No Manual for Parenting

When I got out of college, I sort of fell into working with children.  It was never my goal; I always wanted to work with the seriously mentally ill.  But when I was looking for jobs with my degree all shiny and new, that’s what I ended up finding.

Since that time, I’ve worked for Child Protective Services and an agency working with mentally ill children and their parents.  What I found is that many of the people I worked with didn’t want to be or didn’t know how to be parents.

The problem is that no one gives you a manual for how to deal with children.  There’s research out there, but much of it is contradictory.  Some studies show that spanking children is associated with lower IQ.  Conversely, almost everyone I know from my parents’ generation was spanked, and I don’t think there’s any problem with IQ there.

I will say that I think every generation gets a bit more spoiled.  My generation is way more spoiled than those who grew up in the Depression era, but at the risk of sounding my age, kids nowadays are more spoiled than any other generation!

I have theories on why this is, and some of them probably have a grain of truth.  I read this article and wanted to share it.  It appeared in the New Yorker, and is based on studies done by an anthropologist.  It’s worth a read so that you can draw your own conclusions.

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2 comments on “No Manual for Parenting

  1. Really enjoyed your post and that article. Very sad. I’ve raised three kids: 22, 21, and 18. One thing I’d like to mention, not touched upon, is sports. My kids were in sports from early ages. There, they learn discipline, respect, and hard work. They have to push themselves, make all the practices or they don’t play. My 22 year old is now in the NFL. The 18 year old has a couple of football scholarships. If they don’t learn discipline and respect at home, sports programs are a great help.

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