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Thread: The Fragile Generation

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    Default The Fragile Generation

    Bad policy and paranoid parenting are making kids too safe to succeed.

    Lenore Skenazy & Jonathan Haidt

    One day last year, a citizen on a prairie path in the Chicago suburb of Elmhurst came upon a teen boy chopping wood. Not a body. Just some already-fallen branches. Nonetheless, the onlooker called the cops.

    Officers interrogated the boy, who said he was trying to build a fort for himself and his friends. A local news site reports the police then "took the tools for safekeeping to be returned to the boy's parents."

    Elsewhere in America, preschoolers at the Learning Collaborative in Charlotte, North Carolina, were thrilled to receive a set of gently used playground equipment. But the kids soon found out they would not be allowed to use it, because it was resting on grass, not wood chips. "It's a safety issue," explained a day care spokeswoman. Playing on grass is against local regulations.

    And then there was the query that ran in Parents magazine a few years back: "Your child's old enough to stay home briefly, and often does. But is it okay to leave her and her playmate home while you dash to the dry cleaner?" Absolutely not, the magazine averred: "Take the kids with you, or save your errand for another time." After all, "you want to make sure that no one's feelings get too hurt if there's a squabble."

    The principle here is simple: This generation of kids must be protected like none other. They can't use tools, they can't play on grass, and they certainly can't be expected to work through a spat with a friend.

    And this, it could be argued, is why we have "safe spaces" on college campuses and millennials missing adult milestones today. We told a generation of kids that they can never be too safe—and they believed us.

    Safety First

    We've had the best of intentions, of course. But efforts to protect our children may be backfiring. When we raise kids unaccustomed to facing anything on their own, including risk, failure, and hurt feelings, our society and even our economy are threatened. Yet modern child-rearing practices and laws seem all but designed to cultivate this lack of preparedness. There's the fear that everything children see, do, eat, hear, and lick could hurt them. And there's a newer belief that has been spreading through higher education that words and ideas themselves can be traumatizing.

    How did we come to think a generation of kids can't handle the basic challenges of growing up?

    Beginning in the 1980s, American childhood changed. For a variety of reasons—including shifts in parenting norms, new academic expectations, increased regulation, technological advances, and especially a heightened fear of abduction (missing kids on milk cartons made it feel as if this exceedingly rare crime was rampant)—children largely lost the experience of having large swaths of unsupervised time to play, explore, and resolve conflicts on their own. This has left them more fragile, more easily offended, and more reliant on others. They have been taught to seek authority figures to solve their problems and shield them from discomfort, a condition sociologists call "moral dependency."

    This poses a threat to the kind of open-mindedness and flexibility young people need to thrive at college and beyond. If they arrive at school or start careers unaccustomed to frustration and misunderstandings, we can expect them to be hypersensitive. And if they don't develop the resources to work through obstacles, molehills come to look like mountains.

    This magnification of danger and hurt is prevalent on campus today. It no longer matters what a person intended to say, or how a reasonable listener would interpret a statement—what matters is whether any individual feels offended by it. If so, the speaker has committed a "microaggression," and the offended party's purely subjective reaction is a sufficient basis for emailing a dean or filing a complaint with the university's "bias response team." The net effect is that both professors and students today report that they are walking on eggshells. This interferes with the process of free inquiry and open debate—the active ingredients in a college education.

    And if that's the case already, what of the kids still in grammar school, constantly reminded they might accidentally hurt each other with the wrong words? When today's 8-year-olds become the 18-year-olds starting college, will they still view free speech as worthy of protecting? As Daniel Shuchman, chairman of the free speech-promoting Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), puts it, "How likely are they to consider the First Amendment essential if they start learning in fifth grade that you're forbidden to say—or even think—certain things, especially at school?"

    Parents, teachers, and professors are talking about the growing fragility they see. It's hard to avoid the conclusion that the overprotection of children and the hypersensitivity of college students could be two sides of the same coin. By trying so hard to protect our kids, we're making them too safe to succeed.

    Children on a Leash

    If you're over 40, chances are good that you had scads of free time as a child—after school, on weekends, over the summer. And chances are also good that, if you were asked about it now, you'd go on and on about playing in the woods and riding your bike until the streetlights came on.

    Today many kids are raised like veal. Only 13 percent of them even walk to school. Many who take the bus wait at the stop with parents beside them like bodyguards. For a while, Rhode Island was considering a bill that would prohibit children from getting off the bus in the afternoon if there wasn't an adult waiting to walk them home. This would have applied until seventh grade.

    As for summer frolicking, campers don't just have to take a buddy with them wherever they go, including the bathroom. Some are now required to take two—one to stay with whoever gets hurt, the other to run and get a grown-up. Walking to the john is treated like climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro.

    After school, kids no longer come home with a latchkey and roam the neighborhood. Instead, they're locked into organized, supervised activities. Youth sports are a $15 billion business that has grown by 55 percent since just 2010. Children as young as third grade are joining traveling teams—which means their parents spend a lot of time in the car, too. Or they're at tutoring. Or they're at music lessons. And if all else fails, they are in their rooms, online.



    Even if parents want to shoo their kids outside—and don't come home till dinner!—it's not as easy as it once was. Often, there are no other children around to play with. Even more dishearteningly, adults who believe it's good for young people to run some errands or play kickball down the street have to think twice about letting them, because busybodies, cops, and social workers are primed to equate "unsupervised" with "neglected and in danger."

    You may remember the story of the Meitivs in Maryland, investigated twice for letting their kids, 10 and 6, walk home together from the park. Or the Debra Harrell case in South Carolina, where a mom was thrown in jail for allowing her 9-year-old to play at the sprinkler playground while she worked at McDonald's. Or the 8-year-old Ohio boy who was supposed to get on the bus to Sunday school, but snuck off to the Family Dollar store instead. His dad was arrested for child endangerment.

    These examples represent a new outlook: the belief that anytime kids are doing anything on their own, they are automatically under threat. But that outlook is wrong. The crime rate in America is back down to what it was in 1963, which means that most of today's parents grew up playing outside when it was more dangerous than it is today. And it hasn't gotten safer because we're hovering over our kids. All violent crime is down, including against adults.

    Danger Things

    And yet it doesn't feel safer. A 2010 study found "kidnapping" to be the top parental fear, despite the fact that merely being a passenger in a car is far more dangerous. Nine kids were kidnapped and murdered by strangers in 2011, while 1,140 died in vehicles that same year. While Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker writes in 2011's The Better Angels of Our Nature that life in most countries is safer today than at any time in human history, the press keeps pushing paranoia. This makes stepping back feel doubly risky: There's the fear of child kidnappers and the fear of Child Protective Services.

    At times, it seems like our culture is conjuring dangers out of thin air, just to have something new to worry about. Thus, the Boulder Public Library in Colorado recently forbade anyone under 12 to enter without an adult, because "children may encounter hazards such as stairs, elevators, doors, furniture, electrical equipment, or other library patrons." Ah, yes, kids and library furniture. Always a lethal combo.

    Happily, the library backed off that rule, perhaps thanks to merciless mocking in the media. But saner minds don't always prevail. At Mesa Elementary School, which also happens to be in Boulder, students got a list of the items they could not bring to the science fair. These included "chemicals," "plants in soil," and "organisms (living or dead)." And we wonder why American children score so low on international tests.

    But perhaps the single best example of how fantastically fearful we've become occurred when the city of Richland, Washington, got rid of all the swings on its school playgrounds. The love of swinging is probably older than humanity itself, given our arboreal origins. But as a school district spokesman explained, "Swings have been determined to be the most unsafe of all the playground equipment on a playground."

    You may think your town has avoided such overkill, but is there a merry-go-round at your local park, or a see-saw? Most likely they, too, have gone the way of lawn darts. The Consumer Product Safety Commission even warns parks of "tripping hazards, like…tree stumps and rocks," a fact unearthed (so to speak) by Philip Howard, author of 2010's Life Without Lawyers.

    The problem is that kids learn by doing. Trip over a tree stump and you learn to look down. There's an old saying: Prepare your child for the path, not the path for your child. We're doing the opposite.

    Ironically, there are real health dangers in not walking, or biking, or hopping over that stump. A Johns Hopkins study this summer found that the typical 19-year-old is as sedentary as a 65-year-old. The Army is worried that its recruits don't know how to skip or do somersaults.

    But the cost of shielding kids from risks goes well beyond the physical, as a robust body of research has shown.

    Of Trophies and Traumas

    continued..http://reason.com/archives/2017/10/2...ile-generation



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  3. #2

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    The cult of safety is cancer, it will be the death of the human spirit and possibly humanity itself.

    Nowhere, ever, in all of history, has mankind made great strides without some degree of risk, sometimes severe risks.

