They say it takes a village to raise a child and it is a saying that is so true yet over the years as communities, we have moved away from the old tried and tested traditions of having a hands-on approach in helping raise children within a community.
They say it takes a village to raise a child and it is a saying that is so true yet over the years as communities, we have moved away from the old tried and tested traditions of having a hands-on approach in helping raise children within a community. It is something that has progressed sadly, mainly due to the rise in abuse allegations and the ever-growing change in human behaviour. People now take a few seconds to decide whether to aid or help a child in case it gets them into trouble and this is worrying.
Is the lack of emotional touch that most of us grew up with, having a negative impact on young peoples lives? A hug can make a person’s day and if a child hurts oneself it is only natural that they may require a reassuring hug or squeeze in their parents’ absence. Except this isn’t something anyone does anymore; is it? Teachers, coaches and mentors all have a duty of care to children, but they cannot be seen to touch a child or hug a child. The question mark of suspected abuse is too much and any mentor in clubs will know that adults can’t travel alone with a youngster without another child present. There must be two children in the car and though circumstances can change it is vital that all people teaching, or mentoring follow the rules. The code of conduct is there, and for good reason, but with this people are losing more of their humanness. Santa himself hasn’t avoided the question of human contact and how inappropriate it is. The long-time tradition of sitting on Santa’s knee is quite uncommon, Santa prefers the kiddies to stand next to him and if there is a baby present he will allow the tiny one to be shuffled onto him while his parents look on, carefully.
As a society we have begun to accept this as the normal; what choice do we have after all? But then you go on holiday, you watch the children’s entertainers and observe their connection with those around them. The kids love them and watch in awe as they play with them, tickle them and wait for it…HUG them! Some might even get a peck on the cheek. It is something you wouldn’t see in Ireland yet, it has a profound effect on the little ones. Human contact is a normal part of growing up, it shows love, care and adoration. In some cases, it purely is to reassure and yes, it has been abused – we can’t get away from that; sadly. But the sorrow really is that some parents say they don’t allow playdates unless their partner is home too, in case anything happens. Other parents mention how they feel conflicted if a child is feeling ill or has hurt themselves in their care. The parents don’t know how to react. Could they hug the kids or rub their knee better? Is that allowed anymore? Will parents get in trouble for doing what comes naturally to them?
We are squeezing the life out of human contact, the foundation of social relationships. Let’s respect the reasons it is like it is, but not forget our roots.
Written by Emma Hayes staff writer at Family Friendly HQ.