Throughout this class this semester we have learned of the many important factors in children’s healthy development. From social interaction to different parenting styles, it is clearly evident what children need in order for healthy development. Our society seems to put a great emphasis on education, socialization , and a labor free childhood for all children. I completely believe our values are right where they need in regards to child labor. In looking back on my own childhood, it’s scary to imagine how I would have turned out by now if I had begun performing intense labor at the age of 7. My childhood was fairly ordinary for the most part (with the exception of a few dysfunctional family dynamics) consisting of school, friendships, sports and spirituality. All these things were great building blocks in making me into who I am today. Work would have been the last thing that crossed my mind at this age. Unfortunately, the more I learn, this construction of childhood does not represent a large portion of the world. It pains me to know that many of the things that brought me great joy as a child, brought pain and misery to many other children around the world. I remember My parents used to make hot chocolate for Christmas and read stories to us about Santa and his elves. I never realized the extremely high value, we as a society, had put on commodities. I never realized by doing this that other children around the world turned into commodities themselves. I can’t believe more people don’t think about the horrible effects these massively produced “play things” have on other children around the world. Looking back, it’s scary to think that some of the toys I received for christmas and got bored of within a month may have killed another child in another place. It becomes increasingly difficult for me to know how to feel about our society which continues to buy these products. Ideas like Santa’s workshop could not have been purposefully constructed to hide the awful ways in which these toys were produced. Or Could they!? I don’t believe most people are educated on the reality of child labor. However, I do believe most major corporations know full well and do not care. Is there any solution to this child labor crisis? Could our economy survive a child labor strike? This entire situation is a very unfortunate reality that all people should work hard to fix for a brighter future for all children. This video explains the situation very well.
I liked to consider my self an open minded guy who values equality for all people. It seems over the years Feminism has been a concept that has constantly been constructing and reconstructing itself. I grew up in the South (Louisiana) until I was nine years old, and belonged to Southern Baptist Church. I remember being taught ideas such as women are supposed to be submissive to their husbands, Men are the head of the household, and it was woman’s job to stay home and take care of the children while the husband went to work. These seemed to be ideas everyone in the agreed upon and were never challenged. I remember my own mother teaching me this as child! It’s safe to say this could not be further from the truth now days. Women more often than not hold full time positions just like their male counterparts, and it’s well understood by people the women have just as much of a say in family matters as men do. I even know a few families back at home where the woman works and the man doesn’t! Reflecting on my childhood I feel I would have been hard pressed to find any family that followed this structure. Not only would a man not have allowed this, Society would have greatly frowned on this family structure. It’s obvious that after this weeks lecture that female empowermnet trickled down to young girls quite some time ago. Nickelodeon shows such as Clarissa explains it all, The Wild Thornberries ,and Nick News all show women performing roles the only men would have in the past. Each one of these shows a woman performing a formerly male role. Clarissa exhibits great knowledge which seems to surpass her own father (and mother). Eliza Thornberry plays an “Indiana Jones” type role which would never had been portrayed in my parents generation. Nick News shows female anchors tackling issues such as sports and politics. It’s amazing how much the gap has closed between men and women in what they are allowed to do and what is considered socially acceptable. Which brings me to my next question. It’s difficult to tell sometimes whether this change is good or not. As I stated before, I’m all for equal opportunity and people being able to express and empower themselves as they see fit. However, there is no denying that men and women are different by nature, and are better suited at different roles. What these roles are is difficult to say because I do believe Women can hold almost any job a man can in the workplace, with the exception of physical limitations that may prevent them from doing some labor intensive duties(while this is true for many women, some have proved their up for the task). This is once again an issue that there is no easy answer to. Here is an interesting video on how differently people view feminism.
I found the recent lecture on Kidnapped:childhood stolen to be very fascinating. Growing up as a child I remember my Mother was extremely protective of us always filling our heads with what to look out for. She told us to never to talk to strangers, checked all our halloween candy for poison and razor blades, and drove us to our bus stop due to a convicted sex offender that lived four houses down the street. Having these fears instilled in my head as a child really took a toll on my interactions with other people. I grew up in a relatively safe town where crime was very sparse, and people tended to be more affluent then most other areas of the country. I became very weary of other people and always on the look out for potential “danger”. In no way am I faulting my mother for her concerns. Due to the increased media coverage, it’s no wonder she was worried. I never would have imagined that these kinds of things have always happened. I find myself reminiscing on my childhood and wondering if there ever really was any real danger around me. When I take a personal inventory of all my friends, I can honestly say nothing dangerous ever happened to a single one of us. So I find myself in a quite a quagmire here in regard to what to believe. How should I handle my kids upbringing. Should I be concerned and take a personal inventory of all the reported crimes in the area? Should I assume everything is going to be okay due to the nice neighborhood I live in? The difficult part of this concept is striving to find the right balance. What is the proper medium of protecting your children and letting them live their lives? I remember talking to my Dads business partner shortly after the Sandy Hook Elementary school shootings. I asked why the world had become such a crazy place. He chuckled and replied “this stuff has always gone on, most of us just didn’t have a TV or radio in our house to here about 24/7”. In short, it seems there is no simple solution and no one has a real answer on how to solve these complex problems. These two videos are great example of the dilemma we face in knowing how to protect our children. The first and second video illustrate these difficulties with these issues very well.
