“…and I turned out fine”. Whenever anyone ends a sentence or thought with this phrase it usually means they really didn’t. I always imagine an older person shaking their fist at “those meddling kids” and telling them to get off their lawn when I hear such silliness.
Of course, this usually leads to the assertion of “bad parenting” going on now these days. As far as I know, on the whole each generation has raised their children differently from the previous generation. Your parents most likely raised you differently than the way they were raised and they were most likely raised differently than their folks were raised. Times change and not necessarily for the worse.
Being from an older generation (I’m somewhere north of 40), I have grown up with a lot of people from my generation. I work with them every workday. I see them at the mall or traveling to work and elsewhere in my daily travels and I can say unequivocally that no, we all didn’t turn out “just fine”.
If anything the newer focus on nurturing children (what some would call “coddling”) is one of the most important advancements in child rearing and formal education. What used to happen many years ago when I was a child was people simply got by. They might have been diagnosed with ADHD or dyslexia or some other developmental challenge these days but the awareness and frankly the interest wasn’t there like it is now. There were kids who struggled and still struggle now as adults because they were never helped during those crucial early developmental years. Yet, they were misdiagnosed as “slow”, “stupid” or some other derogatory description. I used to work with some of these people as a tutor. They were pushed along and allowed to graduate or receive an equivalency diploma even tough they lacked the necessary skills. They fell through the cracks.
The whole argument about “bad parenting” is convoluted. People complain about permissive, light handed parents who don’t keep track of their kids enough. Then, in the next breath, they complain about “helicopter mom and dads.” Make up your mind. Please.
I’m no psychoanalyst but it almost seems like people use this refrain because they feel like they may have missed out. Teachers were not as understanding and nowhere near as “cool” as they are these days, at least not during my schooldays. They may have unresolved issues about the way things were because they see their children or other children actually receiving the help they never did, because, after all, they “turned out fine”. Cue eye roll.
People will often say this new method of parenting or new culture is why our children have turned out so badly; over coddling parents who are permissive. Of course, I am no parental expert nor would I ever express that I know the first thing about it not being a parent myself. I do know the kids I grew up with and who they are today, though. I knew some pretty bad kids growing up. Perhaps a different approach would have worked better.
Over coddling or being too strict can have the opposite desired effect. After all, teen rebellion is as American as apple pie and mom. I am sure it is fairly common in other countries as well. Again, I think a lot of it is sour grapes they were not raised this way. It often makes you wonder who is the child in the conversation.
Trying to justify old ways or discounting new ideas simply because it’s what we’ve always known or it’s the way things have always been done is akin to still believing in leeching because our ancestors did and “they turned out fine.”
No, I don’t get a lot of things from the younger generation. I don’t get EDM or The Big Bang Theory. I don’t get kicks from American Dad or South Park . But that is to be expected. It’s just like how our parents didn’t “get” rap music or Jim Carrey movies. Of course, today’s entertainment isn’t necessarily marketed or geared to my demographic. But, it doesn’t mean it means there’s something wrong with someone who does like it, particularly younger people. I think of the things that made me laugh when I was younger and I almost shudder in embarrassment. Andrew Dice Clay, the WWF (now WWE) and Pee Wee Herman were some of my favorite diversions as a younger person. Maybe that explains why we may not have “turned out fine”.
I never understood why those who feel as though their parents were out of touch or so critical of their generation would adopt the very same mindset. Wouldn’t we want to at least try different approaches to parenting and education?
Let’s face it; while I don’t always agree with the way all things are done these days, on balance things are much better than they were in our day even if we did “turn out fine.”