It’s common for well-meaning parents to say they want to give their children all the things they didn’t have when growing up. Usually, this means giving their kids lots of material stuff and, in effect, spoiling them. These kinds of parents think they were robbed of life somehow because they didn’t possess fashionable or expensive clothes, having instead to buy them from the local thrift store; they couldn’t afford the latest technological devices, money was scarce, they had overly-strict parents, and the list goes on.
Upon reaching adulthood and having their own families, these same parents vowed to provide their children with everything they lacked: “I want to give my kids everything I didn’t have” or “I don’t want my children to suffer like I did.” I cringe whenever I hear this sort of thing because I know how destructive it is for both the family and society as a whole.
Much of the entitlement mentality among our young people today is the direct result of this attitude. If you want to see it up-close, listen carefully to what many of them who are connected with the ‘Occupy’ and ‘Black Lives Matter’ movements have to say. Their level of ignorance, blame and self-pity is astonishing.
It’s believed by many parents that their children should never experience adversity, hardship, any form of suffering (mental or otherwise), difficulty, poverty, affliction or trouble. The life of every child, it is assumed, should be a life of plenty, fun and enjoyment, and constant personal affirmation and approval. It should always be positive to the fullest degree and never negative in the least. This seems to be the prevailing view among most contemporary parents and it’s generally reaffirmed by our therapeutic professionals. The ‘self-esteem’ movement of the 80s and 90s likewise did much to promote such notions.
I know this may sound a bit strange to say, but adversity, hardship, poverty and even suffering can actually be beneficial to our children. How so? For one, it teaches them to appreciate life, even the little blessings they have. When they are given everything just for the asking, they appreciate nothing. They take it all for granted. Its value means little or nothing to them.
Hardship, on the other hand, develops character. It promotes maturity and tends to sober up our children. Depending on its nature and extent, adversity compels the child to see beyond the whimsical and vain nature of modern pop-culture; the foolishness of empty pursuits, so to speak.
This isn’t meant to suggest that parents should intentionally seek to bring hardship upon their children. Rather, I mean to imply that when life’s dark clouds and troubles appear as they surely will, our children should be taught to confront it, and to deal responsibly and wisely with it.
Many American children, unfortunately, are in constant crisis mode because they have no coping skills. Everything is seen beyond their ability to handle or manage. The easy solution for an entire generation of parents seems to be in giving their kids various forms of psychotropic medication, rather than teaching them how to cope with and emotionally hurdle their problems.
A good many parents don’t see the importance of teaching their children how to cope with the many negative opinions and attitudes they will receive daily in life. And what little is conveyed to them is often itself infantile and vindictive in nature.
Very few parents, I presume, teach their children about the true nature of man – that people, for the most part, are not ‘nice’; that they are selfish, overly critical, malicious and unkind. How it’s expressed, of course, may vary depending on the person, but this is essentially the characteristic or disposition of all humans – in spite of what modern Freudians would tell us.
We do a great disservice to our children when we fail to tell them the truth about the human condition. We do an even greater disservice to them when we fail to provide them with the skills necessary to fight through and successfully overcome difficult people and arduous circumstances. We are much too ready to rescue them and provide them easy answers. As a result, our children learn these important lessons much too late in life or never at all.
Affluence and material abundance, if not properly guided by wise parents, can also be detrimental to our children. Even the presence of ease and comfort frequently leads to boredom and idleness. Because the so-called “greatest generation” of WW2 (which had also lived through the Great Depression) wanted to give their children ‘a better life’ than they experienced, they unwittingly helped produced the rebellious 60s generation which did so much to undermine the America they fought for.
The lost youth of the 60s were relatively affluent. They were also idle and thus had time and opportunity to engage in the most socially destructive of causes. Sadly, but not surprisingly, the generation that survived the horrors of WW2 and which gave their radical offspring prosperity and freedom was also despised and unappreciated by them. The parents did what they thought was right for their children, but they were greatly mistaken.
Mike Brown’s demise: It all started with poor parenting
So, what should parents do? Here’s a few suggestions:
Whether their children get into trouble at school or with the Law, parents need to let their children feel the consequences of their foolish decisions. Allow them to personally experience the disappointments that come with wrong decisions. Parents who are ready at any moment to rescue their innocent little darlings from the authorities teach them nothing. They only help contribute to the presence of more immature adults and sociopaths within our society.
Teach them the value of self-reliance. Teach them that it’s the nature of slaves to continually depend upon others or the government to provide their basic necessities.
Make them earn everything they want (other than their basic needs). If they don’t work for it, don’t give it to them. The things they worked hard for will also be more valued and better taken care of than if you had simply given it to them.
Stop rewarding bad behavior. If your child is disrespectful toward you, take away privileges and the things they use to socialize and escape boredom with (e.g., cellphone, TV, computer). Be consistent and stick to your guns in all that you say and do. The more lenient and soft-hearted you are during the disciplinary process, the less your children will respect you. They will interpret your easygoing nature as weakness. They will view you as an equal instead of as a parent with authority. They will see you as one whom they can easily manipulate.
On the other hand, if you’re firm and resolute, they will see it as a form of strength. They won’t like it, but they will secretly admire your backbone.
Teach them to stop using expressions such as “That’s not fair!” This is how folks enslaved to political-correctness talk. This is how people talk who foolishly think everything should be equal and all of life should be fair and even-handed. But life isn’t ‘fair.’
The strong don’t survive because life is ‘fair’ to them, but because they find ways to overcome their difficulties in spite of being unfairly treated. They also don’t dwell on the unfairness they’ve been dealt because they recognize life is unpredictable; that people and circumstances are not always fair as we may want them to be.
Parents who spoil their children materially or who allow them to never face the consequences of their poor choices are the worst of parents. They may genuinely love their children, but they are complete fools in developing them to be responsible, moral and honorable citizens. Their haphazard parenting effects not only their children, but all of society who must later deal with them as adults.