    The Safety Uber Alles crowd will fit in nicely with the coming technological tyranny that is sweeping the globe however.

  4. #3

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    Please allow me to put forward the dramatic difference. When I was growing up in Southern California, we were safe to walk wherever we wanted to go. It was a nice suburb, and we were safe. We were all home with our parents. Moms were home all day, and I don't think Big Brother had anything on them. They saw everything.

    These days almost no child is home with parents all day. They are in day cares and schools from about 3 months on. They are being raised by other people. This is why there is a concern for safety. In a normal family kids come one or two at a time, generally, and they grow up with one set of family rules. My daughter has four children 11, 9, 6, and 3. She doesn't have a house full of 3yos. She has four children of different ages and abiliites. So maybe you see the difference between setting a standard in a family and taking the risk of injury to have a play set out back, and assuming the liability for a dozen of other people's 3yos, all from different families with different standards. In a family, someone takes personal responsibility for purchasing the playset, putting it up, and keeping it in repair. In a day care, the person who purchases is different from the one who builds, and that is different from the person who oversees the center and would maybe call for repairs and go through all those channels, and they are all different from the teacher who will supervise the children at play.

    Just throwing that out as one of the major contributors to the safety first culture.

    The real boogy man is something different. After WWII when men came home, their wives, who were taking up the slack in offices and factories, didn't necessarily want to go back into the home. They liked the money. And suddenly it became okay not to pay a man a living wage adequate to support a family. Because his wife can work. So it became necessary to find ways to take care of the children issuing from the families where both parents work.

    And there you go. If you want to go back to the good old days where people could let their kid free range, something will need to be done about the way companies hire and keep employees, and the way we tax families.
    "There are two freedoms - the false, where a man is free to do what he likes; the true, where he is free to do what he ought."~~Charles Kingsley

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by euphemia View Post
    The real boogy man is something different. After WWII when men came home, their wives, who were taking up the slack in offices and factories, didn't necessarily want to go back into the home. They liked the money. And suddenly it became okay not to pay a man a living wage adequate to support a family. Because his wife can work. So it became necessary to find ways to take care of the children issuing from the families where both parents work.
    Almost...by 1960 or so that had pretty much reverted back to the norm.

    What changed past there was the explosive post WWII growth in government.

    In 1960 the entry level wage earner paid a mere $70 in combined payroll taxes for the whole year.
    http://www.nbcnews.com/id/29861648/n...n-has-changed/

    I know more than few people who are paying over $1000 a month in property taxes on a middle class home.

    Combine that with ObamaCare payments, income taxes (local state and federal), sales taxes, Medicare and Medicaid taxes and you have an insufferable burden on your shoulder.

    The reason everybody is working and can't raise children properly, is to pay for government.

    Which is just what the Marxists wanted, and have put into place.

  6. #5

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    Very true. Return to Constitutional government wil solve a lot of problems. Send a dozen frugal grandmas to Washington. They will clean house and cut the budget down to its Constitutional bones.
    "There are two freedoms - the false, where a man is free to do what he likes; the true, where he is free to do what he ought."~~Charles Kingsley

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by euphemia View Post
    Very true. Return to Constitutional government wil solve a lot of problems. Send a dozen frugal grandmas to Washington. They will clean house and cut the budget down to its Constitutional bones.
    I know plenty of "grandma's" who would print and distribute free money as fast as or even quicker than the idiots in office now...

    As far as kids go...............My kid is growing up as I did only in a digital age which unfortunately must teach him to avoid big brother more than his parent(s).....

    The parents who foist their children on others to raise are the problem and as both you and AF have pointed out government has caused the problem.....I don't expect government to fix any of the problems they cause.

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    Exactly. Congress is incapable of doing what they are doing. That's why they do it so poorly.

    I know plenty of grandmas who would cut the budget back to Constitutional bones. I'm one of them. And I would be happy to sit in on committees and in sessions and say, "Sit down Rep so-and-so. There is no Constitutional authority for Congress to do that."
    "There are two freedoms - the false, where a man is free to do what he likes; the true, where he is free to do what he ought."~~Charles Kingsley

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    A 2010 study found "kidnapping" to be the top parental fear
    Stranger danger is at paranoia levels.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Paul View Post
    The intellectual battle for liberty can appear to be a lonely one at times. However, the numbers are not as important as the principles that we hold. Leonard Read always taught that "it's not a numbers game, but an ideological game." That's why it's important to continue to provide a principled philosophy as to what the role of government ought to be, despite the numbers that stare us in the face.



