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Satire: We’re Killing America’s Children’s Childhood

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Parents. Can’t kill ‘em, can’t train ‘em. I’m not by nature a conspiracy theorist, but I’m now convinced that there’s something in the water — probably fluoridation — that not only saps our precious bodily fluids but turns parental brains to mush.

It happened to the Japanese years ago, and now they’re living with a childhood suicide rate reaching 37% according to a poll conducted by the Japanese Institute of Suicide Statistics. It’s going to happen here, you mark my words.

So, enough of an introduction. What the hell am I talking about? Perhaps a bit of history.

When I was a kid (an odd version of “when I was your age”) parents and kids lived in separate worlds, touching only at meals, household chores, the occasional reprimand for lighting the cat on fire, those kinds of things. The rest of our time was for us — sandlot baseball or football, swimming in lakes infested with bacteria and viruses the Centers for Disease Control still haven’t identified, playing cowboys and Indians with baseball bats as rifles, snitching our fathers’ Playboy Magazines and pretending to get all excited about naked babes, stealing our parent’s cigarettes and hacking our lungs out trying to be cool at the same time.[ADBLOCKHERE]

That was for boys, I guess. Girls got together and had tea parties, dressed up, and did whatever girls did. Boys and girls did not mingle. It was unseemly.

We didn’t need parental supervision or guidance on the rules of baseball or who shot whom in a WWII re-enactment. We’d fight and argue about it, and then move on.

Today, it’s a disaster. An infant’s born, and within 90 seconds, its entire life is programmed by over-concerned parents. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are tapes pregnant women play for their unborn babes explaining the schedule for hockey, football, ballet, elocution, piano lesson, flute lesson, tutors, and God knows what else. They’re losing their childhood, defined by the famed sociologist, Isketa Fish, from the Norwegian Institute for the Criminally Insane, as “those years between relative physical independence in the primary organism resulting in an ability to function outside close parental control and that dread period known as adolescence, the less said of which the better.”

Image hosting by TinyPic What set this diatribe off was an article in today’s Washington Post called “Glamour Babes: At Glittery and Glossy Club Libby Lu, Little Girls Play Dress-up, for a Price.”

For a price?! Is this sick or what? My wife read this and burst out laughing. Now we’re training little girls to dress up? As if without parents forking over cash to some larcenous scam artist preying on their distorted brains, little girls would sit around, their mother’s clothes and jewelry all over the floor, weeping uncontrollably because no one’s showing them what to do?

What goes on?

Saturdays, Club Libby Lu is filled with little girls wanting makeovers. The staffers who do makeup and hair call the little girls “princess,” each and every one.

“That’s the only name we know,” says one staffer with pride.

Mostly it’s birthday parties at Club Libby Lu. A girl turns 6 and she wants the Tween Idol makeover for herself and her friends, complete with makeup, punky hair and a pink headset like Britney Spears might wear onstage. All the girls get to borrow party costumes.

The staffers teach the kids to “shimmy down,” to “shake it,” to “Wet your lips, smile to the camera.”

This place has 83 destructo-thons across the country. According to child psychiatrist Freida Fromm Reichman, “These girls are being turned into little tarts, and not the fruit kind, I can tell you that. I predict that 1/3 will wind up on some shrink’s couch within five years, and half of those will self-destruct.”

Think she’s kidding? Read this excerpt and weep:

“You don’t need any more lip gloss,” her mom tells her.

The 3-year-old tugs a pink-rhinestoned tiara off a shelf.

“We already have a tiara at home, remember?” Michelle says. “From when you did the beauty pageant?”

“It doesn’t have the glitter,” says the little girl.

Parents of America: Leave Your Kids Alone. Let Them Be Kids. It’s Not Your Life, It’s Theirs.

In Jameson Veritas

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About Mark Schannon

Retired crisis & risk manager/communications expert; extensive public relations experience in most areas over 30 years. Still available for extraordinary opportunities of mind-numbing complexity. Life-long liberal agnostic...or is that agnostic liberal.
  • http://gohah.blogspot.com Gordon Hauptfleisch

    But The Children Are Our Future! Empty irrelevent rhetoric, I know–but it needed to be said, dammit…somehow, someway, maybe…or not.

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com Mark Schannon

    Gordon, the children are not our future. That’s a lie spread by the Association for Forcing Children to Give up Their Childhood To Make Gobs of Money (AFCGUTCTMGOF). Children are their own future–we’ll be dead, guy. Duh.

  • http://dog1net.blogspot.com S L Cunningham

    A kid’s world today certainly is not what it was when I was kid. In many ways, I think kids have too many distractions and don’t interact with others in ways that allows for creative spontaneity. When you consider how much time is spent playing PS2, and talking on the cell phone with friends, very little time is spent outside anymore.

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com Mark Schannon

    True about all the technology, that’s another example of the scambled brains of today’s parents. Tell the kids to turn off the TV & get their little butts outside to play. But I would also argue that the loss of childhood is due more to zealous parents desperately trying to “prepare” their children for the finest schools, blah blah blah. Getting up at 5 a.m. for hockey practice, lessons here, schedules there.

  • http://blogcritics.org Joanie

    Let’s schedule every bit of our children’s time to the nth degree. Take away their ability to be children. Don’t bother to spend time with them. And, then don’t be surprised when they turn into self-absorbed miscreants a la Heathers or Columbine.

    While your article is funny, Mark, it hits the same scary notes that Richard Marcus’ piece did.

    Good work.

  • http://gohah.blogspot.com Gordon Hauptfleisch

    “the children are not our future. That’s a lie spread by the Association for Forcing Children to Give up Their Childhood To Make Gobs of Money (AFCGUTCTMGOF). Children are their own future”

    Ok, then–how about: “The Children’s Childhood Is If Not Our Then Their Own Future’s Future-dom!” (“TCCIINOTTOFF” for short, or if we can get the group you mentioned to sponsor the program, the AFCGUTCTMGOF’s TCCIINOTTOFF for shorter)

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com Mark Schannon

    Thanks, Joanie. As a non-parent, I don’t know why I care so much, except that my soon-to-be-in-my-lifetime-or-later novel deals with a coming of age thing for a kid in the 60s and it brought back memories of what childhood was supposed to be like.

    Gordon, I have carefully reviewed your comment. I have submitted it to AFCGUTCTMGOF for review, and, of course, they rejected it, which means it’s brilliant! Good work.

    In Jamesons Veritas

  • http://gohah.blogspot.com Gordon Hauptfleisch

    Cool!–thanks Mark.

  • Joey

    Hey, you forgot about dancing in and out of the mosquito fog when the truck came through the neighborhood!

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com Mark Schannon

    Joey,

    They didn’t do that where I lived. Damn, I knew I’d missed something important growing up. Was it fun?

    In Jameson Veritas

  • Joey

    It was great. Smelled good, stung your eyes… nothing like breaking up the boredom associated with a hot sultry summer evening.

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com Mark Schannon

    Damn, some people have all the luck!

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