Stressing Childhood

2013-09-06  Stressing Childhood

I’ve heard many times that children and young adults have it so easy these days compared with us, the older generation (I’m 51). That it is a shame how they waste all the opportunities new technology brings them.

Thirty to forty years ago there were no cell phones, no internet, no computers, no ipads, etc. Records were very expensive when it came to own music, and all the information had to come from heavy encyclopedias and visits to the library. We lived sort of isolated in our own towns or cities.

Although the number of alternatives for us was much reduced, it also meant less stress when having to make a decision. Life was simple and straightforward. There was no room for dreaming big or about many possibilities when it came to profession and/or work. It was mostly about what was available around within the same town or city. Jobs were about doing something for the money to be able to get married and buy a house to repeat our parent’s lives, and not about reaching dreams, fame or fortune. We didn’t have to become important in society; just being a nice kid in the neighborhood would do it.

But today, the amount of elements a child has to deal with everyday is overwhelming! Not only when it comes to toys and games, but also when related to study materials and working tools. There is so much information available now that it is difficult to know what is useful and what is not, but even worst, what is true and what is false!

When the time comes to decide what to do with one’s life there is so much influence from TV, movies, internet, etc that at one hand is good to have the chance to choose from an extremely bigger list, but at the other makes the choice very difficult. We had trouble choosing between vanilla and pineapple when it came to ice cream…can you imagine how it must be for a sixteen years old kid having to choose between so many professions that can be available today?

And today kids are no longer limited to find a job in the neighborhood but the whole world can be considered! Also it can be a profession from cashier at the corner store, to all the many (and looking a lot more interesting) professions shown on TV programs and movies, like CSI detective, artist producer, movie director, actor, singer, dancer, even peace corp person or environmentalist, etc, etc; all things that were inexistent or completely out of the question in our time.

With so many opportunities at hand it’s no wonder children today become confused and keep changing from one idea to the next, and so many times end up nowhere and just landing any job for the so needed money for all the elements that has to be owned nowadays; becoming trapped in the cycle of generating to consume, with no end or escape.

And is not that a child could choose to live the old fashion way. Since living and striving in society implies socialization, a child cannot stay away from all the newest technology, movies, clothing and general trends that exist at his/her time without loosing the valuable connections required to obtain a place in modern society. He/she has to know about the latest movie and song in the radio in order to have a place in youngster’s conversations, and also has to carry some of the newest technology in order to “belong” with his/her peers. Unfortunately the division line between the honest and real need to carry the latest technology in order to pertain, and the desire of using the latest technology as the base for identity, differentiation from others, and self assurance reinforcement is very thin, difficult to identify and too easy to cross.

We didn’t have many choices in our time, but it also meant simplicity; we lived a simpler life. Today children have the advantage of a huge range of possibilities, but with it come the overwhelming confusion of having to make decisions without having experience yet, and I’m always surprised when I see parents that ask from their children to make decisions and start living their life in modern society at the age of eighteen, just as they did forty years ago, disregarding the huge differences that exist between the two so different times.


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6 Responses to Stressing Childhood

  1. Sara says:

    You make many excellent points in this post, especially expecting children at eighteen to be totally independent. The decisions our children will have to make are more complicated in many ways than we had to make.

    In addition, the pressure to achieve bigger and better also seems to be there. On the other hand, people are able to achieve things my parents wouldn’t have considered. Women in my mom’s time had few choices and so, it’s nice that my daughters have more choices as to what they do with their lives.

    As people, we have the need to discover new things and sometimes our discoveries have marvelous benefits and other times they create more problems they may be worth. It’s trade-off of life:~)
    Sara´s last post ..Story Photo Challenge: Be a Movie Star

    Raul Reply:

    Hi Sara,

    You’re right, and is a great thing all the new opportunities young people have thee days. I believe it is worth the extra complications when it comes to more choices. But we as parents have to be aware of it and the difficulties our kids face that we didn’t have in our time.

    Raul´s last post ..Stressing Childhood

  2. Kelvin Kao says:

    You know, we joke that being a school kid sucks even more as time goes by. Every four years, they get a new US president to the textbook that now they might get quizzed on.

    Jokes aside, it was indeed a simpler time. I grew up in Taiwan and back then, our technology was some years behind. There was no such thing as cable TV. There was no such thing as a credit card. Heck, we didn’t have broccoli. But hey, nobody was in any credit card debt back then. (Sure there were other ways to get into debt, but credit card certainly wasn’t one of them.)

    Can’t complain, though… now that I am in the smart phone industry and all…
    Kelvin Kao´s last post ..Marionette Workshop (Advanced): Weeks 1, 2

    Raul Reply:

    It is great that now kids have more possibilities than before; it allows for a better growth and fulfillment in their lives…as long as we understand that it also brings them more complications than the ones we had, and so we are more understanding and supportive.

    Raul´s last post ..Stressing Childhood

  3. Patricia says:

    I believe each generation has their own stressful problems to solve – evolve into and through…and it is hard for some and not so hard for others.

    One of the books I reviewed was about our basic need for NEW….why we get new and improved products all the time.

    Teachers – librarians in schools now work on discernment and problem-solving skills. All our colleges here offer incredible career planning classes (about 1% of the students use these services and they are amazingly effective at helping students understand and meet their skills and find the right training)

    amazing to me is that so many students just follow in their parents lead…not challenging themselves. By age 40 most people are only about 1-2 points different than their parents. Getting discussions going in a college classroom is nearly impossible – the rate of imitation is higher and higher.

    With so many parents only having 1 child – the pressure on that child to perform and conform is horrendous….

    It is a big issue! and worth shedding light on for sure…there are still the “Steve Jobs” out in the world but they find it harder and harder to make creative change.

    It is interesting to me that 66% of the Independent Voters in the USA are opposed to any military action in Syria – and it is the Independent Press which is suggesting incredible alternative solutions – then again 90% of the Tea Party Votes…only 38% of Independents get to the polls…
    Patricia´s last post ..MR. PENUMBRA’S 24-HOUR BOOKSTORE: A Novel ~Robin Sloan

  4. Sara says:

    Did you finish the enclosure. I was so impressed about you doing that on your own:~)

    Happy day to you.
    Sara´s last post ..Trifecta Challenge: Maisy’s Mask

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