Friday, 20 August 2010

Parental responsibility

I did a blog post  recently about a 9 year old girl who died in a rafting accident here in Turkey, and I was dismayed  at the parents' decision in allowing  a young child to take part in such a dangerous activity.

Today there is a story in the Daily Mail here concerning a 3 year old girl who managed to climb into a bear pit in a zoo in Germany.  She was there with her sibling and her parents, and it seemed she managed to climb into the pit whilst they weren't looking.

For god's sake!  Why weren't they looking?  Surely two parents can be responsible for two children?  Apparently the father then climbed in to rescue her.  They were both injured, but thankfully not seriously.   And I hope with all my heart that the bear who attacked them is not destroyed as a result of this recklessness on the part of the parents.  After all the bear was only protecting his territory.

I do wonder if some parents feel that their children can do as they please, while they (the parents) just ignore them.

I was sitting over at the hotel yesterday and watched as a young boy, about 3 years old, systematically pulled up flowers and plants from the hotel garden...while his parents sat a few yards away.   They glanced over at him occasionally, but not once did either of them tell him to stop.

I was seething.  I wanted to tell the parents to take responsibility for their son.  I wanted to gently explain to the little boy that it was wrong to do this.   I didn't though.  You just can't interfere these days can you?  Well of course if it had been a Turkish child and parents, I would have spoken to the little boy and the parents, because they would have accepted it.  But these were foreign tourists.  I didn't feel it was my place to intervene.  It's not my hotel...not my responsibility...these are guests of the hotel, so it's up to the hotel staff to deal with it.   Or maybe the hotel are happy to let people wreck the place? Who knows?  No-one did anything about it.  Eventually he got bored and went back to sit with his parents.  I was relieved, because it was all I could do to stop myself from rushing over to put a stop to it.

None of us are perfect parents...I certainly wasn't.  But is it wrong to expect parents to put the safety of their children first, and not take their eyes off them for one minute?  And is it wrong to teach our children respect for people and property?


  1. Dear Ayak, as a mother of five - four of them were born within a time span of five years, so you can imagine what it meant to go out with the little "troupe"! - I agree wholeheartedly with you. I suspect that the notion of parenthood has changed dramatically, when we so often hear that parents want to be their children's "buddies", their best friends... I have been far from perfect, as a mother (with every new baby that was born, I discovered that I had to lower my standards a bit further, just to be able to cope with everything), and every once in a while I know that I was spotted yelling at one or several of my children, in the middle of the street... I know that I have dragged some of them home - literally! - when I was unable to stop a tantrum, or simply felt overwhelmed and unable to cope.
    But I always knew when to say NO!, and to stick with that NO. Saying NO is a big part of parenthood, at least it is for me. And the values that I have tried most to teach to my children are respect and tolerance.
    Now that most of them are teenagers or young adults, the main rule is "the more freedom, the more responsibility".
    Then again, it's not too hard to be a parent in Portugal: in a (still) relatively conservative society, which adores its children while expecting them to respect and obey their elders, most parents do feel responsible for, and protective of their children.

  2. Astro: I've always been a little in awe of how you have coped so well with your 5 must have been very hard work at times! The Portuguese and Turkish cultures are similar in their love of children,whilst at the same time being able to teach them respect for their elders.

    You and I have of course have shared the same beliefs for some time now in abhorring the way that some parents don't feel it necessary to take responsibility for their childrens' safety and welfare. And it seems that no matter how many times we read stories of how parents do not put the safety of their children first, nothing seems to be learned from it. I despair at times.

    And I am in total agreement with you about the word "NO"....Knowing when to use it and sticking with it!

  3. I'm stunned at how some parents are completely oblivious to their children's bad behavior. I'm acutely aware of my children and how they behave at home and out. I would never let my small children destroy flowers or let them wander around unattended. I feel exhausted a lot and I do let a few things slide - sometimes my daughter watches much too much TV. It all goes against good parenting - to let your kid just do as he/she pleases. And don't get me started on cooking separate meals for children...!

  4. It just seems such a shame for the children that parents will let them grow up to be uncivilised...if not eaten by bears before.

