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Are We Raising a Generation of Helpless Kids?

In Frayed Connections on March 4, 2012 at 2:09 pm

“Hold on, honey! Let me get your helmet!”

Mickey Goodman: Are We Raising a Generation of Helpless Kids?.

The above article got thinking about our generation as parents. There is so much complaining about schools, bullies, drugs, alcohol, social networks, busy schedules, etc- but very little is laid at the doorstep of us-the parents.

Meanwhile, there is a startling amount of ‘children- of- a- certain age’ who rely solely on their parents for everything – at ages far beyond the ages we were when we were expected to be on our own. I think the problem is a lot worse than we even admit to, out of embarrassment for how it has all turned out.

When I grew up in the 60s and 70s, there were parents and kids. The parents were the bosses, and the kids were bossed around. My mother did not shop at ‘Forever 21’ – and much more importantly, she didn’t want to! In fact, she would be mortified at the idea of a grown-ass woman wearing sweatpants with the word ‘Juicy’ across the butt- in sparkles! (I know my references are old-no one wears ‘Juicy’ anymore)

My father was strict, but not abusive. You DID NOT talk back, and if you did- there were repercussions! Our parents had their own world- cocktail parties where they listened to Frank Sinatra and talked about ‘adult’ things. The women dressed like women- not girls, and the males  dressed as men not boys. Our parents did not want to be decades younger than they were. There was a very definite line drawn between the kids world of colorforms and Kool-aid, and the parents world of credenzas, and hi-fi’s…it was a clear line, one we all respected and could see.

“Be Careful! Be Careful! Be Careful!”

A lot of us thought of this distance between the generations as cold. Many of us spoke of (especially during punishments, groundings and restrictions) how we ‘would never be like that!’when we had kids. And we weren’t like ‘that’. Instead, we became ‘friends’ with our kids, and set out to spare them the injustices of the world.

It always makes me laugh when I read those ‘Back when I was a kid, we didn’t sit on a computer all day- we went out and played!  When we did something wrong- we were punished! Sometimes by the neighbors!’ Well, knock knock mofo- but who stopped kids from going outside to play? Who dared the neighbors to say one negative thing about (let alone spank!) our precious children? GUESS WHAT?! It was US!! Nobody came along and ‘did this’ to us- we did it to ourselves! (And the only reason we didn’t stay in and use computers was because it wasn’t an option! We seem to be using them pretty good right now! duh!)

 

So we decide to be ‘cool’ parents.  We hang out with our kids, bring them to concerts (and is anything sadder than kids who are listening to their parents music- kids too unmotivated to make their own? Most likely because they have nothing to rally against as they get waited on hand and foot!)

By becoming ‘friends’ with our kids, we have deprived them of parents! We complain about teachers and coaches instead of getting down on our freakin’ hands and knees and thanking them for taking these jobs in the first place! (Too bad they can’t tell us to f***-off! Often they should!))

We think our offspring are SOOO SPECIAL- based on what? That they are OURS? That we are so special that we have golden eggs and magic sperm, and our children are narcissistic proof? Are you kidding me?  Perhaps we all should take a look in the spiritual (and literal) mirror first! We need to GET OVER OURSELVES! We are, in fact, so narcissistic that we don’t even accept that we are aging!- which is why we have women shopping at Teen Stores to begin with!

We complain about bullies when half of us ARE bullies! ‘Don’t like the flag? Get out!’ ‘Don’t agree with what I think? Get out!’ -plastered all over Facebook. What are you- ten? (Half the time these rants are misspelled as well- an overall embarrassment of stupidity and bullying!)

There are Mothers who sit down and watch ‘Fashion Police’ with their daughters, and laugh together as a deplorable Dragon with 167 plastic surgeries ridicules how other people look?! (Which has to be the ‘circle of irony’) And then these mothers cry when their daughters are outed for not wearing the right clothes by the witches of Mean Girls 101? 

“Not only should you be thanking me- you should be washing my feet and giving me a RAISE!!”

The only way this can get any better that I can see, is we’d better hope that our children rebel against us, and are extra strict with their own kids, swinging the pendulum back towards the middle. Which, admittedly, does not seem likely. I think we all meant well by trying to make life easier for our kids- but in the process, we deprived them of ways to build character, and praised them for doing nothing more than existing. We tried to over-compensate for our parents being ‘distant’ without realizing that their parenting skills – and distance- were a necessary component to our eventual independence.

What do you think?

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