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Why are American kids so spoiled?

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  • Why are American kids so spoiled?

    Yah, this might be an interestin' read for discussion as it pertains to Scouting.

    http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2012/07/02/120702crbo_books_kolbert?printable=true

  • #2
    One word: fear.

    We are afraid that our children are going to be abducted, abused, molested, etc., so we prevent them from doing all the normal stuff we did as children and instead create structured situations where they have no responsibility or consequences.

    We are afraid of children saying "my dad/mom/scout leader/Mr. Smith did such-and-such to me" and having our lives ruined so we avoid exercising authority over children, most especially children other than our own.

    We are afraid of our children sitting on their psychiatrist's couch and blaming us for their failure in life so we try to prevent them from ever failing (which is impossible).

    And so on.

    We have the best of intentions--no one wants children to grow up to be big children. But we are afraid of the tough love required to help them become adults.

    Comment


    • #3
      Yep.. Brew hit it.

      When you add the contempt between divorced parents to the mix, the risk tolerance drops even more.

      Of course when you add the behavior of organizations to hide cases of abuse, many parents feel pretty justified in being risk intolerant.(This message has been edited by Engineer61)

      Comment


      • #4
        As I stated in another post....

        "Be careful" vs. "How high can you climb"

        Stosh

        Comment


        • #5
          There is also the generousity side of it too:

          Each generation of parents wants to provide a better life and future for their children:

          How many of you had your own bathroom growing up?

          How many had your own color tv witha video game conected to it?

          How many of you had your own pair of $50.00 sunglasses at age 10?

          How many of you had your own $100 rod/reel combo at age 12?

          Nah son, You don't need to do chores because we hire a housecleaning service, lawncare technition, we have a pool maintainance man, we hire out any odd things that need to be done around the house, etc.......

          JUst relax and don't stress out. Jump in our big backyard pool and swim or ride in your own personal golf cart to the club house pool/grill and hang out with your friends.

          Just make sure you wear your $300.00 watch and $150.00 shoes so you don't look out of place!

          Comment


          • #6
            Yup, it's fear. Too many people are completely unable to comprehend the real risks on life to wrap their children in cotton wool. The fact is the most likely cause, far and away more than anything else, of death among children in the western world is being hit by a car. Hence the most important thing you can do for your child is teach them to cross the road safely. Yet compare the coverage in the media and the hysteria from parents about peadophiles compared to road safety which gets minimal attention.

            If you've not read it this is well worth a read http://books.google.co.uk/books/about/Risk.html?id=56DwVD4vE3UC

            I don't know what the stats are like your side of the pond but in the UK I believe a child is 3 times more likely to be killed by lightening than be murdered by an adult they don't know.

            Comment


            • #7
              Clearly, we'd be in a much better place as a society if we'd followed the Ayn Rand 'school' of child rearing.
              I heard this line of argument posed in the 1960's....applied to the children then (including me) - who are now lamenting their own culpability in coddling the current crop. Seems like some Greek guy said something along these lines a few years back...

              Look, instead of wringing our hands and wetting our panties over something we think we're doing wrong right now....why not just stop doing it and get it right instead?
              Otherwise, accept what we are and are becoming. Adding 'drama' to it hardly enhances anything.

              Comment


              • #8
                Regarding the article the OP refers to....

                It's a journalist's comments about an anthropologist's mostly anecdotal observations from small sample populations. The journalist is left-leaning and the anthropologist is... well, an anthropologist. And aptly named "Izquierdo" (if her politics don't match that name, she's unusual in her profession). So OF COURSE they are going to tell us about how characteristics of some primitive culture are equal to or (more likely) better than modern US culture. On the other hand, just because it's lefty journalism and anthropology, it doesn't mean its conclusions are incorrect... even a broken clock (provided it's an analog clock with both hands intact and attached) is correct twice a day.

                It does seem reasonable that there might be some differences in the way children of a primitive culture in the Peruvian Amazon would behave as compared to most US kids. They live differently.

                Note that the child in that first anecdote was out with a family unit doing things that other people in her society do - not just things that little girls do in the company of other little girls. She was not put into an age segregated group that does things separately from the rest of her society for most of the day as most US kids are (we call it school).

                The kids in the "not spoiled" example in the article are different from US kids primarily in that their "socialization" takes place in the environment of their family and their community. Whereas US kids are "socialized" by spending a lot of time in big groups of persons who are mostly just as uncultured and uncouth as themselves - and they become "socialized" to that environment. The Peruvian Amazon kids in the article learn to be people from other people of all ages. Kids in US schools learn to be people from... from other kids - or at least moreso than they would if their days were structured (or unstructured) more like the Peruvian Amazon kid in the example.

                Anyway - that's one reasonable hypothesis about a possibly contributing factor to what we're told the anthropologists observed in these little studies they did.


                And it says "Senior Forum Member" under "Callooh! Callay!" now instead of "Forum Member." Was it number of posts? Time registered? Grumpiness? "Senior," neato.(This message has been edited by Callooh! Callay!)(This message has been edited by Callooh! Callay!)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Yah, hmmm...

