Iain Macadair

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Are we in danger of losing the art of nurturing our children?

See: "Closing the Lid On Pandora's Box" an essay by John D. Walker, M.D., published in the September 1993 issue of Phi Delta Kappan. http://www.tyc.state.tx.us/prevention/children.html

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    Mar 5 2011: Absolutely. Many of todays parents are emotionally stunted at about from 2 yrs. to teenage yrs. They don't have the foggiest notion of what they must teach and the love and security they must give their children. Why ? They were never taught themselves. There are many, many self centered people in the world who have never matured enough to be nurterers. I refer you to Lawrence Kohlberg's "Stages of moral developement". Read it and weep. We would much rather punish people than to try to rehabilitate them. Our justice system is definitely punitive....but I DON'T KNOW OF ANY SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINE THAT SAYS PUNISH YOUR NEIGHBOR...DON'TRESPECT AND CARE ABOUT HIM. Yes ?
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      Jul 6 2011: Agreed Helen.

      Here in UK children are prevented, by our 'education' system, in being allowed to embark on a voyage of self-discovery - and just to be children.

      From age 5 they are required to justify their existence (and to satisfy ridiculous parental expectations) by being interviewed and doing sats tests. This is supposedly in preparation for a curriculum that originated in the Post-Victorian Industrial era, and is thus hopelessly outdated. To cap it all, this curriculum is delivered by unmotivated teachers who are no longer allowed to teach from the heart. Our all-knowing government seems to know best...(?)

      Then we wonder why our children behave dysfunctionally!

      Sorry - rant over!
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        Jul 6 2011: Allan....But you could be talking about US education. We too over-value memory over creative and critical thinking. Here we call the test TAKS.
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    Mar 7 2011: Has technology contributed to a de-nurturing of our children? Perhaps we need to help out children survive the 21st Century Century as much as we need to prepare them for the 21t Century!

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    Mar 6 2011: It is as so many say, for so long we have been self absorbed with the need to get ahead. It is partly not our fault, we and those before us have designed maybe unwittingly a society which perpetuates this need to feed the ego. How then is it possible to spend time nurturing our young?

    At home so many families have both parents not only working but working long and hard, or the opposite of that is the 'I have a right' culture who believes that they have the right to free everything including the education system to raise their children.

    At school we are now spiraling downward on a test and results driven education system which is giving less and less time to the Teachers to spend actually teaching our children beyond the criteria for passing said tests.

    Technology is fantastic, without it we would not be having these discussions or correcting my spelling mistakes, but too much time spent in bedrooms, studies, and texting cannot be good for family bonding.

    I waited until I was forty to ask my wife if we could start a family in part because I wanted to shake off the history of my war generation parents who also had a hard time giving to their children as they had been stripped of their childhoods.

    I love being a dad and I try as much as I can to spend time with my two girls and my wife, it is not easy with the demands of our life today, but the rewards are amazing.
  • Mar 5 2011: Perhaps. On the education front in busy Singapore, most kids nowadays have several additional tuition classes outside of school hours. Reason being is that they need to supplement the content they take in at school in order to get good grades for exams. The main purpose for going to school then is to socialise, so then the nurturing takes place in the school more or less.
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      Mar 6 2011: Hi Max :)
      When the child reaches school age, it should already have learned the basics of societal living. Imagine a teacher having to teach a child to be receptive to learning while also taming it.
  • Apr 6 2011: Absolutely. Nurturing children must come first. Parents depend on society way too much (schools, daycares, sports teams and coaches, etc.) to bring their children up, and do not realize they are doing so. Because most parents are both working or there is a single parent, it is really hard to just say parents must concentrate on nurturing their kids first. Many parents are just kids themselves with no prior learning on how to be parents. And this is something you can't just say to a parent before one gets defensive and says "I have no other choice." As the essay quoted Thomas Paine in Common Sense, "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom."