What happens to the coddled?

The other day I read a post by YS author, Jeff Baxter. He references the article below and just poses the quandary… Is there any hope for the moral future of millenials? (born 1981-2001) Ultimately, his book helps answer that question… that yes, he believes one day this group will wise up and chose to follow Jesus for real instead of the moralistic therapeutic deism many of them practice in church today.

Check out this discription of this generation, written by high school junior Charlie Nathan.

The Millennials have been born into prosperity and leisure. Before now, we have not witnessed a major economic downturn and the closest most of us have been to war is playing a video game. For better or for worse, we are the “coddled generation,” watched by overzealous “helicopter parents” who would do anything to give their child the edge. We grew up being told that we’re “special” by everyone from little league coaches who give trophies to both winners and losers, to the late Mr. Rogers, who reminded us every morning that the world revolves around us.

Having worked with helicopter parents for the last decade. I’m not so sure. I’m convinced that many baby boomer parents have no intention of ever allowing their millenial children to grow up. And their parents will keep redefining morality as a result!

Here’s my question for parents: Why do we lie to our children?

Here are the facts as we know them in the adult world.

– The world does not revolve around your child.

– Your child should not be your God, lifting them up as gods is an abomination to the giver of those children.

– Your child should learn their honest place in society and take responsibility for themselves and their actions.

– Your hovering leads to immaturity.

– Not allowing a child to fail is the cruelest thing you could possibly to in their identity formation. How will they ever know who they should be?

– The prosperity our children think they were raised with was a facade financed by credit cards and homes which are now worth 50% less. What’s your next trick?

– 98% of children are not academically special and/or gifted… they are average. But parents have forced school districts and colleges to lower their standards so that everyone seems special. Really all we’ve done is lied to kids and told them they are brilliant when they aren’t.

Should I go on?

Here’s the shocking reality. Many baby boomers are feeling the pinch as their elderly parents have come to live with them while their coddled twenty-three year old adult children are still living at home. One is a noble thing while the other is not.

Our responsibility as parents is not to indefinitely care for our children.

Our responsibility as parents is not to ensure that our children get everything with no effort.

Our responsibility as parents is not to indefinitely finance education.

Our responsibility as parents is not to finance fashion.

Our responsibilty as parents is not to tell our kids that their failures are not really failures.

Our responsibility as parents is to raise our kids to become responsible adults!

There is hope for the moral future of millenials when we stop treating them like infants. Their poop stinks. Their sins hurt other people. They should be punished when they break the law. They should apologize when they wrong someone. They should experience the ramifications of their moral laxity.

When they gamble their check let them starve. When they graduate college let them pay their own loans back. When they wreck their car don’t buy them a new one. When they lose a soccer game let them cry. When they won’t look for work don’t give them money. On and on. Parents, we must allow our children to learn that the world doesn’t revolve around them… teach them to take full responsibility. You are not God. Your benevolence isn’t getting them anywhere.

Why? Because when you let an older adolescent and an adult take responsibility for their lives they realize they have choices to make. And their choices ultimately determine their future. As adults, we know that at the end of the day they have to defend themselves. They have to become independent. They must shoulder the same responsibilities we do.

At some point the mother has to kick their chicks out of the nest… because it is the most loving thing to do. Yes, the world is dangerous. Yes, they may get hurt. Yes, they may not do what you want or succeed the way you want them to. But they will be better on their own than in your basement! The same things that gave you and I character will form the character of their generation!

When does it start? Today! What’s the right age? Now!






8 responses to “What happens to the coddled?”

  1. Mark Avatar

    To what degree does the withholding of privileges contribute to this?

    I’m thinking of the 21-year-old drinking age, graduated driver’s licenses, less freedom in schools, etc.

    When I grew up (I’m 40), the 17-year-old driver’s license was a full license. The drinking age was already 21, but my high school had free periods where the students could actually roam selected areas of the school or *gasp* leave school property.

    I have to think that in our zeal to protect them from themselves, we are protecting them from maturity.

  2. adam mclane Avatar

    I have to think that in our zeal to protect them from themselves, we are protecting them from maturity.

    Man, love this quote. I think you’re correct.

  3. Schnerples Avatar

    I think we also need to look at privileges as just that, a privilege and not a right. Students today have the ability to destroy their futures in ways that most adults have never considered, let alone comprehend well enough to guide students through the minefield.

  4. Matt Cleaver Avatar

    I somehow missed this post when it was originally published. Glad you linked back to it. I concur, although I’m young enough to not have much authority to speak on the issue.

  5. Grant Avatar

    My son is a youg member of this failing social experment of coddling. He is also a victum. He lacks attention in school and can be disruptive, more so than the other kids in his grade three class. The reaction from the teachers is to be very gentle handed with him and when that doesn’t work they simply remove him from the class. He is out of the class so often that he is missing out in class discussions and leasons. Their solution is to fill him with mind altering drugs to deal with ADHD. He doesn’t have ADHD. He doesn’t have any of the behavioral problems at home. The schools are failing my son and yours but tell them and us that they are doing wonderful. They lie to us on the report cards.
    Now I have to go to his school this Tuesday and listen to the “experts” tell me he needs drugging up. They’re in for an earful from me but I know it won’t change a thing.
    They have failed our kids but won’t admit it. Rather they cover this up by drugging our children. It makes me mad and sad to see first hand how they are hurting our kids with their kindness.

    1. Observant Owl Avatar
      Observant Owl

      If you’re the dad, and you know he doesn’t have ADHD why are you allowing him to be medicated?! It sounds like the son is being victimized by your passive, excuse-making, blame-casting behavior.

    2. gymbagwisdom Avatar

      What do you want them to do? Allow him to disrupt the class so all kids suffer. If you want schools to improve, send them a better product.

  6. Observant Owl Avatar
    Observant Owl

    This is so true. A guy I met in church, has been suffocatingly coddled by his mother forever. He both is dependent on her and loathes that fact. The mom pays for everything. Thanks to Mommy, the son even has a big flat screen TV, as well as his own apt., and this despite the fact that his parents don’t make much money. Dad is a passive bystander, sleepwalking through this. The woman’s counselor stopped seeing her because the woman refused to take the counselor’s advice: to cut the cord. Now, fast-forward. I get an email from him–he’s now in his 40s. Still lethargic, still depressed, still mired in inaction, still filled with excuses as to why he can’t be expected to get a job and keep it like other adults do. His parents have now declared bankruptcy and lost their home (all that money they spent on supporting him, should’ve gone into savings). They are getting evicted soon. The mother’s pathological behavior (treating her son like an infant) is, of course, hugely damaging and invalidating (to the entire family, actually), it has demeaned the son, robbed him of hope, and encouraged him to have a dependent personality. And he’ll probably be tempted to feel guilt for the parents’ financial situation. Meanwhile, the son has the “key” to escape it all, if he’ll just use it: accept responsibility for his life! But will he? A whole family–on the brink of ruin. All over coddling!!

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