I found the movie we viewed in class this week to be fascinating yet tragic at the same time. It really got me reflecting on my own childhood and experiences in comparison to the two main characters in the movie. In my last post I discussed my upbringing and the conflicts I had with my fathers parenting style. As I mentioned in my last post, my father was diagnosed with NPD (Narcissistic Personality disorder) several years after I graduated high school. I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder my sophomore of college and was put on medication. I remember thinking back on my childhood and feeling like I was the most unlucky kid in the world. This movie helped me realize that the other extremes of parenting can also have devastating effects on children. I found myself watching the characters in the movie and feeling a great sense of relief I had responsible that guided me in the right direction academically and spiritually. My mother was raised Southern baptist and while she could seem a bit extreme at times, she did try hard to do good by other people. My father also decided to seek out therapy after his diagnoses and I can honestly say he almost unrecognizable today. I am very proud of the fact that he did because over 90% of clients diagnosed with NPD do not seek out treatment, which is understandable considering the nature of the condition. I suppose part of growing up is realizing your parents aren’t perfect and neither are you. I feel very blessed, not that I had problems but that they have finally passed. I have learned through therapy we all inherit some kind of baggage from our parents and it is OUR responsibility as adults to heal some of our childhood wounds. After watching the movie I realize not every has the opportunity to heal. I feel sorry for the kids in the film because of the enviornment they were trapped in. Being trapped in such a hostile environment without no outlet for pain is truly awful. I feel very grateful for the life I have today and am happy I was given the opportunity to heal. Here is an interesting article describing the situation.
In class this week we learn all about unequal childhoods and how different upbringings provide children with different advantages and different disadvantages. This topic really struck a huge cord with me because I feel my particular upbringing was highly unnatural. When I was a kid my father was diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). He was always getting in my business and tried to make my life as structured and as complicated as possible. He chose all my friends for me, picked all the sports i played, and was very verbally abusive towards me and my family. Having spent a good portion of my life under his complete control in every way imaginable, I found myself feeling a great sense of envy for those who were allowed to naturally develop. I envied other kids SO MUCH growing up whose parents allowed them a natural sense of freedom and let them grow into themselves naturally. I spent several years in therapy in my teen years trying to regain a sense of self I feel was robbed from me by my father. I understand structure and guidance is absolutely necessary for children to develop normally. However, I feel there are some extremes that these two parenting styles do not encompass. I like to believe after what I experienced as a kid that there is a balance that can be achieved between natural and guided development. It seems like some parents can be so hell-bent on structure that a kid almost learns to feel claustrophobic and paranoid. The alternative isn’t much better in my opinion. You can also raise a bunch of misfits who don’t know how to talk to people with respect and care less about rules or authority. So far in this class I see us being presented with two extremes and find myself falling in the middle of almost everything! I am not sure if that is normal outcome to the things we have learned in class or if my experiences in my own personal childhood has led me to be biased. I would be very curious to see which parenting style people prefer (or view as better) based on their own experiences.
As a child my father was non expressive and never really put out an effort in helping me adapt to new situations. I remember being very anxiety ridden as a little boy, especially on sports teams. It’s amazing how at 23 years old I can still remember the soul-wrenching anxiety I felt in being in competitive groups as a little boy. My mother always tried to calm me down but I still remember as a little boy my mothers attention not being enough. Looking back I realize that I was really craving guidance from my father in how to interact with people and how to be a productive member of a team. I still to this day do not understand why my Dad could never express himself or thought to guide me. I find it interesting that once I finally found a coach who really tried to make me feel comfortable and teach me, my anxiety began to subside and finally started to feel “comfortable in my own skin”. It’s clear to me now I needed to bond with a father figure before I felt comfortable in relationship to other men. Even at 23, looking back on my relationship with my dad never giving me the guidance I feel I needed still bothers me. Great article by Oprah!
After learning about how children learn foreign languages at a much faster rate than adults, I began to wonder why our educational system has yet to adapt to these findings. The reason I have begun to think about this is because of my recent struggles in my Spanish 3(college level) course. I was always enjoyed writing and learning another language always has been something I have been interested in, however the amount of coursework and challenge of it does not seem feasible between my current workload for psychology and my job here at Mizzou. I am writing this entry with the belief our educational leaders should begin incorporating foreign language into our elementary schools to give kids the head start they deserve in learning to speak a second language. I would have greatly benefited from learning a second language early on! Here is some evidence to support my ideas in introducing language to kids at a much younger age. With such a rapidly growing hispanic population inout country we could all greatly benefit from the ability to communicate them. My whole life I was told caucasians would soon be the minority in america. It hasn’t happened yet and I’m not sure it will anytime soon but if this is the case speaking spanish sounds like a necessity not an asset. This article is a perfect illustration of this.