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Adult Children

I really feel sorry for kids today- born as man-traps or fashion accessories, raised by daycare and TV, and pretty much handed money and permitted to run wild by harried parents who secretly wish they had their pre-child lives back. The more the culture claims to Looooooove the kiddies, the more cultural contempt I actually see for them. Every brightly colored kid-attracting display and fawning child-centric event takes away from the autonomy of the family- and signals a surrender to the corporate raising of the child. They scream, "You, parent, aren't good enough or smart enough to know what your kid wants, but our team of child psychologists does!" So, the harried parent is bullied into buying processed trash foods for their kids, overpriced plastic landfill stuffer toys that break within hours, and made to feel like an abusive monster if the child is denied the ‘right’ to spend piles of money pursuing yet another mindless fad.

Lately, there has been a growing number of incidences of parents leaving small children locked in hot cars to die. I never heard of stuff like that happening when I was a kid, although I am sure it did. Today’s parents claim that they ‘forgot’ the child because they had so much other stuff on their mind, or thought that ‘somebody else’ had the child. They generally get off with a light or no criminal sentence because the community feels that they’ve ‘suffered enough’. (Not nearly as much as the poor child…) I fear that this 'baby-baking' problem is going to be a growing trend- the ‘accidental’ infanticidal reaction of the first generation of post-modern latchkey children to the harsh reality of trying to raise a child of their own in these confusing and dissonant times. Post-moderns are people who were raised in daycare in the late seventies and eighties, left on their own while their parents worked, taught by TV and indifferent schools, and given plenty of spending money, but weren’t given real adulthood training or real attention by their parents. They were the first ‘quality time’ kids and the first generation of ‘Yuppie Puppies’. These young parents have no real community- they only have their jobs, their parenting peers (who are as lost and confused as they are) and the poor kid, who truly doesn’t need any more loud plastic toys, or crap fast food, just some loving time and attention from its parents.

Perhaps this 'amnesia' of forgetting kids in cars is a sign of the decaying ability of adults to take responsibility for their actions- because these adults are really only older children, never grounded in the true privilege and meaning of adulthood, and only playing at it. They have all the right 'props'- a job, the SUV, the mortgage, but not the depth of wisdom needed to truly understand their responsibilities and take their place as genuine adults. They are only playing 'make believe'- just like everyone else at work, on TV, and in the movies. And it's ok to leave the dolly in the car, isn't it? Except that the 'dolly' in this case is a real person, who is at the mercy of an adult child.

No, car buzzers aren't going to stop this growing disease of 'forgetfulness', because alarms can be ignored, just as kids can be. I have heard them scream loud enough to shatter crystal, or watched them endanger themselves and others, and the parent will be blissfully oblivious, perhaps off in a pre-child daydream, or a sleep-deprived haze, or listening to a 'glory days' song through headphones. How come we can hear their distress, or see their bids for attention, but not the parent- who should be paying attention?

This epidemic of child-worship-murder will get worse before it gets better. These ill-prepared parents are not capable of separating corporate culture from genuine reality, and are drowned in a sea of suggestive advertising, songs, and 'culture' that tells them they won't be truly 'happy' until they spawn. And then they must buy ever more stuff for their offspring, to keep the corporate money sluices wide open. They have become mindless serfs, unable to think for themselves, doing what the 'culture' tells them to do for the false promise of glitzy plastic riches.

I think a lot of the venom spewed towards the Childfree community comes from these unfortunate adult children, who have realized the error of their ways and the depth of their inexperience, and must vent upon us, or be consumed by their own regret. Every 'kid friendly' platitude, every Bingo card cliche, is a sign that the person venting   isn't comfortable with their own chosen status. They cannot bear the thought that we have chosen ours, and so it goes. This might also be the source of all the "___"-rage that is all the rage: adult kids not getting their way, so they act out as they did as little kids. Heck, it worked then, didn't it?

It is sad to realize that the majority of genuine adults are the ones who have chosen not to have kids, or the shrinking number of genuinely adult parents who can see beyond the corporate dominance of the culture, and choose to raise future adults, not future children.

With these adult children raising more and more children, perhaps 'children are our future' overquote is true- but not the way originally intended. Perish the thought, and brace yourselves- until adults raise children to become adults, it's going to be a rough ride for all of us.

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