We are in the midst of a generation (or two) of children who are being brought up by computers, televisions, and video games because both parents work to support the family. Kids are shuffled off to Day Care where discipline is second hand,if given at all. Kids are given lots of “things” because parents feel downright “guilty” for passing off their kids onto others to bring up because we have no other choice (after all, parents need to get food onto the table, and the only way to do it is for both parents to hold down a job).
There was a time when dad was the breadwinner and mom stood home to bake cookies, clean the house, and take care of the kids. Our familial roles were well defined by society. Dad went to work. Mom stood home and took care of the kids. But the days of June Cleaver (the “ideal” mom) are gone. And, today, there is hardly a household where both mom and dad aren’t working long hours, pleasing a boss to make a buck, and are all but strangers to their children who are brought up by grandparents, nannies, au pairs, Day Cares, the public school system, and after school programs. The influence of almost everyone in society is included in our children’s upbringing – everyone EXCEPT mom and dad, that is.
And while we are working to put food on the table, to climb that ladder of success, or to run after the next dollar, we feel a sense of guilt in our guts that prods us into buying little extras for the children whom we feel are “neglected” somehow. We use material things to substitute for the care that we can’t give our child AND as a means of wiping away the guilt that we feel for our orphan children. In a sense, we BUY our kid’s love by getting them more and more things – and more and more EXPENSIVE things. And, in doing so, we feel absolved from our inner sense of guilt, and we feel that our kids have been “compensated” in some way from the lack of attention we give them.
Our children’s bad behaviors that result from the above scenario are combination problems stemming from:
A) lack of parental guidance (because the parents are never THERE to guide them);
B) the child’s ACTING OUT to get attention from the adults around them (because they feel neglected);
C) MATERIALISM used as a means of buying a child’s love; and
D) DISSATISFACTION within the heart and soul of the child who is getting everyone’s negative attention, but can’t get what they REALLY WANT: the TIME with their parents and the PARENTAL guidance that they so crave.
The child feels cheated and the only way they can get sufficient attention is through acting out. It does seem to work, doesn’t it? Kids get noticed very quickly when they scream and holler because parents, and other sources of societal authority, scamper to scold them. Negative attention, perhaps. But, attention none-the-less. And in the child’s mind, they got what they were after — they were noticed, finally!
Children grow angry deep inside their souls because all they can see is that no one sees them or notices them for who they are and the plight that they face — being orphaned children with parents. As the child is offered more and more “gifts” as substitutions for parental presence, the youngster grows increasingly angry at their parents for not BEING parents (it is hard for them to understand the harsh reality that WE. as parents, feel cheated OURSELVES because we can’t afford the time we crave with our children and the GUILT WE FEEL for handing our kids over to others to bring up). The accumulation of anger and guilt, the acting up and the behaviors that mimic narcissism in our youth today is a direct reflection of what society has brought on to itself in developing a system where materialism defines the family circle.