Children are valuable resources for the country. The children of today are leaders of tomorrow. Raising positive, self-confident and responsible children is like planting seeds in a garden. Parents are like gardeners because the journey of parenthood is like sowing seeds of love, nurturing them and believing that the seeds will grow to be a healthy, responsible and self-confident person. The parental role of loving participation in their children’s developmental milestones is the most important time in the children’s brain development. Parents’ involvement is so vital in building thecharacter and values of their children. A safe, positive and loving environment contributes greatly to the physical, emotional and cognitive needs of children.
Although parents should play a major role in their children’s development, they do not always do so. Nowadays, many parents believe that their careers come first to support their family financially. Many of them willingly source out the nurturing and care giving of their children to a maid, child care center and even grandparents. Parents believe that it is more important to work than to make time for their children. As Jason Unrau commented on what Dr. Gabor Mat said , “Some parents, both have to work, or they’re single parents … but they should be concerned about the quality of that day care.” Unfortunately, many children are not getting sufficient guidance and nurturing from their parents. What do the care givers do to the children? Most of them are more concerned with providing consistent meals and ensuring physical hygiene. The rest of the time, the children would engage in intensive and long hours of edutainment through the TV programs.
This is a sad phenomenon in most of the dual wages earner families. Many of their young children miss out developmental milestones and thus experience stress in their brain development. Unrau further stated that “eighty per cent of human brain development occurs between birth and the age of three” and “A one-year-old baby, it can’t run away, it can’t fight back so how does such a child react to stress? It shuts its brain down.” These children would later encounter learning difficulties due to the lack of foundational skills development.
Robert Glossop highlighted that “too many families are living on the leftovers of human energy and commitment.” Parents are so tired after work and picking up children from their care center. Even though most of them don’t have much energy left, they still have to cope with their children’s needs, attention and academic performance. In my country, these parents would struggle together with their children in completing their homework and sending them to tuition centers to receive academic help. They miss out on providing a loving and nurturing environment to support their children’s emotional needs and growth. Many parents have also overlooked the need to have the quality time of listening to their children. Unrau once again highlighted that “an ever-increasing lack of quality time parents share with their kids, manifests itself in violent gang culture.”
When parents are absent in the family, children will have more unsupervised time for unhealthy habits such as watching TV, engaging in violent PS games, surfing long hours on the internet or even wandering around the shopping mall with peers. These activities have had a negative effect on their growing stages. These may be the reasons for the increase in juvenile delinquency, drop outs and teenage crime. Unrau highlighted that “when kids don’t have that nurturing adult, they gravitate towards their peer group, and so what we ultimately have is immature creatures influencing other immature creatures.”
It is, therefore, necessary for parents to re-evaluate their family commitment and values. They have to consider how to reduce their financial commitment so that they could invest more time with the children.Working at a part time job can be another source of income to meet the family’s financial needs with flexibility of time. Parents may also choose to avoid the temptations of consumerism and be contended with more simple lifestyle. Instead of window shopping every weekend, they could choose to play games, do gardening, cook a meal or read a book with their children. Parents and children doing things together will enjoy quality time with each other. It is also important to train up children to share the responsibility at home by delegating the household chores. By doing so, parents can help the children to feel more responsible towards their home.
To avoid the many problems and consequences of neglecting their children’s developmental stages, parents should take advantage of any tax incentives that governments offer. They could sign up for community activities such as church youth activities, boys scouting and other self-developmental activities that promote self- confidence and responsibility in the children. As well, a musical interest group helps to develop children’s talents while sports instil the value of healthy friendship and sportsmanship.
My mom was busy with raising four of her children and my grandmother. My dad was always busy at work. Nevertheless, I am eternally grateful to them for bringing us to the park every Sunday for a year. This was the quality time I had with my parents, and I looked forward to the moment. Later in life, due to circumstances, my family outing was cancelled. My Sunday School teachers, youth leaders and mentor guided, supported and believed in me. As recorded in Tampa Tribune “It’s useful to remember that, despite all of modern society’s destructive temptations, there remain many effective youth programs that do help build character.”
Building up children is like growing plants. There are many other factors that may influence a child in his or her life beside parents. Nevertheless, I believe loving, positive and encouraging parents are the back bone in building up positive, self-confident and responsible children. Parents should take advantage of the incentives that the Government offers, community program or parent support group to support them in their parenthood journey. Working hand in hand and heart to heart with these external supports will provide a conducive environment in which the children can grow up.