Two children in their late teens or early 20’s are not allowed to do any other chores except their own laundry. Their mother does all the chores, from cooking, cleaning, going to the market etc while her two children are on their phones chatting with friends or watching television.
What would make a parent or parents choose this type of parenting style? Mind you, this parenting style cut across the rich and poor. Some parents or domestic staff do everything for their kids while they fiddle with their phones or lounge in their rooms.
When we talk about child abuse, what readily comes to mind is exposing children to trafficking, discomfort, stress, sex, labor etc. These are responsibilities a child is not physically, mentally and psychologically ready for, yet they are forced to do it and it damages them. However, the above is not all there is about child abuse.
We always tend to ignore the other end of the spectrum and they include not exposing your kids to take on household chores. This is abuse. Some parents think they are doing their children a favour by insisting they don’t do any chores at home. Children must be exposed to doing certain things that are age appropriate. It doesn’t matter that you are rich and can afford to hire workers or you the parent wants to do it yourself.
There are life basic survival skills they must learn for their own good. I have seen adults who resent and even call their parents names because they are unable to successfully carry out simple tasks themselves. Their over protective parents would always carry out such tasks themselves or engage other people’s services
Some parents have made it a habit to not watch what their kids eat. You indulge them with everything they want. Anything from ice cream, pizza, shawarma, small chops, beverages etc are what they consume all the time. Failure to control what your children eat and the quantity they consume per time is a form of abuse. Your inability to control their eating habits from childhood is the reason we have many obese adults today. As a parent, it is your duty to make sure your child eats healthy rather than over indulge them with unhealthy food.
Not turning down your child’s frivolous requests is child abuse. Some parents over pamper and over compensate their children with ‘yes’ all the time. These kids are extremely exposed to comfort, so they grow up with false hope that they can get whatever they want. In fact, ‘No’ is a language they don’t understand. This becomes a destructive behavior in the future because whoever tells them no is seen as an enemy that must be taken out.
Withholding discipline is child abuse. Yes, children must be corrected and appropriate punishment served in love. I believe in tough love. While punishment is to deter any form of reoccurrence, it should also not be dehumanizing or aimed at destroying a child’s self esteem or sense of humanity. Carrot and stick approach is best. If you fail to discipline an erring child, it will possibly land them in bigger trouble with the law.
Suppression of your children’s choices is child abuse. Imposing and insisting on their career paths or choice of a life partner is abuse. If they have come of age and are qualified to venture into these territories, then it is their choice to make, your responsibility as a parent is to guide them. Stop imposing your own dreams and life choices on them. Your child may not be good in courses you want them to take on, yet will still not be a failure. Listen to your children more, find out what they are passionate about, help them dwell on their strengths rather than their weaknesses. There are other professions to be successful at, you shouldn’t limit their choices to what you want for them.
Exposing them to adult rated movies, television shows, magazines etc is child abuse. We rarely censor movies, reality television shows and magazines we expose our kids to in this part of the world. Children are also getting exposed to their parents making out in the dark while they pretend to be asleep. Such exposures do a lot of damage to their psyche and mess with their formative years.
In conclusion, when it comes to raising children, it is best to balance the good things a child is exposed to as well. Do not withhold discipline, and when you discipline them, it should be done with love. Expose them to taking responsibilities that are age appropriate, do not over pamper them to their own disadvantage. Extreme exposure to comfort may seem good but will work against them in the future just like constant exposure to life of lack and discomfort.
Suppressing their choices just like over indulging them has higher chances of ruining them in the future. Exposing them to pornography or not teaching them sex education will expose them to a life of regret in the future. While you work hard to provide and keep them from all the negative vices known as child abuse, it is best you don’t abuse the factors on the other end of spectrum that are meant to make them stronger and better.