As our children grow, we look around and observe society undergoing irreversible changes. Every time we experience something positive or negative as a community, we are bound to brood upon societal and external influences, and what we can do to ensure that our children grow into a healthy society. It is vital to remember that the society, after all, is us, a collection of people like us coming together. So if we want a healthy society for our children, the first question we need to ask ourselves is, are we ensuring a healthy growth for our child, for him to develop and take up his responsibility in building a healthy society?
A lot has been spoken about social consequences of stress, changing work environments, nuclear families and the like. Let’s now think about probable social consequences of our current parenting styles.
1) Outsourcing early childhood
Children either go to day-care as early as six months of age or are raised by nannies at home under an elder’s supervision. So what have we done here? We have replaced the mother by many others who divide her job into mini-jobs. The day-care systems are no-doubt very professional; most day care centre heads are very caring and loving and parents are in dire need of such a support system. However if we were to keep the child at the center of it all, what is best for the child? When a child has just awakened to the sounds, smells, sights and touches of the world, he needs a nurturing and guiding light to help him understand all of it. Imagine the bombarding of images, signs, smells and unknown touches that haunt the world of the little ones. Who is best as per our natural instincts to help children? Will these finer aspects of a child’s growth ever be focused on when we decide to invite strangers into our lives to handle our children?
2) Mother Absentia
What I am about to mention is not intended to hurt any fathers or grand-parents. Their relationship is sacrosanct when it comes to them loving their children. However, the connect that the mother naturally and biologically has with the child can be considered to be spiritual. You must have observed how the child naturally recognizes his mother, traces her through smell and follows her with his eyes. The child’s psychological need to be held by his mother is as simple as his need for food, air and poop. In absentia, no-body can replace what she can give. The child obviously copes and learns to adapt to the changes in the environment. But what are the changes that happen inside him when he has to undergo this “adaptation” routine early in their life? We will never be able to quantify it. His ability to trust might go down? And, therefore growing up into a society, where trust should be the foundation of all relationships, he might not be able to put his faith in people around him for the simplest of his needs. We can already see that happening in our lives.