Children are special
How do we communicate values to children? There’s a general acceptance that children learn from the behaviour of their peers and, more importantly, from adults. Modelling good behaviours is at the heart of good parenting and, in school, teachers and other school staff are truly in loco parentis in this aspect as well as others.
For many people the apparent “loss of childhood” has been seen as an accelerating trend. Children are encouraged to mimic adults, to lose the simplicity of being young and to be mini grownups. Without emotional maturity, however, it’s impossible for them to deal with this effectively. We are putting them into situations that they can’t fully deal with. There’s a reason we call children children. We differentiate that stage of life from adulthood. Yet there seems to be an increasing desire to move them to a position where they are forced to mimic adults.
Two examples came to my attention in the last week. The first was the sale by Tesco of miniskirts for primary school children as part of its school uniform range. Presumably the store was saying that it knows there are parents who want to dress their little girls in an inappropriate manner so we’ll cater to that market. Maybe they think that Primark’s sale of padded bikinis for seven year olds was ok too.
The other was in my local paper. There was a report and pictures of a nearby school’s end of year Prom. It was a primary school. Pictures of Year 6 pupils in three piece suits and scaled down gowns accompanied the words. Inappropriate in a different way when one considers that the school draws its children from a range of family affluence. Some are well off, others find life much tougher and the cost of dressing up their children for a one-off event was unnecessary. Inappropriate too when its purpose was to ape older students and when the end of term disco or show is still regarded as more than adequate by most schools.
Children are just that. We have to give them time to learn and mature. Pushing them to be “little adults” is bad behaviour. And says the wrong thing to them. Communicating well with children is a responsibility that can’t be overlooked or taken lightly. It’s down to schools, shops, and each of us as parents, aunts, uncles or whatever to do it with thought and care.
Posted on: 5th August 2010 in
Has Michael Gove got it right? The usual answer to this question , certainly amongst educators, would be an overwhelming “no”.
But on this occasion I’d say, and not in a grudging way, he’s bang on with a pronouncement. The Secretary of State has told his civil servants to mind their language when writing letters. To make them clear, straightforward, and without waffle.Read more ...