You hear all the time about how kids today behave. I could go back and point out that even the ancient Greeks found their youth to be unbearably poorly mannered, but that’s not the point I’m trying to make today.

I read over on Blogging Baby about a study which blames the media, parents and feminism for how kids behave these days. It claims that there are more troubled children now than there were 50 years ago.

I agree with some points. Lax parents are a major problem. Too many want to be their children’s friend first, rather than parent first, and so the kids get away with thinking of only what they want, and don’t behave in socially acceptable ways. That certainly can have a lot to do with parents.

I won’t just blame working parents, though. Coming from a family of four girls raised by a divorced mother, I can tell you that working parents can do a great job raising children. So can stay at home parents. It has more to do with what you expect of your children and what you teach them than whether or not a parent is always able to be at home.

As for media, yes, it certainly has something to do with it, especially the sexualization of younger and younger girls. You know the images young girls are seeing these days. Think about pop stars, the shows they enjoy watching, and toys such as Bratz dolls (which will never remain in my home, even if given as a gift). Are those healthy self image messages for girls?

However, media does relate to parenting in part. If you aren’t spending enough time keeping up with what your children are seeing in the media you can’t help them with those images. You as a parent need to tell them when something is unacceptable.

And I can’t really agree with blaming feminism. Here’s a part of what was said on that topic:

“In feminism we have emphasized changing girls much more than we emphasized changing guys. So nurturing sort of has gone out of the way as a role model for females. So that means if you are less nurturing you are more likely to be more aggressive, as males are,” she said.

Somewhat true, but I don’t agree with what she makes of it.

To my mind, feminism means giving girls more options. It certainly has nothing to do with encouraging little girls to dress inappropriately. If anything, a feminist would want girls to dress so that her gender is not… overexposed, shall we say.

I think some of the problem there is how people think of it when they say feminism is about equality. Some take equality to mean being the same. And certainly men and women should have equal abilities to go to school, get jobs and provide for their families, have fun with loved ones and friends and so forth. But that doesn’t mean they should have to take the same paths. And it also doesn’t mean that those who prefer more traditional roles need to change themselves.

Living in the world today and raising children is hard work. There were issues when you and I were growing up that resulting in some of our fellow parents today not understanding what they need to do as parents. The media and society right now encourage a highly selfish, individualistic, consumer driven lifestyle that makes many problems grow worse. Some can cope with these problems well, others cannot.

You can say “it takes a village” or you can say the first responsibility belongs to the parents, but in any case things have changed over the past many years in how children are raised. And that’s one of those things we have to deal with as parents. As an individual you can start with your own expectations of your children and build from there.

[tags]feminism,it takes a village,children,misbehavior,society,problems,media,kids,parents[/tags]