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I Don't Think Children Should be Tagged

By - 20th December 2012


329
by Naomi Richards*  It can be scary watching your children grow up. Not needing you so much in one way but then needing you more in another. It can also be hard to get the balance right. For example your child wants to do more sleepovers or they want to have the freedom to walk to their friend’s house and then perhaps go onto another friend’s to hang out there. We want to control their movements, we want them to be safe and more importantly, we want them to be where they say they are going to be and be home on time. And we want to drop them places and pick them up at agreed times but often it's not what they want us to do. They want to be responsible and they want to be trusted so do we let them?

I'm thinking of children who have just moved up from primary school to secondary school where often their friends seems to have more freedom. Their friends' parents might allow them to go out during the day or even at night if they have their mobile phones and are able to keep in contact with their parents. 

We have to really be able to trust our children to keep us informed of where they are, but do we? I was asked to contribute to an article in a women’s magazine several weeks ago about whether we should be tagging children so that we know their whereabouts. Children often wander the streets when they have told us they are going to be at place x. Children can also go missing. By tagging them we'd know where they were and perhaps know if they were safe. We might also know their approximate destination. There are lots of benefits to tagging.

However I'm not so keen. I think children need to be trusted. If I know where my child is going, and he or she has a mobile phone kept on and is committed to returning home at a certain hour then that is okay with me. I would expect my child to let me know if they moved location. A lot to ask isn’t it - but if a child wants to be responsible and be more 'grown-up' then respect for others is vital. We all know trust has to be earned so if the parameters are broken then perhaps an agreed consequence is given. Maybe next time they go out they have to be in a little earlier or you pick them up from their friend’s house – oh the shame and what an uncool thing to happen!

A parent suggested in the magazine article that perhaps a tag under the child’s skin could be the way forward. As an anti-tagging parent I think this takes away a child’s privacy and independence. The message we would be sending is – we do not trust you – we do not think you are responsible – we want to control you – we want to know your every move. How can that help a parent-child relationship at a time when children need to assert themselves, are discovering more about who they are and finding their feet amongst peers and their place in the world?

*Naomi Richards, The Kids Coach, is a life coach for children in the UK and provides coaching for them on any behavioural and emotional issue that they have. Her book, The Parents Toolkit was published by Vermilion in Feb 2012. 

image freedigitalphotos.net 

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