I really despise listening to other parents discussing their entitled youngsters or giving parenting advice. And they are everywhere. These are the people behind you in line at the grocery store, or sitting across the waiting room in the doctors office, or at the adjacent table in the restaurant. All these scenarios are moments when you know that you probably shouldn’t be eavesdropping on their conversations but have to, simply because you are standing in awe at the absurdity of their statements. They are discussing things like the latest material indulgence, private preschool, first-grade “graduation,” designer cribs, or how to buy their little “Veruca” the goose that lays the golden egg.
Parents today are cautious about the most meaningless things. They don’t seem to care that they are raising spoiled kids nor do they consider what kind of adult a spoiled child becomes. Many are concerned with ailments that were never addressed when I was a child, not because they were not dangerous but because they didn’t exist.
Maybe it is true, that every child today is susceptible to developing a “complex” or could have a “learning disorder”. Maybe we can’t have winners and losers anymore – only participants. Maybe every child needs that constant validation. You can no longer give the winner a blue ribbon or a trophy and truly celebrate his or her success, because the other children, the losers, will develop a “depression”. Or maybe, the psychiatry profession has an odd affinity for labeling what is, in essence, normal behavior as a mental illness. Of course, even adults know that this doesn’t resemble real life but they advocate it nonetheless and it seems that society genuinely buys into this absurd notion that even the slightest indication of eccentricity is diagnosable and treatable. It is bizarre.
We do all these things. Adopt all these behaviors. Then we ask ourselves why the average McDonald’s employee is 28 years old? Why can this 6-year-old kid sync all the family mobile devices through one medium, program the DVR, download way too many new applications, renew his NetFlix account, but can’t make himself a bowl of cereal? Why do we make the conscious choice to leave our kids ill prepared for real life? Why do we justify entitlement, aggression, and inattention by giving it a name, calling it a disease, and medicating it?
Diagnosing children in particular with mental illness has increased dramatically in the last 20 years and is still climbing. We say things and do things that are not consistent with adulthood or life whatsoever. Children are brought up with soft truths using a euphemistic language that takes the life out of life.
This is not how children should be treated. Shielding them from experiences that we’re told will cause them “mental” instabilities is leaving generations of entitled, ill-prepared young adults. It’s a horrid generation of awful parenting advice.
In this new series, I will attempt to chronicle historical and cultural differences in societies throughout history so as to perhaps better explain why our culture is the way it is when it comes to how children are treated and, in turn, how they behave.
As I suspect we will learn, other cultures throughout history have not treated their youngsters like entitled lap dogs. We shall see.
**I truly don’t expect anyone to take the time to watch the videos linked through this post. I don’t. I know they are lengthy and most people have the attention span of a goldfish – which would make even reading through this entire post an exercise in endurance. Mind you, if you are genuinely interested in the content, I implore you to take 25 minutes and watch the videos linked above, particularly the first one about psychiatric diagnosis.