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What does 'good child-raising' mean?

25 Comments

Yamato Tanooka is surely the most famous seven-year-old boy in all Japan – maybe in all the world, for interest in him, and attention on him, was global. “The missing Japanese boy,” overseas media dubbed him. Six terrifying days – from May 28 to June 3 – he spent alone and lost in the forested mountains of southwestern Hokkaido, left there by his parents as punishment for misbehavior. His discovery safe and well, sheltering in a Self-Defense Forces hut, gave the entire world something to celebrate.

Now the entire misadventure is giving the world something to debate. Raising children is difficult and stressful. They are anarchic little beings who must be taught the social basics – not to throw rocks at cars for example, as Yamato had apparently been doing. Where, asks Shukan Josei (June 21) is the fine line between discipline and abuse?

The consensus is that, wherever it is, Yamato’s parents crossed it. Yamato’s father, in his repeated and evidently heartfelt apologies, has admitted it. “I too,” a mother in her 30s tells the magazine, “throw my kid out of the car when he misbehaves – but I never let him out of my sight. I never go farther than a few meters away.”

To Hosei University professor and education analyst Naoki Ogi, it’s as much a human rights issue as anything else. “The point of discipline is to make the child respect other people’s dignity and human rights. That means respecting the child’s own dignity and human rights.”

Was discipline in this case abusive? Yes, he says. “To make a child feel pain and anxiety is abuse. What kind of fear must he have been going through, left alone deep in the mountains?”

Perhaps it’s something he’ll remember all his life, but with what effect on his emotional development? It’s incalculable, but Ogi stresses a child’s psychological need to trust his or her parents implicitly. “The feeling that my parents love me and protect me is generally established by age 2,” he says. We don’t know much about Yamato’s relationship with his parents – perhaps in his case, that feeling was deficient? Whether it was or not, it is bound to have suffered a blow that will require some healing.

Yamato’s parents may have overreacted, but the episode highlights the extreme stress parents of the nuclear family are under, says Seijo University literature professor Takeo Kojima. He reminds us of earlier times when grandparents – and indeed, the entire community – were involved in children’s upbringing. “Grandpa would take the kids into the mountains, teaching them about wildlife, having them help out as he worked in the fields… And grandparents were mediators between parents and children. They understood how the parents felt and they understood how the kids felt.”

That’s all gone now, and the parent-child relationship is just that – parent and child, often parent versus child. Parents and children live in different worlds, and yet in the same house. How can they help driving each other to distraction – and, sometimes, to excess?

© Japan Today

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25 Comments
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What does 'good child-raising' mean?

When somebody knows the answer please let me & my kids know! :)

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Parents and children live in different worlds

And it is that misunderstanding that is the cause of such problems. The reality is that the parents and children live in THE SAME WORLD. The child quite literally, spent the first NINE MONTHS of its life living INSIDE the mother. Everything the child needed was on there on demand. And when the child finally pops out to say hello, a good father is waiting to give the mother a rest and to take it from there.

Good child-raising is about giving the child the space and time to get used to this crazy world, and to continue to give the child everything it needs.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Now the entire misadventure is giving the world something to debate.

This should be giving something for ALL Japanese to debate, and keep the focus local. By trying to suggest the "world" is debating this issue makes it easy for Japanese to make excuses and obfuscate the issue as something that is a problem somewhere else and the recent case here was an exceptional case and doesnt happen often here.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

How to raise children very well depends on each parents, I think and also it depends on their character, background, circumstances and so on.

There are so many valuable books, tips in internet or TV but we must control our feeling and always should think about their feeling.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

There is no way to answer this question in less than 10,000 words. Even then, the answer would be insufficient. Raising children is an incredibly complex and demanding job - with zero time off for the first 20 years. Each child is different, and each situation is different.

The only thing I can suggest I to often think about what you are doing, and try to be consistent with kids in what you expect of them and what the consequences will be (good or bad). Don't make promises that you will break (which means not making promises you can't keep). Don't make threats of punishment that you are not going to carry out. That means not making outrageous threats meant to scare the kids. It may work at first, until the kids figure out you are bluffing. They will also learn that their parent doesn't mean what he/she says.

Make sure your kids know you love them.

The other 99.9% of child-rearing we all have to figure out for ourselves, and hope we don't screw up too badly.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Good child raising means teaching your children how to make decisions for themselves, rather than making all their decisions for them. It means letting your children fail so that they can learn from their failures. It means installing a valid set of morals into them, so that they can be fair to others, while moving forwards in life themselves.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

I know what bad child raising is!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Not leaving your child in a bear "infested" forest on his own for a few days is a good start.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

First, no matter what we do we are going to mess up our kids in some way or another - accepting that can make parenting less stressful.

So what does 'good child-raising' mean? Simple - unconditional love.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"That’s all gone now, and the parent-child relationship is just that – parent and child, often parent versus child. Parents and children live in different worlds, and yet in the same house. How can they help driving each other to distraction – and, sometimes, to excess?"

So, what, is this guy being paid by the government to ask people to start living in sandwich households with grandparents as well as a kind of way to ease the burden on social welfare systems this nation is facing and that are going to get worse? Is he saying that that would be LESS stressful? Those parents are usually the ones that snap first -- the parents with THEIR parents living with them as well as the kids.

