It seems to be a little ironic that my cousin posts a link to this article from the Huffington Post a few days ago and I find myself reflecting upon what I read while watching a child melt down at a local attraction. I brought my laptop with me since I had some time to spare between appointments and found myself camped out at a table in an local themed market that lots of travelers frequent in the Central Florida area. It seems that my breakfast sandwich came with a free side of blood curdling screams courtesy of the kids that were pulled out of the small carousel line due to, if you can just imagine, not following their parent’s directions.
After reading an article about why children in other cultures learn how to patiently wait until adults deem it to be meal time, I watched as parents halted their plans for the morning in order to cater to the every whim of their little one despite how badly they were behaving. Epic meltdown after epic meltdown I watched parents cave and soothe their children with toys, fun opportunities and candy or ice cream for breakfast. Now, not being a parent myself I know I have no right to really speak on this subject that I have a severe lack of experience in. However, I know for a fact that I wasn’t raised this way.
While reading “Have American Parents Got It All Backwards?” I couldn’t help but think I was raised more like a European child then my fellow American counterparts. I do find this to be interesting considering I was raised only within the United States and I’m not even aware of my mother traveling to any European countries. Christine Gross-Loh, the article’s writer talks about Norwegian parents who let their children learn what isn’t safe on their own.
I remember playing in an ridiculously large ant pile as a child and learning quickly that I didn’t want to do that again. My mother wasn’t reported to child services for her lack of attention to her child as she would have been now. To the contrary, I learned very early on that it was an important life skill for me be able to think for myself and evaluate situations on my own. I grew up to be exactly what Christine talks about in her article. I grew up to be self sufficient, independent, and strong willed. These traits are what set me apart from others my age that I compete against in the workforce and I owe them to my mother’s style of child rearing.
Looking ahead to the future, I can say that I would like to raise children that possess those same qualities. I won’t say that I’ll never fall into the parenting traps other American parents cave to, but I will say that I’ll try my hardest to remember these parenting guidelines that have worked overseas for centuries in ensuring children are prepared for their future ahead. Our generation is the first step at turning things around before America is full of people who can’t think for themselves.