Are We Ruining Our Kids?
My 12 year old step-son has been hounding me about getting him a cell phone. I remember the first day he came home and asked me, I thought I was hearing him wrong. Instead of hearing him say, “Can I have a cell phone”, I heard, “Can I ever call home?”… Why in the world would he ask me if he could call home? I mean, he surely couldn’t be asking me for a cell phone. Kids his age don’t have cell phones….Or so I thought. I soon found out that I was completely wrong, and that my son was in fact one of the few kids in his school that did not have a cell phone. I guess their parents found a reason for buying their kids these new toys, but my logic says, If you don’t have a job and a car you do NOT need a cell phone! What could possibly be so important in the life of a 12 year-old that he would need a cell phone?
Today its a cell phone, tomorrow it might be a Maserati. These kids today are spoiled rotten! And I blame us. We are the adults who have been showing them examples and making excuses for their frivolous needs. Somewhere along the line we began to show our youth that material things are worth more than character. It’s a sad site to see kids who would do anything in the world, including compromising their character, if it meant they were going to live lavishly. A feeling inside my heart makes me want to write a Dear John letter to every teenager in the world, and apologize for how we have created this ultra-materialistic world for them, only to leave them hanging.
Now I have to admit, I have been a pretty lucky girl…okay, maybe spoiled is the world. But in my day being spoiled meant you owned three Barbie dolls instead of one, and had two different sets of jumbo shoelaces to switch out during the week. When you turned 16 you got a job, not a Hummer. And if you brought home C’s and D’s, it didn’t matter how spoiled you were-you weren’t gonna get squat if your grades were horrible. If I have to endure one more episode of My Super Sweet 16 I might puke all over the television. What these kids don’t understand that having lavish things is a privilege, not a necessity. And there is certainly nothing wrong with wanting your kids to have a little more than you had growing up, that is as long as you provide them with lavish gifts and a dose of morally correct instructions on the side.
So what do we do as parents? Do we go along with the status quo and feed into our children’s extremely narcissistic desires to become the most popular kid in school, or do we withhold the cell phones and the car keys until they are old enough AND responsible enough to handle it. While I don’t want my child sitting alone at the lunch table or getting strung up by their shorts in the locker room, I hardly think that his popularity trumps my desire to make sure my child is a morally sound, respectable, and productive individual. I’d like to leave something monumental to this world besides my glorious sense of fashion. My advice for today’s parents…Dig deeper, your children will love you for it!