Parenting, The Youth And Modern Living

For almost a year now, I have been an assistant for a guidance councilor. Mostly, I’m just a glorified stooge, I just help her in her office all the while listening to the children (and sometimes even parents) who are sent her way with their respective stories. Problems are a fact of life and no one person is ever really free of them. My boss receives a steady stream of disgruntled, unhappy, emotional and traumatized individuals on a daily basis and I can only wonder how she manages to handle it all with a straight face.

Anyway, one thing I cannot help but notice is that a lot of problems arise from the simple fact that a lot of the youth today have a problem with facing facts. Poverty, crime and general misery seem to be just a byproduct of the apathy and delusional ideas that many youths suffer today. It is this inability to accept the difficulties of life and the dual-nature of things that prevent a lot of our fellows from advancing emotionally, intellectually and morally.

ipad_monkeyBut while this is true, when I brought this up with my boss, she only smiled and said: “That’s just the tip of the iceberg. I don’t think you can see the big picture just yet.”

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For a while, I was only baffled by her statement and often mused over what I had just missed. But then, one day, we had to handle a tense situation that involved a rather colorful argument between a parent and a teacher. Apparently, the teacher had broken a student’s iPad because the student wouldn’t listen to the teacher during class hours. When my boss asked the student why he refused to put his iPad away during class hours, his reason was that he was playing a game and that if he put his gadget away at that moment, he would have lost.

The argument went on for a couple of hours and the dispute between the parent and teacher even boiled down to throwing petty insults at one another. Eventually though, my boss brought the conflict to an end and the teacher was eventually required to pay for the repairs of the broken iPad which, thankfully, wasn’t all that expensive.

Later on, while eating lunch with my boss, she goes on to remark just how irresponsible parents are becoming. Neither the student, the teacher or even the gadget are at fault in the issue; it’s the parent that is to blame. She goes on to note that it was, after all, the parent’s duty to look after their child instead of giving them free reign.

I’m not a parent (in fact, that probably isn’t going to happen anytime soon) but my boss is and she’s had a lot to tell me over the times we’ve worked together. She has noted more than once that while technology has certainly improved the way we live, not all of it has made positive changes for people, especially us Filipinos. Now, she doesn’t really blame technology for our troubles but instead points to our lack of discipline in properly utilizing it especially when it comes to children and the youth.

My boss isn’t that savvy when it comes to technology and is well over her middle ages by now. So since she doesn’t know much about websites and such, I’ve taken the liberty to show some of her points regarding the youth peppered with some of my own observations and opinions on the matter. I’m hoping that some parents (and would-be parents) will be willing to look at some of these ideas in the hopes of improving the condition of our youth today.

Children are Not Pets

This has been noted by one of the many commenters here on GRP. A lot of parents today treat their children like pets. They seem to think that as long as their child gets food, drink, schooling and toys, everything will be okay. While yes, I know the demand of daily living can be taxing for a lot of parents but neglecting your children is also a form of child abuse.

Unlike animals, children need the love and comfort provided by a parent not just material things and supplies needed for survival. Being intelligent (or at least self-aware) creatures, it is almost impossible for a child to raise him/her self and needs constant guidance, acceptance, nurture and discipline to become a productive and helpful adult. Even among more intelligent animals like monkeys it has been proven through an experiment that a baby monkey would prefer a parent that provides warmth and comfort over a parent that simply provides food.

Worse yet, many parents treat their children like animals, as pointed out by my boss. These parents are often called “zookeeper parents” because they prevent their children from experiencing the world due to misguided fears. Children that are raised this way are often unimaginative and socially awkward because their parents do not understand that making friends and knowing more about the world plays a part in improving one’s personality.

Parental Guidance Requires Parental Participation

Yes, I hear the MTRCB bawling all the time about shows being “immoral” and attempting to censor everything that doesn’t comply with their standards. The ESRB (a censorship organization for videogames that is responsible for rating which games are for teens, children or adults only, for those not in the know), also make similar arguments for some games. Unfortunately, they’re not really the only ones with a problem here.

More than once, I have seen my housemates watch TV programs with their children that have very questionable elements in them. I already cited in some of my articles just how prevalent teleseryes are and how detrimental they can be to minds that cannot openly comprehend them.

Once, in an isolated incident, I caught my housemate’s 8-year-old son watching Moon of Desire (the show with werewolves [which I found utterly hilarious since there are no wolves in the Philippines], typical romantic rivalries and lots of implied sex) because his mother had not bothered to change the channel. I took the remote and switched channels (skipping over Animax even though the boy wanted to watch there because they were showing Hellsing) until I reached the Disney Channel where the boy seemed satisfied.

