Imperil Common Sense …

September 23, 2007

Robin Givhan of “The Washington Post” has an interesting piece on how children have become the minor royals of our culture. Using the new show “Kid Nation” as a starting point, she expands on my minor rant from July about how parents over-protect their children, and won’t let them be kids, and goes on to note how much power children and teenagers have accumulated because of adults shooting themselves in the foot. I love the title of the piece, “Buffer the Children, and Imperil Common Sense.”

Several clips:

It is no secret that parents in a certain demographic have become overprotective of their children. No dodgeball, you could get a concussion! No sugar; no milk; no meat. And, heaven forbid, no being pushed down the street at 1/4 mph without a helmet.

There are a host of threats in the world against which parents must be on guard, not the least of which are lead-laden toys from China, and so it seems like a particularly cruel form of masochism to play offense against risks so rare that they are akin to worrying about being struck by lightning.


Children are assumed to be so fragile that they cannot be jostled. They must be consulted on the family’s dinner entree. It takes a TV nanny — a “Supernanny” — to remind parents that it’s ridiculous to negotiate with a toddler.

Children have been turned into miniature, high-maintenance consumers who require designer labels to keep up with the Suri Cruises and the Maddox Jolie-Pitts of the world. Political ads use children to mouth demands for universal health care or Social Security reform. They have become the fallback weapon: four feet, 60 pounds and 10 sticky fingers’ worth of guilt.


Is it any wonder that these highly celebrated children grow up to be demanding teenagers on “My Super Sweet 16”? Teenagers’ interests and eccentricities dominate popular culture. Their films control the box office during the summer. [And mostly stupid films they are, too.]

Their baggy trousers changed the silhouette of adult clothing so that grown men see nothing wrong with pants that hang off their rumps. [My refrain while driving through Cincinnati: “Pull your goddamn pants up!]

Teenage girls have become the standard of womanly beauty and adult women try to diet and exercise their bodies back to the physique of a 16-year-old. [I should probably refrain from comment here …. ]

For those with the wherewithal to coddle their children, it is a luxury to be able to worry that catching a glimpse of “King Kong” on a cross-country flight might give one’s child a bad dream. But it is a nightmare to envision a nation under the tyranny of children.


No kidding.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: