23.10.07, Comment, Is mine a lone voice?

Tackling the wrong target seems prevalent. I wrote yesterday that the Scottish scheme of diet change by free school meals was unlikely to succeed. I read that drug offences have risen by 14% after the policy of down-grading Cannabis by reducing it from class B to class C. Young mothers are complaining that motherhood is destroying their social lives. Youngsters are killing, stabbing and warring.

Writing purely from personal experience and common sense, a large part of the problem rests with the parents. I know what it is like to be part of a single parent family, a latchkey child and not to have the same standards as other children, but I was part of an extended family, with strong bonds, strict discipline, and concern. Today, it appears that there is not the same training in behaviour at home, less responsibility taken for the child’s actions, and the extended family is so geographically extended it has reached a point where they only meet rarely, instead of supporting one another in a crisis. A lot of the problems are exacerbated by the fact that to enjoy the living standard the parents seek, they have to cram too much into the day, and some things suffer, like discipline, diet, exercise, and child care. When parents regret having had children, because their social lives have become a problem, and the husbands are not pulling their weight, the system collapses and mayhem is the natural result.

The corollary must be that parents are targeted, made to take and understand the need for responsibility. The child must take responsibility for misdemeanours, as well as the parent in extreme cases. The parents should be targeted concerning their child’s obesity, child’s drug habit, and general behaviour in school and out of it. I think the corporal punishment restrictions are too widely applied, and it is no wonder many teachers are finding maintaining discipline to be more than stressful in the face of 30 to 40 hard nuts. If you have read my blog, you will know that I was caned more than most for less than needed, but I only suffered discomfort for a short while. In those days we took corporal punishment in our stride, no worse than getting soaked on the way to school, it was part of our lives and accepted.

It is a Catch 22 situation. Take a possible scenario, a single parent with two children, one of whom has stabbed a ten year old classmate, is charged with irresponsibility, and the stabber is taken into care; either the parent gets a slap on the wrist, as she has no assets to cover a fine, and she is needed at home to look after the other child, or she is locked up, and the second child taken into care as well, and will therefore be punished for the wrong of the sibling.

A switch like this basic theory would be difficult, even impossible, to apply, would be resisted and words like Nanny State would appear in the press. More professional brains than mine would be needed to lay out the parameters, set the legal limits, the social implementation, and the publicity, but if we are not to be faced with ever increasing incidents in crime, drugs, and general lawlessness, something has got to change, and I believe that to be the attitude of the parents.

Categorized as General

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