The last decades have witnessed a growing trend all over the world (or almost): the adulteration of children. We see parents sitting next to their baby’s crib and talking about the importance of crying at certain times and at others not. “They have to learn as soon as possible,” they say.
From the start, they have tried to educate these children for something that looks like a kind of excessive autonomy. They want their children to bother them as little as possible; that they learn to get up and go to bed on their own; that they do their homework with no one to help them; that they “quietly” wait for their parents at home until they come home from work. In other words, that they behave like little adults.
“Childhood has its own ways of seeing, thinking and feeling; there is nothing more foolish than claiming to substitute them for our own. “
This attitude never ceases to generate a certain feeling of guilt among parents. The downside is that they try to dilute that guilt into expensive gifts or extreme consideration in some aspect of life. They may call them every two hours “to see how they are doing”. Or that they take advantage of the holidays to go with them to the end of the world in order to repair, in any way, the absences endured.
Exhausted parents and dissatisfied children
The loneliness of children is a real epidemic. It is favored by the climate of these current times when the moments for hugs, kisses and quiet discussions no longer exist. In return, there is only time for work, and therefore exhausted people and heads six feet long. Parents who come home late and are always tired or annoyed.
UNICEF carried out a survey on the meaning of quality of life for children and was thus able to verify that their vision is very different from that of adults. Children from all over the world, between the ages of 8 and 14, gave a list that illustrates what they consider to be “living well”. They don’t include expensive toys or wacky gifts, but very simple things:
- That parents shout less and talk more
- That they turn off their cell phones
- Let them hug them more
- That they keep them locked away at school for a shorter period and that they do more physical activities with them
- That people smile more
- That there is no move from the house where they live
The children became silent and sad
Now, it’s more common than ever to see children with sad or distant expressions. Children today feel very lonely and they turn into silent people. They don’t know how to express what they are feeling, because it is never a topic of conversation. And the fact of not knowing how to reveal their inner world increases their loneliness.
They are also more irritable, intolerant and demanding. They fail to organize their emotions in a coherent way. Many find it difficult to be spontaneous and are extremely vulnerable to the opinions of others.
Imposed loneliness is never good because it causes the sufferer to sink into a kind of emotional limbo, especially if it is a child. This one feels lost. He feels fear and can therefore develop a defensive and phobic personality, which in his adult life will only bring him great difficulties in relating to others in a healthy way.
What to do in the face of the immense loneliness of children?
Many parents have surely realized that their children are alone. But they feel like prisoners of a serious dilemma: either they work to provide for the needs of their household economically, or they suffer from deprivation with their children. However, there is something we can do about it, and even a lot. Here are some of the possible actions:
- It is important to try to negotiate, at work, a certain flexibility of the schedules according to the activities of the children. It can be at least an hour a week that we will spend with them.
- Make time arrangements with spouse or other adults so that children spend as little time as possible without a trusted adult by their side. This is necessary for the times when they are not at school.
- Set aside time to spend it exclusively with children. If you do this for at least 30 minutes a day, with the phone off and not thinking about anything else, to hug your child, tell them about your day and ask them about theirs, you will do a lot for them. If you can’t give it 30 minutes, do it for at least 15 minutes every day.
- Play at least once a week with your child. This moment is very precious: it passes quickly and when it leaves, it never comes back. If you play with him / her, you don’t need to tell him / her that you love him / her: he / she will know it and will feel valued.
Whatever the conditions, it’s worth thinking about how to spend more time with the kids. They deserve it. They are at a stage in life where all experiences are significant. It may involve some sacrifice, but it is certainly worth it.
Remember that for them some things are very important!