A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Thursday, December 01, 2005

What are our out-of-control kids trying to tell us?

Check out this link I got from Nani at Se hace Camino al Andar from the New York Times. A sample:

Most parents, Dr. Kindlon said, would like their children to be polite, considerate and well behaved. But they're too tired, worn down by work and personally needy to take up the task of teaching them proper behavior at home.

"We use kids like Prozac," he said. "People don't necessarily feel great about their spouse or their job but the kids are the bright spot in their day. They don't want to muck up that one moment by getting yelled at. They don't want to hurt. They don't want to feel bad. They want to get satisfaction from their kids. They're so precious to us - maybe more than to any generation previously. What gets thrown out the window is limits. It's a lot easier to pick their towel up off the floor than to get them away from the PlayStation to do it."

Parenting today is also largely about training children to compete - in school and on the soccer field - and the kinds of attributes they need to be competitive are precisely those that help break down society's civility.

Parents who want their children to succeed more than anything, Dr. Kindlon said, teach them to value and prioritize achievement above all else - including other people.

Our kids need us to be their guides and their parents, not their friends. We are cruelly casting them adrift in a terrifying world in the name of loving them if we renege on this pledge to them, a pledge they are holding us to fulfill.


At 12/1/05, 9:23 PM, Blogger Carol said...

Good post! I'll read the one you referenced, too.

At 12/1/05, 9:41 PM, Blogger Polski3 said...

"Our kids need us to be their guides and their parents, not their friends. "

AMEN to that ! One of my boys has recently taken to hollering at me, "YOU'RE MEAN" when I pry him away from whatever fun activity he is currently doing to deal with his chores or other responsibilities. I told him yesterday, "Get me a T-shirt with that on it and I'll wear it!"
Such is life at times.

At 12/1/05, 10:17 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

I'd like that T-shirt too.

Not only am I mean, though, I'm "EM-BARE-ASSING, MOM, UHHH!"- footstompingly, eyeball rollingly, embarassing.

I'll lose some more sleep over that one....

At 12/2/05, 10:28 AM, Blogger Jess said...

"Our kids need us to be their guides and their parents, not their friends. "

Absolutely. When I was in my teens, I had several friends whose mothers tried to be "friends" rather than parents. I never understood my own mother's aversion to these women until after I spent the night at one friend's house and was the only one of the party, at the tender age of 12, to (politely!) refuse the fuzzy navel offered to me by the hosting friend's mother.

My dad's response to all of my "you're mean!" and "but so-and-so doesn't have to do this! Ugh!" was one simple phrase: "It builds character." And it did. Thanks, Mom and Dad :)


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