  5. I don't understand how the parents could sit by and let their child destroy someone elses property!! No bloomin wonder we have a portion of society that has no respect for anyone or anything if that is the way they are brought up!

    C x

  6. I have seen this sort of thing so often that I just have to ignore it or I will lose my mind.

    One time I was in a public place and some young boy was screaming. He wasn't hurt or anything. He was just screaming and screaming. The mother- who was presumably near deaf- didn't say or do anything. Assorted looks of peevish annoyance were thrown in her direction. Finally after being unable to carry on a conversation, I turned and asked the mother to see to the child. I was polite and never raised my voice. Her reaction was to order the child to keep screaming as loud as he could. Louder, she told him. After all, nobody was going to tell her how to raise a child!

    But, in times like this, the Turks have a good old fashioned but useful phrase that we in the West use too little. COK AYIP! It doesn't mean anything to say, What a shame! because I think our societies have lost the idea of feeling ashamed.

  7. 'Cross the Pond: It is exhausting being a parent.Sometimes we do let standards slip, but being responsible for their safety and teaching right from wrong surely comes with the territory, so I'm at a loss to understand why people don't stop their children from destroying things.

    Fly: And is it my imagination or are there more uncivilised youngsters these days? Probably because of the lack of boundaries?

    Carol: It seems to be getting worse. Goodness knows how the next generation will turn out.

  8. Nomad: And the attitude of that woman speaks volumes in terms of the attitude towards parenting these days. I hate to keep going on about how Turkish children behave, but you know as well as I do, that if you see a child behaving badly it's perfectly acceptable in this society to correct them. And you're right...people just don't feel ashamed anymore.

  9. I agree wholeheartedly with what you say, Ayak. What are the parents thinking of to let children do such things. Unfortunate about the bear pit but disgraceful about the Hotel plants.

    I do hope that this comment doesn't end up in your trash. If so I will have to get my son to try & sort out if there is anything wrong. Please let me know!
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  10. Maggie: Your comment appeared didn't end up in the spam box. I reckon that it must just have been some sort of blip at the time Blogger introduced the new spam box. Anyway it's all OK now xx

  11. I hate the way some people let their children behave ... I know mine were no angels but I taught them how to behave .... well I thought I did lol xx

  12. I never misbehaved in public as a small child because I knew that I would face serious consequences from my's really that easy. I enjoyed hearing your thoughts on this.:)

  13. I've enjoyed reading this post Ayak and agree with everything you say.

  14. Bomb: You can only do your best!

    Mr H: Thanks. My childhood was much the same.

    Jan: Thanks xx

  15. It is hard to know when to say something and not say something. You were right though it is the hotels responsibility. I don't mind if people say things to my children as long as they do it kindly because I think it is another voice telling them that what they are doing is not ok and sometimes it has more weight than my own.

  16. likeschocolate: Yes I agree with you, sometimes another voice will get the message across...and definitely it should be done kindly.

  17. Hello Ayak - it is good to be back here and able to post once again. I've been reading your blog lately but, due to being limited to reading it on the Wii back at the French house, (you can read but not type comments on things)I've not been able to say how sorry I was to read about the haman not working out. Fingers crossed for the next venture.

    As for parents like the above - you know me and my impetuous tongue - I'd have had to have said something - and no doubt have got a mouthful back for my pains.

  18. Hi FF: Welcome back! The hamam is just about keeping it's head above water...thanks for your good wishes.

    Well it was extremely difficult for me to stop myself saying something to the parents...but I was aware of the many reluctantly had to bite my tongue on this occasion.

  19. I'm with you all the way on this. Hard to watch kids misbehave in the presence of their parents.

    MIL and I thought & spoke of you last nite. We tried a new Turkish restaurant (our first ever) and wondered if it was authentic. Tasted good, but it was some sort of beef/lamb composite, and I can't think that this is traditional, but what do I know? It was served with rice and a thickened yogurt. All very good, but one of the most pleasant aspects was that it brought up your blog! c

  20. C: Can you remember the name of the dish? Serving with yoghurt sounds pretty authentic though. I can't recalla dish using beef and lamb but it's entirely possible.


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