A report in the news today finds that college freshmen are reporting the lowest levels of mental health since they started taking the survey in 1985.
Geeze you don’t suppose that it might be because this generation of college kids is a generation of kids that’s grown up with everyone making the team and mommy & daddy going down to school when the big bad teacher yelled at their precious princess, do you?
Can you imagine the HUGE surprise it must be to find out that teachers aren’t going to cater to you and that calls from mommy and daddy will be ignored or worse yet laughed at?
Oh you mean my helicopter parents can’t come and hover over me making sure I write every paper perfectly? You mean I’m going to have to decide on my own to get to work? You mean mom can’t write it for me? (C’mon we all know parents who do their kids homework for them so that they get good grades)
Wait! What? What do you mean that I’m not special? How can I not be the pretty pretty princess? Mommy said I was. *sobs*
I was listening to this report today and all I could think of was this is what happens when kids have no idea at all that life’s tough and that you gotta work for every little scrap you get. I swear to you parents are doing their children a HUGE disservice by letting them believe that every kid plays on the team. We all know real life is not like that and college is where I’d imagine society begins to weed out the weak from the strong.
We are creating generations of failures. It’s a shame. The greatest generation didn’t get to be the greatest generation by having things handed to them. They worked hard and sacrificed, their parents were not their “friends” and by God they respected authority figures and their elders.
Toward the end of my tenure at the parenting magazine we were getting press releases about studies saying parents shouldn’t yell at their kids anymore. That this too was bad for them emotionally. So by 2008 parents were expected not only to not spank their kids but also to not yell at them. *shakes head* So now we have a generation of parents talking softly while reasoning with 5 year olds while gently guiding them to their time out spot. OMG! Seriously? Really? So soon we’ll have another generation of college kids who haven’t even been yelled at. They’ve had absolutely no consequences at all; just quiet talks, A’s for effort, a chance to play on the team even if they’re no good and mommy and daddy blaming the teacher when their little princes and princesses are disciplined at school.
What is this all teaching them? They have absolutely no personal responsibility, no need to try harder, and a HUGE sense of entitlement. No employer in the world is going to pat you on the back and say, “Oh well, you tried. Better luck next time.” How can any of these kids muster up any determination if they’ve never been told no?
I know I’m not a parent but I feel bad for these kids who’ll never know what it’s like to strive for achievements or to work hard to get better enough to play on the team or even know how to accept criticism, constructive or otherwise. I feel bad for those who will go out into the real world totally unprepared for reality and fail miserably because they have no work ethic and no idea how to make their situations better because they’ve never had to work for anything in their lives. Just watch the American Idol auditions. These are the people who’ve been told their whole lives that they are special and talented rather than perhaps being guided into another talent by honest friends and family.
What good are we doing humanity by not telling the truth or by trying to make life easy all the time? How will anyone cope with adversity when it’s suddenly thrust upon them as college students or young adults? How will they make it through? Parents should think about these things when they’re reading parenting magazines and parenting websites and advice from other well-meaning mothers. Ask yourself this, if you don’t gently help your child to get tough, (I’m not talking about making them hard-hearted I’m talking about thick enough skin to survive day-to-day life in the real world) or allow your child to fail and pick him or herself up on small things while they’re young how will your child know how to do these things when you’re not there to guide and comfort them?
It must be incredibly shocking and disheartening to finally make it to college or a real job only to have a professor inform you that not only is your opinion wrong but that he doesn’t care that he’s just hurt your feelings. Imagine not getting that raise or promotion to which you thought you were entitled. That’s tough for the most well adjusted folks. Imagine it happening to someone who has always been rewarded for effort? It must be brutal.
I feel bad for these college freshmen. They have a long hard road ahead of them and most have never dealt with disappointment before.