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Tags: parenting

The Challenges of Parenting Today

a par of fathers and sons play ball while a nuclear blast is seen behind them in a cartoon illustration
Parenting while the world is in chaos is tough, but necessary. (Dreamstime/Newsmax illustration)

Alexandra York By Tuesday, 10 October 2023 10:29 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

It’s self-evident that parenting in America’s declining culture has become a challenge like never before.

Add to this the fact that most fathers and mothers now work outside the home which means their children will largely be cared for — even sometimes from babyhood — by others; thus, we see how actually precarious child-rearing can be and how important it is for parents to wisely choose the individuals who will essentially have more influence on their little ones’ development than they themselves. Especially if a child is turned over to other adults before they can speak, there is no concrete way parents can know what is happening to the child in their absence.

Even more troubling is that programed-by-unknown-“someones” AI robotic “Nannies” are now being developed to care for and interact with infants. Consider that when a baby is born, most of its actual physical brain growth occurs during the first two years of life; about 1 million neural connections form every second.

The brain grows to about 80% of adult size by age 3, so during this maturation phase what babies need most is rich back-and-forth interface with adults called “serve and return” in order to fuel proper physical mind growth in both cognitive and emotional abilities.

Consider, too, influences even before a baby is born: A fetus begins hearing in vitro between 18 to 27 weeks, so music listened to by a mother can significantly affect the development of a baby-to-be. Functional brain imaging shows that music directly influences the brain’s limbic system, structures of which are involved in motivation, emotion, learning, and memory.

[Sidebar: Studies show dairy cows produce more milk when Mozart rather than rock is played.]

Once born, the years from birth to 3 are crucial for establishing childrearing-child-learning patterns. From birth and complete dependency through massive preschool development — walking, speaking, skill-learning, experimenting with efficacy abilities — to the time when early concepts begin to form in the brain children need constant life-nurturing attention to avoid mental-growth slippage that can hinder development.

Reading adventurous stories to toddlers — bedtime, naptime — is extremely advantageous during this formative period of mental plasticity. Much bonding can be achieved by the activity but equally important it opens mental pathways to situational understanding, processes of questioning choices, and imagination.

Along with disciplined behavioral conduct in general, another important thing to teach young children (usually around age 3), by word and example, is deferring gratification. There is a famous marshmallow test that offered youngsters one marshmallow now or two marshmallows if they waited a couple of hours. Insecure children were found take the one now, and more secure kids waited for the bounty of two.

Discouraging instant gratification and encouraging patience teaches little ones to plan ahead in order to reap more and better tangible rewards.

But backing up to dangers: The use of electronic devices around and by children requires close supervision. Studies show that when in the presence of television, computer, or cell-phone activity, babies even 5- to 6-months-old become mesmerized by the visual-audio stimulation and sit spellbound for five or 10 minutes — significant because little else can hold their attention for that length of time at those ages.

As they grow older and become physically mobile, all children thrill at any activity that rewards their increasing powers of efficacy. This is usually positive because it assures them that they can control their environment, the delights of cause and effect.

Yet, it also means that whenever electronic devices are available, they gravitate to manipulating them. Small children push buttons and touch screens with abandon, quickly learning that their manipulations change pictures and sounds with scant mental effort.

Parents must take care that their kids don’t become dependent on readily available, pre-programmed interactive devices because, as cautioned above, young children’s minds are in very formative stages and vastly malleable; thus, they easily can begin to rely on outside stimuli for experiences of efficacy rather than creatively inventing efficacy entertainment on their own. Electronic devices are tools not appendages.

[Sidebar: This holds true for parents as well, especially cell phone addiction]

Without doubt, the most dangerous of all outside influences is the mounting evidence that some children as young as 3 to 5 are being encouraged by day care and school teachers — both private and public — to question something as physically fundamental as their biological gender.

In many cases, they are coached on when and how to actually begin programs to alter their sex by mutilating their tiny bodies via drugs first and surgery later. This horror is becoming almost a fad, and numerous parents (inexcusably) agree to the practice, making them accomplices to heinous crimes against their own offspring.

Finally, as everyone knows, countless teachers at all grade levels have become doctrinarians, so by the time too many youngsters reach college they are already conditioned to accept some form of political collectivism (Marxism, socialism, fascism, etc.), a socio-economic system that demands obedience and stunts critical thinking and independent agency.

Ergo: Parents need be aware and beware of all influences playing upon their children’s upbringing throughout the maturation process. The cultural environment into which they are brought into the world today is fraught with obstacles hindering healthy growth — both mental and physical — so parental home educating and vigilant monitoring are the only hopes for children to survive the deleterious perils of outside influences.

If unchecked, these influences will mold them into vulnerable adults receptive to authoritarian dictates that bind them to dependency by arresting and distorting growth from childhood to adulthood. Conversely, children advantaged by mindful and diligent parenting should, in spite of interferences, evolve into rational, responsible, secure, and happy adults prepared to bear and raise their own.

Alexandra York is an author and founding president of the American Renaissance for the Twenty-first Century (ART) a New-York-City-based nonprofit educational arts and culture foundation. She has written for many publications, including "Reader's Digest" and The New York Times. She is the author of "Crosspoints A Novel of Choice." Her most recent book is "Soul Celebrations and Spiritual Snacks." For more on Alexandra York — Go Here Now.

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If unchecked, these influences will mold them into vulnerable adults receptive to authoritarian dictates that bind them to dependency by arresting and distorting growth from childhood to adulthood.
Tuesday, 10 October 2023 10:29 AM
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