No, really?
July 31, 2006 2:59 PM   Subscribe

We're raising a nation of wimps.
posted by keswick (118 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
...and get off my lawn!
posted by tew at 3:07 PM on July 31, 2006


Hey, you wanna come over here and say that to my face? Hanh?
posted by RakDaddy at 3:08 PM on July 31, 2006


I know you are but what am I.
posted by ninjew at 3:10 PM on July 31, 2006


Your "." link brings to mind the 1987 Newsweek cover photo of George H.W. Bush at the helm of his boat with the headline "Fighting the Wimp Factor."
posted by ericb at 3:11 PM on July 31, 2006


It was supposed to?
posted by keswick at 3:12 PM on July 31, 2006



posted by ericb at 3:12 PM on July 31, 2006


Is he gone yet?
posted by any major dude at 3:13 PM on July 31, 2006



posted by ericb at 3:15 PM on July 31, 2006


"difficulty with Gestalt thinking..."
posted by shoepal at 3:20 PM on July 31, 2006


No one denies the Ivy League offers excellent learning experiences, but most educators know that some of the best programs exist at schools that don't top the U.S. News and World Report list, and that with the right attitude;a willingness to be engaged by new ideas;it's possible to get a meaningful education almost anywhere.

Going to an Ivy League University pays much larger benefits than just a good education. It can be a ticket into some pretty amazing career opportunities. Too bad some kids game the system to get in. That lesson does stay with them through life, look at our current Commander in Chimp.
posted by caddis at 3:20 PM on July 31, 2006


Maybe, but our ability to post and comprehend snarky messages on the Internet outpaces all previous generations put together.

Suck it, greatest generation.
posted by ibmcginty at 3:21 PM on July 31, 2006 [4 favorites]


the 1987 Newsweek cover photo of George H.W. Bush at the helm of his boat with the headline "Fighting the Wimp Factor."

While I despised H. W. the president for his policies (little knowing how 'good' he'd look in comparison to his son) and his peccadillos (e.g., cutting a deal with Iran to keep American hostages hostage until Carter lost the election), I always found it funny that he was tagged with the 'wimp' appellation, considering his war heroism. He flew 58 combat missions in WWII for which he received the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Air Medals, and the Presidential Unit Citation. He was shot out of the air a couple times. But apparently he's a wimp.

Meanwhile our current president is apparently a Man of Principle because he speaks like a jack-ass. And apparently he's a tough cowboy. Because he has a ranch. Even though he's scared of horses and grew up in the richest part of New England, attending the most expensive schools. And he was a cheerleader. But that doesn't interfere with the cowboy thing.

Jesus, what a piece of shit the fourth estate is. Short of the handful of reporters doing their jobs and the even fewer editors with the courage to stand up to ownership.
posted by the_savage_mind at 3:21 PM on July 31, 2006 [7 favorites]


It seems to be a trend that magasine articles about modern life and parenting are almost always based on the anecdotal experience of the upper middle class, and then generalised to "the nation".

Sanitising cream? If we could keep the cockroaches out of our lunches, we thought we were doing well. Same with avoiding broken glass and urine in the playground. Actually, I have to say that I love those rubberised surfaces - they make playgrounds so much less attractive as litterboxes for cats (and other animals with bathroom control issues) than the old sand filling did. They replaced the sand at our local park, and it's so much cleaner now.

And frankly, I doubt that things have changed so much since the 80s. Most parents aren't santising their children's hands, they are trying to convince them that playing with broken glass isn't a good idea. Even in the suburbs.
posted by jb at 3:26 PM on July 31, 2006


Maybe the parents are smarter than they seem. If they realize that the middle class is once again disappearing, parents may be trying to push their kids onto at least the lower rungs of upper class.
posted by Cranberry at 3:31 PM on July 31, 2006


The article should have included peanut allergies somehow. Medical proof of the argument.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 3:31 PM on July 31, 2006


The title of the article makes it sound a lot more hardline than it actually is. I teach at a private school and found it to be a fairly well written article about something that I've observed among many of my students.

That being said, jb hits it on the money when he writes:

It seems to be a trend that magasine (sic) articles about modern life and parenting are almost always based on the anecdotal experience of the upper middle class, and then generalised to "the nation".

Of course, upper middle class parents are probably the target market for "Psychology Today." None the less, the article is worth a read.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:32 PM on July 31, 2006


Please take my rights away to protect me from terrorists and my children from pederasts.
posted by orthogonality at 3:33 PM on July 31, 2006


Psyche mag worries about the children, blames technology.

News at 11.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:36 PM on July 31, 2006


Hyperbolic teeth-gnashing about how oppressed or enslaved Americans are is a good indication of how we are raising a country of wimps. No one knows what a hard life is like. There are people in this country who actually think say they have it as bad as people in communist Russia or other totalitarian states.
posted by dios at 3:40 PM on July 31, 2006 [1 favorite]


they make playgrounds so much less attractive as litterboxes for cats (and other animals with bathroom control issues) than the old sand filling did.

Sand? You had SAND? Luxury. When I were a lad we had broken glass and nuclear waste, and we were happy to have it!
posted by Turtles all the way down at 3:41 PM on July 31, 2006


I couldn't make it past the first page of unsupported generalizations. Does the article get any better?
posted by LarryC at 3:42 PM on July 31, 2006


Four Yorkshiremen Sketch
Monty Python
Four well-dressed men sitting together at a vacation resort.
Michael Palin: Ahh.. Very passable, this, very passable.

Graham Chapman: Nothing like a good glass of Chateau de Chassilier wine, ay Gessiah?

Terry Gilliam: You're right there Obediah.

Eric Idle: Who'd a thought thirty years ago we'd all be sittin' here drinking Chateau de Chassilier wine?

MP: Aye. In them days, we'd a' been glad to have the price of a cup o' tea.

GC: A cup ' COLD tea.

EI: Without milk or sugar.

TG: OR tea!

MP: In a filthy, cracked cup.

EI: We never used to have a cup. We used to have to drink out of a rolled up newspaper.

GC: The best WE could manage was to suck on a piece of damp cloth.

TG: But you know, we were happy in those days, though we were poor.

MP: Aye. BECAUSE we were poor. My old Dad used to say to me, "Money doesn't buy you happiness."

EI: 'E was right. I was happier then and I had NOTHIN'. We used to live in this tiiiny old house, with greaaaaat big holes in the roof.

GC: House? You were lucky to have a HOUSE! We used to live in one room, all hundred and twenty-six of us, no furniture. Half the floor was missing; we were all huddled together in one corner for fear of FALLING!

TG: You were lucky to have a ROOM! *We* used to have to live in a corridor!

MP: Ohhhh we used to DREAM of livin' in a corridor! Woulda' been a palace to us. We used to live in an old water tank on a rubbish tip. We got woken up every morning by having a load of rotting fish dumped all over us! House!? Hmph.

EI: Well when I say "house" it was only a hole in the ground covered by a piece of tarpolin, but it was a house to US.

GC: We were evicted from *our* hole in the ground; we had to go and live in a lake!

TG: You were lucky to have a LAKE! There were a hundred and sixty of us living in a small shoebox in the middle of the road.

MP: Cardboard box?

TG: Aye.

