THEY WANT TO BE IN MOVIES
By Betty Freauf
April 20, 2008
As young children watch the glamorous lifestyles of Hollywood movie stars, it is a rare child indeed who does not secretly wish they could become part of the rich and famous crowd someday. Even with all the negativity that surrounds most of these stars, which most young people prefer to ignore and believe that couldn’t happen to them, they are still enamored with the glitz.
Reality based television programs give many of them an opportunity to show off their talents -- from roughing it in some remote area in some Survivor series to American Idol. But with the advent of cell phone capability to take pictures and put them instantaneously on the Internet, other factors have entered into this equation, i.e. privacy and self-glorification.
Just within the last few days, as I've been drafting this article, we’ve seen teen-on-teen video violence in Florida where six teenage girls brutally attacked another girl while the boys recorded the incident. In Arizona an 8th grader is hit on the head with a chair. In Texas a 16 year old is beaten unconscious and two teens in Massachusetts beat a 15 year old with pipes -- and all of these incidents were captured on film and quickly ended up on the Internet. And this was just about teenagers!
In fact, the violence has become so acute that my local newspaper has a page devoted to “Violence in America.” In one day it highlighted how two were hurt by gunfire along a Virginia highway. The shots brought back memories of the Beltway snipers. Then there was a mother in Kentucky who killed her children and waved a gun at college. The woman was in custody facing two counts of murder. A third article told about a shooting at a hospital in Columbus, Georgia, that killed one and the police wounded another gunman.
Two students were hurt in a dorm shooting in Tyler, Texas and it was a year ago that we had the Virginia Tech massacre. The articles always seem to stop short of the reasons this violence is taking place, but in my personal opinion there seems to be a correlation between the doctors prescribing antidepressant drugs to stressed out and depressed people and all these killings. I heard on the radio on 4/17/08 about a father who killed his five week old twins. Authorities found their beaten bodies under his bed. Seldom do we hear or read about this admission, but it was noted he was on “behavioral medicine.” Check out ssristories.com for pages upon pages of people from all ages and all walks of life who have either been on these drugs or got off them cold turkey and then killed.
What is alarming to most people is the lack of sympathy these young onlookers have for the victims -- and people scratch their heads and wring their hands and ask, “What on earth is happening to these young people?" Perhaps an April 9, 1992 article in the Racine Journal by John Rosemond, a family psychologist in private practice in North Carolina in which he referred to a Newsweek article called “Self Esteem,” (a concept that has been heavily promoted in our culture since the 1960s), as a curse. Dr. Rosemond's article said the curse bullied its way into America’s schools, where the goal of making children feel good about themselves all but replaced the goal of educating them. The curse helped breed the now ubiquitous cult of the victim, wormed its way into our legal system, where criminals argue they shouldn’t be held responsible for their crimes because "low self-esteem made ‘em do it," and spawned book after tedious book on how to become more self-absorbed… By the early '70s, the “experts” had succeeded in convincing America’s parents that installing self-esteem in their children was their ultimate responsibility. This was accomplished, they said, by heaping attention and praise upon the child. The more “warm fuzzies” heaped, the more emotionally healthy the child supposedly became. But many of us should ask these “experts,” how has this been working for us?
Charles Sykes in “Dumbing Down Our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good About Themselves But Can’t Read, Write or Add” tells about a 1991 teacher training session in the Houston area that taught the evils of red ink and told teachers to pick another color. Red supposedly had a negative impact because red is so symbolic of wrong answers. Duh! Pat Greene, a teacher since 1982, also said grammar and spelling errors should be overlooked so students wouldn’t be discouraged from writing. Don’t damage Junior’s self-esteem -- so we are now graduating illiterates with honors. Kids that get straight A’s all their lives need Kleenex when they get to college and find their skills are lacking. Now we find that people with inflated self-esteem or self-confidence tend to exaggerate their own positive qualities. Bullies and sociopaths often score very high on self-esteem tests and claim they are very happy. And the authors of the book, One Nation Under Therapy  write that a growing body of research suggests there is, in fact, no connection between high self-esteem and achievement, kindness, or good personal relationships. On the other hand, unmerited self-esteem is known to be associated with anti-social behavior – even criminality.
Anyone with actual experience in life, or just plain common sense, knows that self-esteem can only come from accomplishment. That means that a child can be told over and over that (s)he is doing a great job, but unless they KNOW it is true, it does not build true self-confidence. If a young student cannot read at grade level and continues to get acceptable grades, (s)he knows it's all a sham. This student will most likely act out his/her frustrations in other ways. Possibly become a liar, after all, the facts have been manipulated by the adults...or possibly become the class clown to divert attention away from his/her actual schoolwork. Some girls will use their bodies for attention, not being able to gain the needed respect and love through their schoolwork/accomplishments. Many will drop out of school, too frustrated and bored to continue the sham; and inevitably, a percentage of those will turn to crime. If a young person doesn't have the ability (self-esteem?) to fill out an application for employment at the local hardware store, let alone feel confident that (s)he can do the job, why not deal drugs in the neighborhood? Why not have a child and receive a monthly check from the givement? Money is money, after all.
