Kids As Pets
I’ve noticed something happening with kids in recent years. Having had fashions like indifferent parenting, and overly anxious helicopter parenting, kids are now being kept as pets.
I don’t mean they live in a doghouse in the backyard. I mean kids are being primped and petted as amusements; a kind of status plaything for those who have it all.
This select group (for every sensible parent knowingly resists these fads) play with their kids as if they are they are toys. Taking pictures of their children dressed up foolishly for their amusement, they objectify their child, posting them on social media for a laugh.
So you see babies and toddlers made to look ridiculous while at the same time being boasted about – like they are a trophy.
The dichotomy doesn’t last too long though. For no child appreciates being made fun of. Nor can superficial parenting go the distance.
As a child demands attention and families go through the challenges of growing up, the trophy toy mentality gives way to more mature parenting. Meaning, adult immaturity is called to transform into something more loving, wise, and respectful.
That’s just as well. For those folk who resist parental insight have a negative effect on their kids, leaving them ill-equipped to handle their own relationships and adult life.
What are they missing? Well it’s subtle but enormously important. It is an underlying sense of respect. When it’s neglected, children struggle to express dignity toward others. And they also feel bereft of poise in themselves.
Kids deserve to be respected right from the get go. Not, of course, in some grim formal way. But in recognizing they are people too, emerging and working out who they are and what life is all about.
So though it might seem strange, it’s a natural fit with caring for your kids to regards them as people in their own right. Perhaps that’s the first big lesson of parenting. Realizing your gorgeous little bundle is not an extension of you but someone else (a person destined to be unique).
So next time you see someone on Facebook posting “look at this dumb kid” pictures of their kid. Or, treating their child like precious china, you can be sure they have a lot of growing to do. But that’s parenting isn’t it? We raise our kids thinking that’s what our job is. When really, often kicking and screaming, they are simultaneously growing us.
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