MP: You were lucky. We lived for three months in a brown paper bag in a septic tank. We used to have to get up at six o'clock in the morning, clean the bag, eat a crust of stale bread, go to work down mill for fourteen hours a day week in-week out. When we got home, out Dad would thrash us to sleep with his belt!

GC: Luxury. We used to have to get out of the lake at three o'clock in the morning, clean the lake, eat a handful of hot gravel, go to work at the mill every day for tuppence a month, come home, and Dad would beat us around the head and neck with a broken bottle, if we were LUCKY!

TG: Well we had it tough. We used to have to get up out of the shoebox at twelve o'clock at night, and LICK the road clean with our tongues. We had half a handful of freezing cold gravel, worked twenty-four hours a day at the mill for fourpence every six years, and when we got home, our Dad would slice us in two with a bread knife.

EI: Right. I had to get up in the morning at ten o'clock at night, half an hour before I went to bed, (pause for laughter), eat a lump of cold poison, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad would kill us, and dance about on our graves singing "Hallelujah."

MP: But you try and tell the young people today that... and they won't believe ya'.

ALL: Nope, nope..
posted by jimmythefish at 3:45 PM on July 31, 2006 [5 favorites]


Damn you, MySpace, for corrupting the youth of America. We'll show you!

Social Network Sites Face U.S. Ban
Children in the U.S. could be banned from using social networking sites in schools and libraries by a new law.
posted by ericb at 3:46 PM on July 31, 2006


Aaahh, the old, "things were better when we were kids" article. Yawn.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:50 PM on July 31, 2006


Nanny Knows Best.
posted by ericb at 3:51 PM on July 31, 2006


Apparently nobody made it past the first page, and nobody will, because we're about to have 125 comments refuting dios' little omg whining lefties comment.

I don't know, college beat the shit out of me psychologically for two and a half years, and I routinely played with sharp objects unsupervised as a kid, let alone not being confined to padded playgrounds. More to the point, I suppose, and less "the plural of anecdote is not data n00b!" is that the binge-drinking and depression trends they're describing are a bit older than some of the protective trends they seem to be ascribing fault to.
posted by furiousthought at 3:52 PM on July 31, 2006


the old, "things were better when we were kids" article

No, it's the 'things were worse when we were kids, which is better' article. But yeah, Yawn.
posted by boaz at 3:54 PM on July 31, 2006


But when you have a 10-year-old who has metaphoric gas, you don't have to burp him.

What about when you have metaphoric diarrhea?
posted by papakwanz at 3:54 PM on July 31, 2006


It seems to be a trend that magasine (sic) articles about modern life and parenting are almost always based on the anecdotal experience of the upper middle class, and then generalised to "the nation".

I just wanted people to read that again.
posted by elwoodwiles at 3:58 PM on July 31, 2006


"Snark is the new black."
- J.T. Leroy

LarryC: Psychology studies ARE unsupported generalizations. Meet the "soft" science.

So there's this quote:
"Kids need to feel badly sometimes," says child psychologist David Elkind, professor at Tufts University. "We learn through experience and we learn through bad experiences. Through failure we learn how to cope."

I see truth in that. Hyper-sanitation never was much of a teacher of coping strategies. Sometimes you DO need that unknown variable to teach kids how to recover, to make decisions, and to act wisely.

But then again, make the playgrounds as safe as you want: there's always that wildcard of unpredictable bullies to make the kids feel "badly."

And also, falling down.
posted by Milkman Dan at 3:58 PM on July 31, 2006


I am gonna have to stand up in support of this article. As a now former educator, I saw the crap that this article talks about over and over again. Truly, this is not a case of Codgerism. In fact, I think that even though the article assumes too much in its generalizations, the basic idea is true. Parents don't want skinned knees or independant play for their kids. They instead seem to want guided, supervised creative learning time, which is a fucking joke. Kids really just want to go hit shit with sticks, including somtimes, each other. Guess what? Short of blood being drawn, it is good for them . Of course, I am a FORMER educator ...
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 3:58 PM on July 31, 2006


Say that again, bitch.


posted by The Jesse Helms at 4:03 PM on July 31, 2006 [2 favorites]


It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye.
posted by zoinks at 4:04 PM on July 31, 2006


Funny, I was in college a bit before I went into the military and went back to college after. The differences were astonishing. The dorms when I first went were just places to live. Maybe an occasional poster reminding you not to drive drunk or some such, but when I went back there were constant reminders of how bad alcohol was, how sex = AIDS, how marijuana = heroin and eventually street life, and loads of public service announcements on television that I have to think were targeted to the kids there. Visited my old high school a while back and the place was locked down better than some bases I’d been on.

I remember watching “The Breakfast Club” a bit ago and laughing heartily that the nerdy kid brought in a gun (used for track and field apparently) to commit suicide and got a saturday detention.

When’s the last time you saw a pickup baseball or football game played? Some places they might be more common, but I used to play with kids from the neighborhood all the time and I don’t see any kids doing that.
Hell, as a kid you used to be able to walk up to a house you knew a kid your age was at and ask him “hey, wanna play?”
We had maybe 4 kids for Halloween this year. I mean really, wtf?

And yes there are a lot of helicopter parents. My mom was one. I remember being home on leave shortly after the gulf war (round one), and my mom telling me she didn’t want me to stay in the city too late because it can be dangerous.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:05 PM on July 31, 2006


“I am gonna have to stand up in support of this article. As a now former educator, I saw the crap that this article talks about over and over again. Truly, this is not a case of Codgerism.” - posted by BrodieShadeTree

You. Read. The article?

Pussy.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:09 PM on July 31, 2006


Oh man, this is one of my favourite hobbyhorses. Don't get me started. Oh... you didn't. Good. Because that would have damaged my self esteem and skinned the knees of my inner child, and I'd have needed therapy. Boo hoo.

Let's have a thread about why you should always make a "nest" in public toilets!
posted by Decani at 4:18 PM on July 31, 2006 [1 favorite]


doesn't every generation believe it's tougher and wiser than those that follow it and smarter and more sophisticated than those that came before it?
posted by lord_wolf at 4:29 PM on July 31, 2006 [3 favorites]


[derail]
e.g., cutting a deal with Iran to keep American hostages hostage until Carter lost the election

The "October Surprise," I think? How much evidence was there for that? You make it sound like it's beyond dispute.
[/derail]
posted by pax digita at 4:30 PM on July 31, 2006


but when I went back there were constant reminders of how bad alcohol was, how sex = AIDS, how marijuana = heroin and eventually street life

Incoming Freshmen Receive Warnings
"...warnings for entering college freshmen have popped up at area college orientations during the last couple of years. Officials say that they keep adding new "don'ts" partly because the online world has brought new temptations. But they also say they've become more intent on reviewing every conceivable danger because today's college students, known as the millennial generation because they came of age in the 21st century, have been so coddled by parents that many of them lack basic street smarts.

...'They have had their lives very structured and a lot of people hand-holding them. There's a level of recklessness that can occur based on inexperience, [said Kenneth Elmore, Boston University's dean of students].'"