Similar problems crop up when it comes to games. I have met a lot of negligent parents who simply buy games for their children without first checking what the said game is about as they seem to think that “all games are for children” even though nothing can be further from the truth. Would you seriously want your ten-year-old to be playing Dead Space or Grand Theft Auto? None of these so-called parents even bother to check the packaging to see if the game is even appropriate for their children.

So please, before you buy a game, kindly check the game’s ESRB rating before you decide to buy one as a present.

The Art of Winning and Losing

My boss also stresses the point that children should be allowed to play with other children. According to her, this is important in developing a good personality as this will teach them on how to socialize with others and, more importantly, learn how to play a real game with real children. I too am a gamer (in case any of you here play Warframe, I was grimwald000), but I’ve also come to understand the fact that you can’t win all the time.

While loss and failure are certainly unpleasant, they are unavoidable and are mostly temporary. Playing with other children can impart your children with the idea that they can’t always win but that they can also improve themselves so that they can win next time. Playing nothing but videogames (which sometimes comes with cheats or can be circumvented by buying privileges from the developers) does not do your child any favors in improving themselves, their social interactions and the acceptance of their own failings. In the Gintama anime, I once heard one of the protagonists say something like: “The greatest players in an MMORPG are probably the biggest losers in real life because they live in a world of illusion instead of facing reality.”

Asides from videogames, I think another reason why I brought this up because I have met so many people who refuse to accept their own failures. Determination is good but delusion is both destructive and stagnating. I often hear many politicians who lose elections utter the words “I was cheated” instead of congratulating their opponents. The same can also be said for contests as I often see a loser’s lack of interest in conceding defeat and praising their opponents as if being an underdog automatically makes you a victim.

Then there are those who take their defeat a little too hard. I’ve encountered many jobless and homeless people whose only justification for not looking for a job or helping themselves is that it’s “useless” because they can’t win anyway. It’s sad to note that this mentality that is often prevalent in the lower classes is one of the factors in preventing them from reaching a higher standard of living. It’s true that life can be harsh, but everyone encounters failures sooner or later and even the greatest of men and women have made blunders on their way to greatness. Just because you fall down doesn’t mean you have to stay down after all.

Rizal believed that the youth were the key to saving and improving our nation…

Let’s not let their potential go to waste…



16 Replies to “Parenting, The Youth And Modern Living”

  1. So, noong sa Pinas ako I taught English to 7th graders in rural cam sur, and one of my daily ‘evil thoughts’ was that “these kids are animals!”. What would piss me off was when fellow Americans would say “but these problems exist in America too!” to which I might immediately reply “yes but American kids don’t have a massive poverty trap to overcome, they can dink around with iPods their whole live and still have a decent standard of living.” Anyway this change doesn’t happen suddenly, but incrementally. My padis and maxis in the province always told me that TVs only showed up in large numbers out by them during the early GMA years, which means we still haven’t seen the full extent of the damage that bread and circus screens will wreak on the fish and kasava masses. Great post.

  2. There is a good African proverb: “It takes a Village, to raise a Child…”

    Children are precious. I have three kids of my own…Even , my wife and I are busy at work. We always give them time to talk and play with them. We have two cultures to teach. Filipino culture and Welsh culture. We also have to read them good books…not just TV and computers, computer gadgets, etc…

  3. I taught high school for 20 years. There is an old adage that I found to be generally true: “The apple does not fall far from the tree.” Snotty, defiant and disrespectful children; usually had snotty and defiant parents. I pity the public school teachers in the Philippines that have over 100 children in each class!

  4. I’ve seen far too often, even among my own kin, that parents simply give their children a tablet and tell them to piss off and stop annoying them. Those gadgets are becoming substitute parents.

    It’s like the old argument against television, or the “boob tube”, warping the minds of youth except with the speed of technology nowadays, its ten times worse.

  5. I think the carping is unfounded. Let me explain.

    We’re trying to compare parenting today to that of yesterday not minding of the fact of the changes that happens that makes parenting in the present different from the past.

    We only experience adolescence or childhood once. If you happened to grow up in the ’50s you experience what it’s like to be taken care of, guided, disciplined, and nurtured, etc. by what is being practiced at the time. Your growing up period, while having the same features in terms of guidance, discipline, etc. will be different from those who grow up in the ’80s or ’00s because standards change.

    In the ’60s, you have luksong-tinik, tumbang preso, etc. for recreation and sinturon and munggo (to kneel on) for discipline. Mother is stay at home while father works. And children, generally, grow up normal in that kind of setting.

