A bachelor’s view on parenting in the digital age

August 26, 2015

Becoming an effective parent does not come automatically or accidentally as my ageing mother always often reminds me.In her experience of bringing us up, she does believe that parenting skills are acquired through plenty of practice and experience which then increases confidence.Parenting young children and teenagers is one of the most demanding jobs a person can do according to my elder brother who is married.There is no simple guidebook on how to be a good parent, so parents are often left struggling, wondering if they are doing the right thing or whether they are being too easy on their children.When I first traveled to Zambia,I found it quite hard to make friends especially in Lusaka. I kept befriending other expats and foreigners, and then they’d leave and I would be friendless again.While Zambians were extremely friendly on the surface, many of the people I knew already had a tight circle of friends from work places or university, and they seemed happy with that. It was hard to get past that initial stage of being an acquaintance. But that wasn’t the case in Livingstone, the best place to live and stay in Zambia.Parents who want to share with and learn from others the ups and downs of parenting young children and teenagers find social media groups of great benefit.Online participants have the opportunity to develop friendships and establish a support group, which can be ongoing when the family skills education group ends.

Jennifer(second name withheld),a fellow Melburnian living in Zambia, is a mother of three, a wife and a senior corporate manager in a leading organisation in the country.The last time she bothered to focus on last century’s fashionable sources of entertainment like radio, television, newspapers, television, and magazine is more than half a six years ago.I wasn’t surprised because most of my fellow Generation Y have ditched old school channels aforementioned in favour of the called Internet.“Now that I started some business and did some investments, though, it was a completely different story! Zambian parents are quite welcoming of expat business people,I think because what we have in common is motherhood that is so much bigger than any difference in Australia.You tend to see the same people all the time at the public park, the library, the shops and I’ve become friends with other mums just because I bump into them so often in supermarkets and groceries. Women and men I’ve met in Zambia are very open and share a plenty of everything from details of their sex lives to parenting challenges. Some of my Livingstone town friends are now the people I feel closest to.The Zambians I know like to work hard and play hard, Jenny added.”Bachelors don’t want the complications of a romantic relationships that characterises the parenting life and marriage life in general.As one of them,I want a business partner, someone with the same same or better curriculum vitae of can-do attitude,volunteer ethos and a woman who will be equally dependable and mature,kind and thorough.The challenge being,as any recent recruit to parenting will agree with me,I guess there’s none who really knows what they are signing up for when they get pregnant for the first time,even if they’d spent several months shuttling to hospitals to lift their bare feet into frigid, metal stirrups.

My mother calls that process temporary hell that lay foundation for what she describes as eternal challenges ahead and therefore as a bachelor with rational, why would I sign up for parenthood?There is no doubt parenting originates from romance and for others its alcohol.Our hormones have a tradition of clouding our judgment as human beings and many take enormous risks when they are jacked up on lust or cosmetic love in other instances.My bachelor’s crystal ball tells me that the world over the so called parents are currently raising a generation of spoilt kids, thanks to current generation that “never say no”.Am one of those who believe current generation of parents have failed, and there may be serious long-term consequences for future societies.Show me one single rural area or city’s neighbourhood anywhere in the world where there is no rise of poorly-behaved children and will pay $5,000.The main problem is that there are too many parents being doormats for their kids and when the kid does something wrong, they never utter a word or even say no.We have a bunch of self proclaimed modern parents who have no limits and boundaries.From Japan to South Africa,from Finland to Kenya,Canada to Finland, the so called high-strung, control-freak parents want to pamper their kids with so much love, attention and monitoring to an extent few of those kids develop any self-reliance and won’t solve their own problems later on in life.

Am not bragging, but I don’t need a plumber to fix my sewerage at home, nor do I need electrician to fix my bulbs, a gardener to take care of home compound because my mom never pampered me.I can plough a wheat farm despite the fact that I was brought up in the city thanks to learning how to drive a farm tractor at age of 14! There are few teenagers who can multi task outside playstation life.There is concrete evidence of the consequences to these types of parenting in our neck of the wood, outback, schools etc around the world.Last time I was in Melbourne, it was clear that an evolution in parenting styles is to blame for the influx of bad parented kids who can barely even allow an elderly man pass while they are skating on the foot path.In a trip to Montreal Canada few years ago, consequences of bad parenting were visible in Montreal restaurants, waiting rooms and even at the airport where kids were extremely feral, running out of control as if its their school playgrounds.Is that good parenting?If you think so, then call Contador Harrison a dinosaur that belong to 20th century setting.Even a bachelor can see the consequences of bad parenting has both short- and long-term effects.Today’s parents don’t do anything about bad habits because they’re frightened of being seen as bad parents or frightened to say no.There is no question that style of parenting has major effects on the mental health of children and adolescents as they grow up.In the long run, I feel parents are infantilising a lot of children into incompetence and whether you like it or not, your kids will pay a heavy price for it.

Contador Harrison