Passionate Instigator, Dynamic Problem Solver
June 6th, 2014 05:00:00 am
The first bad choice was having a child. Rather than point the blame at the child who is unhealthy, oversized, or undereducated, let's own up to the first bad choice we made. Either we weren't ready, didn't plan on having a child, or had a baby because of social, cultural, or religious pressure that dictated that we must. Children born out of pressure, ignorance, or carelessness is the first bad choice.
Deciding to have children and allowing “professionals” and “devices” to raise them is the second bad choice. If you didn't want to raise your children, spending days with them, then why did you have them? In this day and age, there is no need to bring in more children raised by daycare providers, educators who are not babysitters, and after school providers. Don't have children until you can cover the cost of the care to stay home with the child, or enlist a close family member to do so.
Have children that make you proud, that make you feel better about yourself, but don't have children in order to validate your existence. Raise them to see other people's perspectives, to check themselves from another person's point of view. Listen to yourself the next time you're talking about your child to someone else—are you talking about a real individual? A unique, whole person? Or could your comments also pertain to your pets, with a sense of ownership?
Making it all about who you want them to be, what you want them to do or accomplish—while telling them who they really are and what they really want is an accident—is another bad choice.
Somewhere along the way, they start throwing their own bad choices. You have committed to raising them, bad choices or not. You have committed to being a role model.
One day, someone tells you that your child needs to be medicated. You face a crossroads: medicate them into faking normalcy, or teach them to work with what they were born with—how to make it in the world as who they really are, how to advocate for themselves. The message society tells us is clear: pleasing everyone else is more important than learning to love and be true to yourself. But doing what society advises has long-term side effects.
Behavioral drugs given to ADHD children so they can perform like trained seals are now shown to “boost performance in the short term” but “have long term damage for the young brain” (TIME). These drugs are the top most misused pharmaceuticals in colleges, where kids who didn't get what they needed out of high school education now need drugs to perform. Most of these kids don't even have ADHD, but they've been taught that taking a pill will magically make everything better. However, short-term usage during college actually leads to lesser comprehension in the long run. So what happens to kids who start taking these medications at three or four years old? We drug them up and dumb them down to fit into a broken education system, but what about the long-term?
We say these children and young adults are making bad choices, that they're out of touch with reality, that they don't understand the difference between killing someone on a computer screen and killing them in real life. We tell them good grades will buy them a good life. We speak of love and support, but leave them with strangers for forty hours a week. We call them failures if their grades fall, but don't bother looking into the failures of the education system. We are role models of “fitting in,” even when it's deeply uncomfortable, a life lacking integrity. We say one thing and do another, and explain “do as I say, not as I do.” We sell ourselves to make others happy.
The next time we want to ask our children why they make bad choices, we should pause and look at where we're accountable. Let's ask ourselves why we've made bad choices, and how those choices have impacted our children. Let's show them how to make better ones, before asking them to.