It’s news again that children are being spoiled by their over-indulgent parents and will be ill-equipped to tackle the real world when the time comes.
This week, it’s a New Yorker article that discusses "Slouching Toward Adulthood: Notes from the Not-So-Empty Nest," a new book by Sally Koslow.
I banged on about this before when I talked about a CBC documentary on the same subject. The article trots out the usual anecdotes, including this facepalm-worthy bit:
In another representative encounter, an eight-year-old girl sat down at the dining table. Finding that no silverware had been laid out for her, she demanded, “How am I supposed to eat?” Although the girl clearly knew where the silverware was kept, her father got up to get it for her.
Of course, because it’s the New Yorker, this dilemma of the spoiled children is largely a pre-occupation of the privileged classes. There is the supposed "French style," which emphasizes the child’s autonomy and the parent’s freedom. Apparently we hate the French but their kids are awesome. On the other end of spectrum, there’s the attachment parenting approach endorsed by Mayim Bialik. Who knew Amy Farrah Fowler was so crunchy? But this is a preoccupation of those who have the resources, time, and education to actually think about what their parenting philosophy is. I’m also not sure if this is the first generation that was ill-equipped to deal with adulthood. But don’t get me wrong. People consciously wanting to be better parents is a good thing. And it supports a whole niche sector of the publishing industry so, you know, job creators!
It doesn’t stop me from wondering about our own parenting philosophy. We didn’t do attachment parenting or co-sleeping but the lad was worn a lot in the first two years for the practical reason that it was easier to take him on the buses instead of bringing a stroller. He doesn’t behave like a proper little Frenchman at the dinner table but he doesn’t throw food, at least. Just wish he’d eat a sandwich without peeling it apart first. We don’t have a philosophy but we just do what works for us. It’s not always going to work.
But he does get the silverware out at dinner time so I think we may have gotten at least that bit right.