Saturday, January 2, 2010

People we love: Ms Tania De Rozario for "Avoid being judgmental with children"

ST Forum publishes something actually REALLY AWESOME. In her response to a recent series (still on-going, I believe) on apparent teenage delinquency, Ms Tania De Rozario writes to dispel the loose and stereotypical correlation of cause and effects.

I wish I'd written it myself: (emphasis mine)
Jan 2, 2010
Avoid being judgmental with children

I REFER to Tuesday's reports, 'Errant parenting helps breed teenage crime' and 'Divorce is start of downward spiral for duo'. As someone from a background of divorced parents, I find the association of teen crimes with divorce offensive.

The reason children from 'broken' homes feel 'broken' is that they have been sold the idea there is only one type of home or family structure worth having and anything different is, well, broken.

I have friends who are the products of a variety of family structures: happily married, unhappily married, divorced, separated and so on. None is a criminal.

Many teen criminals come from what you may call 'wholesome' families.

From my observations, if parents want to keep lines of communication open with their children, they must realise their children have a different understanding of the world they inhabit and not be judgemental about things that are essentially non-consequential: the way they dress, the colour they dye their hair, the tattoos and piercings they want.

Is a teenager supposed to be responsible for the fact that in his parents' time, getting a tattoo meant one was a criminal?

If parents don't want their children to deviate, then don't make them feel deviant. No child will drift away from you because you teach him that stealing or killing is wrong.

Children drift away from you when you make them feel like louts for expressing themselves or liking the things they like.

Another fast way to alienate your children is to demonise the company they keep. If you catch a glimpse of your child's friends and become paranoid that he is moving with unwelcome company, invite the friends to dinner. I can tell you as someone deemed a 'weirdo' by many a 'proper' adult - because of my bald head and piercings - that many have found me pleasantly surprising. And those who treated me fairly have been rewarded with respect and a strengthened loyalty to my friends.

Parents should also watch against demonising everything from sex to drinking to smoking. Instead of condemning them as signs of immorality and bad company, they should focus on the harm they can cause the human body. Let your child know you don't want him to suffer pain.

Tania De Rozario (Ms)

On the point of sex and safety, I just want to point to something else I read that I hope prompts sex educators, concerned friends and family to re-situate their advice should they aim to be in the least relevant to anyone who really needs the info:
Worse yet, today's sex education still bears the scars of abstinence-only. So it's not like we've provided our young with advice they can trust or embrace when they are naked and alone together. Instead of offering a genuine interest in their sexual enjoyment, we begrudgingly acknowledge their sexuality by insisting they put gross-looking and strange-feeling latex galoshes on their penises. (Sauce.)
She sports a "bald head and piercings" (so what?) and she gets it. For that Ms De Rosario is welcome to come play with us and share our delicious treats here at the barn. ^^

2010, so far so good!


  1. I once flipped briefly through a parenting book that gave the same advice (not to demonise your children's friends), and also asked parents to first examine why they might feel uncomfortable about their child's friends before immediately voicing questions, criticism or condemnation. It could be well-founded concern that the child is acquiescing to the negative behaviour of a peer group, against the child's own values and judgment, because of the need to feel included -- or it could be the parents' own biases against kids of a certain race, class, and/or appearance.

  2. yeah read that in St and it was a truly fine piece of logical and rational writing. Trust the conservatives to come out with their swords swinging on this one....


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