Children in today’s society seem to be much more pampered and less responsible than they were a few decades ago. They also seemed to have lost much of the value system that most of us took for granted as we grew up. By examining the roles of children in the past, we may be able to trace the origin of the problems we are having with today’s troubled youth.
In the past, children were treated like little adults and received many of the same responsibilities that their parents took on. The young people worked side by side with their parents in the fields as soon as they could walk. Children serving as soldiers were not uncommon in some countries. Marriages took place when a person was about twelve in the hope that she could reproduce in the few years she had to live. Young people in these times have been exposed to the harsh realities of life practically from birth.
Death was also a daily occurrence when the average life span was about forty years. Only one in five children survived to adulthood, so the loss of siblings was also a common occurrence. Many parents did not live to see their children grow up due to the loss of life in battle and childbirth, and many children were raised to adults who had little or no blood connection to them.
All of these factors prevented most children from being pampered or spoiled. The daily struggle to survive reduced all frivolity. This is not to say that these parents did not appreciate or care about their children. Any child who survived infancy was considered a great asset, and human nature dictated that these children could have been dearly loved.
The discipline was also far more vigorous than it is today. Because of the dangers that existed in the elderly, disobeying a parent’s rule could commonly lead to death. To protect these young people, many parents physically beat them to make sure the rules were followed.
In the modern world, daily survival is no longer the struggle it once was. Parents have become more forgiving and loving than their predecessors would have dreamed of being. Every child enjoys playing with toys and receiving quality education. Many experts point out that parents should allow their children to fully enjoy their childhood as a vital step towards becoming healthy and happy adults.
Due to this attitude of raising children, several problems have developed. Some young people today seem to have no respect for anything, and many end up in jail before their 18th birthday. Drug and alcohol abuse is rampant. As adults, many of these children find that they are unable to cope with “real” life.
As a parent, there are several ways you can help your child become a successful adult. The main thing to remember is that every child needs rules and penalties should be imposed if these guidelines are not followed. This does not mean that you should physically punish your child by any means. You can decide on an appropriate punishment, but the punishment should be given. If you establish a set of rules and don’t follow them, you may be sending your child the message that rules aren’t important.
You could also give your child some responsibilities around the house. This is a good way to teach your child many of the cleaning skills he will need as an adult. Teaching your child to respect himself and others as well as good manners is the key to his continued social success.
As a parent, it is your job and your privilege to teach your child everything they need to know as they grow up. Having a good parenting plan can prevent your child from ending up in situations that both you and him will regret later on.
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