[The Boston Globe | July 12, 2006]
posted by ericb at 4:35 PM on July 31, 2006 [1 favorite]


WARNING: LIFE CAN CAUSE INSTANT DEATH.
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 4:37 PM on July 31, 2006


WARNING: LIFE IS A SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASE THAT IS 100% FATAL!
posted by Elim at 4:48 PM on July 31, 2006


Even in college—or perhaps especially at college—students are typically in contact with their parents several times a day

According to who?
I'm in college and I don't know a single person who acts this way.
posted by nuclear_soup at 4:48 PM on July 31, 2006


I love it when I read about how every other parent is hovering over their kids and turning them into neurotic twits. It means my kid will run the joint.

Excellent.
posted by jscalzi at 4:49 PM on July 31, 2006


There were some excellent points in that aricle, I'm surprised it's dismissed sor eadily. Of course, all of those professors of clinical psychology, what would they know, right?

And simple statistics like 40 000 schools no longer have recess, and 95% of Harvard grads are with 'honours'.

We're in the midst of a massive, uncontrolled, first time experiment with parenting and nobody really knows how it's going to turn out. It seems that this would be a topic worth a bit more discussion than has been the case so far in this thread.
posted by wilful at 4:50 PM on July 31, 2006


MeFi is good at easily dismissing things, especially those that cause paradigm conflict.
posted by keswick at 4:53 PM on July 31, 2006


I'll tell my mommy you called me a wimp.

Now, really, kids are somewhat invulnerable. A combination of endless stamina, flexible bones and lightweight makes them some tough motherfuckers. You often see kids fall from their bikes, slide on the asphalt for two meters, roll, hit a lamppost with their ribs, then get up, pick up their bikes, and resume riding, sometimes bleeding, like nothing had happened.

I often think back about stuff I did when I was a kid, and it seems fairly miraculous that I still have functional pairs of eyes, knees, lungs... And I was a nerdy stay at home kid! If you take the average "outside" kid, they should have died at least a dozen times.

About "sanitizing gel": Come on! It's not like it's a fragile little snowflake in a cholera/ebola ridden country. If the little fucker goes so far as licking the fucking toilet, the worst he'll get is a week of projectile diarrhea. Annoying? Yeah, but hardly lethal, and with a remote possibility of long term effects. Except a valuable lesson on not licking toilets.
posted by qvantamon at 4:56 PM on July 31, 2006 [1 favorite]


Next time, just link to the Sploid page.
posted by Balisong at 4:59 PM on July 31, 2006


doesn't every generation believe it's tougher and wiser than those that follow it and smarter and more sophisticated than those that came before it?

Yes of course they do. Simultaneously. It was tougher when I was a kid (times have changed for the better), and it's now it's tougher for me to be a parent (because times have changed for the worse)...

We're in the midst of a massive, uncontrolled, first time experiment with parenting


And, they also believe amazing, earth-shaking, never-before-in-history things are restructuring human relationships and the human experience in their generation as well. Whatever happened to the Age of Aquarius? Heh.
posted by scheptech at 5:00 PM on July 31, 2006


Since they link back to us...
posted by Balisong at 5:01 PM on July 31, 2006


"Colleges no longer know when SATs are untimed.."

Seriously?
How do colleges talk themselves into thinking that's a level playign field?
posted by madajb at 5:02 PM on July 31, 2006


Metafilter: Suck it, greatest generation.
posted by Crash at 5:04 PM on July 31, 2006


doesn't every generation believe it's tougher and wiser than those that follow it and smarter and more sophisticated than those that came before it?

Probably. Although in the case of my generation it's actually true.

Probably.
posted by Decani at 5:11 PM on July 31, 2006


This article simply points out the obvious: the wussification of (at least) an entire generation. A more interesting follow-up article might be a look at the events and social attitudes that may have shaped these hypersensitive parents that would cause them to be so acutely overprotective as to stifle their children's natural development, perhaps even unwittingly harming their own children. What was their own upbringing like, as in what parenting style did their parents employ? What laws were passed or repealed? What social customs became taboo or accepted? What philosophical thoughts flourished or died off during their youth?

It's a gimme that we are raising a nation of wimps... but why are we raising a nation of wimps? And what, if anything, can be done in the way of damage control?
posted by CodeBaloo at 5:20 PM on July 31, 2006 [1 favorite]


Heavy drinking has also become the quickest and easiest way to gain acceptance, says psychologist Bernardo J. Carducci, professor at Indiana University Southeast and founder of its Shyness Research Institute. "Much of collegiate social activity is centered on alcohol consumption because it's an anxiety reducer and demands no social skills," he says. "Plus it provides an instant identity; it lets people know that you are willing to belong."
Wow, this certainly is groundbreaking new research they're doing.
posted by tkolar at 5:21 PM on July 31, 2006


Growing up, life with my siblings was more like this and not like this.
posted by ericb at 5:26 PM on July 31, 2006


wilful wrote...

There were some excellent points in that article, I'm surprised it's dismissed so readily. Of course, all of those professors of clinical psychology, what would they know, right?


Don't kid yourself about clinical psychologists. Their kids grow up with the same issues as everyone else.

"Before I got married I had six theories about bringing up children; now I have six children and no theories." -John Wilmot
posted by tkolar at 5:26 PM on July 31, 2006


Here is an article from today's Washington Post that asks the reverse question: Are You a Toxic Parent?, referring to those parents who allow their teenage kids to drink or party because those kids are going to to do so in college anyway. The Psych Today article seems like an appropriate rejoinder to the notion of a Toxic Parent: is not a parent that allows their high school senior or junior kid giving them an inherent advantage, because they're less likely to go beserk when they're on their own in college. It's what many of my friends and I observed at ugrad: all the prep school kids had quite a headstart on the rest of us because they had lived away from home and had experienced many of the 'social' aspects of college already ... the rest of us, in comparison to them, really were kids.
posted by Azaadistani at 5:28 PM on July 31, 2006


We have freshmen orientations pretty much every week. And I'll be damned if half the time there aren't more parents than the kids in the groups. Just an observation.
posted by c13 at 5:33 PM on July 31, 2006


Kids really just want to go hit shit with sticks, including somtimes, each other.

Man, all I wanna do is run around, hitting shit with sticks! And the MeFite playground bullies are first in line!

(And, um, did anyone else notice this article dated back to 2004? And that we've seen the same old whinging in every publication from the NYX to Salon to whatever rag is publishing James Dobson's screeds these days? And while "soft issues" writers like Judith Warner are always being flogged for taking upper-middle-class concerns and inflating them into some generalized gobbledy-gook about parents, kids and parenting as a whole, I have to say that I've read versions of this same tale involving lower social classes and minority groups as well. The whole teaching-of-self-esteem vs. teaching-the-basics thing. So kids feel good about themselves but can't demonstrate a single damn "skill." Long story short, I don't think coddled-kids phenomenon is solely restricted to the priveleged.)

That much said, I have to take issue with the peanut-allergy remark above. My kid ate 2 peanuts, threw up, flopped down on the floor, all listless, started having labored breathing, then turned into one giant hive from head to toe. And had to be taken to the ER pronto.Nearly died. And, my god, he had never yet even been to a playground with soft squishy padding much less talked on a cell phone! So, uh, what's the connection?
posted by melixxa600 at 5:35 PM on July 31, 2006


but why are we raising a nation of wimps?

