I believe that the oft wailed, “…but there isn’t a manual”, is a load of codswallop.
This is contentious, I admit. I obviously do not include anomalies, disabilities and disorders in this. However, the vast majority of parents seem to be ignoring the fact that:
We have been conceiving, giving birth to and bringing up children for centuries.
Our whole existence is based upon this fundamental cycle.
How is it, then, that we are unable to learn from others that we admire or respect? Why don’t we note the aspects to parenting that folk who bring up ‘great’ kids employ?… learn from those around us who are successful at raising decent, honest, reasonable human beings? It’s only “Monkey See, Monkey Do”.
The fact is that there are thousands of bloody manuals. Professional, amateur, experience-based, medical, old skool, new skool, eastern culture, western culture… the list really does go on…. The Bible, the Quran and all the other holy scriptures. Our forefathers, the parents of our friends and acquaintances, the television, radio, magazines, newspapers, other bloggers etc etc etc. I don’t dispute that it is a minefield out there, nonetheless, ‘manuals’, exist.
I think it is an excuse. An excuse for not devoting the time, energy and battle to nurturing improved versions of ourselves. The consequences being much worse behaviours later on that develop, quite simply, through being doted upon and either feebly disciplined or completely unchallenged.
Too many parents want so desperately to be friends with their kids, yet that is not what the job description entails. It entails battles and repetition, consistency and reliability.
So many parents laugh unashamedly as they proclaim that their kids should, “Do as I say, don’t do as I do”. What kind of example is that to set?
My own personal bugbear is the tsunami of parents who have brought their little brats up with very little, other than a wardrobe full of designer labels and an unflinching belief that they are, by their very existence, individually superior to everyone else on the planet. Grrr.
I don’t believe that it can be entirely attributed to the break down of the nuclear family either. That’s usually the scapegoat. The most decent, sensible, unspoilt, grafting young adults I know, happen to have come from backgrounds that, on paper, would be deemed totally unacceptable circumstances. They may have witnessed drug taking from an early age, or been abused, or had psychologically damaged parents…. lived in squalor, broken homes or missed out on most of their education, but…. they have been consistently taught and most importantly shown how to be something solid in amongst all that chaos.
Leading by example is the most powerful and exemplary tool a parent has in their armoury
What I see in all the good folk around me – young and old – is a proper grounding, a moral foundation if you like. Simple and fundamental rules that one or both parents taught them and they live by throughout their lives. An unbreakable code that keeps them steady in the rough seas of life:
Do not Steal
Do not Lie
Money has to be earned with graft
Respect others as you wish to be respected… all folk are equal
Be a contributor in life
Clearly not the hardest guidelines in the world to live by but it would seem that many ‘responsible’ adults, parents and other role models, nowadays, seem to wholeheartedly believe that their desires should come first, regardless of offspring. Having children is a lifelong commitment and the hardest job in the world. Everyone knows that. Why then does noone actually believe it until it’s too late???
Substance is severely lacking in modern society and it isn’t, by any stretch, limited to the disenfranchised or less wealthy. In fact it is, more often than not, the so-called successful parents who are too busy, furthering or enjoying themselves, to instill some proper basics in their children. Just keep buying ’em stuff, that’ll keep ’em sweet till they’re off our hands.
Give them all the toys and they’ll fawn over you temporarily and insincerely… give them all the tools and they’ll be genuinely appreciative for life.
There is such thing as a good parent and a bad parent. It just isn’t as black and white as brain sludge such as the Daily Mail would have us believe. Our financial circumstances, societal status, type of car, quantity of friends, number of foreign holidays and designer labels will not make us wonderful parents. When you strip it back to basics, inner and outer strength, moral fibre and a work ethic are what will get a human being through anything, wherever they are born and raised, whether or not they are educated and whatever this crazy life throws at them.
Don’t we want our kids to be well-equipped for anything that might come their way? The material elements of life have become such a focus that young people aren’t prepared for the sacrifices and hardships of reality. A pampered child inevitably becomes a useless adult.
I’m sick and tired of hearing folk blame the government, the education system and anyone else they can pin it on… not to mention the apparent lack of bloody manuals! Your children are your responsibility and if they are little assholes then it is, almost always, your fault. How many of us are inadvertently furthering the downfall of society with our contribution to the next generation?
You are the Manual