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Wednesday January 16, 2013

Parenting standards – then and now

Contest prize: The Olive Baby products up
for grabs on ParenThots. Contest prize: The Olive Baby products up for grabs on ParenThots.

OF late, we have read stories in newspapers and news portals about parents who left their children in the car while they nipped in to the shop, young children who were left alone at home for a few hours, or even parents who forgot that their child was sleeping in the back seat of the car until it was too late.

While not all of these situations would result in the loss of a child or any untoward incidents, it does raise concerns.

Have parenting standards declined since our parents’ time? Are parents today worse at parenting than their parents were? Or are parents today just overwhelmed with the amount of responsibilities and tasks in their daily lives?

Dr Abdul Kadir Abu Bakar, president of the Malaysian Psychiatric Association, says he is not sure if the standards have dropped. He thinks that these “accidents” and incidents could be due to the changing trend where parents, preoccupied with their own careers, leave the kids to fend for themselves and to take on adult roles very early in life.

Zuhairah Ali, executive director of Taman Pendidikan Raihan, a kindergarten and early reading centre, believes that parenting standards have indeed declined over the years. Some parents, she notes, don’t seem to care about their children and are even abusive. In addition, while a lot of parents prioritise their children, not everyone does it in the same manner.

Zuhairah says there are parents who feel that children need to be taught how to live and protect themselves, rather than being cosseted. This is why some parents might let their children walk unchaperoned on the streets.

She, however, admits that the reason why more untoward incidents involving parents and children are being highlighted in the press these days could be due to the fact that crime has increased and more cases are being reported today than before.

Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim, chaiperson of PAGE (Parent Action Group for Education), agrees that there are now more media reports on such cases.

“In the past mothers stayed home. The circumstances are different now, where both parents go to work. Crime is also on the rise. Plus, parenting probably wasn’t a big thing before. The father went to work, the mother stayed home to raise the child. It was safer – kids walked to school, some cycled, and there was hardly any traffic on the road. We used to play outdoors. Now, with both parents working and the child going for tuition, the child has to do a lot of things on their own,” Noor Azimah points out.

To read more of their opinions, go to ParenThots.

Focus on the Family

There is no reason to be especially concerned about a young child who fondles his or her genital organs from time to time. As a matter of fact, this behaviour is a completely normal expression of early sexuality. So don’t “make a big deal” of it or overreact when you see it happening.

Focus on the Family advises parents what to do if they notice their child doing so.

Readers write in

Four parents write in about activities and games they play with their kids in the car during long drives. One mum talks about educational games she plays with her son.

Win Olive Baby products

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ParenThots and theSkintopic are giving 10 lucky parents a chance to win these Olive Baby products (worth RM325): 1 Olive Baby Hair & Body Wash; 1 Olive Baby Moisture Milk; 1 Olive 100% Natural Baby Massage Oil; and 1 Olive Baby Nappy Cream.

All you have to do is fill up the online contest form at ParenThots, answer three objective questions and complete one sentence. The contest ends on Feb 3.

ParenThots is The Star’s parenting portal. For more information, e-mail parenthots@the star.com.my or surf to www.parenthots.com.


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