Simple. Wealth allows it to happen.

Kids don't risk walking to school because they don't have to. The one in a million chance of being approached by a pedophile on the way to school has vast armies of minivans driving kids to the front door.

Same reason they're getting, what's the correct term... larger. Their parents can afford to let 'em sit around doing nothing and feed 'em fast food. They don't have to do anything because there's dishwashers, clotheswashers, ride'em mowers, gardeners and maids.

Same reason they're failing to launch. They don't need to move out into cramped unpleasant apartments. They don't have to. Their parents can afford to continue to support 'em in the lifestyle to which they've become accustomed in their adult form.

So, what of neccessity couldn't happen before for most people, now can. Well, for a lot anyway.
posted by scheptech at 5:36 PM on July 31, 2006 [1 favorite]


I googled a phrase form this article: "classic benchmarks of adulthood" and found this:

"A recent report from the University of Pennsylvania examined the classic benchmarks of adulthood including activities like landing a job with benefits and getting married."

Um...1st, I want toknow what the other "classic" benchmarks are. Are they, gee, things like owning a house or belonging to a gym, or do some of the benchmarks of adulthood not have to do with Making More $, Spending More $ and/or being Heterosexual?

A job with benefits!! (forehead vein begins to throb)
(Artists, activists, writers, volunteers, stay-at-home parents, stay-at-home non-parents...yes, can you please move to the children's table? Yes. And take your silverware, we don't want your cooties. Thank you.)

GETTING MARRIED! (head explodes)
Well, I guess teh gays are children for life. And, I suppose, many of us are virgins, too, since we never done the penis-vagina thing that is about as accurate a yardstick for virginity as these "benchmarks" are for adulthood.

Sorry I'm all agitated.
This sort of unexamined hetrosexist, materialistic crap really pisses me off.

That is all.
(I love you guys! That was my 1st post!!!)
posted by mer2113 at 5:38 PM on July 31, 2006 [1 favorite]


get out. (just what mefi needs, more look "look at me i'm different" types)
posted by keswick at 5:40 PM on July 31, 2006


This sort of unexamined hetrosexist, materialistic crap really pisses me off.

Then you need to grow up.
posted by qvantamon at 5:45 PM on July 31, 2006


the_savage_mind writes "Meanwhile our current president is apparently a Man of Principle because he speaks like a jack-ass. And apparently he's a tough cowboy. Because he has a ranch. Even though he's scared of horses and grew up in the richest part of New England, attending the most expensive schools."

You know, he bought that ranch in 1999.
posted by clevershark at 5:47 PM on July 31, 2006


Simple. Wealth allows it to happen

Bingo. Too much success, spoilt brat syndrome, culture of expectation, big softies going to therapists because ooooh dear we feel a bit upset and maybe paying humungous quantities of cash to someone who lets us talk like the self-obsessed wankers we are without giving us the abuse we so richly deserve will make our thin, dessicated souls feel a bit less fragile; am I attractive enough, does my bum look big in this, it's my metabolism you know, not that I'm a lazy Dorito-scarfing nightmare in stretch pants, well I know someone who had a four-bedroom house when they were 25 so why don't we, no I really need an SUV, of course my precious kids cannot be allowed to go out on bikes it's a dangerous world out there paedophile murderer random mugging drunken driver OMG PUT YOUR CYCLE HELMET ON JEMIMAH, don't you read the papers?

Bah. I'm old. And I'm probably not a patch on the old people in my young day.
posted by Decani at 5:51 PM on July 31, 2006 [1 favorite]


hetrosexist

I wish you were kidding, but I fear you're not.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:54 PM on July 31, 2006 [1 favorite]


The "October Surprise," I think? How much evidence was there for that?

I'm here, aren't I?
posted by octobersurprise at 5:56 PM on July 31, 2006


GETTING MARRIED! (head explodes)
Well, I guess teh gays are children for life. And, I suppose, many of us are virgins, too, since we never done the penis-vagina thing that is about as accurate a yardstick for virginity as these "benchmarks" are for adulthood.


Really? Is there anything to explode?
Marriage is not about getting to fuck someone. It's about being responsible for someone other than yourself, regardless of which hole you stick you dick in. And yes, it is a benchmark for adulthood. Much like looking for a job with benefits. Because one of the things that separates children from adults is that the latter are capable of imagining shit happening to them or to the people that are close to them or dependent on them, and realizing that they would have to somehow take care of it.
posted by c13 at 6:03 PM on July 31, 2006


This sort of unexamined hetrosexist, materialistic crap really pisses me off.

Then you need to grow up.

Or maybe YOU could shut it.

Ain't nothing wrong with righteous anger, is all I'm sayin.
posted by melixxa600 at 6:05 PM on July 31, 2006


That much said, I have to take issue with the peanut-allergy remark above. My kid ate 2 peanuts, threw up, flopped down on the floor, all listless, started having labored breathing, then turned into one giant hive from head to toe. And had to be taken to the ER pronto.Nearly died. And, my god, he had never yet even been to a playground with soft squishy padding much less talked on a cell phone! So, uh, what's the connection?

I didn't mean any personal insult to anyone with a peanut allergy.

1. Not dying when you eat a peanut is less wimpy then dying when you eat a peanut (not to say that anyone with such an allergy is a wimp overall, but it is a weakness), and peanut allergies are known to be increasing. Hard objective evidence that tends to show that children are getting wimpier, rather than old people talking about kids these days.

2. There are theories that the rise in allergies and asthma is partially caused by the tend towards hyper-sanitation, e.g. antibacterial coatings and gels, that the article discusses.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 6:06 PM on July 31, 2006


Scheptech:
With the exception of the rides to school -- which, let's face it, despite the odds against anything happening, is understandable -- your other examples are exactly what I'd be interested in reading about. Not so much what enables the activity (wealth), but why the parent chooses or allows it even while they know they are doing the child a disservice. Why do parents not care if the kid sits around all day, never setting foot outside to play, eating McDonald's fatburgers, and playing on Xbox all day, for example? What happened to the parents that they feel this, among other similarly antics is an example of acceptable parenting?
posted by CodeBaloo at 6:09 PM on July 31, 2006


Ain't nothing wrong with righteous anger

Interestingly, I have that tattooed on my back.
posted by Decani at 6:22 PM on July 31, 2006


When I was young metafilter was blue type on a blue background. Nobody could read it but we were grateful just knowing it was there. Of course our laptops were powered by steam. We used to have to toss coal into the hard drive. And the RAM was only 8 bytes and it cost us five thousand dollars to upgrade to 12 bytes and we had to throw in the leg of our baby brother as collateral.
The leprosy made it hard to type but even when our fingers fell off we'd pick them up in our teeth and bang on that keyboard which was just a series of vacuum tube sockets anyhow. And we'd be electrocuted each time we stuck one our digits in. So we took to stealing fingers from other lepers thinking we might as well electrocute them only it didn't work like that because theirs fingers were in our mouths. And hamburgers were fifty cents.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:29 PM on July 31, 2006 [4 favorites]


Except the monty python sketch was funnier.
posted by wilful at 6:38 PM on July 31, 2006


i think about gestalt approximately once every six seconds.
posted by quonsar at 6:40 PM on July 31, 2006


Sanitizing gels are necessary in this day and age, especially where my family and I live.
posted by cmacleod at 6:44 PM on July 31, 2006


Hmmm...might explain emo.
posted by Arch_Stanton at 6:44 PM on July 31, 2006


What happened to the parents that they feel this

Because it's easier in the moment, in the short term. It's easier than arguing. It's easier than being a parent. It's easier to watch a kid smile and say thanks than to watch a kid scowl and demand to know why they can't have something. It's easier to defer a problem than to deal with it, and easier to spend a few dollars than to do just about anything else. Spending money is the easiest thing in the world to do, it's the path of least resistance.

