This is not a typical whiny old person rant… I am dead serious. What is wrong with kids today. I just read an article about a 10 year old boy who was set on fire by one of his classmates. SET ON FIRE!!! How does that happen? Who in their right mind thinks that it’s ok to SET SOMEONE ON FIRE?!?!?!
I just don’t get it. I have never been one of those people who was all up in arms about bullying. I’ve never approved, even as a kid, but always kind of thought that it was a right of passage. I grew up in the 80s when kids were stuffed in lockers and lunch money was taken. Classic bullies like you saw on TV. I always thought they were jerks, and my dad always taught me to stand up to a bully and that “nothing hurt like a punch in the nose”. It really was kid stuff.
Setting someone on fire is not kid’s stuff. Nor is pouring superglue on someone’s head and causing burns, nor is shooting up a school. I just don’t understand what has happened. I had to go to an “Active Shooter Drill” at my son’s preschool this past week. Seriously?!?!? This is the new generation?
I am not even sure who to blame for this. Some are blaming parents, some the media, some the parents for letting their kids watch the media.. there’s movies and video games and all the like, but really? My dad grew up watching cowboys and Indians, he didn’t blaze through the school with a shot gun. I grew up watching Star Wars, I didn’t run through the town with a blaster… though at least if I did, I wouldn’t actually hit anyone.
Violence is not a new concept in entertainment. Before movies and TV there were books and stories. Death and destruction was par for the course. Have you ever read the true Grimm fairy tales? I had nightmares from Edgar Allen Poe, there was Shakespeare and Homer and on and on… but there has never been such a violent generation.
The scary thing is violence isn’t just the bullies, the victims are seeing it as their only way out. Most school shootings are perpetuated by those who were bullied and then there’s the suicides, which is violence to ones self. Just google “kids commit suicide for bullying” and pages come up. And these aren’t angsty 16 year-old’s, they are 13, 11 and even 9! At nine I was still playing with dolls! How can this actually be reality?
People talk about the mental health system failing, but these kids have barely hit puberty. They’re still getting stickers from their pediatrician for being a “good boy/girl”. Are we going to have to start psychological testing in pre-school? I am normally not one to blame parents. I understand how difficult it is. I am a single mom. I was raised by a single dad. No one can be there 24/7, but come on, you have to see something. I’m not saying it’s the parents fault that the child has killed other’s or themselves. I’m saying that we, as parents, are the first line of defense.
If you see that your kid is moody, or withdrawing, or having trouble you know it. Don’t just pretend it away. If you hear about your kid being nasty or mean to other’s step in. Don’t just assume that “kids will be kids” because kids are not kids anymore. They are lost and disturbed. If you don’t have the answers, that’s ok, that’s not your job.. but talk to the teachers, talk to the guidance counselor at school Most people have insurance today, therapy is covered.
I understand that there is a stigma behind therapy and people don’t want to feel or be treated like there’s something wrong with them… but that has to stop! Even if you, as the parent start going to a family therapist first for ideas on how to help your child and then ask your child to join you. Then they will think it is more about you than them. I, personally started my son in therapy about a month ago and he’s only 3. He has been through a lot of loss in his short life (my father, who we lived, with passed away, and my son’s father is not very consistent). When it was time for my son to start pre-school I wanted help with how to deal with the separation anxiety that he was going to experience.
It is pretty much common knowledge that most bullies are just people with their own self-esteem problems who are trying to make themselves feel better by putting others down. It is clear that we, as a nation, are not raising strong independent kids with healthy self esteem. Bullying, violence, drugs, suicide… these are not “normal” childhood behaviors. We need to stop letting society, the media and video games take responsibility for our children’s actions. Again, I’m not blaming parents, I’m encouraging them to help. Teach your kids right from wrong, if you don’t feel the TV is helping, shut it off. If you see your kid being a little ass, correct the behavior. Not just with punishment, but ask them why they treated someone that way. Talk to them about empathy, and sympathy…
Parents are not just there to feed and shelter our children to ensure they live to adulthood. We are there to raise high functioning members of society so they can contribute to, not just consume from society.