop being so damned selfish and give their children some attention and guidance.. That is most of what we are lacking and it is what needs to change.



posted on Sep, 20 2008 @ 12:47 PM
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i have taken a simmilar approch as nephra tari, thus far, although they are currently too young to actually discuss anything with me.

On a government level, I just want them to butt out and let parents raise their kids. If they are going to get involved with an "abuse" case then there had better be a heck of an investigation beforehand to make sure that it is actually happening.

On an interpersonal level I would like to see less criticism of how one parent chooses to raise their children, especially in the realm of religion.

I do not particularly care what religion my children grow up to be, so long as they have chosen to follow it because they feel a sincere calling, and not because they have been scared or pressured into it.

The same thing goes with sex and sexual orientation. I do not want to pretend that sex does not exist and that they will not feel desire if I don't talk to them about it. I want to teach them that sex does not equal love and how skewed our society's "virgin or whore" attitude is and how media tries to hijack our opinion towards one extreme or the other.r

I want to teach them to be polite in public and call strangeres ma'am or sir. They are 20 months so far and I already get frequent compliments on how well-behaved and quiet they are in public.

I also want to teach them the values of being hard-working and that society does not owe them anything...if they are to succeed it will be becasue thtey work hard, not because their birth entitles them to anything.

Those are my thoughts, nice thread Red



posted on Sep, 20 2008 @ 12:55 PM
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What do you think of parents who confiscate a childs Child Benefit money to go to the pub with and kick them out to go to their Aunty's when they got a someone coming over to stay overnight and mildly hinting that there is free space under a bridge which in the local area, if it's not possible to stay with Mum or Aunty.

[edit on 20-9-2008 by _Volt_]



posted on Sep, 20 2008 @ 12:57 PM
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Originally posted by asmeone2


I want to teach them to be polite in public and call strangeres ma'am or sir. They are 20 months so far and I already get frequent compliments on how well-behaved and quiet they are in public.

I also want to teach them the values of being hard-working and that society does not owe them anything...if they are to succeed it will be becasue thtey work hard, not because their birth entitles them to anything.

Those are my thoughts, nice thread Red

You will continue to get those compliments if you continue on this path. From the time my first was less than a year I got compliments on how happy and well mannered he was and I still get the same compliments on them to this day. We just moved to a new area and already I have had every parent of my kids new friends telling me how much they love my kids and think they are just the most polite and well mannered children they have met and that they are welcome in their home anytime. It never stops feeling good, because you know you have suceeded in raising them right to the best of your abilities.



posted on Sep, 20 2008 @ 01:00 PM
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reply to post by _Volt_
 


This falls under the selfish parent reference I made earlier. People who cannot put their children above their own selfish wants should not be parents.



posted on Sep, 20 2008 @ 02:17 PM
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You made my day. Excellent and very important question. Tricky to answer, as there is not one answer.

First I'd like to point out that every single newborn is an individual and therefore it is almost impossible to generalize a perfect solution what should be done. So my answer to what we should do for our children is also just a vey generalized approach and I am not trying to find a perfect answer but hope to point out by examples certain patterns we need to break.

Problems approaching this question:

1. Have you ever tried to tell a parent he/she should be doing this instead of that ? Or have you ever been told by somebody else you are a bad parent ? I think you know what I am getting at.

2. Realizing as parent to break the cycle. Meaning: Alcoholic grandparents raise their children abusively, so when they turn older raise their children the same, probably alos alcoholic and abusive, and so on. How many times do you hear it worked in my family, or why should my kids have it better than me. Yes, I heard this statement a lot.

3. Social environment also plays a big part. All I can say to that is that no matter if your born rich or poor, geniusus or f%$k ups come equally from all walks of life. Meaning that it is not true that underprivileged children will be the scum off tomorrow.

I think this sums up some of the problematic. Please note my motherlanguage is not english and hope you forgive me for some hard to understandpassages.

So lets begin at....

....ONCE UPON A TIME

nature took good care of its inhabitants. Humans instinctively just knew how to survive until there came a point in history where things got more complicated and love has become somewhat of a second nature.

This could start another thread to what is LOVE.

One problem today is that not the right prerequisits are given when putting a child in this world. So lets assume you're planning to have children the best way is to inform yourself what it means to be a parent. What are your functions. How does it affect your life.
From my own experience I know for a fact, your life will never be the same (for good or worse). And it never is the way you plan it.
But you can prepare yourself, observe other parents, or if you grew up in a big family yourself it becomes second nature, buy parenting books, join parent groups. Realize your active role as parent may last up to 20 years, but don't forget the most important time you can influenz and teach love to a child is somewhat until age 6. I am not an expert but from that age on outside influenzes of the outside world start to dominate (school, friends, etc.)

I think from there on a child also remembers everything. Good or bad.
I for myself try to be just here for my kids. Them knowing that all the problems they will face from now on, they can come to me and discuss it. Explain my descicion on parts they might not agree with. Let them make their own mind up and sometimes you need to let them experience dissapointment on thier own accord. DON"T LIVE THEIR LIFES FOR THEM, LIVE IT WITH THEM. Be a good example. They will follow what you do. Encourage and motivate them.

I need to finish this off now. All I am trying to say is...

...YOUR KIDS ARE THE MIRROR IMAGE OF YOURSELF (both parents)

LOOKING AT MY OWN KIDS I SEE MYSELF...

