Why are we in such a mess about childhood…and parenting?

This subject has been hanging around in my head for many years but recent events have exacerbated the “itch”…Clearly there’s a mix-up in education which confuses the uniqueness of childhood with the delivery of education…as if there is only one time when education will work or information plant itself into the human brain…Bizarre given all the courses adults are tackling on-line.

The recent “Me Too” campaign has helped release the experience of thousands of women and men who have suffered various forms of sexual harassment, intimidation and abuse. The historic “memory release” ¬†revealing the behaviour of famous names such as the actor Kevin Spacey has created a storm within the framework….My response as a mother may differ to the outrage of others because I understand the concept of childhood running parallel to adults responsible for that child; my immediate response to the allegation made by the adult recalling his experience as a 14 year-old child actor was to question the whereabouts of the adult with duty of care during the adult party. How could a 26 year-old man be free to invite a 14 year old boy to an “adult” party, let alone create a situation where the child ended up was sitting on his bed?

An unrelated comment by someone I’ve known for years revealed that I was regarded as “over-protective” towards my children…there’s also that offensive term “helicopter parent” which I suspect was created by childless teachers…As much as I want to acknowledge the good work of teachers I have witnessed so much inappropriate behaviour and language towards children to know that too many are ignorant and uneducated, both academically and in any intellectual understanding. Thus the notion that we as parents accept our duty of care and lay down boundaries is too often sneered at as “over-protective”

Perhaps times will change and “duty of care” will become more than a phrase bandied about but with little sign of implementation? ¬†Child actor or not, no 14 year old should be free to be invited to an adult party by a 26 year old adult man or woman.

Childhood is a unique time framed by birth and those years when physical development brings about huge changes to a human from helpless baby to biological adult…individual children develop at different rates; some clearly appearing more mature than others, but all needing the protection of at least one adult…Sadly many politicians have swamped this time with manipulated facts about the ability to learn, removing any chance of a childhood not set within iron bars of formal education. That leads directly to re-think the big question “what is education” and what does it mean “to be educated”.

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