“Hand’s free parenting: a form of child abuse?” by Janie Smith (Pages 34- 35)
Ms Smith exhorts parents to nurture social skills among children/teenagers.
- Problem-solution style of argument: children are becoming increasingly anti-social because of a lack of communication and people skills.
- Cause and effect reasoning: lack of hands-on parenting is leading to social problems among children, which becomes worse during adolescence.
Key persuasive strategies:
- Attack /criticism of parents: naively and foolishly encouraging the children because of convenience; she believes that parents should be ashamed of their indifference/laziness; but also they should fear for their children’s future.
- Depiction of the children as victims: lacking important social skills; tendency to be anti-social and isolated.
- Values: social/family values; communication etc. (parents are neglecting such values); moral values (shaming tactics)
- Professional experience/observations: kindergarten teacher (eg Ben Chapman) and psychologist (Dr Sitwell)
- Comparative references: then and now: the past and present parenting styles
- Statistics in United Kingdom relating to rise in addictions: fear tactics
Author’s persuasive agenda: basically, Ms Smith outlines a problem and then seeks to criticise parents and their hands-off parenting style in order to shame and alarm them. She analyses the consequences: depiction of children and fear tactics.
Updated Sample paragraphs (note the references to the “intent” and “logical” “construction of argument”):
Adopting an indignant (accusatory, censorious, high-minded tone), Ms Janie Smith’s criticises parents who fail to curb their child’s reliance on technological gadgets. She opens her article with a series of relatable examples to depict a parent’s tendency to use technological devices as baby-sitting tools. These examples help her identify an alarming “hands-free” trend among parents. Through cause-and-effect reasoning strategies coupled with a logical tone, Ms Smith encourages her parental cohort to recognise that inadequate parental supervision and the lack of direct involvement in children’s play are leading to social problems. The fact that parents are ”buying time today at the expense of tomorrow” is likely to alarm, and shame, all those parents who so casually give children gadgets while they are at a sporting event or while “picking up siblings at sport”.
Furthermore, Ms Smith broadens her argument by focusing on what she believes are logical consequences of such “hands-free” parenting, which is an increasing lack of social skills among such children. Ms Smith uses professional observations of a variety of experts to corroborate viewpoints about “hands-off parenting”. Of grave concern to all parents with young children, the kindergarten teacher and the psychologist both agree that the child’s social development is delayed. The fact that Ben relates in an “infantile manner” and that his addictive behaviour “has a high price tag” not only unsettles, but also shames those parents who fail to spend time reading and “building blocks”. In this regard, she also makes a comparative reference to tech gadgets, to highlight the creative superiority of block-building activities and reading. The real-life example relating to Connor also shows the far-reaching, consequences of such behaviour and reminds all those dismissive and cavalier parents about the cause-and-effect consequences of neglect.