By: Aylenn Minaya (Translated by Allison Párraga)
Parenting children and adolescents is an extremely complicated and satisfying task. By this I am referring to the guidance parents provide to their children for their wellbeing and for giving them a good start in the lessons of life. I am sure there is no manual on how to be a good parent or how to raise a child. But we all know that parenting practices are different from one parent to another and clearly, the effects on the children are also different.
One’s parenting style should be based on respect for the child, love, and above all, knowing how to differentiate good from bad.. Currently, there is a great concern on the part of parents towards the upbringing of children and adolescents of this new generation.
IT WAS NOT LIKE THAT IN MY TIME
The education that our parents received is not the same that children and young people receive today. To this day my parents tell me how they were raised when they were young. Undoubtedly, the difference is very big. If we make the comparison, there have been great transformations over the years.
Today, there are many concerns that parents have for their children. Now, they are terrified that their children will be enveloped and blinded by the invisible cloud of drugs. And, of course, that they will wander into mischief and acquire other types of addictions such as to the internet and social media.
My mother says that her parents were very rigid with her and all her siblings. However, they never lacked for anything. Food, clothing and shoes were always provided as needed. And, clearly, they never lacked for affection either. When I ask her about her upbringing, the basic message my mother conveys is that her parents were strict yet loving.
WHAT HAS CAUSED THIS?
New behaviors in children can be caused by different factors such as dysfunctional or difficult homes, children that have too much freedom or the ability to do whatever they want, excessive time on the internet, among many others.
In the past, the most normal and acceptable thing was that children should be obedient to their parents. If they were punished, it was justifiable, as it was always mentioned that it was for their own good. Parents, in general, were more controlling of their children’s activities. And not to mention technological distractions that did not exist at that time, parents were better able to supervise children’s behavior.
Today, however, the human rights movement has a lot to do with this radical change in parenting. Children have rights in which parents cannot punish them physically without possibly being accused of child abuse.
Under the old way of thinking, children were well behaved due to the discipline they received including spankings. Nowadays, people think differently, that physical punishment isn’t justified, that this isn’t the proper way to correct bad behavior.
Francisco (not his real name) mentioned during our Thursday discussion that parents are concerned with how children are raised these days. The intention is to keep the neighborhood children occupied in healthy activities, away from the harmful temptations that unsupervised kids can fall into.
“It is very sad that parent and child are so distant for the simple reason that parents are working to provide their children a better life than what they themselves had.”
For this reason, he does not intend to give up even though his resources are very limited. However, he does his best to guide young people on a good path, for a better future.
Parenting is an important and elemental contributor to a child’s future. Many of their decisions and actions will stem from how they were raised. Francisco recalled that his upbringing included a strong and firm element of discipline.
This gave him a sense of balance in his life in terms of judging right from wrong.
However Rocío (not her real name) also mentioned the importance of children and adolescents being listened to parents can spend a lot of time being busy and not asking their children what is going on with them, or how their day went, if it went well or if it was a bad day.
Communication is one of those things that we as parents and as a society need to nurture. Young people also have the right to have a say and to express what they feel so that together they can make the right decisions and make a contribution to their lives, but always under the guidance and tutelage of their parents.