The playground bully (http://snugpug.blogspot.com/2007/04/dirty-boy.html) got me to thinking: Is it nature or nurture that makes children so horrid? OK, children are not self-aware at this stage. But imparting self-awareness is part of parenting, isn't it? It's what the parents have to do, it's not the maid's job along with babysitting.
You need a licence to own a dog. In this country, you also need a Certificate of Entitlement to own a car (http://www.expatsingapore.com/content/view/1152). I say you also need one to become a parent.
If you adopt a child, you're assessed for suitability and that includes a check on your background and your income. But there's nothing to stop you from having your own kids. That's the scary part.
The other day, on the train, a mother gave her cellphone to her toddler to keep her occupied on the train. So toddler spent a happy half hour gassing with her dad on the phone. I hope she doesn't grow up with her brain cells fried. It will be bad enough for her when she becomes a teenager.
Another day, at the next table at the food court, Junior couldn't decide what he wanted to drink so his parents let him sip from their drinks. One was having coffee, the other, a fizzy, sugary soft drink. I never had coffee until I was 13 and soft drinks were for special occasions only, like Chinese New Year. I remember I was at my cousins' house once and was amazed that they could help themselves to a bottle of soft drink in the fridge whenever they liked. Coffee was for adults only, so my parents used the transition from primary school to secondary school as the cut-off point for when I could have caffeine. When I was 16, I had a friend who still hadn't had coffee before. And our parents certainly weren't Mormons. They were just, well, parents.
And Rupert will never get coffee, no matter how old he is.