Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Crazy Parents

Forgive me if I find this sort of development in parenting to be ludicrous.

Allow me to summarize. Parents out there no longer want teenagers watching their children. They want  pediatric nurses and early childhood education teachers. They want to pay $18 per hour for this.

Back in the dark days known as the '90s, I babysat starting from the age of 13 in 1996. I took a babysitting course and my mom promoted me to others, starting with my next-door neighbours. She set my wage at $3 per hour, which was really low, but I guess a green 13-year-old sitter shouldn't command that much income. By the time I was 16, I had three regular families and charged $5 an hour.

I read that teenagers get $8 to $10 per hour now, which I guess keeps up with the cost of living, especially in Toronto. $10 seems sensible for an experience teen babysitter. But a nurse? A teacher? Seriously? Are the lives of these coddled children become so overly scheduled and precious that when parents get the night off to go to the movies, the kids can't just park in front of the TV and chill out too?

Does every moment have to be educational? Are kids so fragile they need nurses to care for them? I mean, wouldn't parents themselves be rather inadequate caregivers if an actual nurse is needed? I mean, most parents have zero medical background. Are they good enough then if another fellow layperson is not? Let's get real here. A few hours of fooling around is not harmful, along with a number of other things about childhood that seem to have gone out of favour for some reason.

I remember seeing a news report about kids in the park playing alone and the reporter was actually saying no 10-year-old child should be left in the park alone unsupervised. Um, what? I was 8 when I was allowed to bike to the park alone. Kids are entering high school as young as 13 and 10 is too young to be allowed to go solo to the park? Where in that meagre three-year gap is independence supposed to develop?

I've complained about pampered kids and hovering parents before, but every now and then I see more and more evidence that parents have lost their collective minds. Employing nurses as babysitters. You've got to be kidding me. I just don't get it.

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree with you. I look at my niece and nephew and it's insane. She's 13 and she can't even stay home alone. (Although in her case, there are extenuating circumstances and trust issues that she's proven time and again, so I can kind of see that) But the only person they trust to watch my nephew is my mom, who has to schedule her life around when they need her. Obnoxious, though not as bad as needing a nurse or teacher. Sure, as a teenager, I might not have been trained in every emergency of what could happen, but I did have first aid training and the ability to call the hospital if something happened.

    Your price seems really low. I think I got $12 an hour from the family I babaysat for on weekdays after school. But that could also be because it was two children under four and I was 17 at the time. There was also the weekend kid, which got me $30 an hour, but it was late-night. (10pm-2am) Not that it was any work; kid went to bed half an hour after I got there and was a really good kid.