Friday, November 16, 2012

Socialization? Everybody Receives A Failing Grade

 I ventured outside of my little corner and fell smack into the real world, again.  This world is apparently made up of children who not only run amok (amok, amok, amok) but have been placed under the care of an adult (be they parent or teacher) who sees no problem with allowing children to run amok (amok, amok, amok). 

{Sigh}  I should stay home more.

First, I’ll be totally honest.  I have what most would consider ‘high’ standards for public behavior.  As inappropriate as I am, in public venues, I revert to ‘old school’ manners as if my Depression Era-raised mother were standing in the room with me.  *I* don’t think my standards are very high.  To be more accurate, I don’t think my standards have changed over the last 40 years (yes, by age five I had developed a good sense of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ behaviors while in public).  I think that society has moved further and further away from the standards of my childhood.  Ergo, I’m not being inappropriate, just old-fashioned!
Here are the highlights of the experiences that had my eye twitching (which is what happens when shit happens that I find extremely annoying, yet have no control over).

  • While waiting in line at the event, children were permitted by parents or teachers to run amok: hanging onto displays, rattling closed doors, and attempting to cut in line ahead of others.
  • Adults, with children in tow, arrived en masse late to the performance.
  • Once the event started, children were permitted to engage in activities that were distracting to the rest of the audience.
  • Children coughed, hacked, and sneezed their way through the event with open mouths and uncovered noses – all while parents sat next to them.
  • One adult sat through the entire production alternating between picking his nose and wiping his found treasure on his jeans or the seat.
  • While exiting the event and trying to keep all our children together, adults would cut in front of our children in their haste to exit and with no concern for safety.
  • During the tour, children were permitted, by their caretakers, to manhandle or abuse displays that were meant to be experienced as well as selfishly demand other children to turn over whatever it was they wanted to try.

Overall I have noticed a general lack of courtesy among a large portion of children today.  I do believe they no longer feel they are but a small part of the world, instead they believe that the whole world revolves around them.  I can only ascertain that their parents are encouraging this delusional idea.  We are a very ‘child-centered’ society.  That’s not an entirely bad thing, they are our future after all; but I can’t help but think we’re going about it the wrong way.  Every child is special?  Yes, every child is special to someone, true; but a more accurate description would be every child is unique.  Ergo, every child has the *potential* to offer something unique to our world.  That isn’t going to come to fruition though if the children are being raised to believe that the world owes them everything.

Children are praised, excessively, for doing was is (or should be) expected of them in order to function in society instead of being taught to do what is right for the sake of doing what is right.  Basically, more and more children are allowed to run amok, acting as if they are the only important folks on this planet.  It is going to come back to bite us in the ass.  Recent studies have indicated that a larger and larger percentage of college students are showing higher and higher levels of narcissism and lower and lower levels of empathy.  Is it just me, or can anyone else hear the fiddle playing?

Let me be clear.  The problem is *not* that children will misbehave or make mistakes.  It's not that there is anything inherently wrong with children acting up or acting out.  Children DO these things as a normal part of testing boundaries, looking for limits, learning their world.  The real problem is the parents, raising these children, who, for whatever reason, are not willing or capable of setting clear boundaries and limits for their children; those who stand by and do nothing of any real consequence as their children run amok.  There is no societal standard anymore for appropriate public behavior.  If one adult were to correct a child (even if there's danger) that is a stranger, parents become outraged.  

When I was a kid, if I got caught doing something wrong at school (which never happened, of course) I caught hell from the teacher, the principal, and then my folks.  If I got busted in our neighborhood for inappropriate conduct, I caught heck from the neighbor and then my folks.  There are teenagers today roaming my neighborhood (which I understand, I was once young - believe it or not) that will stare you down as they stand in the middle of the road while you are waiting to drive by; or they'll flick their cigarettes at you as they hang off the street signs.  My ass would have been BEAT for this; twice if it had been a neighbor who took me home and told on me!!

I don't know why it is the way it is today.  I no longer care why.  As a society as a whole, public schooled or home schooled, we are receiving a failing mark for the subject of socialization!  There's a saying that goes something like, "Before you criticize today's youth, take a look at the generation who is raising them.'   Well, I have - every time I step outside of my little world.  Each and every time all I can think is, “I’ve seen the village and I don’t want it raising my child.”  I don’t care how inappropriate that makes me. 

And yes, there are members of the village who are homeschoolers.

~Mari B.


  1. Love Love Love this entry!
    I know my kids aren't perfict little angels, but they are usually the better behaved everywhere we go. The problem I encounter though is judgement; people stare and give me dirty looks when I get down and talk to my kids and tell them to behave, and if I dare pull them away from the activity to put them in time out. I've even had (on rare occasions) other parents tell me that I'm hindering their growth by not letting them "act their age"... excuse me? Isn't their age all about learning and growing so they can become decent members of society? How are they to learn what is and isn't acceptable if you just let them run wild and do whatever they want because "they're at that age"?

    1. I hear you! I agree. That *is* what their age is supposed to be about!

      ~Mari B.


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