Sunday, October 20, 2013

Of Teacups and Dreams

We call them teacup kids.  Teacups because they are or are treated as FRAGILE.  What we've got here are kids who completely control their parents.  The tail wagging the dog.  They get choices.  Choices about everything.  Do you want the yellow cup or the green one?  The blue straw or the red one?  I wonder if they even know.  If they even care.
They dress themselves in all kinds of weather.  It's raining outside but teacup kids are wearing summer outfits.  There is snow on the ground, but those treated like the good china are wearing patent leather dance shoes.
Recently something came to my attention that involved such a child-rearing style and it gave me pause.  Huge pause.  A friend of ours from the coffee shop had a birthday party for her 4 year old.  There were other kids and a great big chocolate cake.  I'm sure there were many presents too.  What was not there was any "singing or laughing."  Apparently that can scare a 4-year-old.
Imagine never experiencing that specific kind of humiliation when everyone you know and care about is singing Happy Birthday to YOU!  Remember how strange that feels.  How embarrassing it is?  Now imagine never getting the opportunity to know that weird mix of emotions.
What are we protecting these kids from?  When did it become OK to bend and snap to every whim and misunderstood desire?
The old Jewish comedian Sam Levinson used to do a routine about his childhood that involved food falling on the ground.  He was raised in a tenement with 6 or 7 siblings.  There was never enough food. If something happened to fall from the table t the floor, six heads were butting under the table to be the first to capture the morsel.  A far cry from the waste and pandering that goes on today at many mealtimes.  It's funny, but not that funny.

So what are the consequences of this child rearing?  Might it instill a sense of entitlement?  Privilege?
How could it not?
Now I realize that things come and go in cycles.  But I wonder where these ideas originated.  My guess is that new parents who have definite ideas about how they were raised, (or perhaps just based on significant experiences) want to do it differently.  Then, because this stuff sells, a few books come out, then a few more.  Pretty soon a philosophy is born and the freedom to be free brings about a new "style" of child rearing.  Hope I'm around to see the results.
Some new evidence of the scientific variety has come to light about the importance and relevance of dreams.  Recent studies are about to apply the new computer technology to quantify and then qualify dream content.  We are beginning to get a picture of the frequency and meaning of dream images and symbols.  It all adds up to dreams being much more than the random firing of brain cells.  Some trends are coming to light.  Gender and age have a great deal to do with dream content.
I recall a few years ago reading in the psych textbook I used to teach with that dream content changes significantly as we age.  I can now report that the book was accurate, at least in my case.  The emotions of aging probably have a lot to do with it.  Last night I had a few dreams.  What I recollect most vividly is that there were two trout in one scene and I was trying to fill some containers to preserve their lives.  I went from something like an old aquarium tank, to a larger vessel like a shallow bath tub that then morphed into a small concrete pool.  I filled the small concrete pool and then realized I was late for school and needed to leave.  Hoping that the two fish, one small and one much bigger, would still be alive when I returned home.  I was concerned with the fact that they went from being in the wild to breathing tap water.  What remains most vivid is the colors on the fish.  Both rainbows, one had reddish gold gill plates.  Lots to work with here.

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