Parenting and Society

Life is complex and these issues are complex.

What is important is that people are open to discussion and education.

I don’t believe people want to be ‘bad’ parents – yet inadequate parenting exists. Usually stemming from complex historical and social factors.

Parenting can exacerbate issues around special needs – because the type of parenting needed is relentless and may need (often lacking) specialist input/training.

Parenting can cause behavioural issues in ‘normal’ children – because the parents (through no fault of their own) may lack the background/support/education/input needed to be better parents.

The idea that parents have some omnipotent and omniscient control over their children is a damaging one – and stems from the history of the psychology of childhood – a lot of which is just theorising, constantly changing – and at the end of the day we just don’t know.

For a long time parents of children with special needs have been blamed. From Kanner’s theory of ‘refrigerator moms’ who were  deemed to be cold and unresponsive to their children, causing them to become autistic. (remember this resulted in these children being taken away from their parents and put into institutions) – the ripples of these, now very discredited theories, are still trotted out time and time again.

We still don’t really understand the complex issues around neurological differences. These differences manifest themselves in many different ways. In fact our understanding today, may very well be looked upon in 100 years as blatantly wrong.

What I do know is that there is not one right way. That there is no perfect way to parent. That we could all do very well by trying to step outside of our own nuclear family sometimes and remember we are part of wider communities. That a bit of empathy can go a very long way. And that teaching our children to be empathetic to the needs of others will create a stronger and more cohesive society.

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