We have too much respect for children. Years ago, the belief was that children should be seen and not heard. Adults had their own world and children had theirs. Children were once free to roam the neighborhood with their friends unattended. They learned to fend for themselves. The kids of the past could spend all day trying to build a tree fort with rusty nails and old board they found behind a dumpster.
Those times are gone now and those children no longer exist. Children today are not only monitored 24/7, but every hour of their day is planned out and scheduled. Children are given constant attention and are no longer capable of fending for themselves.
My students come up to me for everything. They want rules explained and believe that they have equality to adults. And why shouldn’t they? We adapted the world to be “children friendly.” We have kid’s menus in every restaurant. Movies are released constantly just for children. Destinations like Disney World abound and encourage adults to spoil their children.
Children are showered with toys for every gathering. It’s not just birthdays and Christmas anymore. Children expect presents for every holiday.
Kids have too much power. Without any specific leader, children have somehow attained equal rights. We often don’t think of children as a minority or a handicap, but they are. For a long time children were treated similarly to women or African-Americans. Hundreds of years ago children were beaten, abused, and forced into labor and that was considered the norm.
Somehow children have lobbied for not only civil rights but also preferential treatment. Now it’s illegal to hit children in some places. Or leave them unattended. We’ve been forced to shower children with positive, loving attention. And it’s ruining them.
I understand parents wanting to give their children a better life than the one they had. But at some point we stopped letting children down at all. Parents not only refused to punish their children because they didn’t enjoy being punished when they were kids, parents won’t even let their children be disappointed.
“Everyone’s a winner” is a really fucked up view of the world.
I implore all adults to be harder on children. Teach them that the world is full of disappointment. Prepare to be adults by treating them like adults.
Let your children cry and don’t ever give in. In fact, don’t even talk to your kids when they whine. Force them to mature by ignoring childish behaviors.
Babies can cry because they can’t talk. A 2nd grader who cries is only being a baby.