Friday, October 10, 2008

Kids These Days

Are you responsible for a youth? If so, make sure you get him or her involved with youth sports as soon as possible.

Even if your youth is still in diapers, it’s not too early.

The recent story of a St. Louis-area junior league football coach illustrates why this is so important. During the post-game handshake line, the coach was caught on video violently shoving an 11-year-old player on the opposing team.

The player had apparently been mouthy and disrespectful. All highly trained child development specialists know a healthy shove is the best way to take care of that problem, so I don’t see why this is such a big deal.

But the over-protective parents are pressing charges, thus undermining the coach’s powerful message about sportsmanship.

The message you, as a parent, must take from this story is clear: other people know best how to raise your child.

Have you spent years studying child psychology and education, like all the genius football coaches have? Not likely.

Six or seven hours a day in school is not enough time away from your child. Make sure she or he is involved in enough structured activities to keep you free and clear of parenting responsibilities until well after dinner.

I should probably acknowledge that for every story in the media about some heroic coach or parent who beats up somebody else’s kid at a hockey game, there’s another coach or parent under the radar who doesn’t take things too seriously and just wants all the kids to have a positive experience.

This bleeding-heart approach makes me sick, but we shouldn’t let a few bad apples keep us from letting other people do what’s best for our children.

In his book “Hold On To Your Kids,” psychologist Gordon Neufield tells us that kids spend so much time away from parents these days that they develop stronger attachments to peers than to adults.

This realignment starts at a surprisingly young age and builds momentum.

To test this theory, ask any child over age 10 who is more important to them, parents or friends. Ask again once you get them to take out their “ear buds.” The eventual response is likely to be:

“Well, obviously, my parents are, like, the most – wait, somebody is texting me… Oh My God! Tara says Jamie totally posted some sick photos of herself on MySpace. She is, like, such a skank.”

Fifty years ago, teen suicide was usually traced to rejection by parents. Nowadays, it’s usually linked to rejection by peers. No wonder teen suicide rates have ballooned like a skyrocket through the roof.

Studies show that kids involved in sports are less likely to kill themselves, get pregnant, or become drug addicts.

I wasn’t able to find any studies about suicide or pregnancy rates of kids who spend a lot of quality time with their parents, so it’s safe to assume those kids are also offing themselves in record numbers.

This is a matter of life and death. I urge you to put your kids first. Instead of selfishly insisting that they be home in time for a family dinner and a game of Monopoly, let them spend all their time with other kids.

And when they finally do get home, ignore them and watch TV. They’ll thank you for it.

1 comment:

B. Diederich said...

Do people not comment here?!
What a crack-up!
And so true... Sometimes it (sadly) seems like the parents truly do not even LIKE their child and make no bones about it...'ignore the poor thing; someone else will handle all my child-rearing responsibilities'. Aarrgh!