The Newsweek articles goes on to say, by contrast, previous generations of American parents concentrated on making sure children developed respect, responsibility and resourcefulness. These “Three R’s of Childrearing” were seen as necessary to both good citizenship as well as the pursuit of happiness – Jefferson’s third inalienable right. The child’s participation in his or her own upbringing was acknowledged and affirmed. Parents were responsible to a conservative point, after which children were held completely accountable for their behavior, school performance, and finding creative ways of occupying their time. Parents were to take interest in what their children did, but not get involved unless absolutely necessary; supervise, but not participate; know where their children were, but rarely be there with them. Children, furthermore, were to pay parents more attention than parents paid them. How, otherwise, could parents set good examples (or, in contemporary terms, be positive role models)? But today some parents send their rebellious teens to Brat Boot Camp or end up on Dr. Phil’s show where he makes all types of resources available to try to turn them around or The Nanny comes in to some homes to show the parents what they are doing wrong with the younger children. They all want to be on television.
In my article, “Would More Woodsheds Reduce Juvenile Delinquency” I write about the lack of work now required of our children in our homes because of all the new technology and how silly labor laws prevented the young people from learning a responsible work ethic. Spankings were replaced by The Nanny’s time-out naughty chair and because parents are being taxed into oblivion and mothers are finding they must work and are encouraged by the radical feminist movement to drop their babies off at an early age at daycare, some children are no longer bonding to their parents as they once did.
A local attorney and former legislator is circulating initiatives for an upcoming vote to put more less-violent young criminals in prison. Because our local newspaper no longer accepts my letters, my husband wrote a letter suggesting that humiliation of the early childhood/teen criminals by putting them in stocks in the public square would be far more effective than putting them in prison with seasoned criminals who could teach them even more tricks of the trade. His letter got published because the newspaper thought it was a foolish idea and would hurt the child’s self-esteem but letter(s) endorsing his idea were ignored. Only one admiring the plebiscite-writing attorney and praising his overall contribution to Oregon over the years was published. The writer said criminals won’t change until they are ready and then he wants “professionals” in the wings to be able to help them change. Maybe these young folks could call on Barack Obama and he can change them – after all there is always hope! This useful idiot letter writer is another bleeding-heart liberal who hasn’t figured out that we are all born with a sinful nature and are capable of doing the most heinous of things if we aren’t trained properly by our parents. But if the parents don’t do it, then he thinks the government has an answer to all our woes and it sure does keep those employed in the sociology field in gainful employment reminiscent of the “child abuse industry.” The more young people who need “counseling” and in some program, the more money is required by taxpayers to try to “change” them. In my article mentioned above about the woodsheds, I ended with “We need more Grandpas” willing to take Junior to the woodshed. But even grandpas today are afraid to discipline the grandchildren for fear of being accused of some wrongdoing – some ridiculous standard established by the bleeding-heart liberals. Two generations ago there were no juvenile courts and what passed as juvenile delinquency was settled out of court!!! The media today won’t even mention the juvenile’s name if he or she is under 18 unless they will be charged as adults..
Didn’t President Richard Nixon have a highly publicized campaign promising a “war on crime”? It had all the explosive effect of a pop gun because we continued pushing for coddling criminals in our prisons, in the courts, and everywhere else and we face the same dilemma today because Humanism, which rejects a belief in God is a religion being taught in our public schools, thinks everyone is “basically good.” The professionals threw God out and allowed the devil in and now they wonder why we are having so much crime? One does not need a college degree with a bunch of initials behind his or her name to understand what is going on and who is truly to blame.
The Newsweek article continued by saying those parents who paid their children the most attention, doled out the most praise, and spent the most time were supposedly the best parents. This, of course, is usually the mother. So if a child misbehaved, performed poorly in school, had difficulty getting along with peers, or seemed depressed, were suffering from “low self-esteem,” and it was assumed the “primary caregiver” – the mother - had failed in her responsibilities. A time bomb of anxiety and guilt was thus set to explode in the psyches of American women. And explode it has, creating havoc in families, disabling the emotional liberation of both women and children, and scattering the shrapnel of co-dependency throughout our culture. Many young children are on Ritalin and other drugs while many mothers are on anti-depressants. It has been proven that some young children on these prescription drugs later move to the hard drugs.
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In conclusion, the article says all this happened because we made the mistake of believing that people who went to graduate school knew more about raising children than did grandma. The curse is the price of our error.
1, Book: One Nation Under Therapy © 2005 P. 6 by Christina Hoff Sommers & Sally Satel, M.D.
© 2008 Betty Freauf - All Rights Reserved