The juvenilization of American youth
Having kids changes relationships. Big time. Babies don't come with a manual – the first kid is 'winging it' and trying your best, when you actually care, to be good parents. There can be a kind of 'parental arrogance' like “We're GREAT parents; you DARE to question us?” ..I try my best never to question parental authority even when I witness bad parenting.. Nobody made me the 'bad parent police'. ;)~ But I can gossip when provoked. :P ..I've met families in their natural environments on four continents.. In my observations, I've seen the entire spectrum from rigid 'military like' authoritarian control to abject neglect. There never seems to be a happy medium .. Occasionally, I will meet a great parent, but the tendency is toward the extremes. As a parent, there seems to be the inevitable leaning toward: 1. authoritarianism or 2. neglect and abusive cycles. In other more colloquial terms: you're either a prick/bitch or your an idiot; rarely do we find parents in the middle.
The dynamic most people don't anticipate is the extremely tight bond between mother and child. This is so strong, so overpowering, that all else becomes secondary – including and most especially – the relationship between parents. Kids change everything .. When kids come along, most of us are floundering – trying to find our roles in relation to them – and the nuclear fallout between parents. I don't use that expressions lightly – when a baby comes along – it's as if a nuclear bomb has gone off in the living-room: everything changes .. The balance between rigid authoritarianism and neglect is like the balance in attention between care and indifference. Children obviously need love and attention, but if we cared about everything that came out of their mouths equally, we'd be dead from exhaustion. And if we were indifferent to everything, we'd be guilty of neglect.. So.. How do we find the 'happy medium'? Beat's me. :P ..I will attempt the Buddhistic approach.. Find your balance within and it will manifest in your outer life. Be/become a balanced person internally; balance in your environment will manifest automatically/naturally.
Before I move on to the point of the article, I want to address one more thing mentioned above: cycles of abuse. As parents, we are obligated to be the best parents we can be – just from the fact we were given the gift of life ourselves – and so we must be responsible for any new life we create ourselves. They key word in that sentence is 'responsible', but it has a rich and complex meaning when associated with parenting. The cycles of abuse I'm referring to are exhibited when a child 'acts out' – in self-destructive or peer-abusive behavior. Bad parents reinforce this with punishment and typically screaming. The cycle never ends. 'Punishment' is a form of negative attention. Remember, all kids need love and attention. Kids will act-out simply to receive negative attention from a parent or other authority figure. Attention is attention. All kids need attention. The simplest solution to break the cycle is simply ignore negative/undesirable behavior. Use positive attention to reinforce positive/desirable behavior. You'd be surprised how quickly children respond to consistent operant conditioning .. The obvious key word here is: consistent. If you frequently mess up in terms of rewarding bad behavior, kids will always become confused and relax to the baseline: acting-out expecting punishment. The rut of this particular cycle is extremely difficult to dig out of. You must be consistent.
Now to the point of the article. As we all know, there is this phenomenon in America we 'like' to call the dumbing-down of American youth. The less we expect, the less we encourage, the less we cherish, the more idiots our kids will be. This is the proverbial dumbing-down of American youth. It's real and it's happening now. Much more insidiously and generally, there is what I call: the juvenilization of American youth .. Okay, 'remember' when, hundreds of years ago, when a person could reproduce, they were considered an adult? For example, when a girl got her first period, she was considered a woman. If you doubt me, look it up .. This is a historical fact. You were lucky to live to age 50; that was considered old. What we call adolescence today was called adulthood then .. Yesterday, I just watched an adorable movie called 'little Manhattan' with mom. Just adorable. But.. Unfortunately, it's totally unrealistic. If we believe the movie, pre-adolescent kids don't have any sexual feelings. They are non-sexual creatures. No matter how appealing this view is to parents, it's simply wrong.
This is a big part of the juvenilization of American youth – we refuse to acknowledge the sexuality of pre-adolescents. For one thing, they're Curious. They want to know what it's about. Yes, we have 'sex ed' classes, but by and large – they're a Joke. The teachers presenting the material typically feel uncomfortable and make the kids feel more so. There is no connection between the materials presented and real life. They might as well be talking about sperm-whale reproduction vs sperm and ovums for all the lasting benefits these so-called sex-ed classes produce. It takes educators who Care and more importantly – parents who recognize the sexuality of their children – respect and acknowledge this sexuality as equally valid as their own .. I'm NOT advocating all parents to let their kids have free sex with multiple partners. NOT .. If you reread above several times, you understand I'm always pushing for awareness, respect, and trust.
Recently, a friend of mine told me 'trust, when broken, must be earned'. Years ago, another friend told me 'respect must be earned'. But BOTH CAN BE GIFTS. This is the critical failure in American society: a culture of mistrust. When we give-in to this culture of mistrust, our society unravels .. Our culture of mistrust feeds our ravenous and insatiable parasitical legal system and ultimately destroys American society. The juvenilization of American youth contributes in two ways: 1. the fundamental lack of respect it implies and 2. the host of problems associated with sexual denial: teen pregnancy, the inevitable spread of STDs, 'statutory rape' (our obsession with the 'legality' of sexual engagements revolving around the age 18 will eventually be regarded as a historical oddity – hundreds of years from now), and all the pseudo-psychological 'trauma' adults associate with underage mutual consenting sex .. There are some polynesian cultures where older relatives are entrusted to introduce sexuality to opposite-sexed youth. This is an anthropological fact. There is never allegations of 'child rape'. So what we call 'normal' (American sexual development) is actually: denial, ignorance, puritanism, disrespect, and mistrust.
In the movie 'little Manhattan', a more realistic ending would be something like this – instead of “I don't know what love is.” and both part ways .. Something more like this.. Haha.. If you have any sexual imagination, you can finish the movie how you'd like.. My point is: the juvenilization of American youth is VERY DANGEROUS to: their identity, sexuality, self-esteem, sense of autonomy and self-worth, and future relationships. The more we say “Wait until marriage.” or “Don't have sex; masturbate.” or “Don't even touch yourself.”, the more sick, teen pregnant, abusive, and unnatural relationships our children will have/be. Denial is not a way of life – it's a social sickness.
Respect your children as sexual creatures, allow the possibility of true-love between kids, allow your children to explore their growing sexualities, and recognize the fact everyone's sexual appetite is different – even over the span of an individual life. Some kids will be 'harlots' plain and simple – just absolute outright slut-whores. Some will be prudes and teases.. These are 'the inevitables' of human sexuality.. Some just want a single bf/gf – is there anything criminal in that? Really? When we criminalize human sexuality, regardless of age, we are denying our own humanity.