Quote of the Week

"We Must be Willing to Give Up the Life We Have Planned, So As to Have the Life that is Waiting for Us."
-Joseph Campbell
Week of Aug 12, 2013

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Nation of Wimps

That's the name of a book I'm reading now. It totally goes along with something I've been meaning to blog (bitch about) for a long time now.

I have really noticed, in my work, and some social situations a HUGE problem with the new generation of young people. Pure ENTITLEMENT. They think they should be hired for the big shows ... right out of school .... and get all the perks of a more senior employee. They think they can take time off to get their teeth whitened .. or because their boyfriend is SAD. They've never had anyone tell them they've done something wrong, so when you try to point out errors and poor performance, they simply don't know how to handle it - and worse yet, don't have the common sense to know to shape up fast, or they'll be fired. There's no fear. They don't think they should have to work the crappy hours or extra days to move ahead. They don't want to put in extra time to move ahead. They want it all served up on a silver platter. It's driving me crazy.

And you know who the problem is? Parents. Specifically these parents who fall under this term I love: helicopter parents. You know, they hover over every thing a child does. What's worse, they not only hover, but they remove all obstacles, sources of "pain" and chances to learn about LIFE. They "interfere" in ways my generation and older would be MORTIFIED about .. like calling bosses and college professors. I had a parent email me to ask me to approve her child's -- my employee's -- vacation time. Now, I was talking to some recent grads who tell me I shouldn't hold it against the employee, because often when parents do this -- the student/employee has no idea it's happening. I'll give them that. Still, come on!

Ok. Here's the kicker. The big wham-o. The irony. The disappointing truth. I find myself doing it. I'm part of the problem!! I don't think I'm as "crazy" as many (most) parents worrying about every little thing and wanting to do everything for them. But I do have in my head things that "hurt" me in whatever way growing up, and try to prevent that.

Were we all raised so HORRIBLY that we've got to change EVERYTHING in how we parent to not repeat the same mistakes?? I think now, in comparison, the answer is no - because I am so much better at handling "life" than these younger folks. But of course, as we parent, we must think "yes." I will never yell at my children in public, or fight with my husband in public, and I don't ever want my kids to feel "inferior" because they don't have the right clothes, toys or activities. Yikes! So I give them everything ... and they don't appreciate it. Bad move that's hard to fix.

Anyway ... this book nails it. It talks about how we do so much to protect our kids now that they become psychologically fragile. They don't know how to deal with disappointment or hurt - because they've never been able to learn to cope on their own. YES!

They NEED to fight with other kids. They NEED to lose a game and not get a trophy. They NEED to get a bad grade. They NEED to be told: you're not doing a good job. (God forbid!) How else will they get that "feeling" that helps them -- pushes them - to want to do better next time? (I can't help but wonder what the future of sports will be like with all these kids who can't get hurt...!)

The book has statistics on the skyrocketing number of college students who are binge drinking and needing counseling at school because they can't cope. And this whole "self mutilation" thing that's growing among kids is part of THIS problem.

So, I've just read the introduction so far. I'm really hoping I can get some guidance as to help my kids be STRONG ... INDEPENDENT and understand the concept of WORKING HARD -- ON YOUR OWN....being a SELF-STARTER. And how I can land the helicopter and let them fly on their own.

I'll keep you posted.


Contessa Kris said...

Sorry, I had to laugh. I was so with you on everything you said. I believe what you're saying. Children are too cotteled. I love my kids but sometimes, they need to go through some hard knocks so they can get back up and fight. What made me laugh was at the end you said 'I've only read the introduction.' lol If you got all that out of an introduction, I REALLY need to read the book. Off to order it now.

Contessa Kris said...

Crud. I can spell by the way. I meant coddled.

Kerry said...

I'm getting this book. You wouldn't believe what I am seeing at school--well, maybe you would :-) They talk about this in Love and Logic too.

Anonymous said...

I'm obviously not a parent and have no real life advice to give you. But you did a HELL of a job "raising" me to be a better reporter when you were my producer back in college. You yelled at me when needed... I think there was a time you didn't speak to me for about 2 weeks after I went 3 minutes over my live shot time! You were always firm but loving and patient and always told me like it was. If you just do that, your kids will turn out AWESOME. Heck... they already have. XOXO, Karlyn

KELLY said...

Awwww. Heck! You make me feel good!

I'm hoping this book will also help me deal with people who are grown up and like this ... with ideas on ways to MOTIVATE them.

And to, of course, make sure I'm not hovering ... and being smart about where I "protect" and where I stand back. I'll share the stuff I pick up as I go ... and how it works as I attempt to try it. Love the feedback.