It's easing the short term at the expense of the long term. Parents know it's not healthy to eat fatburgers. But right now, in this moment, it's easier to do that than put a real meal together and the right now wins.
posted by scheptech at 6:47 PM on July 31, 2006


jimmythefish, That's such a great MP sketch.

Well said scheptech.

Definition of wimp: A timid or unadventurous person.

With the explosion of extreme sports of all kinds in recent years, that would not seem to be the case.

75% of children’s camps now offer extreme/adventure-sports activities, such as rock climbing and whitewater rafting.
— American Camping Association


So what if boys and girls are less divided as genders. Big deal.

Besides, I don't think previous generations turned out such well kids either. Inherently, I don't think there is anything wrong with being unadventurous. But using the term wimp, to describe kids is an attempt to denigrate them for not being musclebound, tough-as-nails, risk takers, it blames the kids for what the parents are doing.

Frankly, I think more people who would be parents would benefit from therapy. I also think decent therapy is a good thing for either parents or kids, especially if the parents had a history of being abused themselves or have addictions.

It would seem to me that a lot of parenting these days isn't being loving, warm, friendly, authentically caring with/to their children, giving the time it takes to be a parent fully, but being control freaks and controlling kids to alleviate the parents' own anxiety and compulsive workaholism.

The "Nation of Wimps" title targets the children who are complying with parental directives to be always cell-phone connected and always be 'the best' or be one of the grads on the 95% list getting honors. Such fear and shame about not being The Best. Cult of Celebrity bs. To me it shows what lousy parenting is going on, still, after all these millennia, while the population of the planet increases.
posted by nickyskye at 6:54 PM on July 31, 2006


"Vicissitudes" is going to be the new "trials and tribulations" on application essays.
posted by casarkos at 7:07 PM on July 31, 2006


I'm kinda surprised that, in all of this discussion, no one's yet brought up the societal fear about physical punishment.

Personally, I'm on the fence about it (and I'm allowed to be, not being a parent and all) - I've got a few friends that grew up without a single spanking and they're amongst the most spoiled, "gimme that, it's mine!", mentally disturbed, emotionally-distraught, highly irresponsible people I know. Contrast that with friends of mine who, like myself, took the occasional parental beating for bad-doings, and most of them have their own companies, or are very successful in some way. Self-sustaining. Self-reliant. They don't wait 'til the end of the month to worry about rent, and they never assume anyone's going to hold their hand cause it's a tough world out there.

So, I guess I wonder if this "all spankings are bad spankings and terribly bad for all children all the time" mentality has also bred this "let's protect our child from everything" mentality that is pretty much the basis of this article.

Just a thought, really.
posted by revmitcz at 7:07 PM on July 31, 2006


revmitcz, there are also a lot of human beings out there who were damaged by beatings. I think it's not about not spanking so much as this bad parenting is about suffocating their kids, smothering them, doting rather than being authentically parental in a loving way.
posted by nickyskye at 7:13 PM on July 31, 2006


I agree with the assertion that the upper-middle class experience gets generalised to the entire population.

My parents are both teachers, and every time they'd come home from parent-teacher conference nights they'd lament that they'd had nice conversations with good parents whose kids were, almost without exception, doing well - the lament being that the parents of the underachieving kids, the ones who needed to be there, were nowhere to be seen.

This is the media equivalent of upper-middle class, anxiety-ridden parenting. What the uber-attentive, Baby Einstein-buying parents don't realise is that every little detail doesn't really matter - the kids have attentive parents, and therefore have all the advantages they need. They've already won.

We should be more concerned with the kids who have parents who let them eat nothing but chips three meals a day for years and who spend time in juvenile detention homes for any amount of things. But, well, nobody writes about that shit out of concern because, well, nobody who needs to be concerned about that shit is concerned about that shit.
posted by jimmythefish at 7:16 PM on July 31, 2006 [1 favorite]


other than the marriage shit, i'd say most of the article seems fairly accurate.
posted by brandz at 7:19 PM on July 31, 2006


FYI, The Four Yorkshiremen Sketch was actually from At Last the 1948 Show, and never appeared in any Monty Python production until the stage shows. And I did like how two comments earlier Turtles all the way down managed to say it in essentially one sentence.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:01 PM on July 31, 2006


I also agree with the assertion that upper-middle class experience gets generalized to the entire population.

This summer I've been working at a math enrichment program for kids in a school district where the population is mainly upper-lower class and lower-middle class (confusing terminology!). Also worth mentioning is that the majority of them are children of recent immigrants. These kids don't get coddled by their parents. That they're in this totally voluntary program shows definite parental concern, but we staff members haven't had any incidents of parents getting on our cases for not going out of our way to ensure that the educational environment is "perfect" for their kid.

Hell, they aren't even complaining about the rough soccer games that go on during lunch. I've seen little 5th graders get bowled over by much larger 7th graders only to get right back into the game. Girls and boys alike. One girl had to wear an ankle brace, but she was clamoring to get back in as soon as possible. Even our resident wimpy upper-middle class boy got in on it. He was shy at first, but he's learned to deal with the occasional foot-to-ankle-or-stomach incident.

They aren't wimps.

I agree with the article's closing points: lots of resources are being spent on kids that don't need it. Where is the funding for actually getting these sorts of kids to care about taking the SATs? Where is the funding to educate concerned working class parents as to how to guide their kids towards college? Where's the money to replace these fucking ten year old algebra books?

*thumbs nose at upper-middle class*

*realizes that he's thumbing nose at himself during middle and high school*

Hey, I've seen what coddling does to a kid. I was there for a while. I spent a good deal of time depressed in college, anxious about relationships and such as mentioned in the article. My ma and pa, however, seemed to have the good sense to finally go, "well, figure it out for yourself, dummy. You can ask us for advice but we can't do it for you."

It took some good emotional lickings and going for weeks on nothing but beans and rice to come out of my extended adolescence, I'd say.
posted by Mister Cheese at 8:03 PM on July 31, 2006


"Children need to be gently encouraged to take risks and learn that nothing terrible happens,"

So, in other words, all those drugs I did and stupid stunts I pulled in high school were a positive thing?

