I just went on my family’s annual ski trip, which is the only time I really spend with my nephew. He is 18 years old and if you didn’t know that, you’d believe he was 13. Unfortunately, his parents ruined him. They never push him. They never challenge him. They never force any issue. They require almost nothing of him. He’s just a little prince. When all of us were busy cooking dinner together and tidying up the AirBnb for the following morning’s checkout, my nephew was allowed to shut himself in his room with his smart phone, playing games and texting his friends. Only once dinner was ready did his mother ask him to come out, and even then, he just took his food, sat in a chair away from everyone else, and continued playing games on his phone while he ate. He was never asked to help. His mom cleaned his plate. His mom said nothing as he oddly picked out half of the ingredients from his dinner—which was lasagna, by the way, so nothing that foreign or envelope-pushing. If a child is such a picky eater than he won’t eat lasagna, then what will he eat?
I even catch myself call him a child but he’s an adult. He is 18 years old. But his parents have been so easy on him—they’ve coddled him so much—that he really just stopped evolving emotionally or intellectually past, perhaps, the age of 12 or 13. So he registers as a child to me. That’s very sad. How is this kid about to go off to college? Oh, guess what? He isn’t. He’ll be attending community college and living at home. That’s all he wanted to do and his parents didn’t suggest anything else. What a surprise. I really fear for this kid. But perhaps I fear more for his parents who may never have their home to themselves again. Here are forms of coddling that ruin a child.
Allowing media all of the time
Headphones in, smart phone out, all of the time. I see it all too often. I understand that this generation will be on their phones far more than previous ones, but some things should still be precious, like dinnertime. Or, when we all sit down to watch a movie together as a family. The kid shouldn’t be on his phone, watching his own media, with his headphones in.