Once upon a time, everyone knew the best way to raise kids. You brought them up in a nuclear family with love, discipline, chores, responsibility and a sound religious foundation. You trained them to be polite and respectful, and to study hard. These qualities were reinforced by society at large: extended families, neighbors and friends, schools, churches and up the ranks all the way to America’s presidents.
But after the 1960s revolution, all sorts of new and “improved” child-raising techniques came into vogue. Gone were the good old days of using what worked for centuries. Instead, raising kids became a giant social experiment. Kinsey’s loathsome pedophilia studies turned children into sexual creatures who should “enjoy” the attention of disturbed adults. Kids didn’t need dads. Children did just as well in day care as in mother care. Et cetera ad nauseum.
This urge to reinvent the wheel continues, but now it’s taking a new tack: Attempting to drag down children who have the unfortunate affliction of being born into a loving family.
I’m sure you all remember the hoopla in 2015 when some whack-doodle British “professor” named Adam Smith suggested reading your children bedtime stories should be “restricted” because it unfairly disadvantaged children whose parents were not as attentive. “I don’t think parents reading their children bedtime stories should constantly have in their minds the way that they are unfairly disadvantaging other people’s children, but I think they should have that thought occasionally,” he told ABC’s Joe Gelonesi, adding: “This devilish twist of evidence surely leads to a further conclusion that perhaps – in the interests of leveling the playing field – bedtime stories should also be restricted.” [Italics added.]
This obsession with leveling the playing field by dragging down normal kids continues. Most recently, some schools are attempting to ban children from having best friends.
We’ve all had best friends while growing up. They’ve come and gone. Some we simply outgrew; others ended with arguments. But best friends enriched our young lives immeasurably, bringing love, laughter, companionship and endless other attributes that we might otherwise have gone without.
So why deny children this natural aspect of childhood? Because it isn’t “inclusive,” according to Dr. Barbara Greenberg, an adolescent, child and family psychologist in Connecticut. “[T]here is something dreadfully exclusionary occurring when a middle schooler tells the girl sitting next to her that she is best friends with the girl sitting in front of them. Of course, this scenario plays out in a variety of ways, but child after child comes to my therapy office distressed when their best friend has now given someone else this coveted title. … There is … merit to the movement to ban having best friends.”
Greenberg, who is a “huge fan of social inclusion,” writes: “Many of you will suggest that our kids should toughen up and will become hardier if they learn to deal with the natural shifts in friendships that are inevitable. Perhaps there is some truth to that. However, I am concerned about the bigger picture, which includes the pain associated with exclusion and the gentle comfort associated with inclusion.”
I wonder how Dr. Greenberg suggests we go about banning best friendships, which spring up naturally? Do you forcibly break apart kids and put their BFFs in different classrooms? Do you forbid them to talk, smile, or write to each other? What’s the best way?
“The phrase best friend is inherently exclusionary,” notes Greenberg. “Among children and even teens, best friends shift rapidly. These shifts lead to emotional distress and would be significantly less likely if our kids spoke of close or even good friends rather than best friends. And, if kids have best friends, does that also imply that they have ‘worst friends’? A focus on having best friends certainly indicates there’s an unspoken ranking system; and where there is a ranking system, there are problems. I see kids who are never labeled best friends, and sadly, they sit alone at lunch tables and often in their homes while others are with their best friends.”
And this, apparently, is enough to convince the good doctor best friends should be banned. Personally I think any techniques used to separate and/or prevent best friendships from developing would cause far more “emotional distress” than just letting kids figure things out for themselves, as they’ve done for millennia. But hey, what do I know about parenting? She’s the “expert.”
To be fair, Dr. Greenberg is not “an advocate of encouraging kids to have huge groups of friends. What I would like to see instead is children having a smaller group of close friends.”
(Why a smaller group of close friends is any less exclusionary than a single best friend is not clear.)
But what does it say when a so-called mental health professional would banish one of childhood’s most cherished types of relationships? As one person bluntly put it: “Translation: I’m an arrogant, brain-farting prog, who dictates that everybody fall down at the altar of Political Correctness and worship liberals as your superiors. Because, after all, I am an educated liberal, and that means I know better than you.”
We’ve had decades of experimental parenting philosophies that have screwed up generations of children, and yet experts continue to spout gibberish bordering on evil: the notion that children with loving parents and close friends have an “unfair advantage” over kids lacking these benefits – and therefore these advantages should be stopped. Only a sick mind could draw that conclusion.
This is what happens when we attempt to reinvent the wheel. Rather than trying to raise everybody up to a higher level, experts prefer to drag everyone down to a similarly “inclusionary” depth – an equal sharing of misery, if you will (reminiscent of Winston Churchill’s famous quote).
I find it extraordinary that our society now puts the lowest common denominator (euphemistically called “leveling the playing field”) as the ideal goal. By this logic, no one should strive to develop any natural talents – whether it’s intellectual, athletic, creative, musical, whatever – that might place him an iota over the rest of the population. Level that playing field! Make everyone equally blah!
As Rush Limbaugh put it, “As liberals, the answer is not to help the kids who are not in good families. They become the lowest-common denominator. They become the baseline. Everybody must be made to be like them in order for everything to be fair and equal. The natural tendency of the left is to punish success, to punish achievement, to punish anything that they believe gives an unfair advantage.”
Ignore these whack-doodle “experts.” Your children will be richer for it.