That’s What She Said: Melissa Carter worries about coddled kids.
Are we raising a generation of over-coddled kids?
“Melissa, you are not a parent, so you wouldn’t understand.”
That is usually the reaction I get when I speak on any issue regarding children. But I am going to talk about it anyway. The level of weakness in some parents has become so blatant that it can’t be ignored. They are raising kids who will turn into the ills of society.
Let’s start with grades. School is a place to learn, and no one can learn without making mistakes. Like most students, I saw red corrective marks on papers throughout my years in the Maury County, Tenn., School System. It didn’t really matter what color that ink was. What was important was that I was being taught what I had done wrong so that I wouldn’t do it again.
These days, this same red ink is being accused of causing emotional damage. According to a recent study from the University of Colorado, red is an “emotive color” and makes a student anxious.
They recommend the use of blue ink instead. Give me a break. We are just creating kids who can’t take criticism or instruction.
“Time Out” is a quiet period used as a disciplinary tactic by parents. The goal is to separate the child from the environment where the child is causing some kind of disturbance.
Again, this is another example of a parent reacting to the child by stopping everything they are doing and attending delicately to the child’s emotional fragility.
Now, there are even Do-It-Yourself projects that parents are tackling to find new and inventive ways to soothe their little prince or princess.
On Pinterest, you can find all the steps to making a Calming Jar. According to its description, you fill the jar with glitter and water, and when a kid gets upset, you tell the kid to shake the calm jar to let out their pint size frustrations. Then, the child has to wait until the glitter settles at the bottom of the jar before he can get back up and rejoin society.
Finally, let me comment for a moment on the Total Transformation commercials. This collection of DVDs supposedly helps parents learn how to manage negative behaviors in their children. The television commercials feature sad mothers who speak in shaky voices and look into the camera to make declarations to their child. They assert that the child will no longer scream, cuss, call them names or talk back to them.
I sincerely hope that all these women were actors who do not have kids. If they are real people, I can’t imagine how many hours were spent by their children and their children’s friends rolling on the floor laughing at these commercials. What a scam.
So what has changed? Why has our generation, blessed with better education and the advantage of Oprah, forgotten how to be a mom ora dad? To this day, I get nervous at just the thought of talking back to a teacher or screaming at my parents.
The difference is that in my household, there was never a question as to who was the boss. My mom and dad were the Alphas. They were judge and jury and we knew it.
My parents happily and effectively used subtle intimidation and fear as their main tools of discipline. With one look from my mom or just the slightest tinge in my dad’s voice, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up.
They rarely had to do much more than that, and that is because we knew that they were capable of discipline that was real and substantive if we pushed the line.
Today’s parents have tried so hard to make sure their kids know that they are loved, and I respect and honor that emotion. But in doing so, we have treated them with such fragility that we have forgotten that real love comes in more forms than just hugs.
Melissa Carter is also a writer for Huffington Post. She broke ground as the first out lesbian radio personality on a major station in Atlanta and was one of the few out morning show personalities in the country. Follow her on Twitter @MelissaCarter