Jen Olney of Ginger Consulting (@gingerconsult) and I got into this a couple of months ago regarding the bullying incident involving bus monitor Karen Klein. I don’t need to give you any more background than that. You’ve heard everything. This is partly the result of many parents allowing (and often preferring) their kids to be adults. I don’t expect Jen to agree with me that 11-14 year olds are the worst group of people on planet Earth, regardless of culture, sex, or background. Too harsh? Now give this group of people the rights and privileges of adults. Clothing, electronics, freedom of choice, anything a parent can give them to let them hyper-individualize themselves. Jen asked me what’s wrong with being an individual. Nothing. Except, at that age, there are no individuals. So really, it creates an in-group with the cons of group-think, (exclusion, superiority, impunity) without the benefits (civic responsibility, self sacrifice). I can easily picture kids from my grammar school doing the things those boys from the bus were caught doing. My father said the same thing. But increasingly, so many kids are entitled to whatever they can be afforded (by their parent) without prior character building or achievement. Jen believes this isn’t the overwhelming norm, and is distorted by the media. I’m not so sure. I see it all the time. I saw it growing up. So many Generation Y children were the center of the universe, individually. Now we’re the parents. Yikes.
I’m not a parent. I’m an observer. How do you observe parents today?