Nice...
posted by pwedza at 8:20 PM on July 31, 2006


The "Nation of Wimps" title targets the children who are complying with parental directives to be always cell-phone connected and always be 'the best' or be one of the grads on the 95% list getting honors. Such fear and shame about not being The Best. Cult of Celebrity bs. To me it shows what lousy parenting is going on,

yeah, because it is such a bad parent who wants to know what their kid is up to and who wants them to do get good grades. Man, those are bad parents. We need more parents who ignore their kids and don't give a crap what grades their kids get. They are the best parents.
posted by caddis at 8:25 PM on July 31, 2006


do
posted by caddis at 8:26 PM on July 31, 2006


This ask.me thread describes the same concerns much better. The PT article starts out by with bike helmets and safer playgrounds as examples of wimpiness. That's stupid and irresponsible. The article has a grain of truth, wrapped in sloppy thinking.
posted by theora55 at 8:34 PM on July 31, 2006


And I did like how two comments earlier Turtles all the way down managed to say it in essentially one sentence.

That's what made me think of it...
posted by jimmythefish at 8:39 PM on July 31, 2006


melixxa600 - "That much said, I have to take issue with the peanut-allergy remark above. My kid ate 2 peanuts, threw up, flopped down on the floor, all listless, started having labored breathing, then turned into one giant hive from head to toe. And had to be taken to the ER pronto.Nearly died. And, my god, he had never yet even been to a playground with soft squishy padding much less talked on a cell phone! So, uh, what's the connection?"

Well one theory on the increasing prevelence of allergies in Western countries is that kids grow up in a hypersanitized environment, and thus have an over sensitized immune system.
posted by afu at 8:45 PM on July 31, 2006 [1 favorite]


Stories like this have popped up regularly for several decades now, but really, do people's psyches ever actually change? I think we have the same ratios of nice people to mean people, bullies to wimps, "givers" to "takers" as we ever have.
posted by Tuffy at 8:50 PM on July 31, 2006 [1 favorite]


Wilful said: We're in the midst of a massive, uncontrolled, first time experiment with parenting and nobody really knows how it's going to turn out.

Well, that's been true for every parent of every first child ever born. By the time the second kid arrives, you've learned just how resilient they are, and you can relax a bit. However, you still won't know how they're going to turn out.

There's a lot of truth in the saying, "Parents don't make children, it's children that make parents."
posted by cenoxo at 8:54 PM on July 31, 2006


i don't think they're wimps, they're just more other-directed and socially-directed and that makes them seem like wimps to the last two generations of unherdable cats

yes, the more sheltered of them are going to have a rude awakening when they discover that the world isn't that pleasant a place ... and WE'RE going to have a rude awakening when they use their social skills to get together and change the world more to their liking

unlike the boomers, who talked about it but didn't really do it, and the x-ers, who just said to hell with it, they will team up under the elder leaders they choose and work it out

let's hope they choose the right leaders
posted by pyramid termite at 9:01 PM on July 31, 2006 [1 favorite]


George_Spiggott, thanks for the info about the Four Yorkshiremen.

caddis, Black and white thinking.

Of course it's okay to be in touch with one's child or want the best for them. I never said that wasn't the case. It's not okay to always demand cell-phone contact. That's obsessive smothering and sickening for the kid. It's over-controlling. It's one thing to want the best for one's child and quite another to obsess over one's child having to be the best, all the time. It's pathetic to me that 95% of the Harvard grads got those bogus 'honors'.

Wanting one's child to get "good grades" is not wanting the kid to be The Best.
posted by nickyskye at 9:48 PM on July 31, 2006


Hikikomori phenomenon in Japan.
posted by nickyskye at 10:26 PM on July 31, 2006


Pyramid Termite: "[...] when they use their social skills to get together and change the world"

Y'know, that thought goes a long way. It triggered an epiphany, of sorts, for me as a 40-year-old. While it was so easy for me to jump in with a head nod about raising wusses, it hadn't occurred to me that those kids may be developing (compensatory?) skills, social networking skills, for example, to a point well beyond those of folks my age.

Perhaps that accounts for the marked difference of opinion that exists today between so-called conservatives and liberals, and the inability of either side to find any agreeable middle ground. At 40, I see clear truth in the cliche about a person who isn't liberal in youth has no heart, and a person who isn't conservative in middle age has no mind. We (read: I) see these folks as admirable, but naive, idealists who'll eventually look back on their earlier days and chuckle at how gullible they were, just as we do.

But that cliche only works because it counts on the person's eventual discovery of immutable harsh realities in "the real world". What if these "wimps" are the ones to discover those realities aren't so imutable after all? Maybe that's why so many cling so adamantly to positions (we old folks see as) doomed for failure.

Honestly, I don't buy it for a moment, and I still think they're admirable, though naive, idealists. But it's an interesting thought nonetheless. Who knows, maybe, if we're lucky, I'll get that rude awakening you mention during my lifetime.
posted by CodeBaloo at 11:15 PM on July 31, 2006


Then there are the sanitizing gels, with which over a third of parents now send their kids to school, according to a recent survey. Presumably, parents now worry that school bathrooms are not good enough for their children.

Has she seen what the school bathrooms in question look like? The ones with which I'm familiar aren't good enough for convicted rapists. They smell like rotten chemical death. The stall doors have been removed and there's no toilet paper. I wouldn't send a dog to die in one of these places.
posted by Clay201 at 11:25 PM on July 31, 2006


Messing up, however, even in the playground, is wildly out of style. Although error and experimentation are the true mothers of success, parents are taking pains to remove failure from the equation.

"Life is planned out for us," says Elise Kramer, a Cornell University junior. "But we don't know what to want." As Elkind puts it, "Parents and schools are no longer geared toward child development, they're geared to academic achievement."


What is this "failure" of which we speak? It's getting low grades, receiving punishment ("office referrals," suspensions, etc.), or not doing enough push-ups? Well, who the fuck said that anyone wanted to be "successful" in these areas? The vast majority of twelve year olds probably don't. If I don't want to do something and I don't do it, have I "failed?" I don't think so.

Of course, this has probably been true for as long as there have been schools. The difference between today and forty years ago is that fewer and fewer parents these days feel the need to adopt these standards as their own. Why force little Johnny or Judy to do all this stupid shit when it just makes everyone's life more miserable? But instead of removing the children completely from the system (an option which is often problematic for a number of reasons but still not unheard of), they just try to make the penalties for "failing" less severe. So many parents seem to be caught sort of halfway between just telling the system to go fuck itself and trying to convince Johnny and Judy that it's important to get a few "B's" on their report cards.

I agree that there is something insane about going through all of this trouble to set these standards and then letting everyone slack off from them. It is indeed pointless. But the solution isn't to return to the good old days in which knuckles were rapped and kids were grounded for getting a "C." The solution is to stop pretending that those days were good.

You say kids need to "fail" in order to learn how to handle it? Yeah, sure. Everyone needs some experience with trial-and-error. You try, you get it wrong; repeat for a while. Then you get it right. But what if I'm not even really trying to do the task in question? What if I'm just going through the motions to get you off my back or to avoid some sort of penalty? I don't see how the success/failure model works in that case. I'm not really trying to get it right and if I do, I don't really care. At best I'm going to learn how to please the powers-that-be with the minimum amount of effort necessary rather than learning the skill you wanted me to learn.

But even if this method was effective - if I ended up learning the skills you wanted me to learn - it would still be wrong and stupid and harmful.

