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Old 12-16-2005, 03:59 PM   #61
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You can take an extreme case of physical abuse to easily make your point. That is a small fraction of households. You defining terms of "good" and "functioning" would encompass a much larger percentage of homes.
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Old 12-16-2005, 04:01 PM   #62
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I am not going to comment on the whole govt thing, but it has been an interesting to see the village raise a child concept played out here in africa. For the most part, any adult is allowed to reprimand a child and those who know him/her (such as neighbors) can discipline as well. I wouldn't say that there are not any brats here but I find a much lower occurence of them. Respect of one's elders is pretty much gospel (sometimes to an extreme, but that's another topic for another day).

And with that little nothing, I leave you my friends. This is my last post from Africa. Leaving on a jet plane tonite. Any of you who feel led to pray for me and Sul as we face the immigration authorities in NYC, it would be much appreciated.
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Old 12-16-2005, 05:06 PM   #63
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Have a safe and comfortable trip, sulawesigirl4!

The thing that bothers me about this lack of parenting is that it makes it so much easier for evil people to snatch children away. A parent who is too involved chatting with friends to notice that their little one is wandering off, or who has the audacity to drop their child off at a store and expect the employees to babysit him ends up losing their child to a kidnapper or worse. And naturally, they'll blame everybody but themselves for their own laziness.

Another thing is it lets the child grow up thinking that he is the Center Of The Universe, and he can behave any way he bloody well pleases. Which means the spoiled brat grows into an out-of-control teenager, who then turns into an ill-mannered adult. Such adults will eventually bully the wrong person and end up in jail, hospital or morgue. Any of which could have been avoided had Mum and Dad done some actual parenting and nipped the bad behavior in the bud.
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Old 12-17-2005, 11:59 AM   #64
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Quote:
Originally posted by sulawesigirl4
I am not going to comment on the whole govt thing, but it has been an interesting to see the village raise a child concept played out here in africa. For the most part, any adult is allowed to reprimand a child and those who know him/her (such as neighbors) can discipline as well. I wouldn't say that there are not any brats here but I find a much lower occurence of them. Respect of one's elders is pretty much gospel (sometimes to an extreme, but that's another topic for another day).

And with that little nothing, I leave you my friends. This is my last post from Africa. Leaving on a jet plane tonite. Any of you who feel led to pray for me and Sul as we face the immigration authorities in NYC, it would be much appreciated.
I'm glad you brought up the true meaning of "It takes a village to raise a child." It means the village provides guidance, wisdom, and yes, discipline to children whether they are their own or not.

I was discussing this matter with Ferne Caulker, the founder and director of the Milwaukee-based African dance troop, Ko-Thi. Ms. Caulker, who is originally from Sierra Leone, and I both agreed that the idea of taking a village to raise a child has been completely misinterpreted by many Western parents. To them it means handing over our paychecks and picking up the slack at work but never inputting any opinions or ideas on how to raise their children. Believe me, if I'm paying for child tax credits, public and private schools (Wisconsin has school vouchers for private schools), and doing extra work on the job to cover for maternity leaves, you better believe I'm going to have some opinions and ideas.

sulawesigirl4-I hope your trip home was safe. Please let us know how you are doing.
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Old 12-17-2005, 07:04 PM   #65
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Good luck on you trip home!
I'm looking forward to hear more about your interesting observations of cultural differences in the African continent and North America.
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Old 12-17-2005, 07:57 PM   #66
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yes, good luck on the trip sulawesisgirl4!

haven't read everyone's comments yet, but have enjoyed those I have!

There are definitely a bunch of things going on, I think.

I agree that more and more often, there is less a sense of communal good and more a sense of entitlement, a feel that whatever the traffic allows can go. So, parents who are sick of little jill and john running around wrecking the house, feel free to take them to Barnes and Nobles and let them wreck that place instead. Hey, they're customers. Customers are king, no?
Never mind the people around you. It's part of that whole turning inward, keeping a consumer's-eye view, it's all just you and the people you came with and your wallet and your stuff, not the community you live in and the people you might meet out there in the world who aren't already in your cellphone directory.

The corollary to that is how parents are maybe getting so much more bent out of shape when other adults try to guide their children. It feels that much more like a confrontation from an outsider, as we all have our little bunkers. If there were more of a sense of caring about the whole, parents wouldn't mind so much if someone mentioned that their darling was disturbing, because it wouldn't so much be taken as a commentary on *them* as an expression about the community and what it needs.
There are also serious differences in parenting style, now that we value individuality and self-expression more than decorum and manners. I am often at odds with my own hubby over this sort of thing. The kids want to take a stroll around the restaurant; I *never* want to let them do it without my going with them, even though I am pretty confident they'll disturb nobody (we remind them of course), lest they get in the waiters' way inadvertently, and he wants to allow them some latitude. Parents have different ideas about what counts as okay freedomwise.

Parents also can way too often forget that kids will get bored in adult settings and they should remember to bring *lots* of stuff to entertain if the wee ones can't sit for that long without whining or doing unpleasant things! I tend to travel with books and markers and quiet activities.

But there is also something very disturbing to me about very virulent anti-child rhetoric, and that seems on the rise as well--people's willingness to speak of children as though they are not people worthy of respect. I don't think the sign in question counts as that, but I've been in situations where people have not even known my child, but clearly assumed that he or she, like *all* children, are less human than they are, are dirty nasty little creatures, and that feels awful to be on the other end of. I hope the kids don't feel the nasty looks (never at movies btw! I am shocked at the stories you guys have of kids at the movies! )

Speaking of respect, though, I just got a gander at some typical kids' media...my kids (5 and 9) never watch any kiddie media except PBSKids (I can't keep a TVweek around because otherwise the secret about these other channels might get out!), but there was a JimmyNeutrino video at the library my daughter begged for. Okay, once. My god! No wonder kiddies are acting snarky and screwyou with their parents! CartoonNetwork and Nickolodeon is filled with shows showing kids spending half their time scheming to diss their parents, who are generally idiots. This is stuff that should be the domain of adolescents not preschoolers! And they echo it at school, I can hear it from the few kids I know who are exposed to it.
I saw some bit of toybuying advice in the paper the other day...
if you don't want your kids to run around climbing things like ninjas or spiderman then don't buy them the gear!
pretend play is very important to kids, and is more formative than people realize.
oh, they're just being kids, says mom as little johnny tries to swing from the coffeeshop curtains like spidey...it so negatively affects kids, you can see it and there's better media for them at these young ages. Never mind the diss-y crap interpersonal style encouraged by garbage like spongebob and rugrats.
It all becomes a win-lose world...which, by the way, is the only thing a physical-discipline style could convey, that you lose (and get the belt/slap/spank) if you behave in a certain way. It might (or might not) be effective in the short term, but it is never a 'discipline' style that can allow for internalization of standards or ethics, never. It can merely create fear and perhaps a yearning for the time when you aren't in a position to 'lose' anymore. imho.
I feel like I might get myself smacked by some pissed-off parent some day, cause when I see the threats of violence I sometimes mumble a little too audibly...

cheers all!
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Old 12-17-2005, 08:03 PM   #67
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My kids are awesome in public places and we often get commented on their good behavior....AND we have never spanked them...not saying we never wanted to...but didn't
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Old 12-17-2005, 08:35 PM   #68
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I'm not sure how I feel about spanking. I don't consider it abuse. I was spanked a few times....the last time when I was 11 and my dad slapped me across my face, but I was being a total smartass and I deserved it an more, hehe. I don't think I'll ever spank my kids though b/c I don't think it's necessary.
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