Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Child routines and depression, comment on the BBC articles

I was looking at the BBC news website over breakfast and came across two interesting articles. I tend to avoid the education section now as it just depresses me and hopefully the boys will never have to experience the shambles that is state education in the UK, but these caught my eye.
The first one was about levels of depression amongst young school leavers and how they are unable to cope with everyday life, if they do not go straight from school to college or university they cannot cope is the message, finding a good job is difficult and teenagers experience high levels of stress which leads to depression.
The second article was about the importance of routine for children and how young people with no set bedtimes do badly in exams... The implication (which I strongly resented) was that good parenting is equal to a very structured life for children.

Now call me a dissident hippie but I can see a connection here. You put your baby/child on a routine straight away, tell them what to do and when to do it and take away the ability to make independent and informed decisions. Then send them to nursery and school where they will find more of the same, the ability to follow rules and produce the results that someone else has decided for them is applauded, independent thought and creativity is not. The child turns into a teenager, if everything has gone to plan they will go to a good university thus remaining in a controlling system, then maybe work for a big corporation and contribute to society. But what happens if the teenagers fails to conform? If they want something different for themselves? With no skills to navigate the world outside of institutions it takes a very strong person indeed to succeed. And the others? As the BBC tells us, they become depressed.

So my children will have a very loving family environment, I am involved in their life 24/7, I care for them and help them with what they need and want, I also follow my own pursuits and interests, we are all part of the same unit and we are respectful of each other, we find good solutions not compromises and we do not coerce each other. I like cooking for them but if they are not hungry at 12 on the dot they do not have to eat, they go to sleep in the evening, anything between 8 and 10 but are not forced into bed against their will. They are learning to live in the real world right now! It will not hit them in the face when they are 18, they travel, meet people from different backgrounds and countries, they paint without interruption, learn to read and write at their own pace and are free to follow their interests within a very loving and safe environment. I think that these are the things that matter, the world is not a scary and stressful place for them but a playground filled with wonderful opportunities.

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