Raising Children: Differentiating between child labour, abuse and what’s normal/healthy.

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I agree that we’re gradually, if not fully, in the age where parents don’t know how to parent anymore. We don’t want to make the same “mistakes” or be as “harsh” on our children like our parents treated us while growing up so we would rather be friends with a children hoping they can talk to us more and we can make the best of our responsibilities towards them. Unfortunately, there is a huge difference between friendship and parenting and until we clearly understand and define where the one starts, we won’t be able to tell where the other begins. Because most of us are unable to call this shot, discipline is almost lost and we have children running around like epidemic in the society. Someone’s gotta take responsibility for that.

Speaking of responsibilities – I was driving through a community recently and saw these group of public school pupils outside the school premise, cutting the overgrown grasses with cutlasses and hoes. At first, I thought – wow, who let’s their child leave home and come be a gardener at school? Can’t the school afford aboki to do the job? Is it safe for them to be outside when they should be catching up on the new term’s curriculum? Is it safe, basically?

Then I was quick to remember that I too, was once in that situation where I cut overgrown grasses, safe or not, skilled or not, even to the point where I grew blisters on my palm. Hmm, those were the days!

So would I be considered the typical 21st century parent who overprotects a child or a parent who just thinks certain “chores” should not be assigned a child? Either way, what is safe in raising children? How do we differentiate or mark out territories that are no go areas for children? What are the things that can be considered as too much for a child?

Well, Wikipedia defines child labour as when a person below 15 years of age is doing work that is depriving them of their childhood, their potential and their dignity – when the work is harming their physical and mental development. When a child is forced to leave school or combine schooling and work or when they are getting sick from the kind of work that they do – this is considered child labour. While Child abuse or child maltreatment is considered physical, sexual, or psychological maltreatment or neglect of a child, especially by a parent or other caregiver. Child abuse may include any act or failure to act by a parent or other caregiver that results in actual or potential harm to a child, and can occur in a child’s home, or in the organizations, schools or communities the child interacts with.

Can this scenario then be termed an act of child labour of some sort?

While it may have been fun for some pupils to engage in some “jobs”, others might have struggled with it and maybe even gotten punished for complaining or not doing it right. Either way, perhaps, asking for student volunteers might have been good and most definitely, putting the volunteers through health and safety policies while providing safety tools to do the job should be considered. Otherwise, making a child do certain work at certain age may very well be child maltreatment.

Or maybe I’m just being a typical 21st century parent. What do you think?

4 thoughts on “Raising Children: Differentiating between child labour, abuse and what’s normal/healthy.

  1. Not in support of asking kids to volunteer to tidy up their school environment – have you ever come across a child who likes to do chores? I haven’t. What we teach kids to do in the early years is what gets carried into adulthood.

    Schools in Japan ( primary/ high school) don’t have janitors to clean classrooms, toilets and hallways – the students do it all by themselves. Will that be considered child labor? Most definitely not as Japan is rated high on environmental sanitation – cleanliness is ingrained in the kids in the formative years.

    As usual – just 2 kobo opinion… 🙂

  2. Bringing back to memory the journey of my childhood to adulthood in the care of a loving, caring, thorough and disciplined grandmother who thought us the importance of commitment, serenity and independence . Looking at the journey through public schools both primary and secondary where students do every chores as it concerns hygiene and morals. Being too strict with children of this jet age is not ideal, over pampering either in the guise of listening to the children, communication strategy and creating friendship, this too has its own negative side. Combination of both with moderation will benefit a child. The western culture did evade the traditional moral standards in our locals, no wonder the continuous decadence in the society. Child Abuse etc was borrowed but should be redefined to create a balanced society. Just my opinion before our children will start dialing 999 for parent arrest. 😊

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