It is the dream of every responsible man or woman to, some day, get married and have a happy family of their own. It is even biblical that a man and woman will leave their parents and get married someday. After marriage, the next thing would be to start having children. However, coping with parental responsibilities could really make parenting a great deal of work; and in extreme cases, it could be an uneviable position. In the 21st century as we have it today, parenting could really be an arduous task.
I came into the world when parenting was relatively easy. There were fewer external influences “re-teaching” children what their parents have thought them. The kind of music videos, movies, songs, education, fashion and the internet were virtually insignificant in my early childhood days.
I remember vividly, what I used to see on TV and on the streets back in the seventies through to the eighties. I can’t recall hearing of the internet back then. Sex was relatively “unpopular.” I can’t recall hearing about condoms back then. There was so much decency. Education was the main status symbol. Thus, it was so easy to listen to and follow my parents’ guidance because of the very minimal contrary “lessons” from external factors. Even the so-called peer influence was not so pronounced as friends had so liitle to teach then.
Today, its a different ball game altogether. Undoubtedlly, there is so much “failed parenting” !!!
I see two types of failure here – those who have failed because they have knowingly abandoned their responsibilities as parents – they simply don’t care – and secondly, those who have been overpowered by the times that you and I are operating today.
Parenting in the 21st century can make a Reverend to appear as a “failed parent.” Infact, I have seen and heard of sons and daughters of “men of God” portray themselves as children without any moral education – in terms of dressing, utterances, comportment and much more.
The 21st century has brought with it “sophisticated external influences” that has made parenting very challenging. There has been a serious revolution in virtually everything which influence on us was almost insignificant during our growing up days – communication/gadgets, dressing, music videos, radio and TV presentations, print media, movies, entertainment, songs, well exposed peers and much more. The father of them all, of course, has been the internet. This has been a bag of all sorts – the good, the bad and the ugly.
The internet is one single major challenge for the 21st century parent. Despite its enormous advantages, it is the largest reservoir of negative influences on children. Sadly, these influences can only increase in quantity and sophistication.
I don’t like criticising the internet because it has been a wonderful companion for me – blogging being just one of its benefits. But be that as it may, its impact on parenting cannot be treated with kid gloves. Doing so would be tantamount to ignoring a smoke in one’s apartment.
No doubt, these factors are so strong and deep. No wonder so many parents have failed woefully in their responsibilities. The result being teenage pregnancies, prostitution, cyber crime, regular “tenancy” in prisons, smoking, alcoholism, lifes of immorality, gangstarism, disdain for education, collapse of values, indecent dressing, vulgarism….
Coupled with this is the rate at which children of these days learn. Its really alarming. I have often said it that when I was my son’s age I was not as intelligent as he is. At 2, he was able to operate all the remote controls in the house – TV, home theartre, DVD and decoder. Now he’s 4+ and handles my laptop as if its one of his toys. He also querries me on issues that are beyond a 4-year old. They call it the “jet age”; I call it more work for me and the mum. He’s not alone on this, I am sure you have similar stories to tell if you are a parent.
I have been sharing some tips on coping with these challenges. I hope to do a post on these soon.
Happy parenting !
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