IT may be a controversial point of view to offer but it has never have been harder to be a parent than it is in 2017.
Ostensibly, in spite of tough financial times for many people, there is still a level of everyday affluence.
What causes the problems is hugely influential peer pressure which, combined with social media and availability of personal information, makes children believe they are entitled to everything that everyone else has. They also know their rights as children particularly well which can make parents’ lives especially difficult.
Getting 16 and 17-year-olds to do basic things like attend school, help with the housework or even be civil can be a daily trial.
Then there is the perception of parenting today. Somewhere along the line we’ve taken a wrong turn on this. Now, parents – rather than insisting on providing a behavioural structure and enforcing it so that youngsters understand boundaries – insist on allowing their children to dictate what happens in their home.
They give them too much clout, too much power, because they want to be their children’s friends. And, just personally, I think this is the most dangerous parenting trait of all.
The result of this is that children naturally make self-indulgent choices which are backed up by their besotted parents. This can become ridiculous.
A mother in Nottingham accused a school of “slavery” after her 12 year-old son was punished by his school for persistent bad behaviour by being made to wash dishes
Rather than acknowledge and support the school’s choice, which might well have been better than alternatives, she is apparently taking legal advice in case the punishment infringed his human rights
In the same week, a leading UK maternity nurse Rachel Waddilove says mothers should lay down “basic boundaries to ensure children don’t grow up thinking they can get what they want.
She should know, actually, She has cared for the very privileged off-spring of stars like Gwyneth Paltrow and Minnie Driver and still manages to bring down-to-earth common sense to the subject.
There is a massive gap between the dictatorial, Victorian approach to parenting which states “do as I say not as I do” and the overly easygoing approach that puts kids in charge. We need to strike that balance properly, and quickly, or our pampered offspring will grow up into pampered and selfish adults with an overblown sense of their own worth.