A Community Parenting

It is the social responsibility of all adults to discipline other people’s children, David Cameron, the leader of the Conservative party, said yesterday.

His uncompromising message sparked renewed debate over who should confront errant children and in what circumstances.

The murder of Garry Newlove, kicked to death after he remonstrated with a gang of drunken teenagers outside his home, led to claims that the police had surrendered the streets to violent youths.

Mr Cameron said ordinary citizens should do more, not less, to discipline juveniles. Launching the Tories’ Childhood Review, he said: “We have retreated into our homes. We need to reclaim the streets, to resocialise the streets, the parks, the playgrounds.”

The package, developed in response to a report by Unicef last year, which ranked Britain the least child-friendly of 21 rich nations, contains a series of proposals to improve childhood in Britain. Mr Cameron’s claim that “we need boundaries that are monitored and enforced by all adults” is likely to prove the most controversial.

The Conservative leader said: “Parents cannot and should not be with their children all of the time. We need adults to feel able to exert authority over and show compassion towards other people’s children. This basic social responsibility, in many ways the mark of a civilised society, has been dramatically undermined by a risk-averse health and safety culture which, at times, has poisoned the relationship between adults and children.

“This is a disaster for our society and we have to reverse it. We need boundaries that are monitored and enforced by all adults, not as lone soldiers but as part of the social fabric.”

Telling off other people’s children is everyone’s duty, says Cameron – Times Online

If that bit above is interesting to you, I would suggest that you take a gander at the rest of the article, which goes on about adults vs youth x government = ?.

It’s in just about every blog entry I write: community needs a sense of community.  Pride, respect, common sentimentalities, as well as the knowledge that all choices have consequences. 

I remember when I was young– I was made to believe that I was a reflection of my parents… whatever bad I did, reflected on my mom & dad, and that could ultimately affect our position in life… my dad could lose a customer, my mom a friend, or I could lose an opportunity for something better.  Not to mention, there’s the whole “everyone deserves respect and understanding”.  People have feelings too– and do onto others as you would want onto yourself. 

I’m all about kid empowerment in the “now”… but there are some types of empowerment that only show their benefit in years.  Gestation empowerment.  Helping/guiding and molding kids into the types of adults a parent could be proud of…

I despised wearing nice clothing to church as a kid.  I was lazy at 7 am on a Sunday morning.  But now?  Now kids come in ripped jeans with unbrushed hair, and I look back and feel a sense of pride that i was raised with more respect for the community around me and the things I believe in.

An 8 year old running around a coffee shop, hopped up on that mocha latte, is not empowerment for youth– it’s a spoiled child with very little guidance, and even less respect from their parent for a) everyone around them, b) the child’s health, c) the child’s social understanding.

Kids don’t learn consequences on their own until twenties… Every year beneath that is filled with reinforcement years of trial & error, learning about choices, growing.

Education isn’t always through epiphanies… sometimes it’s slow-observation in almost an osmosis-type way from their parents, or the adults around them.

It’s not always about how the community supports the community… sometimes it’s how you affect the community, if not even in the smallest of ways.  That was an amazing lesson I learned thanks to sports– the ultimate equalizer and one of the strongest communities for youth.

Anyway, I thought this was an interesting article, and it’s something I’m trying to build within my virtual community… if not right away, in some sort of strategy that is long term and beneficial to a learning community of like-minded youth.

“How do I become a good member of the community, whether it’s as a leader, or as one of many?”

Club Penguin does a really commendable job about making this a metagame behavior with their tour-guides, secret agents, etc.  Of all the virtual worlds for youth out there– Club Penguin has the strongest interactive community– giving youth a sense of respect, and a sense of responsibility and leadership.  Nice.

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  1. February 6, 2008 at 6:07 am

    hi Izzy Neis ,
    interesting article…:)…
    people say being a parent is not easy…but being a child is also a tough job…in todays competitive world a child has to go through so much of comparison,Criticism,de-moralization de-motivation etc…


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