We are the worsts parents ever. We are an intelligent and high-tech society, but we are doing this parenting business backward. We are losing touch with everything that is natural. Because of our shared faults, our next generation will have a harder time than us. We would like to think that we are so evolved; survival is a non-issue. We just failed to notice that our kids are doomed. What are the signs and where have we gotten it wrong?
We Demonize Co-Sleeping like a Sin
Here in our Western society doctors and “experts” alike treat co-sleeping parents as outliers or worse, criminals. Ok, that might be an exaggeration, but you see the point here? Co-sleeping has been around for centuries and is still currently practiced all over the world, except in the West. Why the complete disconnect? For our grandparents, co-sleeping is the norm. Have we as a society became so technologically advanced that we can replace a mother’s touch with an app? Have our kids outgrown the need to be held, nursed and comforted round-the-clock?
We might think that we are spoiling our kids with too much affection. The opposite is true. Babies who are loved unconditionally and are used to being enveloped in their parent’s warmth grow up as more emotionally healthy adults. Co-sleeping removes the burdensome routine of sleep-walking in the wee hours of the morning just to feed a hungry baby. You can’t expect a baby to self-soothe and suppress hunger all night long.
Parents are likewise getting more sleep. When there is no need for a baby to cry out his lungs in the middle of the evening, this kid learns how to trust. Independence begins with total dependence. With these facts, why do we have all that fuss and bad press about bed-sharing?
We Are in So Much Rush that we forgot to Slow Down for our Children
When it comes to child-rearing, it’s not just about quality but rather, quantity time that matters. We are caught in between two or three jobs to pay the bills. We forgot to slow down and to have some quiet moments with our children. Time is the currency of love and hurry is its enemy. To replace the void, we let our kids distract themselves with electronic entertainment.
We are speeding up our lives while failing to see the subtle signs that are children are trying to tell us. Kids are likewise forbidden to go out, explore and get dirty. Nowadays, kids would just hole themselves up in their room, oblivious to the world and in a cocoon of their own.
Instead of parental guidance, it’s the media and peers that set the bar. Blasphemy, savagery and anorexic bodies became the standard of cool. More and more boys see violence as acceptable. More and more girls accept anxiety, self-harm, eating disorder and body shaming as the new norm. Why can’t we see into these things all along?
We Treat Hyperactivity as a Disease and Diagnose More and More Kids with ADHD
Never in history have we seen this much cases of ADHD (roughly 5% of children worldwide). Our grandparents have previously called these children as merely “mischievous.” Before the advent of TVs and the internet, these kids were treated with an iron hand and some tough love. Fast forward nowadays and these kids are now drugged daily with ADHD pills just be “normal.”
But upon a closer look, almost half of these kids are erroneously diagnosed with ADHD. These poor children might have something else going on. Some health professionals failed to delve deeper, just branding children with ADHD-like a quick fix.
In reality, there are lots of other health conditions that mimic ADHD. Visual problems can cause a child to be inattentive. Fatigue and not getting enough sleep can backfire and make these kids hyperactive. Auditory and sensory processing disorders can also mimic ADHD, but we are rarely testing for these conditions. That being said, drugging grade school kids is not a cure. In reality, it won’t even help in the long run. Add to that the fact that these ADHD drugs are highly addictive. This being said, we are prepping our kids to a lifetime of addiction and quick fixes.
High Academic Expectations Drive our Teens to Take “Smart” Drugs
No country can beat the US in its highest rate of stimulant addiction during finals exam season. Stimulant abuse is the new cool in American high school and universities. We are putting undue pressure on our teens. What we missed out is instilling in them the sense of discipline. Pressure over grades, fatigue due to a truckload of school work and competition for elusive college admissions have driven our teens to the brink of addiction.
Elsewhere in the world, people take drugs to get high. In the US, students take drugs to get high grades. Smart pills (most likely ADHD drugs) became the staple come cramming season. All these because we rammed into the throats of our children the “fact” of life: good grades beget a good university, which will later translate to a nice job and lots of money.
If our kids are not hooked up on drugs during grade school, they will eventually take it come college time. Just about when we parents are just content with our morning cup of coffee, these kids are taking pills like candy. Self-motivation is gone, a quick fix is on. The weak won’t survive, so our teens feel the need to pump themselves out or else, they’ll go bust.
Who is to blame with these dilemmas, you might ask? I don’t know. Perhaps you and I are all liable. Last century, it took a village to grow a child. Nowadays the world has gotten smaller. This collective guilt has spread the world over. So I just shake my head in despair; this is too much for me to ponder.
A professional writer with over a decade of incessant writing skills. Her topics of interest and expertise range from health, nutrition and psychology.