Are Our Children Growing Too Quickly?

You would likely agree that many modern parents are of the opinion that their children should be able to enjoy a relatively carefree and innocent childhood. You would also agree that many young children miss such innocent childhood, because all over the world people are fighting one war or the other, making the dreams of young boys and girls to be shattered, some become victims of such wars.
If you ask many of the children living on the streets because they are forced to do so, they would tell you that they feel safer there than in their homes. Can you imagine that when they crave the love and protection of their parents, they can’t because they must learn to protect themselves from adults who exploit such children. Many of these children especially boys engage in crime in order to survive, while most of the girls become pregnant and are saddled with children who are “fatherless.”
The fortunate ones end up in foster homes and some are eventually adopted by couples who want children while others are moved from one foster home to the other. This latter group experience rejection and insecurity.
Also too, children today are being rushed through childhood, or rushed into taking adult tasks at a very early age. The effects of a child who is hurried can be profound and long lasting. Consider these few ways in which childhood can be hurried.
Education in a hurry:
Parents are understandably eager to see their children succeed. But when that eargerness turns into anxiety, parents may overload their children, pushing them too hard, too soon. The process often starys innocently enough. For instance, it is becoming increasingly common for parents to enroll their children in after-school activities, ranging from sports to lesson in music or final certificate examinations. Often, special tutoring is needed.
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f course, it is not wrong to encourage a child’s talents or interest. But is there a danger of excess? Clearly there is when some children seem to have almost as many pressures as their parents. Some parents hope that their young children might launch careers as athletes, doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc. Before their children are born, parents are already enrolling them in pre-school, hoping to improve their prospects of success.
In addition, some mothers enroll in “pre-natal universities” that offer music education for babies still in the womb. The aim is to stimulate their developing brains.
In some countries children are assessed for reading and mathematics skills before they are six years old. Such practices have raised concerns about emotional damage. What happens for example to a child who “fails” kindergarten? Schools for instance, tend to label children too quickly and too early. They do so, according to experts for management reasons rather than for reasons related to the effective teaching of children. Permit me to ask, is there a price for pressurising chidren to become, in effect, competent little adults before their time? Many people are troubled by the way society has embraced the notion of making children competent to carry adult burdens. This reflects our tendency to accept the increasing and unrelenting stresses on today’s young children as “normal”. Indeed, views of what is normal for chidren seem to be changing rapidly.
In a hurry to win:
Many parents seem to think it is normal, even advisable to teach their children that winning is everything – especially in sports. In order to bask in the glory of a few moments of victory and to secure a good living in adulthood, some children are driven to rush through or even to forego their childhood. Consider female athletes, they start at a very young age with rigorous routines that put their bodies under enormous stress. They spend years preparing mentally and physically for international competitions. Of course, only a few will be winners. Will the losers feel that the end results were worth the sacrifice of much of their youth? In the long run, even the winners may have doubts on that score.
Emotionally, these little girls may be rushed through childhood in a relentless drive to become superstar athletes. But physically, their natural development may be hingered by such rigorous training. In some, bone growth is hampered. Eating disorders are common. In a number of cases, puberty Of course, it is not wrong to encourage a child’s talents or interest. But is there a danger of excess? Clearly there is when some children seem to have almost as many pressures as their parents. Some parents hope that their young children might launch careers as athletes, doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc. Before their children are born, parents are already enrolling them in pre-school, hoping to improve their prospects of success.
is delayed – even for years. However, many girls today face the opposite problem:They experience onsrt of puberty.
Children with everything except a childhood:
If you were to believe the entertainment media, you might think that having the ideal childhood means being indulged with all sorts of luxuries. Some parents work extremely hard to provide every possible material comfort for their children, including a lavish home, unlimited entertainment, and expensive clothes. Yet, more than a few children raised that way are involved in drinking, drugs, and sullen, rebellious behaviour. Why? Many see the with resentment because they feel neglected. Children need parents who are there to love and care for them. Parents who are too busy to do so may believe that they are working to ensure their children’s happiness – but they may well be doing the opposite. Experts describe parents who both work, from good socio-economic groups indulge their children because they subconsciously realise their pursuit of things comes at the cost of the family. The children often pay a high price.
Although they may have many material luxuries, they lack the most essential ingredients of a good childhood: parental time and love. Without guidance, without discipline and devotion, they face very adult questions too soon, with little or no preparation. Should I take drugs? Engage in sex? Get violent when I’m angry? They will likely find their own answers taking them from peers or TV or movies. The result often bring childhood to an abrupt even tragic end, just like the effects of war on children.
Being the other “Adult”:
When a two-parent family suddenly becomes a single-parent family, whether through death, separation, or divorce, children often suffer emotionally. Of course, many single parent families manage well. But in some, the children are rushed through their childhood. Understandably, a single parent may suffer from loneliness at times. As a result, though, some allow a child – often the eldest – to take on the role of the other “adult” in the family. The parent may, perhaps out of desperation, confide in a young son or daughter, burdening the child with problems that the child is not ready to bear. Emotionally, some single parents become overly dependent on a child.
Other parents abandon their responsibilities although, forcing a child to take on the role of the adult in the family. Without a doubt, rushing children through childhood is a dangerous practice, one to be avoided if at all possible. But there is good news. Adults can take positive steps to ensure that their offspring enjoy years of childhood happiness.