Being a parent was never an easy task and at no time in the past was it something that parents did perfectly. Its the nature of being people and its the nature of attempting to do the best at a very difficult task.
I know a bit about how my parents were raised and the circumstances of the Great Depression that seemed to have shaped their lives and no doubt had a big part to play in how they undertook the task of raising me and my generation, the baby boomers. I distinctly remember the importance my parents put on me having to solve and attack problems on my own and how important it was for me to be independent and self reliant. Some of the things that are part of our up bringing are cultural and no doubt a lot of what happens to us is the result of the influences of popular culture, the trends and styles of the time we were growing up.
I know for certain that political awareness was far more important in my life than it was in the lives of my own children who grew up in a time when commerce and consumerism seemed to influence life far more, despite the efforts of my wife and I to give our children similar values to those we had known to be paramount in life. As I have mentioned the depression had a profound influence on everyone who survived it and similarly those of us who lived through the Vietnam War years and the Cold War were influenced by those events.
We have to consider the events that are affecting parental attitudes today and realise that these external factors affect decision making. The 9-11 trauma, six years of war in the Middle East are no doubt taking their toll on the way children are being exposed to this world and concepts that were never a worry in my lifetime like "security" are now big ticket problems for parents and their children.
No one would ever suggest that we ease up on the use of child car seats and safety equipment like helmets and visors, but at what point are parents attempting to shield their children from a dangerous world actually a danger in itself. I really worry about parents putting so little self reliance in their children that they have to deliver them and pick them up from school. Television, electronic gaming and the mass texting messaging world all hold threats of their own for developing minds and bodies.
But doesn't it make you wonder that in a time when we have the best nutrition ever available to people with the best level of health care available to a society as a whole that we have a generation of children in such health crisis that they require more puffers, more medicine and are in poorer physical condition than their parents when they were children.
Though television is one of the great wonders of this era it brings into your home more collective fear and terror than it is worth. When you talk to people you discover that they are genuinely concerned about sexuality as it is portrayed on television and in movies yet they seem to have little or no concerns about the numbing brutality of countless murders and the violence that is the main event for modern entertainment. I believe parents today and in the past have done a very good job of teaching their children about sex and sexuality, as a counsellor I was always impressed with the outstanding common sense most young people have and demonstrate in their lives but the crippling affect of fear and anxiety from voilence is bad stuff for children, and people of all ages.
The best training a child can have is the outstanding example of their parents. How you live your life, the attitudes you demonstrate and the habits you have are going to have more effect on your children than almost anything else. Keep on doing your best and deprive your kids of television, you will be doing them a favour.