A Bad CombinationPosted by on Monday, July 16th, 2012
I have a theory: As more things become illegal, we, as a society have become more judgmental.
As neighbors, we have judged our fellow citizens for their illegal behaviors. Many of these activities don’t hurt anyone else. Seemingly irreparable harm has been done not only to our communities, but to our families as well. Let me explain: Each law that is passed has some reason associated with it in order to sell it to the general public (and not be seen as a draconian measure to simply take away freedom). The reason that is usually given to please the populace is usually safety.
(If you are interested in reading more about the laws that have been passed related to safety, feel free to click the tag by that name on the column to the right.)
As we have more and more regulations regarding safety, a market for safety products has emerged. When we combine these things together (judgmental attitudes toward everything illegal, constant marketing of safety products, and the media attention on out of the ordinary crimes), we end up with a horrible combination, especially for kids.
People are starting to wake up to this reality. I have been reading more and more articles lately about how helicopter parenting is not good for kids. Today, the focus article is on how parents are worsening homesickness with their constant hovering and communication.
Homesickness has always been with us, but nowadays we think of it as a lament of children separated from their parents by summer camp or other educational and recreational activities. Now that universal emotion is complicated by parents, enabled by modern technology and more inclined to hover, to call, to text, to be constantly in touch.
This couldn’t possibly be because they’re always worried about something they saw on the news, could it?
The article goes on to talk about how homesickness, as an emotion or a feeling, is a normal thing and how kids today aren’t able to experience and deal with a normal, yet unpleasant feeling. The tragedy is that, if they are able to deal with it positively, they could have some really great and diverse experiences. If they are not able to deal with it, one of their parents will come to get them and neither will have grown.
I have to say that most of the articles discussing this problem these days are really only focusing on half of the problem (in my opinion). While I think that helicopter parenting is damaging, we have to examine the reasons behind it. Obviously the media is involved (and is an oft-cited culprit).
However, I believe that legislation is another culprit. We have an old-fashioned belief that nobody should break the law because every law in place is a moral statement. Then, when we see or hear about people in our communities breaking laws, we get paranoid about safety and nostalgic for the good old days when there was less crime. (Nevermind that fewer things were criminalized) We don’t need the media’s help in solidifying negative attitudes about our neighbors. We just need to see a police car next door to start this whole process rolling.
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