Communal parenting

There is a programme on ABC at the moment called The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas. I have not read the book, but I did see the first in the eight part tv series.

I do not know the direction in which the rest of the series going, but the first episode has raised some interesting thoughts on parental discipline, communal parenting, not just with me, but the wider community.

The events of the first episode sidestepped the issue of communal parenting slightly by making the communal parenting act so violent. Slapping any child across the face with the back of ones hand would be considered assault in most cultures in this day and age, and the fact that the adult had lost control of his temper was inexcusable.

However, the underline questions about different methods of parenting, and what happens when these different methods coincide within a communal parenting situation, can not be ignored.

What do you do if someone’s child is so out of control that they are threatening the safety of the other children around them?

What do you do if the parents of that child can not or will not to teach the child that their behaviour is not only antisocial but dangerous?

What did you do if the adults parental skills and their ability to cope are called into question?

Personally in the communal parenting environment depicted in the tv series, I have directed the parent to act with haste to stop their child from injuring the children around them. I would not have questioned their parenting ability, but simply pointed out the financial liability of their child hurting another, or damaging someone’s property. Parental responsibility is always a difficult subject to broach, but financial responsibility towards others is always a topic that provokes decisive action.

I have spoken to parents about the broader subject of parenting in the past. Invariably the statement always comes up that ”if you do not have kids yourself then you can not understand” or “It is different when you have your own children”. It is like a cheat that is supposed to stop me in my tracks and prevent me from having an opinion on the subject, when really it simply highlights their inability or unwillingness to discuss the subject on the part of the other party. Parents seem to use this as a ‘win all arguments’ phrase, without fully understanding my own experiences.

Teaching a child through discipline is always difficult and there have been many an article written on this subject in the past. The discipline has to be in proportion to the seriousness of the act, and not allowing your own parental frustrations to influence the severity of the punishment. For younger children punishment should also be immediate, so that they associate the punishment with the recent event, otherwise they could just think that they are being punished for no reason. As we are all aware, this is easier said than done.

Simply sweeping to topic to one side because it is a difficult topic to discuss is not the answer.

It is the sovereignty of every parent to determine how their children are disciplined and by whom.

However parenting is not just a subject that affects your immediate family, as it also affects those that interact with you and your children, and as such it is a valid topic of discussion for all those around you.

To conclude this article, I would like to expand it beyond discipline. Few parents like being told how to parent, and certainly not from someone who does not have children, but the fact the we may not have children of our own does not mean that we would make bad parents, or do not know how to parent.

It is easy to get caught up in the moment and allow the parental desire to protect your offspring cloud your judgement to look at alternatives to help the child learn and grow.

Sometimes, other people can provide a unique perspective, or just being reminded of what we were like when we were younger is advice enough.

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~ by jeditopcat on 14 October, 2011.

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