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 growing up. By examining the roles of children in the past, we may be able to trace the source of the problems we are having with today’s troubled youth.
In ancient times, children were treated like young adults and were assigned many of the same responsibilities as their parents. The young people worked side by side with their parents in the fields as soon as they could walk. Children serving as soldiers are not uncommon in some countries. Marriages took place when a person was approximately twelve years old in the hope of being able to reproduce in the few years that were left to live. Young people in these times were exposed to the harsh realities of life practically from the time they were born.
Death was also an everyday event when the average lifespan was approximately forty years. Only one in five children survived to adulthood, so the loss of siblings was also common. Many parents did not live to see their children grow up due to loss of life in battle and childbirth, and many children were raised by adults who had little or no blood connection to them.
All of these factors prevent most children from being spoiled or pampered. The daily struggle for survival reduced any frivolity. This is not to say that these parents did not value 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 fondly cherished.
The discipline was also much more vigorous than it is today. Due to the dangers that were present in the settings of yesteryear, disobeying parental rules could commonly lead to death. As a way to protect these young people, many parents physically beat them to make sure the rules were obeyed.
In the modern world, daily survival is not the struggle it once was. Parents have become more forgiving and loving than their predecessors ever dreamed of being. All children like to play with toys and receive a quality education. Many experts emphasize that parents should allow their children to fully enjoy their childhood as a vital step in their becoming healthy and happy adults.
Due to this parenting attitude, various problems have developed. Some young people today seem to have no respect for anything and many end up in jail before they turn eighteen. Drug and alcohol abuse is rampant. As adults, many of these children find that they cannot cope with “real” life.
As a parent, there are several ways you can help your child become a successful adult. The most important thing to remember is that all children need rules, and penalties must be imposed if they are not obeyed. This does not mean that you should physically punish your child in any way. You can decide on an appropriate punishment, but a punishment must be applied. If you establish a set of rules and don’t follow them, you could be sending the message to your child that the rules are not important.
You may also want to give your child some responsibilities around the house. This is a great way to teach your child many of the cleaning skills that he will need as an adult. Teaching your child to respect himself and others, as well as good manners, is key to his continued social success.
As a parent, it is your job and your privilege to teach your child everything he will need to know as he grows up. Having a good parenting plan can prevent your child from ending up in situations that both you and he will regret later.