Thursday, 1 June 2017

Ah, the Joys of Parenting!

Today, I read a news story about a 9-year old girl in New Brunswick who was hospitalized after drinking vaping fluid called "Unicorn Milk", believing it was candy. Now the child's mother wants government regulations to ban the use of "child-friendly" names on such products. My first reaction to this was to ask, why didn't the mother think to keep her vaping fluid out of the reach of her young child? Many if not most product-makers already have labels on their products advising buyers to keep them out of reach of children. I obviously don't know if this "Unicorn Milk" had such a label, but even common sense tells me or any other rational person that you shouldn't keep such a potentially harmful product within the reach of a young child. Now of course, no person is perfect and parents make mistakes like any other human beings. But my sense is that this mother needs to be more careful in protecting her child rather than asking government to do it for her.

Now just to be fair, I'm not a parent. I have no children of my own, so it's very easy for me to tell parents how they should go about looking after their children when I don't have any myself. Nevertheless, I was a child once too, just like every other adult in the world. And I was fortunate enough to be raised by two loving parents, so I know what it's like to be parented. We live in age where it seems that more and more parents are demanding that governments at all levels do more to protect their children when they as their children's parents are the ones that should be doing the protecting. For example, some streets have a seemingly endless number of speed bumps and stop signs because of parents concerned about speeding cars hitting their children. This is certainly a legitimate concern. I've heard too many stories about children being hit by cars and sometimes killed. At the same time, however, I think that some parents need to do a better job of making their kids streetwise. I don't know about you, but when I was a kid, I was taught to look both ways before crossing the street. I was also forbidden from crossing the street alone when I was young. Perhaps if parents drilled these rules into their kids' heads a little more, we wouldn't need so many speed bumps and stop signs that when overused can result in traffic jams that lead to road rage, which could ultimately end catastrophically with an angry, frustrated driver accidentally running over a small child.

Sometimes, however, I can't help but feel sympathy for people who are parents nowadays. The reason is that parenting isn't like what it was when I grew up. For one thing, it's a lot harder. When I was a child, families where one parent worked and the other stayed home did reasonably well in the economy. Unfortunately, that's not the case today. The economy of 2017 is one in which even when both parents work full-time jobs, they still might have trouble providing for their children and making ends meet. And if you're a single parent with kids, the odds are really stacked up against you. So if you're wondering why parents want government to do more for their kids, maybe it's because after a long, hard day at the office, they have a lot less time and energy to be parents.   

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