Monday, September 27, 2021
HomeCulture WarsWho’d want to be a child today?

Who’d want to be a child today?

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As we consider vaccinating children though the risks could outweigh the benefit to them, let’s think about how we treat children in 2021 and what lessons we give them.

1.  Adults are just like big children. There are no real adults any more, just bigger kids and mini-adults. Being a parent in 2021 doesn’t mean that you hang up your own dreams. It must be hard to be a child when adults are still finding themselves.  

2.  Children’s voices are everywhere, but the content is adult.    Children’s voices in advertising address adults on a range of topics that include food banks, actual banks, supermarkets, disease control and climate change. A Dairy Milk advert shows a small boy noticing a grown-up cry, so he shares his chocolate. Adults are placing cognitive traits and behaviours onto children and that is plain creepy. If a paedophile was to suggest, ‘I know she’s only ten but she’s giving me the eye’, we would not countenance it. But it’s the same creepy pattern when we use children as ventriloquists’ dummies.

3.  Children with ‘issues’ get on TV. We show children who are badly behaved being ‘fixed’ on TV, and schools allow film crews to make reality prorammes. Entertainment trumps children’s needs in education.

4.  Feelings, feelings, feelings. In the past, if a child stood atop a staircase and thought about jumping, the child would be developing an understanding of their mortality. Now children are taught about mental health and sometimes normal feelings are gived deeper meaning. We talk about, and take seriously, these feelings, worried that our children are suicidal or sad or weird. So the child now spends time working through emotional barriers with a classroom assistant. Which will also get them out of maths. 

5.  My feelings count, even if I can’t. Children don’t learn real stuff in state schools like they do in private schools. It’s less important that they know their three times table than it is to know how to find out, and how it made them feel. The private school has moved on the seven times table in the time most of our state-educated children spent talking and communicating about the process and their feelings about their success.

6.  Abuse is apparently commonplace. Schools have visiting charities explaining to children what to do about child abuse, leaving children with the impression that its everywhere and routine. This can mean that real victims of child abuse are lost.

7.  Certain personalities are not allowed. A shy child who won’t talk in a big group? Schools are now tasked to change him into a government-approved ‘confident individual’. He will be spied on in the playground to see if he has friends. If he doesn’t its everyone’s business and staff might enlist the class to help him make friends. He is very embarrassed.

8.  Everyone is doing illegal stuff. Apparently parents can’t stop their child from having sex and smoking and taking drugs, and they think it is better if happens under their roof and they understand, because adults were all teenagers themselves once. Except not all teenagers break the law. But let’s bombard them with messages that we want to help and understand their cool lives and forget the ones who sit at home thinking no one has ever offered me drugs or sex – what is wrong with me?

9.  Parents are pals. Parents are getting older, but they try to keep up and do things like cycling with their child, as children can’t just go out to play on their own any more. Or be bored, ever. 

10. Parents are judged everywhere. They need to perform parenting skills loudly in public, to show everyone what great parents they are. It’s exhausting for them, but the trickle-down from government is that parents and children need to COMMUNICATE and now families have to say everything out loud so everyone can see that they are great together and not emotionally abusive.

Who’d be a child now? Actually, who’d be a parent of a young child now with this society breathing down their necks? We need to stop and look at ourselves, put away our childish things and think seriously about how we can put children first. 

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Gail MacDonald
Gail MacDonald is a professional psychologist and writer. Views expressed here are her own.

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