Advantage: children

February 25, 2009 at 1:31 pm 3 comments

I’m oddly pleased with this article about children in The Netherlands. It smashes nearly every myth conservatives use to scare about liberal society.

In the culture where I grew up, children are the centre of the household – except when father is around.  Children are never left alone and are ceaselessly doted upon.

In a way, you’d expect this to be good for them. They have security and lots of attention. It’s almost de rigeur to spoil them. But all this attention comes with strings attached – social strings. Children are shaped for specific roles with specific expectations from the moment they are born. Boys one side, Girls the other. The latter to be mums and have more kids, the former to be breadwinners and to look after the parents (not unusual for the new wife to end up looking after both sets of in-laws).  It’s a cycle of duties passed from one generation to the next.

What I don’t see enough of  is space where kids can just be kids. Let them scream, run, play, explore, get dirty, argue, scrape their elbows and knees, ride a bike, swim, paint, eat bugs, cry, bang a tin and do a million other things, Because they can. Allowing independence of thought, choice and experience is as important as having a dependable family (insert your definition of family) structure.

When kids aren’t “normal” or behave outrageously, ADD notwithstanding, parents freak out. Boxed norms can’t deal with ‘bad’ children. Recrimination is swift, stigmatic and potentially damaging. Comparisons  and other confidence-busting tools are used to keep children in line. When all else fails, drugs or a spanking are there. The pressure on parents to make ‘good’ children is immense. Not that I’m against parental guidance but I’ve seen too many illogical parenting reactions that make me go, Huh?

Oh look, I don’t have kids and not ever likely too. Parenting is complicated enough with books, tutorials and advice from every mole and eagle, but sue me, I like seeing happy children.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Realmcovet  |  February 26, 2009 at 12:18 am

    Yes. I agree. Happy children are what makes the world go round.

    Reply
  • 2. evecho  |  February 26, 2009 at 12:24 am

    Hopefully they’ll become happy adults who, in turn, will have happy children.

    Reply
  • 3. Realmcovet  |  February 27, 2009 at 3:09 am

    My sentiments exactly!! 🙂

    Reply

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Evecho’s newsy bits

News, updates and links from the lesbian and publishing ‘verse that interest me, my current projects, keeping up with authors and sharing musings on middle-class life, gourmet adventures and comparisons between East/West perspectives. My opinions will likely be linearly logical and gayly bent, as they tend to be.