How To Dismantle An Adult

Kids have little to no fear of adults anymore. You think I am wrong? Sit in on most classes in a public school, or threaten to tell them you will some how retaliate against their behavior. There is no fear in them anymore. I used to firmly believe that it was because we can no longer hit them. And I was wrong. It’s because of the evil TV and movies! I might sound like a rally cry from the 50’s, but I assure you I am firmly rooted in at least the 80’s. I am at the tail end of the last generation that remembers it being OK to get slapped or spanked.

Watch any TV show geared at kids, or even any family movie. 99.99% of the time the adult is portrayed as a complete imbecile. They are perpetually bumbling around, not sure of their choices, confused about what they think or believe in, and NEVER in charge. It’s always the kids that are portrayed as the intelligent ones or the only people that are getting things done in spite of their parents.

Having a child not able to rely or trust their parents works in horror movies because that is one of their biggest fears. Having children watch movies and shows where the parents aren’t smart enough to lead daily life is one of my fears. The big shift started taking place in the late 80’s, early 90’s. The Brady Bunch and The Beaver and any other show from the 50’s – 70’s had parents who worked hard, and would guide their kids through whatever 22 minute problem they had that week. Then out of no where parents became the children.

Look at Mr. Belding from Saved By The Bell, or Homer Simpson. Step By Step, Full House, Charles In Charge, Family Matters, 90210. The parents in iCarly or ANY Disney live action kids show. Family Guy (not a kids show), Hannah Montana, Rugrats, Jonas Brothers, Sonny With A Chance, Sweet Life On Deck, Wizards of Waverly Place. Any show on the CW. All have complete lobotomized parents leaving the kids either alone or in the role as the smart member of the family. The parents in every episode have some generic line about how they are figuring this out as they go along . . . to the kids! The kids are always embarrassed by their parents. The parents are always the punch line.

Now, do you wonder why kids act the way they do? Why they feel the urge to feel and be so grown up but lack any of the skills to do so? And missing out on the fun part of letting your parents be in charge, and just being a kid, what does that do to your psyche? Look at schools – They teach kids now that their parents ruined the Earth, and they need to be the ones to stand up and save it. They call it recycling, which is a good thing, but it is presented in a way that paints their parents in a poor light, and the child as the savior.

And this does not lean one political side or another, but the recent protests and presidential elections of the past relied heavily on convincing you to vote one way to fix what your parents did to ruin the current state of things or the future. There is always room for improvement, but these tactics are making it very hard for kids to WANT to trust and rely on their parents. Which is odd since everything they have is because of us.

And this may be a stretch to point out that parents are viewed as complete idiots on TV, but look at the gaining momentum of BS like Peer-enting. The hippie infected thought process that you will be a better parent by being your child’s friend instead of the adult. That’s what kids need growing up, another peer! You know what got my whole young men’s group basically arrested and forced into a prevention class while caroling with the young women at a church activity for ATTEMPTED doorbell ditching? My peers. My parents are the ones that made sure I knew that was wrong. (That’s an awesome story too, by the way.)

There is no quicker way to dismantle any authority you think you have than to level the playing field with a child. You need to be the adult that leads and guides and sets boundaries. Any sick notion you have that being their friend only destroys your ability to parent. It’s easy to have fun with your kids, it’s worse to assume they have the same intellectual skills and life judgements as you.

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