Category: Parenting

Near Empty Nest Leads to Spoiling

October 3, 2009 | By | Add a Comment

empty_nestMy sister’s two eldest sons have now left home. The eldest is away on active service with the Royal Navy and the second eldest has just started at University. This has left their younger brother at home, alone with his parents who appear to be indulging his every whim.

The youngest boy, who is 13 years old, was diagnosed with a mild form of Asperger Syndrome a few years ago. He doesn’t really like to socialise very much, instead preferring to spend his time obsessively building model railways. His bedroom is now totally dominated by a large model rail network that takes up the whole room, just leaving enough space for his bed.

His latest obsession is Scalextric and his parents have allowed him to take over the garage with his huge Scalextric set. They’ve told me that he has shown very little interest in computer games but the latest Scalextric system that he was bought connects to a computer allowing him to race other enthusiasts anywhere in the world. Their hope is that this will encourage him to interact and socialise with others, over the internet, who share his interest and obsession.

However, the latest development is that the boy wants to integrate his model rail system with his Scalextric track and have both trains and cars running together in a large scale system. To build this system he needs space and the rooms in their house, and the garage, are apparently not large enough. So they are planning to build an extension to the rear of their house and knock down the rear wall of the garage in order to provide him with the space that he wants. They’ve already had some plans drawn up by an Architect and received quotes from a few builders. They’ve even been warned that the modifications to their home are likely to reduce its value, not to mention costing them many thousands of pounds to carry out. Are they going too far?

The young lad gets pretty much anything he wants, partly because he is the youngest, partly because he has Asperger Syndrome and partly because his parents simply want their children to have the luxuries that they didn’t have when they were growing up. But will this lead to the boy believing that the world owes him a living?

Do people love their children as much as they say?

April 8, 2009 | By | 19 Comments

fat-kidsToday The Nurse is mostly applying herself to a conundrum: do people love their kids as much as they say?

She thinks not. Why? Because it seems to be all talk and no action. 

The Nurse wonders why, if children are so precious, their parents keep feeding them harmful food until the poor little sods are clinically obese. 

Then there’s the environment… we all know the climate is in tatters and future generations will probably face extremely challenging times as a result. But do parents care? It appears not. They still drive cars. They still buy gas guzzlers. And they persist in giving their kids driving lessons. Unbelievable.  

Parents say they’re concerned about their kids’ health but they still chauffer-drive them everywhere. Parents want their children to grow and develop into confident, well-rounded human beings who can handle risk with impunity. But many won’t let them out of the house on their own without an armed escort. So how on earth will these children learn to cope with advertisity?

In complete contrast other parents let their kids run wild, uncontrolled to such an extent that they have no boundaries, no concept of right and wrong and no empathy with their victims. Just like the 10 and 11 year old brothers who were charged with attempting to murder two other little boys in the UK yesterday.

Talk about creating a rod for our own backs. By the time The Nurse is an old lady in need of support and kindness, the world will be run by monsters. If there’s a world left for them to run, that is.


Are You a Lazy Parent?

March 11, 2009 | By | 12 Comments

reading_with_dadMany parents today think that if they keep a clean house, bring home a good income and keep their children clean and clothed they are doing a good job. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Lots of  parents come home from work stressed and exhausted with no time or energy to spend with their children. These aren’t lazy people. They work hard to keep their jobs, progress their careers and earn a good income. But they have no time to spend doing the most important thing in their lives which is nurturing their offspring.

Early years education in the home is increasingly recognised as a crucial aspect of child development. Most importantly –  reading. Reading to young children every day is enormously beneficial to the child and to the parent-child relationship. Not doing so is just plain lazy.

Many hard-working, busy parents are of the opinion that skills like reading and writing are best taught in schools by teachers. They fail to recognise the powerful influence that their example sets for their children. They think that they have fulfilled their parental duty by spending wads of cash on up to date computer games or buying an expensive garden playset. The truth is that no amount of money can ever compensate for neglecting parental responsibilities.

Reading to your children every day is such a simple yet incredibly effective way to educate them. A lot of busy parents will be saying ‘I don’t have the time.’ Well you need to find it. When you are a parent you have no choice. Your child’s development, education and well being should be your top priorities.

Lazy parenting has become the norm in our busy, achievement-driven society. I don’t doubt that many parents will disagree but they need to take a good hard look at exactly what they do every day to interact with the most important people in their lives, their children.

So when was the last time you read a story with your little ones?

Childhood Ruined by Parents

February 10, 2009 | By | 23 Comments

ginger_ninjaA new report, commissioned by the Childrens Society, has just been published. Two years in the making this report makes it clear who is responsible for childhood obesity, increased violence and mental illness amongst children. We are (parents and grown ups).

Parents, paranoid about the dangers of playing outdoors, are responsible for imposing restrictions on their offspring. Children are allowed, even encouraged, to spend too much time in front of the goggle box where they are brain-washed into becoming consumers. And what do they want to consume? Fast, fatty, unhealthy foods, more TV and computer games.

Families break down, or never existed in the first place, as people become parents without any thought or consideration for the responsibilities involved. Single parents are forced to go out to work leaving children with nobody to look up to. Instead they turn to celebrities who generally don’t set the best examples.

The report has highlighted the importance of male role models, absent from the lives of many children today. It is noted that children who have good relationships with their fathers are far less likely to develop behavioural or emotional problems.

The report presents around 30 hard-hitting recommendations for parents, teachers, government and society as a whole. They include the recommendation that advertising to children under 12 should be banned and to do away with the publication of data that has lead to school league tables published in the media. It is recommended that teachers working in schools located in deprived areas are paid a generous premium in order to retain good staff and improve the quality of education from these schools.

My own recommendation is simple. Don’t have children. Too many people embark upon parenthood without any real idea of their responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is to provide a solid, nurturing family environment. That means staying together and working out any problems that might arise for the good of the children. When you become a parent your life, from then on, should be all about your children, not you. So if you haven’t already sprogged (a slang term I’ve recently learned which apparently means ‘had a baby’) don’t! You know it makes sense.

If you already have children there is a lot you can do to improve their lives. If they are still young then encourage more energetic outdoor activity by playing with them more often yourself. It’s important that you, as a parent, set a good example. So it’s no good sitting in front of the TV, eating burgers, smoking cigarettes and sucking down beer. You need to get outside and join in a little.  I found that a little swing slide playset in the garden was all that was needed to get them out to play a little more. All I had to do was push them on the swings.

So, keep your children away from the television as much as possible and set some sensible boundaries that you can enforce. If you are a parent this is your responsibility and duty, not an option.