http://lindaghill.wordpress.com/2013/08/28/how-the-internet-is-hurting-our-kids/ set me thinking and my response to her would be too long as a comment.
Is the Internet hurting our kids with expectations of instant gratification? Do parents enable irresponsibility in their children?
(Linda inserted a disclaimer, as do I. There probably is no exact right way but there still has to be an attempt at providing one.)
Perhaps there is an element of this but I can only speak from my own experiences with my own children.
They all have had access to the internet since I was able to make it available to them around 15 or so years ago. That was about the time we had our first internet capable computer, modem built in. Prior to that, the hand-me-down computer that we had was used by me and all of them for word processing, spreadsheets for work and some games that were onboard.
It’s difficult to imagine that such a relatively short time has passed and we have come so far in what computers are capable of and the multitude of social networking sites available for use. Not to mention the range of games and the graphics capability.
Each of my seven children, from the eldest at 24 to the youngest at 6, is well-versed in how to use the many programmes available. Most of that is self-taught. They have no fear of challenging capabilities, whereas my initial attempts were fear-filled at what I might erase or damage in my feeble attempts to become comfortable with technology.
They use the computer for school, work and social activities.
But they also read, play guitar, listen to music, watch movies, go outside to play, visit friends, play chess, have friends round, go to the cinema and a host of other activities that are not computer or internet dependent.
As far as depending on parents for financial support this is a matter that I have given a lot of thought to and have implemented various strategies with different degrees of success.
The general rule in our house is that the children are given pocket money up to the age when they can get a part-time/Saturday job. The pocket money has been a fixed amount or a flexible one depending on our circumstances. It is not dependent on doing chores but they are all expected to do some as well as keep their own rooms in order.
As soon as the children are of age to find part-time work (which is not always easily come by) they are then expected to buy their own clothes, provide for their own entertainment and any other extras. We still purchase their school clothes and necessities. They are expected to contribute £10 (15US$ 16C$) a week from a part-time job to get them used to the idea that contributing to their upkeep is essential.
After they have finished full-time education and gone on to work in full-time employment, they contribute around £200 ( 310 US$ 326C$) per month for their upkeep. This is much less than they would be paying if they were in a flat or managing for themselves.
My eldest got her first part-time job at 16 and worked there until she started university. She then did auxiliary nursing in addition to her studies as a nurse and this helped fund her way through university. She still contributed at home. She is now in a flat with her fiancé and the two of them work and manage their home and know how to finance themselves, pay bills, save for holidays and so on.
My eldest son also had his first part-time job at 16 working for McDonalds. He moved from there to a warehouse job and kept that on while at university. He packed in uni as he hated the course and got a job working in a bank where he has done very well. After two years of working there he has decided to return to college and started just last week. He has kept on the bank work part-time and he still contributes.
My daughter at 20 started working in Cineworld about 3 or 4 years ago, part-time. When she finished school she did not want to go immediately to university so she went full-time for two years at Cineworld. She started the same college as her brother last week. She is in a flat with friends and pays her way there as she did when she was at home.
My 18 year old son has had one part-time job that only lasted a few months. He hated it and gave it up. I was not amused. He did a year’s course at college but now wants to get a job. He has an open evening visit at my other son’s work tonight.
My 15 year old has already asked me to help draft her skills CV in readiness for when she turns 16 to get part-time work while still at school for the next two years.
Until then, she and my younger children will be provided with everything they need. NEED not want. If they want something that I see as a possible nine days wonder or something very expensive then they are told to save up for the cost of half of it. If they manage to do this (from pocket money, birthday money, etc.) then I know they are serious about the desire and I pay for the other half of the item. In this way, over the years, various children have ‘received’ a computer/laptop/playstation/camera etc. It has happened, fairly often, that they stopped saving for the item and said they weren’t bothered any more. So, they don’t get it. If they had really wanted it, they would have saved for it.
With seven children, we simply could not afford to give into every wish and desire. We provide for everything they need but they have been and will continue to be taught to be responsible about all sorts of life lessons in order that they can, one day, join the world of independence with confidence and a sense of responsibility, as well as that all-important work ethic.
A long post, I know. What’s new from me, eh?
But, it is the responsibility of parents to ensure that their children are ready for the grown-up world. Not the schools’ responsibility. Not ‘society’s’ responsibility. Ours. And, if children are not expected to be responsible they’re not going to be. Would you?
It would be lovely, for a while, to be handed everything on a plate. But, those things that I have achieved greatest satisfaction from are those things I’ve felt I’ve deserved because I’ve worked for them. It is how I was taught. It is how I teach my own.