I have a strong view on what good parenting is.
It’s caring enough about your offspring to bother to punish them when they have done wrong. This is not an easy task because it requires effort – effort that once made shows a child in a very subtle way how much you care about their future wellbeing.
It is also caring enough to nurture them and give them the best life chances you possibly can. To pick them up when they are feeling low and struggling, to make sure they know that with the right hard work and behaviour there are endless opportunities out there for them.
In the aftermath of the riots that have been happening across the country this week, society could learn a lot from good parenting.
First, we need to clamp down on the young people who have looted shops and in some cases set fire to homes and attacked innocent civilians and policemen/women. We need to show them that these abhorrent actions have not gone unnoticed and will have severe repercussions.
But the job does not end there. No matter how unpopular it may seem at the moment, after the punishment needs to come the nurturing and care.
You can’t just beat someone with a stick, send them back to a life which they are clearly not feeling happy and fulfilled in, and then expect that anything will change.
The sense of entitlement that has crept up within our society needs to be smothered, but so too does this growing societal trend which silently dictates that people should be left to their own devices and if they make mistakes and don’t ‘measure up’ they will be cajoled and punished but never respected or nurtured.
The message needs to get through that society expects better from those that took part in the riots because they are part of this society. And at the same time society needs to start keeping its end of the deal by making more of an effort to support members of its youth who are feeling so disengaged they are quite willing to destroy everything around them.
Clearly, not enough is being done at the moment to support these people – I don’t think we could have been given a clearer signal of that fact this week. The concept of ‘tough love’ needs an urgent revisit.
By Sophie Hudson