Monday, July 31, 2006

A Nation of Wimps: "Who do you Blame When Your Kid is a Brat?"

"...Blaming the kids is a lion of shame
You know exactly who's to blame:
The mother and the father!"

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (Lyrics found here)

"I wish my parents had some hobby other than me."

The above quote is from the 2004 Psychology Today article A Nation of Wimps.  I just stumbled across it again, after reading it some time ago. Even though it is a few years old this article voices much of what I think is wrong with parenting today.

It is amazing to me how coddled, protected and damaged kids are by parents who are unrelenting in controlling what happens to their kids.  It revolves around over-protecting kids from mental and physical harm.  Yet, this isn't creating a generation of better, stronger, wiser kids.  "...Having overprotective parents is a risk factor for anxiety disorders because children do not have opportunities to master their innate shyness and become more comfortable in the world."

I always feel that kids are being screwed after reading about their over-litigious parent suing for some weak reason.  Just Google "parents sue" and you will see a slew of headlines, and many just leave me shaking my head.

How is it that generations have managed and thrived without the modern-day revelation that children need protection from everything!  For every advancement that we now live with: slightly better social gains of tolerance towards gays, women, different nationalities/races, medical breakthroughs like antibiotics, science... a long list of things that make life truly better, we seem to find ways of really screwing it up!

While me and the missus don't have any kids as of yet, there are things that infuriate us in what we read and see.  And hopefully that will translate into better parenting when it comes to that.  Will we have a fantastically happy kid, full of life, self-esteem and unlimited prospects?  It's hard being a kid, even worse being a teen, so there will be times when the kid(s) could be depressed, angry, uncommunicative, and undecipherable.

But, hopefully, we won't be the cause of more damage.  And hopefully, they will come out of their experience intact.  But, if it's a choice of not letting them have experiences for the hope of keeping them from feeling pain, then pain it is.  They will learn to live with stress, how to handle anger, learn how to put on a band aid and slow down when healing from an injury.

Kids will be out of parental influence more often than not, and while outside of their protective reach the best thing parents can do for their children is give them all the tools to deal with what life will throw at them.  It will make for a better childhood and eventually make for stronger, more resilient adults.  And that is the best thing a parent will be able to take credit for.

... where did that come from?


kevin said...

What is it about our culture that we have become such disorder-pheliacs? It's as though the entire country suffers from Obsessive Disorder Mania Disorder. I wonder how long until the drug companies come up with a pill for it.

Amber said...

Fantastic post... I couldn't agree more!

Beth said...

*stands and applauds*

What chafes my non-parental a** even more are those parents who are simply too lazy to discipline their kids, leaving that to others.