When I look at kids and adolescents these days, I often find myself wondering where we, as a society, have gone wrong. Everywhere we turn we see evidence of a shift in the parent/child paradigm and with that we see a new generation that seems to have developed their own special brand of crazy. The following are my hypotheses as to where the odd parenting pack (led by their commander, Kris Jenner) have gone wrong in their attempt to raise well adjusted kids.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a parent. I understand that raising kids is harder than it looks. This article is based solely on personal observation. I understand that once I have children, it is possible that I will make them wear backpack leashes and attach retractable iPhones to their little hands.
But here we go anyway…
Issue 1: Commodification of Tiny Tots – Parents who push their kids into the public eye for capital gain are looking for trouble. Beauty pagents, talent shows, television, movies, modeling – all roads lead to some crazy ass kids. If you are thinking of doing this to your children, please google Amanda Bynes.
Issue 2: BFF syndrome – For some reason, parents these days want their 13-year-olds to be their besties rather than their children… A streak of shopping sprees, Mani/Pedis, constant gossip sessions about boys and voila! A spoiled brat is born.
News flash: Spoiled kids become adults who hate their parents. Your kid will become your best friend when they are 25 and have come to the realization that you didn’t choose not to spoil them because you’re an asshole, you chose not to spoil them so they would grow up to be grateful, disciplined, hard working and respectful adults. (Feel free to spoil your kids with love and affection though.)
Issue 3: The Disappearance of “Because I said so” – Some modern parents are so consumed with conversation based parenting that their kids demand logical explanations for damn well everything. At the end of the day, sometimes “because I said so” is a good reminder for kids that the parent is an authority figure who they should probably show some respect to. Your 5 year old should not be the boss of you.
Issue 4: Nannies don’t replace Mommies – Even hiring the very best nannies and tutors for your children does not replace real parent-child interaction. They are great for supplementary help, but life lessons and positive reinforcement should come from good old mom and pops. People may argue that nannies and governesses have been raising privileged children for centuries, which is absolutely true… Oh hey, you know who was raised by his governess? Napoleon.
Issue 6: Apple products as play mates – Playing make-believe used to be a favourite past time amongst children. It developed their imaginations, bred creativity, encouraged communication with other kids and kept children out of their parents hair. Somewhere along the line though, smart phones became pacifiers; but parents beware… Playing angry birds may shut your kid up for an hour but in time, it will turn them into socially awkward little weirdos.
Issue 7: Not knowing when to exit stage left – There comes a time when you need to step back and let your child take center stage. Kids resent parents who steal their thunder and rebel against them… Sometimes in very creative ways. (See Cher and Chastity/Chaz).
I understand that parents these days are faced with very unique challenges that are without a doubt very tricky to navigate. Raising kids in the information age when you grew up with a single line house phone and a 3 channel TV can’t be easy, but getting back to the basics of love, discipline, and good old fashioned family time might just be enough to put us back on track. And honestly, if your kid writes “hey mom go fuck urself” on your Facebook wall, do yourself (and society) a favour and spank the little nutcase.