No, I'm not saying that no education at all can take place under the current system. Prisoners in maximum security can and do learn things. Kids whose grades suck routinely learn how to operate computers, how to deal with voicemail. Obviously some form of education is taking place. It's just that it's really shitty education and it needs to stop.
posted by Clay201 at 12:10 AM on August 1, 2006 [2 favorites]


I (used to, thank God) work for Kaplan, and when I asked a room full of 16-17 year olds where they wanted to go to college, or what they wanted to study, there were no answers. It turned out that every single decision was being made for them, as were decisions of what they did for extracurricular activities, etc. I tutored a pair of sisters who started *crying* when I asked them why they were late and hadn't done their homework. Aside from being unable to deal with even mild rebuke, they also had no time to decompress, no unstructured time with friends. I've had parents call me and demand to know why I was singling out their "honor student" child for criticism in class (hint: moron, thug) without even considering that their kid was in the wrong. I don't know about across-the-board generalizations, but I don't remember being that mollycoddled, and I'm not that old.
posted by 1adam12 at 1:20 AM on August 1, 2006


"Colleges no longer know when SATs are untimed.."

There is actually a really good reason to not time some SATs - frankly, to wave them entirely for learning disabilities. My husband has a severe learning disability - he takes longer to read and comprehend things than other people. He also cannot do simple arithmetic, though he was quite good with complex physics. If he had been American, he would have failed the SAT.

But instead, living in Canada with no SATs, he went to university, had the highest mark in his major in his college and is now doing a PhD in history. Though he is doing it in Britain, because he couldn't take the GRE (again, a test that has nothing to do with the skills required for graduate work).

SATs aren't a level playing field to start with (not just for those with learning disabilities, but also for all those who can't afford the coaching classes), and have no relationship to one's apitude for academic study. They should be just gotten rid of entirely.
posted by jb at 2:21 AM on August 1, 2006


The first rule of Fight Club is . . . .
posted by augustweed at 2:28 AM on August 1, 2006


Sanitizing gels are necessary in this day and age, especially where my family and I live.
posted by cmacleod at 2:44 AM GMT on August 1 [+fave] [!]


May I ask why? Is there active TB in your house? Do your children not know how to wash their hands after going to the washroom?

I know it sounds all Monty Pythony, but seriously, I lived in a really dirty neighbourhood when I was a kid (urine in the stairwells, beer bottles everywhere, dog turds, questionable alleys with maybe worse stuff), and I'll admit that our housekeeping wasn't brilliant either and we thrived. We're all really healthy, at least when it comes to infectious diseases. Just avoid the anal/oral route of infection, wash your hands well (plain soap and water will do) after using the toilet, and things will work themselves out.
posted by jb at 2:36 AM on August 1, 2006


jb: May I ask why? Is there active TB in your house?

Just in case cmacleod (of Taiwan) doesn't get back to you, I thought I'd point to this:
"Tuberculosis is still the top killer disease [in Taiwan], responsible for nearly 70 percent of deaths of communicable diseases. In fact, TB has never left us," said Wu Yi-chun (吳怡君), chief of the center's TB prevention section.
And researchers in cmacleod's hometown say:
Tuberculosis (TB) in children is an endemic and sometimes life-threatening disease in Taiwan.
So maybe not in cmacleod's house, but there is actually TB to think about. I'll be damned if I know whether these gels do a bit of good against it, but you asked about TB, and it looks as if TB is a real worry there.
posted by pracowity at 3:24 AM on August 1, 2006


"So, in other words, all those drugs I did and stupid stunts I pulled in high school were a positive thing?"

actually, i think so. what's life without making mistakes? where's the development of a full character? i'm sure that you made some amazing memories or at least learned your lesson from some idiot stunt you pulled. i know that's what th epast 10 years of my life have been about.

i won't lie, i was a bit of a wimp as a kid, but i can't say it was from my parents (they let me make my own mistakes most of the time). however, there was some neurosis about safety and making cautious choices. that could probably be attributed to my parents being immigrants and also my father being a mental health professional.

the point i'm trying to get to is that i agree with this article. many of th ememories i have from my childhood were of roughhousing, coming out from the playground with cuts and bruises, being amazed that i somehow never managed tobreak any bones even though i fell and skidded and hit more things than was wise (i was a clumsy/foolhardy kid), making stupid mistakes and being punished appropriately for them, and living my life like a kid should.

i also agree that, besides parents, schools are also responsible. academic achievement IS important, but its not the full scope of life. i was pushed hard throughout my primary education, but i was also not given any mollycoddling by my teachers. if i got made fun of, they told me to talk it out, or defend myself from, the other kids. if i fucked up in class (most of those weren't serious) i was either a) chastised/punished, or b) made fun of BY the teacher. Part of school is learning how to socialize. i definitely got a crash course in that (i was a shy kid).

in contrast, i see in my generation and the one coming after a bunch of coddled kids. kids who don't know how to deal with problems, who have had things their own way since they were infants, who are basically SPOILED. fuck that shit man. i'll take my bruises, humility and hard learned lessons over being treated like i'm a special little boy any day.
posted by Doorstop at 6:22 AM on August 1, 2006


pracowity - that does make sense then, though it is surprising to me that TB is so bad in Taiwan, that they haven't taken up the same practices that have all but eliminated TB elsewhere in the first world. (Not completely eradicated - my aunt had it - but so much that it isn't so much an issue even in the poorest areas).
posted by jb at 6:36 AM on August 1, 2006


For those of you who agree with the article, it's all only going to get worse.
posted by melixxa600 at 6:41 AM on August 1, 2006


On NPR last night there was a story about schools in Georgia which only have two months for break. I seriously think, from my personal perspective, I often learned more from the 3 months of vacation (even if just spent reading) than from school.
posted by drezdn at 8:46 AM on August 1, 2006


To quote the article: "Virginia's Portmann feels the effects are even more pernicious; they weaken the whole fabric of society. He sees young people becoming weaker right before his eyes, more responsive to the herd, too eager to fit in—less assertive in the classroom, unwilling to disagree with their peers, afraid to question authority, more willing to conform to the expectations of those on the next rung of power above them."

Wow, that sounds just like Metafilter. Why else would y'all consider dios a serious threat?
posted by davy at 9:05 AM on August 1, 2006


That is extremely strange about TB in Taiwan. It's a modern country, for heaven's sake.

It's interesting that there's this link between wimpiness and overachievement. It's implicit in the Psych Today story and this discussion, implicit in the NYT article linked by melixxa600. Maybe increased tolerance for wimpiness is part of a parental fantasy of security: "Work hard, follow the rules and you don't have to worry about the big bad world."
posted by Tuffy at 9:33 AM on August 1, 2006


George Carlin, Fear of Germs:
Where did this sudden fear of germs come from in this country? Have you noticed this? The media constantly running stories about all the latest infections? Salmonella, E-coli, hanta virus, bird flu, and Americans will panic easily so everybody's running around scrubbing this and spraying that and overcooking their food and repeatedly washing their hands, trying to avoid all contact with germs. It's ridiculous and it goes to ridiculous lengths. In prisons, before they give you lethal injection, they swab your arm with ALCOHOL. Wouldn't want some guy to go to hell AND be sick.

Fear of germs, why these fuckin' pussies. You can't even get a decent hamburger anymore they cook the shit out of everything now 'cause everyone's afraid of FOOD POISONING! Hey, wheres you sense of adventure? Take a fuckin' chance will you? Hey you know how many people die of food poisoning in this country? Nine thousand, thats all, its a minor risk. Take a fuckin' chance bunch of goddamn pussies.

