Monday, April 23, 2007

Criminal Profiling Topic of the Day: Let's Stop Screwing up Our Kids!

Two teenage girls in Australia just strangled a friend to death just because they wanted to see how it felt. Apparently not much else of life was worth experiencing for these jaded teens, so they had to experience the “thrill” of murder to get an adrenaline rush. I remember my years as a youth and I also wanted to be excited by life and so I worked with blind and deaf children, took karate, and dreamed of traveling to Africa. Never did it occur to me that violence would be a kick or that watching my terrified “friend” die a horrible death at my own hands would be an experience worth having. Something is seriously frightening about the psyche of some kids today.

Two other teenage girls in Australia took a different path. They killed themselves because they felt the world wasn’t worth living in. Participants in “Emo” culture, a mindset that over focuses on the “poor me” syndrome, they didn’t lack for a large group of friends (as their suicide notes named) but even the fact that they weren’t alone in the world didn’t stop these self-murders from occurring. I remember another teen who thanked her parents and siblings for being wonderful and her friends for being there for her who then hung herself because the world was “mean.” The world was kind of mean when I was growing up as well (and I wasn’t terrible popular in high school and didn’t have more than a couple of friends) but suicide never ever crossed my mind. Homicidal and suicidal ideation are being promoted constantly in our world today. I never heard of such things when I was growing up so my response to being angry was to lock my bedroom door and listen to show tunes (which didn’t do much to fuel my rage). Now, anger is bolstered by violent ideation from just about every corner of life – video games, movies, television, music, and news – and so it is no wonder kids now consider violence a way to express themselves when they become frustrated with the world around them.

Teenage years have always been difficult transition points. If we as a society care about our children, we need to surround young adults with soft cushions instead of providing them with vicious thoughts to spur them on to violent behavior. We also need to require niceness in our schools, in our communities, in our families, and in our society in general. All the nastiness we see on reality television, in music videos, with bullying in schools, in heated divorce battles, and in general discourse can hardly bring a feeling of happiness to stressed and saddened teens.

Keep posted for news of my new campaign, “Let’s Stop Screwing up Our Kids!” It is time to really do something about the environment our kids live in.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown


Ronni said...

You know what, Pat? everything you say has some validity, but there is one very important thing you have left off your list.

We are raising our children to be selfish. No service is required of them. No lengths are too great for parents to go to in order to satisfy their every whim. We boldter their confidence, telling them they are special, that they deserve to be first in everything, because they are. Period. Not because they do anything to earn such distinction, but because they exist.

It's no wonder many of them think the world is "mean." What is happening is that they are being confronted with the reality of life.

We buy them expensive stuff, to try and compensate for the lack of parental time. We take them to lessons. We shell out inordinate amounts of money on birthday parties. We have their time tied up six days a week with sports and other commitments that focus on them, them, them.

Just because we can afford these things doesn't mean we should.

We make life too easy for them. Of course their forays into society, such as school, are a disappointment, leaving them to shout, "It's not fair!"

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown said...

Boy, are you ever right, Ronni!

Yes, our children have been put on a very foolish pedestal indeed, probably the pedestal of guilt you mention. It is odd that we actually treat babies badly by refusing to nurse them, allowing them to cry themselves to sleep in another room, and forcing separation on them so they can be "independent" and then we turn around and spoil the heck out of them at an age when they should be recognizing other human beings exist (but we still don't spoil them with time and teaching of proper behavior and thinking).

I am writing a book on this subject now as I was appalled by what I saw during the time I was raising my children and more appalled now.

I remember when my children were growing up, I got compliments on their behavior - everyone liked my kids - but I was always warned to be ready for the NEXT stage because then my kids would certainly finally become brats. Well, they didn't - they became adults and I never had problems with them (past the little things). I had no rebellion, no talking back, no teen pregnancies, no substance abuse, and no depression. I never even worried about any of those things. We were a homeschooling, thrift store visting, parent-led household where children were to expected to be nicely behaved and be positive contributors to the family and community. My husband and I were not perfect parents, but we worked hard as parents to teach our children good values and good attitudes. We thought that was our job. Imagine that!

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

Ronni said...

Good for you, Pat!

I wish we could return to a life of smaller homes, that could be afforded on one income, so that on or the otherparent could stay home and be there for the kids, instead of endless day care, after-school care, and other evidence of absent parents. I spoke to a realtor about it, and he told me there was no market for smaller homes, or "starter" homes, as they used to be called. Nowadays, the young people go straight into those McMansions, which have house payments of over 40% of their income. The moms feel guilty at work, and guilty at home, and it's the kids who suffer. And society, in the long run.