So what do you feel about hitting?
This post looks at who hits kids and bans them from their beds – thanks to a Pulitzer prizewinner stepping into the debate. For more info about my book Homemade Kids, with lots of ideas about thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children click here or follow this blog.
I’m not asking if you have ever hit your child, I’m asking what you feel about hitting. I hate it – not least because the people who hit their children tend to be parents who claim to love their child best. They also tend to be bigger than the kid. So now that my most favourite environmental writer, the super Pulitzer prize-winning Jared Diamond has spelt out that modern children who are smacked are getting a raw deal. I feel families now have a very strong steer – charted through history – as to why smacking should not be acceptable.
Even if your kids survived it, maybe you could lay off your grandchildren?
It’s not the only aspect of childcare that is a disaster for children, as Diamond says in his new book The World Until Yesterday “probably no infant in human history was ever left to cry itself to sleep in its own crib or bedroom before 10,000 years ago.” Take note Gina Ford followers.
Jared Diamond has spent many years in Oceania, in particular in remote parts of Papua New Guinea, and he’s seen traditional societies at very close quarters. There children are part of so much, carried around, present – never banished from rooms/weddings/funerals/celebrations.
Writing in the Guardian on 11 January 2013 Diamond says: “The small societies that don’t smack their children differ on average from modern westernised societies in at least seven other features of child-rearing.
- They carry babies upright and facing forwards, so that babies see where they are being carried.
- They respond almost instantly to an infant’s crying; they don’t let an infant cry for 10 minutes “to learn self-control”.
- Responsibility for a group’s children is shared not just by the parents but also among other adults.
- Children are given far more freedom of choice than western micromanaging parents permit.
- Infants are held almost constantly
- … [they aren’t left to cry].
- And mothers breastfeed children for several years.
I was lucky to live in the next door country to PNG, Solomon Islands from 1990-92 before I had children and was stunned to see children be so much a part of everyone’s life. until then I thought everywhere did “seen but not heard”. I hope the influence has rubbed off to the good on my own parenting styles – it certainly is a mindset that helped underpin this blog with its thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children. And the kids are alright (at the mo!).
I’ve even interviewed Jared Diamond after he’d written a previous book, see page 9 in this PDF from Friends of the Earth’s Earthmatters magazine (summer 2005). What a shame I didn’t catch up with him in this book promotional tour. I’d like to ask him a lot about how he hopes to see his ideas of a smack-free society (and plenty more besides, like sustainability, etc) come about.
Over to you?
What are your parenting lode stones? A book, film, feeling or your own familial experience?