                  I'm not sure how raisin' spoiled kids is a "lefty" issue, Callooh!Callay! I'm a traditional conservative fellow, and personally I would think of well-behaved kids with strong family values as being a conservative issue. Overly permissive parenting I would associate with more liberal folks.

                  Why is it that yeh feel the opposite? Do yeh feel that conservative families are spoiling their kids rotten and so you're sensitive to "lefty" researchers callin' us on it?

                  I just don't get it.

                  I agree with yeh that there is potentially some real merit in young people being around mixed ages. It's perhaps why I advocate for mixed-age patrols and I think K-8 schools make more sense than puttin' a bunch of hormone-enriched adolescents all together.

                  But yeh should keep in mind that da little girl from the Amazon was only 6 years old, eh? That's mostly kindergarten for U.S. kids, and I don't reckon a semester of kindergarten can be blamed for such big differences in effects, do you? So lookin' to the home seems pretty natural to me. Don't yeh think?

                  Beavah
                  (This message has been edited by Beavah)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Beavah:

                    Prior to school there is day care for many. I don't know how many, but since the original conclusions seem to rely heavily on observations of one six year old girl in the Peruvian Amazon, perhaps observations of one other six year old girl with a lot of day care under her belt would be sufficient to complement the original research.

                    "Why is it that yeh feel the opposite?" I don't. I didn't offer an opinion the opposite of anything having to do with whether or not liberals or conservatives are more likely to spoil their kids. My guess is that raising spoiled children is an option equally available to folks of all political stripes.

                    The reference to "leftiness" above pertains not to who is more likely to spoil children or how, but rather to what we might expect a journalist (a lefty one anyway) and anthropologists (lefty ones - which is to say most) to be primed to find and point out to us when they compare the society of nice Peruvian Amazonians to the society of bad old US Americans. They like to find fault with US and romanticize THEM. But, as I said... just because they're lefties following lefty imperatives doesn't mean they're necessarily wrong about everything they tell us.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Yah, hmmm...

                      Sorry, I just don't see it. I guess I just don't believe in viewin' everything in da world through a partisan lens.

                      The story about the Amazonian girl was an anecdote as far as I could tell, and irrelevant except as an interestin' counterpoint. Da stuff that was more telling was the actual video data from (presumably randomly selected) families in the L.A. basin that showed late elementary-aged kids unable or unwilling to tie their own shoes, eh?

                      I don't think da sample is an aberration, because we've seen those kids in Scouting, eh? Even here in da upper Midwest.

                      How exactly is that a partisan issue?

                      I guess I must be a "lefty" because I agree with da researcher. I believe in teachin' children responsibility and independence, not entitlement.

                      Beavah

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Deliberately obtuse?
                        Or what I wrote is very unclear?

                        In the first post, I did not say spoiling children is a partisan issue.
                        In the second post, I explicitly said that I don't think it's a partisan issue.
                        However in both posts, I did mention the proclivities of lefty journalists and anthropologists to find fault with the modern US where they find good in other societies.

                        This is apparently confusing for you... as if the mention of politics at all is like a dog-whistle to which your ear is especially attuned and which render you unable to process any information in its proximity.

                        And frankly, I don't think being deliberately unkind to kittens is appropriate. I can't fathom why you disagree.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Well, of Scoutfish's list of spoiled things, my sons only have one of those--one has a color TV with a gaming system (a Playstation 2, not the latest) in their room, the other a color TV with a DVD. Other than that, they have chores--dishes, laundry, occasional mopping, taking care of the bathroom they share, lawn mowing. They do have $100+ boots, but we got them on sale for under $70.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Couple things...

                            1. I think the article has merit, and is worthy of serious consideration. But, all is not lost! Scouting is a great antidote for such an ailment. By putting teenage boys in a situation that forces them to be responsible for menu planning, shopping, meal preparation, & clean up - as well as packing their personal gear, setting up their living quarters, and taking care of themselves - we are enabling these spoiled rotten kids to learn responsibility and understand the consequences of failure. An Anthropologist studying a population of Scouts vs. a population of non-Scout teenagers would find that the Scouts are far more capable of taking care of themselves and contributing to the household than the non-Scouts.

                            2. I fully expect that the looming economic disaster will put us in a depression far worse than what the U.S. experienced in the 1930's, and the options for spoiling kids will diminish significantly. Here again, the lessons learned in Scouting can be good preparation such a scenario.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I admit i didn't read the entire article. But here are my observations.

                              1) In dealing with all the students I have dealt with over the past 2 years, only 1 parent, 1 out of over a hundred, has actually said my child screwed up she has to deal with it. Most of the time, it's parents setting up stuff, parents to call when problems arise, and parent to call and or complain when informed that I cannot help their child got XYZ reason or the child was scheduled for ABC time and we cannot reschedule b/c others are already scheduled.

                              2) I've listed to parents go out of their way to help their children, including college age children and older, go to school and/or work. One mother actually calls her son every morning to wake him up so that he can go to work on time, something his wife could easily do.

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