Our modern culture is producing weak, confused and overly sexualized children. They are not learning morals, the work ethic, respect for others and the skills to become more self-reliant. When they are chronologically ready to leave the nest they balk using every excuse under the sun. Currently 6 million Americans between the ages of 16-24 are neither in school or working. They are not doing anything to establish future opportunities. Many of our modern youngsters are unwilling or unable to become adults.
When young adults are offered an opportunity often they complain they are entitled to better ones or are unwilling to deal with the hassles of establishing themselves in a new position. Jonathan Martin, a lineman with the Miami Dolphins is claiming harassment and bullying by a teammate. Hazing freshman players and physical violence are part of his profession that pays millions of dollars to play a game. The majority of the Dolphin players do not agree with his allegations. These men have first hand knowledge that no one should be coddled in the gladiator world of football.
We are raising weak adults because we are shielding them as children from the hard knocks of reality. Instead children are bombarded with non reality posing as reality. They are confused about expectations that authority figures have for them. Adults pretending to be perennial adolescents, video games, "reality tv", sexualized or violent commercials and social media where people self-promote by falsifying their lives have replaced the truth.
Our children are turning away from personal friendships, family, God and towards celebrity worship and cyberspace's superficial fantasy relationships. They are not learning social and emotional skills needed to deal with normal human interaction. The script of maturing is not being passed down from parent to child. The impact on our children is devastating.
We feel sorry for our children instead of making them strong and accountable for their actions. Parents are the most powerful offenders in not relating and enforcing societal standards and expectations for their children. They are not there to teach social and emotional techniques to deal with everyday incidents.
There often is no one teaching the child to use words to protect himself from verbal harassment. Rarely in unsupervised social situations do children have an opportunity to learn from other children how to protect themselves from put-downs. The old "sticks and stones will break my bones" and "I'm rubber and you're glue" phrases of childhood gave a child weapons to repel obnoxious kid-talk now called "bullying."
The zero tolerance for bullying in our public schools makes it easier for the administration by eliminating the need for a timely and extensive investigation. It does not teach anyone a moral lesson. It does not determine what actually happened. By treating the perpetrator and the victim the same, the likelihood of future abuse by the bully increases. When the abused individual courageously stands up to defend himself, he is not encouraged but is victimized again by receiving the same consequences as the instigator. This is a short-sighted policy that does not do anything to build better character. It undermines the process.
Now children supposedly have to be protected from facing defeat, making them weaker. The "No One Loses Policy" in sports activities, inflated grades in school, or lack of punishment for making harmful decisions to self and others are preventing our children from learning to overcome adversity. Children are not to face psychological or physical pain. They are supposed to be protected by parents and society from being confronted with the normal difficulties of growing up.
Simultaneously our culture is exposing our children to overwhelming temptations at an earlier and earlier age in the mass and social media. Natural situations where children can teach other children the importance of being strong are eliminated. Being chauffeured from one adult supervised extra curricular activity to another disadvantages our youngsters. They are not allowed to fend for themselves to become strong independent people.
Parents are in a bind. They should protect their children from the cultural invasion of trash into the minds of their offspring. On the other hand, they have to have faith in their children's strength and ability to fight their own battles. The media culture is becoming more deviant and more difficult to supervise. There are no guidelines, developmental milestones and elders to assist them in doing their current duties correctly.
Modern parents have to teach themselves to be good parents by observing and being consistent and strong in living their moral beliefs. They must live what they say to have any credibility when they say "no" to their children. Curtailing the use of video games, social media and mass media means the parents should expect their children to be upset. Moreover parents have to comply with the same directives they give to their children.
Parents have to be strong, and involved parents to shape wholesome children. It is not an easy task to raise children at this time. Strong parental involvement in training their children will prevent them from becoming collateral damage in our phony and warped culture.
Domenick Maglio is a columnist carried by various newspapers, an author of several books and owner/director of Wider Horizons School, a college prep program. You can visit him at www.drmaglio.blogspot.com.