The one parenting lesson we failed to teach our kids… 215



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The over 60s are a talented generation. We’re mixed, with some people fulfilling great careers as accountants, teachers, lawyers and nurses. We’re family oriented with many of us raising families right across Australia. We’re resilient and many of us have gone through hardships that people shouldn’t have to experiences. And we’ve taught our kids, well, mostly.

Except for one thing, that sometimes rears its head at family occasions like Easter that has just passed. Whatever happened to a teaspoon of cement?

The children of today are allowed to be fussy eaters. They’re given different meals to their parents to accommodate their bland choice in foods. They’re cooked special dinners – that they choose and aren’t introduced to trying new foods or appreciating the dinner that they’re lucky enough to be given.

They aren’t always taught to share toys and instead families more often then not, buy multiples of one kind to satisfy each child’s “want” for their own. They are given screens and technology instead of being told to go outside and use their imagination. They’re kept under a very close watch with sometimes very little freedom to explore and make their own fun.

They often rule the family and everyone else’s movements are factored in around their mood. If they cry because they’re tired, everyone packs up and leaves the party. Or if they’re hungry while they are with the family, the priority becomes finding them food immediately.

They are over watched and are told when they’re cold, when they’re hot, they are rarely given responsibility like getting their own jumper to take to a picnic and to pick up their own shoes after the playground.

It’s small things and they shouldn’t matter, but when we raised our children it was so different.

When we raised our children, they had to eat or go hungry. They were taught to appreciate whatever food they were given because there are so many who go without. They were taught that choosing their own food was a special occasion like a birthday or a special treat, not an every day occurrence.

They were taught to go outside and run around. They were taught that playing with other children was fun and that being outside was the most fun they could have. They were allowed to develop their own imaginations and sense of creativity. They were taught to share their toys and to be grateful that they have any.

They were taught to respect their parents and that they had to fit in with Mum and Dad’s plans. They knew that even though they were tired they had to wait for Mum and Dad to finish their conversations or dinners before leaving.

They were taught to take responsibility for themselves and their own actions. If they were naughty, they were punished accordingly. If they insisted on taking their shoes off and then left them behind, they were gone because this had been their responsibility.

Somehow along the lines we’ve forgotten to teach our children to parent with a teaspoon of cement when it is needed. It isn’t always needed, but children are more imaginative, active, adventurous, responsible and considerate when they’re given a dose or two in childhood.

Do you agree with the author that children today need a teaspoon of cement? Do you think we failed to educate our children on how to raise children like this?

Share your thoughts in the comments below…

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. The assumption here, as always, is that all parents are good parents. That is a flawed assumption and governments interfered to protect children abused by parents who are not good parents. If you belive a parent has the “right” to physically discipline a child… you belong in the middle ages, if not the dark ages!

    9 REPLY
    • Sometimes a little smack is necessary to protect your child when they will not listen,It doesnt warrant jail time

    • “a little smack” Define that please!? Like a whack around the head that does not draw blood!?

      1 REPLY
      • Tony Coburn, Correct me if I am wrong, but I would say that you had a terrible childhood. I feel so sorry for you. You need to let go of the anger and forgive and forget, then move on. I hope you have not treated your own children (if you have any) in the same way. Life is too short for so much anger and hurt.Look around you and see the beautiful things this world has to offer.

    • A little smack I believe is similar to a sharp smack on the leg or similar. Why do people do this?

    • I grew up knowing that the only reason my Father bashed me was because he could… when I got old enough (and brave enough) to fight back… he left me alone. Many years later I still wanted to bash him back but he was too old and too frail and dying of cancer. he apologised to me before he died… and I told him I loved him but I am still angry! I told him I loved him, before he died, but I still hate him; I never got my revenge! DO NOT BASH YOUR CHILDREN!!!

    • I agree Tony,and good on you for not hiding in denial as a lot of people today do…..I am so sorry that this happened to you as an innocent child…the problem is,as I have found ,when you stand in your truth,most people will not believe you and will leave…but they are the ones with the problem……I am the most well mannered person you will meet,my Dad was an Engineer and Justice of the Peace…my brother grew up to be a Police Sergeant,my Sister ,a banker…and myself an Area Manager of & Restaurants…….The shame and family secret is I have suffered Major Depression,most of my adult life as a result of my high standing parents who believed in belting their children to discipline,children should be seen and not heard etc…..I was the perfect child and adult to the outside world,a true people pleaser….but on the inside I grew up believing I was bad and worthless…..something that I still struggle with,even after 11 years of therapy……so everyone out there that believes it’s ok to lay a hand on a child……think again!!!!!

  2. I certainly agree with this statement. Children of today are treated as if we have gloves on. They have to be driven to school. My kids walked or cycled with me. We had a park across the road from us and that’s where they played. Swings, slides. They loved it. We only a landline phone, and they certainly did not have a computer or mobile phone each. One television in the house. They all played sport. We certainly gave our kids a teaspoon or too of cement.

    5 REPLY
    • Ann is the only thing you can take away from the importance of this whole thing people’s spelling mistakes/typos???? That is really sad!

    • How exactly does Ann spell 2 in words . Because in my day it was ‘ two ‘ . She is an idiot . A teacher from Perth , ( explains a lot ) the state behind the eight ball . Correcting others ? Please .

    • I’m having a real chuckle tonite about Ann Garrick . Pointing out the spelling mistakes with an asterick . And they’re not spelt incorrectly. Please note : tonight* . Thanks for giving me a few laughs Ann . Hilarious ! NOT……

  3. It is a different times and in many ways these young parents are different people, I am sure that in Queen Victoria’s day , they would have thought the Boomer’s were unruly bunch.

    5 REPLY
    • I will be honest here, I am not perfect and never claimed to be BUT I am not a child and do need need my spelling correct by anyone. It is rude

    • Spelling correction by people who don’t even know you is pathetic, especially given half the errors are just unchecked typos.
      Sad – and somewhat pathetic – when all that some people can take away from an articles about important topics is typos/spelling mistakes.
      On the flip side, the people who rant off abuse at others for being ‘ignorant’ because others dare to have a different opinion to their own – which is of course ‘wrong’ – and rant with a prose full of spelling mistakes AND bad grammar . . . . . now they, in THEIR ignorance, provide a laugh a minute!

  4. Why does everyone think a bad parent is one who bashes and abusing their kidsand thats its well its not.that is only one kind, people who never bother to teach there kids and let them do what they like with know form of discipline do one hell of a injustice to their kids poor kids grow up thinking everything is about them and they can take what they want eveb if it belongs to someone else. They dont know what the word respect is as they have never heard of it.Kids fault NO there parents just couldn’t be bothered .

  5. As a generalisation, children of today have more say in the running of the family, but there are plenty of parents doing a great job raising their children. I suspect that every generation says similar things about previous ones.

  6. I agree in some respects but the world has changed a lot since the 60s and playing on the streets until tea time is not as safe as it used to be.

  7. If you so much as look at your kids sideways these days, you can be reported. Whose fault is it?????

    1 REPLY
    • Dr Spock to begin with. I do think it is great that dad’s now are more involved though. When we were very young kids we had to be fed and on our way to bed so Dad could eat in peace.

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