EDITORIAL: The dinosaur parenting problem | #parenting

While the nation grapples with its falling birthrate, it is also imperative to address how parents are raising their children. The phenomenon of “dinosaur parents” — who lash out at teachers, store staff or people on the street when confronted about their children misbehaving — has been an issue for a while, but there seems to be an uncomfortably high number of incidents making the news lately.

On Saturday, a preschool teacher on an online forum wrote about a mother who often visited the school and screamed at the staff for various reasons — including her child being late to school and forgetting to bring tissue paper, which is her responsibility.

This has caused staff to be afraid of disciplining the child, whose behavior has gotten out of control, to the point of making up stories to fuel the mother’s fury, the teacher wrote.

“As an educator, it pains me to have to give up on this child,” the teacher added, but what can a person do in such a situation?

Last month, a family of three was reportedly browsing at a clothing store in Changhua County’s Lukang Township (鹿港) that had put up signs prohibiting eating and drinking in the shop.

However, the family’s son was not only sipping a cold beverage, he also placed it on the merchandise, including a pair of expensive pants. When the store owner asked the child to be careful, the parents got angry, made disparaging comments and threatened to “make the store famous,” media reports said.

In August, a toy store employee posted about two young children who were throwing toys around in the store. When the staff asked them to be more gentle, the mother yelled at the personnel, accusing them of being unprofessional. She later filed a complaint against the staff for making her pay for items that the children had broken.

It seems that this kind of dinosaur parent behavior has been garnering more attention since domestic travel exploded amid COVID-19 restrictions on international travel. Internet post analysis Web site Daily View last month released a list of the top 10 “most hated dinosaur parent behaviors,” which ranged from staring at smartphones while the child goes on a rampage to blaming others for the child’s misbehavior.

“He is just a child, why are you getting upset at a child?” such parents often say — but since when do children not need to know right from wrong? If they run around and break stuff now, what will they do when they become teenagers?

As one commenter wrote, allowing such behavior not only spoils the child, it will come back to bite the parents in the long run.

The situation has become so bad that people have taken to the Internet to praise parents for teaching their children to do the right thing — which should be the bare minimum when raising children, besides clothing and feeding them.

Early this month, a diner at a hotpot restaurant posted about seeing a father who made sure that his young children cleaned up the table and pushed the chairs in before leaving.

The post caused a stir, with people lamenting about how unusual it is to see such model parenting these days — it was even reported by several news outlets as a “rare occasion.”

Dinosaur parents seem to be in extreme contrast with tiger parents who constantly put down and place unrealistic expectations on their children, which is also a problem in Taiwan — the ideal path is probably somewhere in the middle. Children raised in either way and then put through the education system are unlikely to become well-adjusted adults. This issue definitely needs to be addressed along with tackling the birthrate problem.

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