A shocking study into the daily routine of British children revealed that many live in less than hygienic conditions. A number of homes are run on low budgets but this does not appear to be the main reason for the squalor so many children are growing up in. The same children are fed on costly processed foods instead of healthier options available in supermarkets and high street shops, and belong to two car families, where one or both parents earn a reasonable salary.
The significant factor seems to be parental incompetence; mothers and fathers who are unable to cook and clean efficiently or understand the reason for needing to, thus endangering their childrens health and well being.
Keeping a home clean costs relatively little. Sophisticated cleaning preparations are unnecessary; in fact the majority of bacteria may be destroyed with a simple solution of hot water and bleach. However the problem is more deep rooted even than just knowing which cleaning materials are most effective; the truth is that parents just do not care whether their children are growing up in a safe and healthy environment and as long as the childrens health allows them to maintain a reasonable level of school attendance, their parents see themselves as coping.
Many children sleep on sheets that are rarely changed and go to school without breakfast, wearing the same clothes from one end of the week to the next without even a change of underwear or socks. They use bathrooms that are seldom cleaned, if ever, and eat in kitchens which are infested with germs, while their parents struggle with their own personal routines; getting themselves washed and dressed and on the road to work with as little disruption as possible, including that which involves their children.
In the modern world it is common for both parents to have to work to earn their living. Yet some parents cope with the pressures of combining a working life with home commitments admirably, while others neglect their kids development shamefully, in favour of their own selfish interests and obligations.
The key to improving matters in this case is to persuade such people that they are doing wrong by their children; most of the guilty parties believe themselves to be doing a perfectly reasonable job under the circumstances, using their busy schedule as an excuse for performing badly as parents and waving aside the importance of a healthier regime for their kids.
The bottom line is that children need a clean, stable environment and a healthy regime in order to flourish. Many children survive appalling conditions in their childhood and then grow up to inflict the same ghastly regime on their own offspring, not fully understanding how to improve matters. Such people are producing entire nations of dysfunctional children and more and more the incidence of clean, healthy homes are outnumbered by those which are dirty, undisciplined and depressing for all those who live within them.
Even more worrying, is that some children now tend to associate cleanliness with wealth. Children raised within clean environments are of course considerably better dressed than those who come from dirtier homes; their clothes are laundered daily, they bathe regularly and their parents supervise regular dental treatment. The benefits of such a routine are obvious, especially to the less fortunate child who, resenting his own situation will perceive such privileges to be the result of a higher income.
Good parenting is a skill learned by so few yet attempted by so many. The definition of a good parent covers many aspects, from providing a healthy diet to investing adequate time in providing a suitable environment for children to develop in. Common sense figures largely in the persona of many excellent parents, yet is woefully lacking in the majority.
Jan Gamm writes reflections on life with an emphasis on world travel. She has lived in many countries and traveled extensively in the Far East, the Middle East, America, South America and throughout the South Pacific. She writes for fun and for money whenever she can manage it.
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