Besides, what d'ya think you have an immune system for? It's for killing germs! But it needs practice, it needs germs to practice on. So if you kill all the germs around you, and live a completely sterile life, then when germs do come along, you're not gonna be prepared. And never mind ordinary germs, what are you gonna do when some super virus comes along that turns your vital organs into liquid shit?! I'll tell you what your gonna do ... you're gonna get sick. You're gonna die and your gonna deserve it because you're fucking weak and you got a fuckin' weak immune system!

Let me tell you a true story about immunization ok. When I was a little boy in New York city in the nineteen-forties, we swam in the Hudson river. And it was filled with raw sewage! OK? We swam in raw sewage, you know, to cool off. And at that time the big fear was polio. Thousands of kids died from polio every year. But you know something? In my neighborhood no one ever got polio. No one! EVER! You know why? Cause WE SWAM IN RAW SEWAGE! It strengthened our immune system, the polio never had a prayer. We were tempered in raw shit!

So personally I never take any precautions against germs. I don't shy away from people who sneeze and cough. I don't wipe off the telephone, I don't cover the toilet seat, and if I drop food on the floor I pick it up and eat it!

Even if I'm at side walk cafe!

IN CALCUTTA!

THE POOR SECTION!

ON NEW YEARS MORNING DURING A SOCCER RIOT!

And you know something? In spite of all the so called "risky behavior ".... I never get infections. I don't get em. I don't get colds, I don't get flu, I don't get headaches, I don't get upset stomach, And you know why? Cause I got a good strong immune system! And it gets a lot of practice!

My immune system is equipped with the biological equivalent of fully automatic military assault rifles, with night vision and laser scopes. And we have recently acquired phosphorous grenades, cluster bombs and anti personnel fragmentation mines. So, when my white blood cells are on patrol reconnoitering my blood stream seeking out strangers and other undesirables, and if they see any, ANY, suspicious looking germs of any kind, THEY DON'T. FUCK. AROUND. They whip out the weapons, they wax the motherfucker and deposit the unlucky fellow directly into my colon! Into my colon. There's no nonsense! There's no miranda warning, there's none of that three strikes and your out bullshit. First defense, BAM! Into the colon you go!
posted by edverb at 10:14 AM on August 1, 2006


Two words to prove American wimpdom:
AIR CONDITIONING.
posted by DenOfSizer at 10:52 AM on August 1, 2006


Right... Because no other countries have air conditioning. Have you ever ventured outside the US?
posted by found missing at 11:11 AM on August 1, 2006


I am too wimpy to go outside right now. It is 100 F. If I did I would surely melt.
posted by caddis at 11:49 AM on August 1, 2006


Well, I have to say that I have mixed thoughts about this article... On one hand we have a society that is more "gentile". In the past, life was cheap, childhood disease was rampant, wars where lots of people died. People were slaughtered wholesale for little reason. So people had to be a lot tougher back then... Think "Deadwood". It was just a part of life. It still is in some parts of the world. In the developed world, this kind of stuff doesn't happen (well, at least not to the same degree).

Life just used to be much rougher. So it's natural that people would have a "softer" way of raising kids. I think it's a natural progression.

Still, the article make me think of one of my favorite quotes: "Disappointment is the best chariot to the dharma". It means that, when you are disappointed, you are most likely to be dealing with the truth. It's hard to keep telling yourself lies, to keep yourself wrapped up in fantasy, when you are really disappointed. And, if you just deal with it you learn to deal with a very important part of life. No ones life is all sunshine and flowers... kids *should* experience disappointment, so long as they also learn how to deal with it constructively.

There was a period where I was severely depressed and living under a bridge... a friend (who was a bit of a looser) told me that I was being a looser. It was not something that I wanted to hear, but it got me to get my act together and do something about it.

I think that the breakup of my marriage had a lot to do with my ex-wife being brought up in an environment where she was always rewarded, no matter what she did. It meant that she had a *very* hard time looking at how she contributed to the situation, or just admitting she was wrong. (I'm not saying I was perfect or anything, but I can honestly look at myself and make changes--I don't think she can). I think that if you are never wrong, never make mistakes as you grow up, then you are going to have a very hard time dealing with them when you are an adult.

I'm not saying that you should let young kids fall on their face or anything, but as kids get older, they should get a chance to stand (or fall) on their own for at least some things.
posted by webnrrd2k at 12:21 PM on August 1, 2006


"Kids need to feel badly sometimes," says child psychologist David Elkind, professor at Tufts University... who should probably spend a bit more time hanging out around the English Department.

Still, the article is right on, by which I mean that it supports an opinion I already held. Still, it had to throw in the inevitible bullshit child psyche standby of "video games cause aggression." The staff at PT needs to read up on their Steven Johnson, at which point they might realize that the prevalence of video games (and skating, and garage bands) are all in reaction to what they are observing here. These activities (and countless others) share two common factors. 1) a subculture of like-minded social interaction, and 2) challenges that trial and error alone can overcome, and which parents are unlikely to be able to swoop in and solve for them.

I was lucky enough to have grown up in a safe, fairly insular neighborhood in Houston, where at five or six we were all running off on our own, and where anyone's parent was everyone's parent, but only to the extent that they'd call us out for being assholes when we were, in fact, being assholes.

My parents would never do my papers or projects for me (which is far more remarkable than it should be) and would look down heavily on any parent who did. However, when my grades weren't what they should be, they put me on insane study regiments without even pretending that they weren't punishments. Voila, I learned to get good grades without studying! And then they were out of town throughout most of my last few years of school, so I even got the independence headstart going into college! Because they wanted to go off to Bali!

So nyeah-nyeah. My parents raised me better than your parents.

In all seriousness, though, I'll compare my neice and my nephew, both three. My sister has raised my nephew with all the loving care imaginable, on constant alert for the myriad ways in which he might hurt himself. He's an agressive kid (and without video games, so we're stumped) so she has had to hover at all times to make sure that he didn't hurt any other children - understandable, and good parenting all. My brother, on the other hand, has had to deal with my neice being sick throughout her infancy. She's made it through every bout she's had, and is healthy now, thank god, but it gave him (and my sister-in-law) perspective. Now when she skins her knee, they'll sympathize, but they know it's no big deal.

We can already see an enourmous difference. My nephew can't bear to be separated from his mother for a minute without flipping out - a problem my sister has noted, but has no clue how to solve. Meanwhile, my neice has become far more adventurous than any of her cousins, because she's learned that pain is temporary, and that if something is truly the matter, she'll know it.

I know that anecdotes are shit for proof, but the fact remains: Expirimentation is how we define ourselves and how we deal with the world. Some of the time it will hurt. This is not the end of the world. Overprotection is scolding a child for expirimenting.

Oh, and there's a shitload of difference between spanking and child-beating. Spanking is effective, but sucks for the parent more than the child. Child-beating is just a sick way for angry motherfuckers to get off.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:38 PM on August 1, 2006


when I read The Four Yorkshiremen Sketch I was reminded of "When I was your age" by Weird Al
posted by Megafly at 6:06 PM on August 1, 2006


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