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    "Playing on grass is against local regulations."
    Says it all right there.

    Here is the problem tho. We are a Fascist country, not communist, not socialist, and definitely not a free country. Fascism places PROFITS ahead of anything else. Their concern is NOT for actual genuine safety. The corporations that run this govt WILL do everything in their power to make ANY activity that could cost them money against the law, because in this Bizarro World we are not their customers, we are their PROPERTY. So children will ONLY be allowed to play with toys or on things that make a sponsor of the Fascist State more moolah, or prevent medical bills. So dont be surprised if your Health Insurance Company makes it illegal to drive in flip flops. Why? Could cost them money. They wont pay a dime for your medical bills if you so much as stub your toe. Actually, the way they would set it up is any kind of footwear IS PROHIBITED, EXCEPT for shoes that are made by companies that are vested in the Fascist State.

    Lets say for a second that two competing shoe companies exist. FIKE an NEEBOK. FIKE (Fake Nike shoes, Fascism sponsor) is a Fascist State sponsor. NEEBOK (Fake Reebok) is not. The laws that get passed will ONLY allow children to play while wearing FIKE shoes.

    Their goal is NOT safety, but the ILLUSION of safety because their REAL goal is ONLY PROFITS. It is during the growth of the Fascist State that the model is sustainable as once no further growth of the State is possible, then its citizens are hopelessly enslaved and citizen growth is impossible.
    1776 > 1984

    The FAILURE of the United States Government to operate and maintian an
    Honest Money System , which frees the ordinary man from the clutches of the money manipulators, is the single largest contributing factor to the World's current Economic Crisis.

    The Elimination of Privacy is the Architecture of Genocide

    You are Ron Paul's Media!

    Quote Originally Posted by Zippyjuan View Post
    Our central bank is not privately owned.

  12. #10

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    The soft kid problem is very real, but don't conflate it with our political problems. There's no substantive difference between what the yoots support today and what their parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents supported in the past. Social Justice, Great Society, New Deal - same thing. The yoots are to blame (or will be shortly), but not uniquely so. The problem is much more fundamental, and scapegoating only serves to avoid thinking about a real solution.

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    Controversial 'free-range parenting' is now legal in Utah — here's what that means

    https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/cont...203114763.html

    The state of Utah has legalized a controversial childrearing method called “free-range parenting.”
    On Friday, Gov. Gary Herbert signed bill SB65 that would allow kids the freedom to walk to and from school, wait in parked cars (while their parents run errands in a store, for example), and visit playgrounds solo, according to a story published Monday by the Associated Press. The bill, which doesn’t specify an age limit for the above activities, will go into effect May 8.
    “I feel strongly about the issue because we have become so over-the-top when ‘protecting’ children that we are refusing to let them learn the lessons of self-reliance and problem-solving that they will need to be successful as adults,” Sen. Lincoln Fillmore, who sponsored the bill, tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
    As outlined in the bill, the following situations would not qualify as neglect: traveling to and from school or recreational facilities by walking, running, or biking, playing outside, or sitting in a car unattended, provided the child is at least 9 years old and in reasonably safe conditions.
    Free-range parenting allows children to grow up with limited parental supervision with the goal of instilling independence. It also utilizes a “common sense” approach to when kids should be left alone.
    Quote Originally Posted by TheCount View Post
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    ^^^^^ That this requires a law is ridiculous.. ^^^^^^^

  15. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    The problem is much more fundamental, and scapegoating only serves to avoid thinking about a real solution.
    Yes it is, and I've been harping on it for years now.

    Freedom is not popular and it never has been.

    The few times in human history where there has been a modicum of freedom, it was because bold men took it, seized their freedom, with no regard for the wants or desires of their oppressors.

    Trying to educate people into freedom is like trying to teach a pig to whistle.

  16. #14

  17. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by tod evans View Post
    ^^^^^ That this requires a law is ridiculous.. ^^^^^^^
    I would much rather see the repeal of the laws that made the behavior criminal in the first place. Stop passing new laws and sundown the stupid s*it.

    XNN
    Last edited by XNavyNuke; 03-30-2018 at 07:52 AM.
    "They sell us the president the same way they sell us our clothes and our cars. They sell us every thing from youth to religion the same time they sell us our wars. I want to know who the men in the shadows are. I want to hear somebody asking them why. They can be counted on to tell us who our enemies are but theyre never the ones to fight or to die." - Jackson Browne Lives In The Balance



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