Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Shocking, or at least to me, news stories

I generally only watch the morning news when in a hotel room because I am lucky enough to be a morning person and work from home most days and so can essentially roll out of bed and straight into work. 

In some ways pottering around a hotel room and listening to the news reminds me of why I don't generally watch the news. 

Two stories of note in the last week...

Firstly, a well known children's author has caused shock because they have written a story where a main characters smokes. And yes, I am talking a young children's author, toddlers in fact.  

Regardless of the fact that many parents of young children smoke and they see cigarettes every day I do believe it is irresponsible to have the habit glorified into mainstream children's books. 

Ignoring the argument that a parent has the right to choose to introduce their children to a life with cigarettes surely some businesses have a responsibility to try and protect our children from what is a proven dangerous habit and potential killer?  

I understand that publishing houses are in the business of making profit and it could be argued that introducing a book where a character smokes is unlikely to do that so I can only assume they have done because either the author is a big selling author and they believe it won't affect sales or they believe that the added publicity this is causing may boost sales.  

The publishers say the smoking is shown negatively on the book allowing opportunity for parents to discuss it with their them. Personally, there are plenty of opportunities to discuss the negative effects of smoking in mainstream media without it being in toddlers books, especially where a character is trying to be cool by smoking. What next?  Alcohol in toddlers books?

The second story is about people in New York are paying a woman £600 a day to potty train their children. Known as 'The Potty Whisperer'  she claims a 100% success rate in only 2 days. 

I am not convinced that 100% of children are completely potty trained in two days. This is essentially a habit that you teach children, it becomes automatic and I'm not convinced that happens in 2 days. 

I understand that the world is a busy place and that New York may be argued to have busier parents with less time than elsewhere but personally I don't believe that is the majority of parents in New York. 

Let's face it, very few parents have fond memories of potty training, the ever more vigilance than you need when a child is in nappies but surely it is one that is accepted as taking time?  

Conscious I am going to drop myself in a clich├ęd and expected assumption but I can't help but wonder if the woman in question is being used by families who have plenty of funds and nannies galore. Is it the latest fad and/or is is she being used because the parents think she has something different to offer rather than they can't be bothered? 

The mother questioned this morning in the interview had a 3 year old little boy and said she had been 'dipping in and out of potty training' with no success. Little wonder the child isn't potty trained - it takes consistency to teach a child a habit; it is called a learned behaviour for a reason. 

I may be at danger of sounding old now but I couldn't help but think that potty training seems to be the latest victim to an increasing number in society that seem to have forgotten that a child needs to be raised with consistency; consistent behaviour, rules, love, lessons, energy and the list goes on. 

If you bring a child up to be able to do what they want because you are tired they grow up doing what they want, they don't learn what they can and cannot do. Little wonder they are confused. 

I have visions of these children as grown ups with toddlers of their own asking their mums for advice on potty training; 'Oh I'm sorry dear, I paid someone to teach you that in 2 days.' 

I will get off my soap box now. What do you guys think of these headlines? 

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