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Destroying Childhood

Posted by Dave on November 2, 2016 at 7:00 PM

At the risk of understating the problem, childhood as it was experienced for millenia has all but vanished in the last twenty years. It's probably worse than that. We're seeing incredibly fragile young adults, unable to handle the normal pressures of everyday adult experience.The way many of us are raising our kids is leaving them vulnerable and weak.


A very close friend of mine is an army officer, currently in charge of a department that prepares enlisted soldiers of all ages to re-enter civilian life. His staff interview exiting soldiers to find out if they need any support, help guide their decision making about new careers, deal with medical and mental health issues, and get all the paperwork in order.


But the thing he's noticed most recently is the huge number of young soldiers leaving with serious symptoms of PTSD - who have never left the US! That's right. They have never been deployed, have never seen combat, haven't been shot at or bombed, haven't seen anyone die. The only thing they've been exposed to are a few tough drill instructors (not as tough as they used to be) and the rigors and regimenation of everyday army life and training. Old timers in the army say this is a fairly recent development.


College counselors are reporting similar situations. The stress of being away from home and parents' direct supervision and control is just too much for many students. It doesn't take much to send them into a downward spiral. Dropout rates are way up, as well as cases of depression and suicide. College mental health counselors are seeing unprecendented caseloads.


We've even seen a few moms renting apartments near campus so they can be there for their kids, or even having them live with her. College staff report some parents showing up with their kids for interviews and coming to class to help take notes, meeting with professors and staff as their child's advocate, demanding extra help and accomodations.  Even those who don't go to such extremes will talk to their child several times a day by phone.


Remember the free speech vs. "safe spaces" fracas on a Yale University common last Halloween? A professor was trying to make a point about free speech in society, and students nearly rioted because the professor's comments were "triggering." They claimed a need for "safe spaces" absolutely free of unpleasant or violent speech (meaning, in their case, the entire college campus). The professor was trying to make the point that creating such a space creates a very dangerous negative pressure on free speech. He and his wife were accused by students of promoting hate on campus.


Extreme parenting styles such as "attachment parenting" and overprotective "helicopter" parents (and even some school administrators) are turning our kids into emotional weaklings. At the first sign of stress or adversity, these kids fall apart.


A recent (October 31st, 2016) https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/201610/the-culture-childhood-we-ve-almost-destroyed-it" target="_blank">Psychology Today article by well-known child psychologist and author Peter Gray PhD explains what's happening to our children - and who's doing it. Click the lnk and read the article. Please. For the sake of our kids, our country, our civilization.





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