I don't think I did everything right as parent, but a good enough job to say...

...they turned out allright and I've given them ALL I know to go on, find a nice partner and do the same thing without worrying if they are gonna be good parents or not.

I know they will be.

Good Luck to you all.



posted on Sep, 20 2008 @ 05:18 PM
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You will continue to get those compliments if you continue on this path. From the time my first was less than a year I got compliments on how happy and well mannered he was and I still get the same compliments on them to this day. We just moved to a new area and already I have had every parent of my kids new friends telling me how much they love my kids and think they are just the most polite and well mannered children they have met and that they are welcome in their home anytime. It never stops feeling good, because you know you have suceeded in raising them right to the best of your abilities.


Yes, I do not want them to bebe the type of kids that go banannas when they see a toy or a peice of candy, and of course I do not want to be the lazy type of parent that puts up with it or worse still buys them the toy just to shut them up.

I have found that even at this young age, being consistant is everything. They understand what "no" means and I am consistant in giving them 3 chances to stop whatever they are doing. This teaches them quickly. Although it is controversial I also used "cry it out" sessions to let them vent their frustration and also to learn that no means no. They are approaching 2 now and they are still very well behaved kids.



posted on Sep, 20 2008 @ 06:05 PM
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First of all, I must confess that I have no children, and never will. However, I have worked with children all of my life, as a volunteer, mentor, houseparent, Big Sister, etc.

The children I am exposed to today, from the clients at the treatment facility where I work to the kids running amok in Walmart, worry me. I know my parents worried about our generation, and my grandparents worried about my parents' generation. But I still think something is different now.

1. Where did we get the idea that a child's life is supposed to be totally carefree and all play and good times? In human history, it's never been that way. Look at nature, it's not that way. Sure, young animals get to play and have fun, but even their play has a purpose, and all of their "childhood" is about preparing for survival on their own. When, how, and why did we decide that human children don't need that - we can just let them play and have fun until they're 15 or so and then explain everything to them and they'll somehow "get it?" Looking at the animal world it is obvious the more intelligent a species is, the more training the offspring need and the more time they spend with their parents. As (supposedly) the most intelligent species of all, it stands to reason that our offspring need the most training and preparation, and yet we've tried to "spare" them from it and instead give them only 2 or 3 years of it. No wonder they're confused and unprepared!

2. Children need limits, rules, structure, boundaries, and discipline. In the quest to be kind and loving parents and let our children have better childhoods than we had, we've somehow decided that these things are bad, and that children should be allowed to play and explore and discover and stretch boundaries and blah blah blah ... without limit. In my opinion, the happiest and healthiest child is the one who knows exactly where his limits and boundaries are and receives consistently appropriate discipline whenever he crosses the lines. Every day there are little children running wild through the stores and malls literally screaming for the boundaries to be set and rules to be stated and upheld, but all they get is another toy or another piece of candy to bribe them into some semblance of reasonable behavior. Animals know this too; juvenile behavior gets a certain amount of tolerance, but at some line the errant cub, foal, chick, or pup will get a no-nonsense kick, bite, or cuff to bring them back into line.

3. Children need responsibility. They need to be contributing members of their family group from the earliest age they are able to do so, and continue to be tasked with increasingly important and challenging responsibilities as they get older. It used to be that way. Children on farms in the "old days" had duties and responsibilities, and if they didn't do their "chores" the whole family felt the consequences. Those children grew up knowing their place, knowing they belonged and fit in, feeling that they and their efforts were important to the family, and had the pride and satisfaction of accomplishment and knowing that they had a part in the success of their family and whatever it achieved.

Today kids have nothing to do. They get an allowance for nothing, and many have no chores or responsibilities. They are mostly allowed to do whatever they want and told to "have fun." To those of us who remember our parents' or grandparents' stories of working in the fields from age 6, this may seem to be a gift that we are giving our children. But it isn't! We are robbing them of their sense of belonging and a realistic basis on which to grow their self-worth and self-esteem. They aren't part of anything, they don't contribute to anything, and in their family they can see perfectly well that their role is to take and take but never give.

Being a constructive and contributing member of a family is the base on which children build their understanding of how to become a responsible and contributing member of an extended family, a group, a community, a nation, and a society. Without this foundation they are adrift and don't know what they are supposed to do, but we blame them for being "irresponsible." Of course they are irresponsible! All their lives until they are a certain age (usually mid to late teens) we have encouraged them to be irresponsible and lovingly turned them into someone who expects to receive everything for nothing and have all their needs met without any effort on their part. And then we ask ourselves and each other where these kids got this outrageous idea of "entitlement" and where they learned to be so lazy and hedonistic.

They've been spoiled rotten all their lives with the best of intentions, and now we are seeing the consequences. Those of you who are parents to children now, you have a chance to change it. Give your children a full 18 years of preparation and training to become responsible, disciplined human beings instead of trying to start the process long after it's already too late. They start "growing up" the day after they're born, not when they're 13 or 15 or 18.

THAT is what we owe the children.



posted on Sep, 20 2008 @ 06:08 PM
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Comming back to the original and very difficult question. What do we owe them. Well between the lines I wrote before I think in one word or maybe 2-3 words....OUR COMPLETE ATTENTION.





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