In any case, it was not "misadventure" or "unfortunate", what the boy's parents did was flat out criminal abuse, and the kids should have been taken away. Since they weren't, this will happen again VERY soon, only we'll be reading about dead children instead of the brave and lucky little Yamato.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

They are anarchic little beings who must be taught the social basics

Wrong again! The child and parents live in THE SAME WORLD therefore the responsibility is on the parents to CHANGE THEIR WORLD to make it child-friendly. The parents role is to create a safe environment where the child can express itself without fear. Only an irresponsible parent would force the child to adapt to an adult world when the child is not ready.

A human baby is the only creature that is born WITHOUT THE NATURAL INSTINCTS needed to survive and it is the responsibility of the parents to teach the child what the child needs to know in a safe way.

Children only appear "anarchic" to people who don't know what the are doing...

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/anarchic

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Have not seen much "good child raising" here. And I believe a better term would be child rearing. Or even actually "parenting" the child.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

The amount of frenzied media focus on this is becoming quite silly to say the least. Sure - examine the case and make opinions based on reasoning, but what we have now is "over the top" brouhaha.

I'd like just a smidgeon of the same attention focussed on the extreme deprivation - physical and mental - thrust upon kids everyday in society. There are numerous examples resulting in severe abuse and death.

I'd like the world to take up the cause of these poor kids who die before our eyes while society turns a blind eye.

Yes - the Hokkaido case was unfortunate and the parents were neglectful - but, please get back to reality and discuss the current social horrors and attempt to stop the ongoing infanticide in our towns.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Sloppy wording. Raising offspring simply means to provide food, water, shelter. All animals do this. Bringing up children is a more complex issue.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Seijo University literature professor Takeo Kojima. He reminds us of earlier times when grandparents – and indeed, the entire community – were involved in children’s upbringing. “Grandpa would take the kids into the mountains, teaching them about wildlife...

I remember this too...Pa, would take us over to the mill sometimes, or the general store...oh...wait, that's Little House on the Prairie. I'm glad they asked a lit professor about how the 19th century is all gone!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Putting a person's life in danger is abuse. That has no relation with education. The little Yamato case was not about child raising. Please bring other examples.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Children need to learn to delay gratification and to learn the joy of struggle. Mothers (in particular) need to stop coddling their children and allow children to experience the consequences of their own decisions. Good habits need to be instilled in children the first 5 years--we learned all this in our Psychology classes. Finally, parents need good role models not Naoki Ogi, please.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

My two friends always tell their children "why" their actions are "not acceptable". For example, with the "throwing stones" action" my friends would ask their children how they would feel if someone threw stones at them. The usual answer is "they would not like it either". Children, even very young seem to have their own desire to be in control of their lives so explaining why is important than simply ordering children around with "don't do this or don't do that".

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Good english testing, but I don't have nothing to read! Parents left child at mountains... it's bad.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I was not well raised. My parents both worked, and never had much time to spend with me, or keep me out of trouble. They were not very responsible with their time or money, and life was hard as a result. The main thing they taught me which stuck was to understand the difference between right and wrong. This information kept me from getting out of more trouble than I otherwise might have.

Luckily, rather than repeat their lifestyle, I learned from their mistakes, and have managed to make a bette life for myself. Now that I have children, I can sympathize a lot with the difficulties they went through, but I have invested more time and thought into raising my children, and giving them as good a life as I am able, and I hope they do the same for their children.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Parents all over the world use fear to coerce their children into doing what they want or to behave a certain way. It can be subtle(shaming), overt(physical) or taken to the extreme as in this case(abandonment).

This is not unique to Japan but using the fear of abandonment is something unique to Asian parents.

Whereas in the west, the coercion often takes form of overt actions (eg, spanking, denial of material goods, etc), the fear of abandonment is used quite often among Asian parents to discipline their children.

It works quite well as children fear being abandoned and often just the hint of it and why it will happen, shames them enough to behaving properly.

There's a reason Japan has lowest crime rate and the safest among other developed countries. Obviously theyre doing a lot of things right as parents which many in the world might learn from.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

"There's a reason Japan has lowest crime rate"

The reason for the low crime rate is that many things that civilized countries consider crimes are not considered crimes in Japan. When a parent kills their own child in Japan the courts do not even call it MURDER, they call it FATAL ABUSE and the killers get just a few years, if anything.

Meanwhile, in England, this man who killed him own six-year-old daughter has just got a LIFE SENTENCE with a minimum term of TWENTY-THREE YEARS.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-36587103

0 ( +0 / -0 )

“The point of discipline is to make the child respect other people’s dignity and human rights. That means respecting the child’s own dignity and human rights.”

I guess both my brothers and I were lucky ! That's the way we were brought up - and that's the way I tried to bring my own two sons up (but it certainly isn't always easy !)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Raising my daughters in Japan aint not cake walk thats for sure I tell them to make decisions on their own and not always agree with the group if you think they are wrong.

Local PTA meetings were not fun to say the least bullying is still a big problem in schools in japan my oldest once got called a filthy half breed to wich I showed up at the school to voice my displeasure.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Spoiling is rampant too...not good.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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