A few years back, I remember watching an ad by a non-governmental organization in the United Kingdom campaigning against child abuse. The ad was a role reversal depicting kids shouting and screaming at their parents to buckle up, be more intelligent, acquire social skills and all kinds of other things adults harass their children about. It was an eye opener for me. So why did I suddenly remember this campaign five years down the line?
If you haven’t noticed or been properly observant, our kids have become brats overnight. The transformation has been so rapid with the whole world becoming a global village that when I tell my nephews to be quiet, they actually tell their aunt to go into her room if she desires a bit of quietness. Whatever happened to respecting old age?
In my part of the world, old age is respected – you dare not meet an elderly person in the morning without your two knees touching the bare floor in greeting. Today’s kids will either say hi, hello or offer to shake your hands instead of kneeling down. To what do we attribute this? Gone are the days when the Nigerian man’s monthly income was enough for the entire family and the wife had to be a stay at home domestic engineer. Now more women are entering the workforce and earning as much as their men, while some women have become the breadwinners in their respective homes. To compensate from being absent at home and to ensure good behaviour, a lot of parents are spoiling their children by buying them the latest ipods, playstation III, latest shoes, clothes, expensive perfumes, mobile phones and stuffing them with too much fast food. Take a look at the newly wedded couple on your street and observe the kind of unending shopping sprees couples throw themselves into once the wife is pregnant. Too often they end up buying items that the unborn child may never use or wear. Have you considered what happens to a kid from a low or middle-income family who comes home from school demanding that the parents buy him or her the latest school bag or shoes due to what his peers are wearing?
So I ask myself do we still care about good manners or have we simply lost it? We’re gradually raising kids, who always get what they never asked for and kids, who spend too much time in front of the television and who’re socially backward. Like an article puts it “the primitive instinct to protect kids from anything negative has turned to something more sinister, a cocooning which results in them being completely ill-equipped to cope with the world outside their own home”. However, can you blame them if no one has ever said “no” to them?