The birth of a child is a miracle. Parents are amazed by their baby’s every movement, feature, and reaction to different people and objects. Every smile, sound, and movement triggers delight and amusement for the parents who identify their infant’s rapid changes every day. Moment by moment the baby transforms into a more active and aware human being.
The growth of a child is like a rocket launch. It lifts off the ground slowly, each second seems like a lifetime then explodes into the air sending shock waves. The length of time it takes a child to become an adolescent happens before the parents realize this stage of life has arrived. It is the reason many parents have a difficult time letting their child grow up and why many adolescents are reluctant to leave the safety of their home even though they want autonomy.
Children physically grow up before the parents are prepared for it. Presto, the baby has separated from its parents. Too many modern parents have little appreciation of the limited time they have to share their knowledge and assist their child to be a productive citizen with good character. They metaphysically have not taken their child to the mountaintop to show them the world below and to point out the challenges and difficulties in life faced by everyone.
Many modern parents have been indoctrinated through books, magazines stories, and Hollywood that parents should treat their child as a fragile, precious thing that should be shielded from any harsh realities of life. At all costs, the child should be protected from failure and hardships that confront them instead of learning to power through life’s frequent challenges.
This permissive, materialistic, and instant gratification approach to childrearing was started by Dr. Benjamin Spock in his book, Baby and Child Care. It changed traditional child-rearing which greatly impacted the raising of children from the 1950s through today. Dr. Spock ran for president in 1972 on the People’s Party and was a socialist activist throughout his adult life.
Today many adolescents are not leaving their parent’s basements or becoming self-sufficient by entering the job market. On college campuses, we have set up special safe spaces, where there is nasty opposition to anyone who has a different perspective from the woke students. Conservative speakers at colleges were either canceled or were attacked by the audience and escorted out of the venue by campus police. These fragile adolescents have been labeled “snowflakes.” They melt away from any adversity. These youngsters have been given inflated grades often for doing failing work, have won trophies for losing, and were incessantly told how wonderful they are for no substantial reason. They are drowned in instant gratification without doing anything substantial to earn it.
In a rational society, parents would be considered abusive for not preparing their offspring for the dangerous world. Drug addiction, suicide, and mental illness continue to skyrocket for these youngsters. They were not taught that life is often unfair with many obstacles that need to be overcome. Instead, they have been shielded from these harsh events of life, leaving them unprepared so even when they receive normal peer put-downs, they are devastated. Many of these youngsters when faced with difficulties of growing upturn to quick methods of dealing with their pain by legal or illegal self-medication.
Modern parents are being deprived of lessons and methods traditional parents used in the past to help their children become functional adults. A simple way parents assist their child’s understanding that they are not perfect is by playfully teasing them when they make a mistake or do something inappropriate. The teasing motivates the child to explore ways to lessen their inappropriate reactions. When peers begin the teasing antics the child learns how to stop the “teasing game” by ignoring it or countering it.
Since children learn from each other, parents should arrange activities for their child to play with others of a similar age. This learning is currently non-existent in our smaller families and adult-supervised activities. When the child complains about how they are being treated unfairly by others, instead of protecting them the parents should tell the child to correct the situation on their own.
Placing faith in their child to solve their own social issues is the best method of raising a confident, independent child and preventing a “melting snowflake.” Falling apart or melting into a puddle of weakness is not a healthy or appropriate response.
Domenick Maglio, PhD. is a columnist carried by various newspapers and blogs, author of several books, and owner/director of Wider Horizons School, a college-prep program. Dr. Maglio is an author of weekly newspaper articles, INVASION WITHIN, and a recent book entitled, IN CHARGE PARENTING In a PC World. You can see many of Dr. Maglio’s articles at www.drmaglioblogspot.com.