So I’m attending a 5-week Dad’s group and last night was the second time we met. So far it’s pretty good and I’ve met some cool guys. A lot of it doesn’t really apply to me because Will is so young, but at least I’m getting a sneak peek at what the future holds for me.
But last night our group leaders started talking a lot about temperament and behavior. They told us kids are born with certain temperaments already ingrained in them, and we need to be sure we adapt and encourage those traits even though we may not share them. They also told us bad behavior may not always be “bad,” and we need to separate and fix their bad behavior while making sure to tell them they are not bad kids for doing what they do.
And I think to a large extent they’re right. It all depends on the age and the circumstances, but environment is a large determining factor in what kind of person the child becomes. I don’t doubt this. However, the way they made it sound seemed like they were saying there are no bad kids, just bad behaviors they learn.
I couldn’t disagree more.
I think there are DEFINITELY bad kids out there. Rotten apples, bad seeds…call them what you want. But I believe there are kids who are born to be troublemakers regardless of their upbringing. I think you could fill these kids’ lives with all the nurturing and support in the world, and that kid would still end up a deadbeat. And that’s no one’s fault. It happens. But I don’t like the idea of pretending that everyone is inherently good and bad kids are only made, not produced that way.
It dovetails with the notion today that there are no more dumb kids. Think about it: there are no more lazy, dumb, stupid kids anymore. I think this was actually a George Carlin sketch but I’m stealing it. If a kid isn’t paying attention in class anymore it’s not his fault. He’s not goofing off, he has Attention Deficit Disorder. They don’t get bad grades because they’re dumb or they didn’t study. Now they have an Information Processing Disorder. And kids aren’t uncoordinated or clumsy. They’re gravitationally challenged. It goes without saying there are kids out there who have genuine problems and disabilities like autism, actual cases of ADD, etc. And while these kids should get all the assistance in the world, I think others — who don’t really suffer from these disabilities — are just haphazardly getting diagnosed and subsequently medicated.
JUST STOP!! I don’t buy into all this crap. What happened to all the stupid kids?? Now they’re not stupid, they just have disorders. And if they don’t fit into an existing disorder, another one is simply made up. Because we now live in a world where every kid is special and gifted and talented. Even in sports, trophies are routinely given out to everyone and each kid makes the team.
That is utter bullshit. Hell, kids can’t even play dodgeball anymore because all these “experts” claim that a game where humans are used as a target is exclusionary and threatening. This is crap! Dodgeball should be played in every school in the country. Sure sometimes you get whacked in the head with the ball and you’re out, but other times you’re the hero. You rally back and beat three other guys and the playground cheers you on. It teaches you coordination and it gives you a backbone. And as far as all kids getting a trophy, stop it. Only the winners should get trophies. And only the best should make a sports team. I was cut from my middle school basketball team and I was pissed. So pissed, in fact, that I worked my ass off the next year and made the freshman high school team. That probably wouldn’t have happened if I had been coddled like kids are today.
Instead of encouraging greatness we are raising the bar on mediocrity and the result is a generation of soft, self-entitled, gimme gimme gimme kids that don’t know how to compete. There will always be bad seeds and dumb kids. We shouldn’t forget about them, but we should at least acknowledge that kids are not all special and they’re not all gifted.
The sooner we realize that and stop making excuses for them, the better.