Before Dr. Phil, Dr. Ferber and all the other psychologists, pediatricians, Nanny 911’s and Dear Abby’s of the world parents relied on common sense and family to figure out how to raise their children. They spanked because no one told them it was ‘wrong’ and they chose punishments that suited the crime hoping their children would remember. One glimpse at the classic movie; “A Christmas Carol” and it is easy to see just how parenting has changed over the past few decade
Perhaps it is more important to look at why it has changed and whether or not the changes have been effective at achieving what is supposed to be the one main goal of parenting; to raise happy, well adjusted adults! According to research into things like crime, drug use, alcoholism, mental illness and domestic abuse it is clear that all of these things are steadily on the rise. Perhaps more alarming is that first time offenders are now much younger now than they were 40 years ago. Some liberals will no doubt be saying it is because more is reported and calculated; but the truth is that years ago children had limits and boundaries and RULES and more importantly consequences! Now days parents see setting limits and enforcing them as detrimental to the parent – child friendship. Do we really want to be friends with our children? Seems that adults should find more suitable playmates!
This transition started slowly over the years as things like child abuse and fields of psychology became more mainstreamed. Back when; people kept their craziness to themselves airing their dirty laundry for no one! Now, parents discuss every fine little detail of their life with the mom sitting next to them at the ball field as if ill behavior is an expected and tolerated part of childhood. Think about it; was bad behavior tolerated when you were a kid? Mom probably had a paddle stored in her apron pocket and the words “wait till your father gets home” meant something…terrible! Parents followed through and played the part of Alpha male in their children’s life! But suddenly we are too civilized for all of that! Certainly beating a child is wrong and not appropriate; and spanking should not be the punishment of choice; yet statistics show clearly that 74% of all parents admit to spanking their children in anonymous polls! Sometimes, a parent has to get a child’s attention fast and when hollering doesn’t work a simple tap on the hand or bottom can do the trick!
Another indication of how parenting has changed over the years is the epidemic of ADA/ADHD children that are medicated each year. This number rises monthly; because as soon as a child shows an iota of independence or resistance for the “way of the home” parents rush them into specialists and eagerly have them medicated. Absolutely this is not true for all children, but ADD and ADHD aren’t new; they were just dealt with differently than they are now. Chances are you can think back to your child hood and remember a child that today would have been labeled as something.
The April 2009 edition of Psychology today reported that there are more clinical diagnosis’s of depression among parents today than ever in the history of psychological medicine. What does that say? It shouts that parents are not in charge. Every where you look you see parents doing everything and providing everything for their children at the expense of their own happiness. Parents feel forced to provide the nicest house in the best subdivisions, drive the coolest car and cart their children to numerous places to ensure they are being stimulated enough. Years ago children stimulated themselves with things other than Nintendo’s, Wii’s, TV’s, IPODS, the internet and all the other new toys that parents are throwing in their children’s lap. 16 year olds often drive nicer cars than their parents and credit card debt from all this ‘giving’ is destroying the economy. How many moms and dads are wearing the same pair of jeans they have had for years yet feel pressured to spend a grand on new school clothes for their kids each Fall? It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out how parenting has changed. It also doesn’t take a brain surgeon to fix it or a Dr. Phil or Ferber! Come on parents…when a baby cries they want to be picked up and when a teenager is spoiled, bratty, snotty and not doing what they are supposed to do they should be curtly and firmly put in their place. Who is the boss? The children of this world have figured that out; so why can’t the parents?
Secondary to what parents are constantly doing and giving to their children; comes the emotional battering that children are allowed to inflict upon parents. This of course is facilitated by all the nice and fluffy parenting advice that parents soak up like a sponge. God forbid we put our child in their place or tell them they can’t sing well to avoid the embarrassment of standing on stage howling like a dog. We say “good job” and you were great and lead them down a path where they become self absorbed and completely unequipped to deal with the real world. We give them choices instead of orders. Did your parents do that? The answer is clear, we did what we were told and how and if we didn’t we were lucky to get food for dinner let alone the privilege to watch TV for the remainder of the year. Now, sending a child to bed without dinner is not humane.
The bottom line is this! Parents have become soft and uninfluential. Parents have handed over everything to their children. Children are entitled, spoiled, cant take no for an answer and rarely understand the importance of respect, integrity, working for things or being grateful. This makes poor adults! Soon, across this world we will have an Earth full of adults who don’t know the meaning of sacrifice or sharing. They won’t understand compassion and what a blessing is. Few will believe in Angels or realize the importance of saying please, thank you and sorry! What will happen to the militaries, to the people willing to give their life to teach? The repercussions and ripple affect from what can be considered sissy parenting will have an everlasting affect on this entire world! If we do not understand how parenting has changed right now; we will see it clearly in a decade!