    In the ’70s, you have De Colores for spiritual awakening, basketball for sports. Kids get to adapt foreign cultures in terms of music and fashion, etc. young people gets to participate in activities relating to social changes and be heard about their views on it. Still normal.

    What started in the 60s and 70s have been upped in the ’80s. Looks like everybody got high on this decade. Music got more censor-attractive; fashion became too much for comfort. The ‘mano po’ custom slides slowly and parent-child relation got microscope examination. This was the period where technology made a stride that will eventually culminate on the computer age in the 90s and 2000s.

    In all of these development and improvement in our lives and surroundings I have yet to hear that so and so children who grew up in this or that decade have discipline problem not seen in other children growing up in different decades. If there is difference in those factors I mentioned, mostly it’s on the degree or approach by parents or the habit or the ongoing trend that young people practice at the time.

    Of course, given the access to and availability of info and technology at present, children now are more aware and more inform than their contemporaries in other decades. Does that make them better? I don’ think so, because if they did the country should have been better off now.

    All I know is the ‘to be young and stupid’ phase is a constant in every generation. 🙂

    1. It’s true that children today have access to more information but most of that information is garbage anyway. Too much info nowadays; quantity over quality. No parents, no filter.

      That’s why you have the little shits running around spouting circa 2000 /b/ internet memes, Hollywood crap, Yahoo! quality news and half-baked PolSci 101 opinions without knowing what they mean.

    2. Older people tend to be conservative and are frequently alarmed by the changes that they see in the young. To them, life is “going to hell in a hand basket.” Of course, they feel that their point of view is the “truth”; since they have the wisdom of age on their side.

      Being older myself, I feel like engaging in a little “hand wringing” in reference to child rearing practices that I see in the Philippines:

      Please, place limits on your child’s behavior and enforce those limits. Of course,
      as soon as you establish rules, they will test them. If there is not a consequence for breaking a rule (that will fall as certainly as the sword of Damocles;) you will be seen as a “paper tiger” and everything you say, after that, will be discounted. Better there is no rule, than one which is not enforced. So, be clear on what they should or should not do and what will happen to them if they do break the rules.

      What I see, is parents letting their children run wild. Once they start to annoy the parents, they punish the child by screaming at them or by beating them. A lot of emotional anarchy can be avoided by establishing boundaries and enforcing them. Once a pattern is established, the values will be internalized and children should behave accordingly.

  6. ..For the Parents:
    “Don’t aim at success — the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, CANNOT be pursued: IT MUST ENSUE, and it only does so as the unintended SIDE-EFFECT of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the BY-PRODUCT of one’s surrender to a person other oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long run — in the long run, I say! — success will follow you because you had forgotten to think of it.” — Viktor F Frankl

    “He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how” — Nietzsche

    “You cannot share what is not in and of you” — Escriva

    “Give back to the youth of today the MEANING of life and what responsibility means…” — Frankl

    “Today, living meaninglessly is common.” — Frankl

    “There is today the TYRANNY OF NOW ….the corporate selfishness of distorting the past and the common disregard of what we could give to the future…..” — Philosophy & Psychology

  7. Why did the iPad break? Was there a struggle because the student tried to restst when the teacher attempted to thake the iPad or did the teacher smash it to the floor after he had taken it? That woul make a difference. The correct way for a teacher to deal with such a situation is not to destroy the toy. The teacher can take it and either keep it until end of class or contant a parent to pick it up at school.

    1. The teacher smashed it out of anger. Luckily, it wasn’t beyond his pay grade to get it repaired. However, even I agree that he should not have made such a move. Bad form for a teacher, if you ask me.

      1. i remember a good friend mentioned in the school where he worked, instructors were assigned with portable radio signal jammers. You know, to ensure that students focused on the lecture. fun fact: kids today DO NOT know how to play offline games

  8. The funny thing is, this entire problem is not unlike the same problem Television posed not too long ago.

    Children becoming lazy, getting raised by the media, not being able to be social because they wanna stay shut in is something that is completely up to the parents.

    Hell, I’ve seen kids come out well despite all the media and that’s because of how the parents handle their child despite the long day of work. So, bottom line is parents need to give extra effort in raising their kids and ensure that they are able to handle the truths of this world.

    And I didn’t know you were into Warframe.

    Warbros #1.

    1. Indeed, it’s very important for parents to participate in their children’s day to day activities. That’s why there’s “parental” guidance after all.

      It is this kind of degeneration in society that has allowed the Grineer to infest the Solar System. As responsible Tenno, it is our duty to make sure that the next generation is both wise and self-sufficient.

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