The job of the parent is to raise and guide a young human into adulthood successfully individuated, emotionally well regulated, able to form healthy relationships, and navigate and be productive in the world as it is – empathetic care. Parenting that creates psychological or emotional dependency, and expectations or world views that are not corroborated by reality is the opposite of what is healthy for children, though it self soothes the parent.
The 18th century value of Sensibility that argued for the cultivation of positive feelings of friendship, empathy, happiness turned into 19th Century Romanticism and sentimentality. Life, liberty and the pursuit of Happiness and other ideas from John Locke supported by economics, led us into an age where marrying for “love” was first introduce. Prior to this, marriage was considered too big of choice for the young and was often pragmatic. The values of this era placed romantic love and sentimentality toward family first. This often included the extended family for economic and other reasons. The ideal was that husbands would lead from a place of affection, and wives obey out of love. A comfortable life was seen as a bread winning husband, a domestic wife involved in the community, and well-educated children. *I think it important to note that at the turn of the last century marriage rates among Black citizens were higher than their white counterparts. That is why conservatives say, “The welfare state succeeded where slavery and Jim Crow could not, destroying the black family.”
Locke also introduced the idea that we are born a blank slate (tabla rasa), later Rousseau (creator of the concept: social contract) posited that we are born innocent with natural developmental stages, both ideas were in stark contrast to original sin. As these ideas proliferated, protecting innocence of children and shaping them became an ideal for the upper classes that eventually trickled down to the middle classes. All of these ideals seem to support the economic success and technological expansion of the 20th Century, and indeed happiness. In fact, women reported the highest level of well being in 1961, in 2009 for the first time women surpassed the misery of men. Studies show that social media has made it much worse for women.
In the 20th Century economic expansion gave rise to more widely distributed prosperity (reducing poverty 1% per year), and children went from being a necessary part of the familial enterprise, to what has been dubbed, “a secondary narcissistic vocation” by the second half of the 20th Century. As attitudes changed and selflessness turned to selfishness, ideals focused more on careers, pursuit of pleasure, credentialism, and individual self expression, children became, for many, an extension of the parent; another source of validation either directly from the child or indirectly through their accomplishments, or more perversely to elicit sympathy (both narcissism). The burdens of the parent’s emotional life and desires were placed on the children. Helicopter parenting is the full expression of culturally sanctioned narcissistic abuse of children. Additionally, the outsourcing of parenting to daycare and schools is producing what one psychologist has called “little monsters.” I have heard it expressed by numerous parents that they do not agree with much of what is happening, but do it anyway out of fear of being shamed by other parents. The focus is on self even when outwardly it often appears otherwise. Whenever someone says it is for the children, I look to see what adults benefit, in politics it is never for the children (they don’t vote)!
In the 21st Century, the narcissistic abuse of children is obvious at a societal level. The Baby Boomers inherited a country from their parents that paid their debts, built amazing infrastructure, and was the pinnacle of economic mite with nearly boundless opportunity. They have proven to be ungrateful, they thought it would last forever, and exploited it for gain. Community involvement dropped precipitously and self indulgent political expression became the norm, all focused on self. Now that same generation, is participating and leading the greatest immorality, stealing the children’s future with debt and debt schemes, Ponzi style social programs, and fraud designed to benefit them while hurting the young. Gen Z, the current prey, is apathetic, nihilistic, anxious, scared and filled with sense of impending doom. In my opinion, this generation is the full expression of the Baby Boomer era and ideas they promulgated.
Everywhere I see youth and young adults struggling with identity, not as a natural development stage, but as a confusing, high anxiety ridden coping mechanism. Children are developing personalities based in primitive defense mechanisms as result of a dearth of empathetic care, neglect, and covert and overt abuse. Some of the ridiculous ideas being presented to them at very young age must hurt their brains. They are being told to forego evidence-based reality around them (experience) to conform to what may be delusional thinking. Kids are not to be used for political expression or to further agendas, that is exploitive, increasingly normal, and is most certainly abuse!
The rise and the increasing comfort with pedophilia and child sex trafficking, like the debt explosion, indicates our unconscious attitudes toward children. Be it very young girls on YouTube receiving 1M views, sexualizing minors on hit TV shows (Riverdale and others), looking the other way from child sexual abuse, and not dealing with child sex trafficking coming over the border. That is big part of the debate in case you live in Lefty world! Children being exploited by adults on the border is a monster of a problem, we need to control it somehow, limiting access points (a wall) probably would help. Mexico is a global super-center for child prostitution. (please note: there is estimated to be 40 million slaves in the world today, many are used for sex)
The truth is, I believe we have nationalized child abuser. Women no longer make claim to be a civilizing force (the opposite), these one time advocates are now to often perpetrators. Women seem hell bent on destroying themselves to pursue toxic ideology that makes them unhappy. A gaping hole in society was left by women while pursuing cubicle jobs, living for the Likes, and the idea of being a badass boss babe. Men want to do badass things, women think being badass is a thing… I have found this usually means they want to further identify with the Prostitute Archetype as laid out by Carl Jung.
I guess the point is whatever is prioritized there will be more of. That goes for anything i.e. the prioritizing racism, sexism, and hate. Willing these into existence doesn’t mean there is a winner or even a victim. Exploiting the weakest and children (Low IQs, traumatized) is not a moral society. On the other hand, we can prioritize good things! This will not be done through politics, as politics is solely about power and is usually inhibitor. This can be achieved by moral individuals creating a society based on reason, science, and data, which we have plenty of, but frequently suppressed by the party of “science” because it is off narrative. We do actually know things and can apply it to create a more healthy, happy and vibrant society. It all begins by people submitting their will to some higher than themselves (and I don’t mean political rhetoric). Truth is always a great place to start.
As always, remember what the Buddha said, “Life is suffering.” Please be kind to your fellow suffering humans.