There has been a lot of media coverage recently on some of the horrific things children are doing to other children. Not long ago I received an email from a close friend, who was shocked to hear that at a children’s party, in her neighborhood, two fourteen year old boys tried to force themselves on a twelve year old girl! This is definitely a new trend, with few, if any parallels, that can be drawn to instances in the past. Off the top of my head I can only think of the Jamie Bulger incident over ten years ago as an exception.
So why this new trend? What has made some of today’s children become predatory monsters? To suggest that it’s something in the water, or some genetic mutation of our general makeup, is a bit of a stretch of the imagination, and bordering on conspiracy theories.
A child’s actions are largely dependent on what has influenced them to that point in their lives. What they have been exposed to, and are continually exposed to, moulds their outlook on life. This has been the case since the dawn of time. The children of today however, are exposed to a greater variety of threats to their mental conditioning, than those in the past.
The biggest of these has to be the television. With the plethora of channels available at the touch of a button, a child can access anything from horror movies, to graphic violence, to soft porn. And now we hear a hard core porn channel is being promoted. Even the ‘kiddies’ channels contain material that is often quite questionable. Certainly the evening news is not the kind of thing a child should watch, given the subject matter or the graphic images.
Depending on the age of the child, the newspaper and magazines become dangerous ground too. Sensational reporting often depicts material a child should not even be aware of. Also some of the pictures printed are inappropriate or an error in good judgment.
So what can a parent do? It’s simple. Be a good parent, no matter how difficult it is to do the job properly, given the pressures of the modern world. Almost certainly it is harder to do that job right, now, than it’s ever been.
It is the parents who control what a child watches on TV. If parental control functions are not enough to filter the bad stuff to your satisfaction, sell the TV.
At the end of the day you are molding a young mind. Nothing should be too much effort. Don’t bring questionable material into the home. The risk of the child perusing it is just too great. Let’s not even ask why the adult has that in the first place.
Manage your children’s associations. All children need to mingle, but there are good apples and bad apples. As far as it is possible, prevent the associations with bad apples. This of course is not easy and may lead to the parent being unpopular. Raising children is not a popularity contest. Make the hard decisions for your child’s sake.
It is my firm belief that the creating of these juvenile monsters among our children is not so much the fault of the child, as it is the parents. The parents need not even be bad parents, but merely negligent parents, to allow inappropriate influences to mould their child.
It may sound like a cliché to say we need to return to old family values, but nothing could be more true. A child needs a structured family setup where the parents, and not the nanny, are responsible for the rearing of the child. Until that child is old enough to make the right choices in life, the family has to be there to guide, nurture and protect. Parents need to be real parents, no matter how tough it may be at times. And this extends to their personal conduct around the children too. They need to do this if they want to raise their children up to be well adjusted, socially gifted, young adults, and not little monsters.
by Peter Truter