Earlier this week, I talked about the CNN opinion article Why Men Are In Trouble, and also the broader issue of responsibility in our time. I think the general consensus is that men and women alike have lost all sense of what it means to be responsible for their actions. I see this being the result of a few possible things:
- There are no more consequences. It seems that as time has gone on, less focus has been put on the consequences of our actions than the actual actions, themselves. You can see this everywhere, even in the most intricate family or work situations. Take for example the amount that people get away with petty crimes in this country. When you speed, it is only considered wrong if you actually get caught; and when you do, (at least in California) you have a 60% chance of getting away with just a warning, as well as a 40% chance that in the event you do get a ticket, the officer will never turn it in. There are a lot of places in society today where there are no consequences for poor actions.
- Even when there are consequences, there is always someone waiting there to bail you out. I used to work with a girl that came in to work every day wearing some new, cute article of clothing. She was a single mother, refused to ask her child’s father for child support (as a matter of pride), and worked at Longs Drugstore for a whopping $13 an hour. One day I asked her exactly how she was able to afford such cute, new clothes all the time and she responded “well, I charge it and usually my boyfriend pays the bill .. and I figure that if all else fails, I’ll just declare bankruptcy.” When all else fails, there seems to always be someone there to bail us out: be it the government, bankruptcy filing, or family.
- Helicopter Parents. Ultimately, I think what this all boils down to is the Helicopter Parent. You know at least one of them: that mom or dad that is so over-involved in the actions of his or her kids that there is an entire team of psychiatrists out there just salivating in anticipation of the situation turning ugly. How the Helicopter Parent is to blame is simply that by always coming to the rescue, or by always handling the problems or being the one to trouble-shoot any of life’s troubles, the kids of the situation never learn how to deal with problems on their own. Further, most children of Helicopter Parents rarely understand the notion of consequences and (most importantly) have a skewed understanding of what it means to take responsibility. Helicopter Parents are most seriously causing a problem with the education of their children, for when things go awry the children always expect mom or dad to come fix the problem. This, over years, transcends into a much greater problem, though, for in college children of Helicopter Parents are now being found to either suffer or still need “mommy and daddy” to come to the rescue; and there are even young adults with Helicopter Parents that have a number of difficulties functioning in society as a result of having been babied all their lives.
It is strange to me how much Helicopter Parents have become the “norm.” As a parent, one of your principle responsibilities is to raise your child to become a functional and well-rounded individual; and included in that must be a sense of being able to handle things on their own. Helicopter Parenting is rife with so many disastrous possibilities: from social awkwardness to co-dependency issues, even to emotional or physical abuse on the part of the child simply because they don’t know how to deal with situations on their own. So as all of you faithful blog followers are out there populating the already-overpopulated world with your love seed, just remember not to let your propellers get too close.