The new experience of childhood

Remember drive-in movies? We’d tell our parents we were going to the G- or PG-rated film, and once we got in, we would park in the lot for the R-rated film.

by Mary M. Ernsberger — 

As a parent, how often do you think back to your childhood? When your teenage son asks you for permission to hang out with his friends past curfew, do you respond immediately or do you take the time to talk with him and find out why? When your teenage daughter asks to go to the movies with a girlfriend, do you ask her which movie, what time it starts or who else is going?

Have you ever stopped to reflect back to when you were their age and asked your parents the same questions? What were your parents’ responses? Do you now sound just like them?

As teenagers, most of us said the last thing we wanted was to become like our parents when we got to be adults. Many of us grew up in a time when children were to be seen and not heard. Many of us were taught that you never questioned or argued with your elders — parents or teachers. You simply told your parents what you thought they wanted to hear, and then made your own plans to do what you wanted with your friends.

Remember drive-in movies — the ones with two or more screens? We’d tell our parents we were going to the G- or PG-rated film, and once we got in, we would park in the lot for the R-rated film.

Yes, times have changed. Is it because life is more dangerous now than it was back in the 20th century? Was it really safer then, or has the media just increased its reporting of deadly, heart-breaking, sad, bloody events? There was a day when every newscast ended with a story about an act someone did for the betterment of society. Many of us grew up hearing those positive notes.

Now think about what our children are growing up with. No wonder so many of them are desensitized to personal pain or sorrow and seem to react only with anger or force.

You may be scratching your head, asking yourself what went wrong. How did we let our world get this way? What will the world be like when our children are grown? We are all products of our upbringing and our environment. Our children will be products of their upbringing and environments. If, as an adult, you do not like what you see, take a minute to look at the world through the eyes of your child.

Our children are asked to grow up much more quickly than we did. In kindergarten, we majored in recess, arts and crafts, and naps. Now our 5-year-olds are learning how to read, spell, write and do math. What happened to kids just being kids? When we have children who insist on being children, who just want to play and learn by experiencing life, what do we do? We figure something must be wrong with them: those children have a disorder and need to be medicated.

Would your parents have medicated you just for being a kid? The changes in society are affecting children of all ages, from elementary school to junior high and high school. Do you like the new patterns you see emerging? Take time to look at the world through the eyes of your child. It’s the least you can do when you realize that every day, you are asking them to see the world through your eyes.

 

Mary M. Ernsberger is a mind-body psychologist, certified master hypnotherapist, and child and family life coach. She is the author of Recognizing the Greatness in Each Child. 480-343-9555 or hypno4kids@yahoo.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 26, Number 6, December 2007/January 2008.

, , , , ,
Web Analytics