I have four children. My seven year old, in first grade, worries about ghosts. He worries about death. He worries about bed bugs (no, we don’t have any). He’s shy. Extremely smart, but good luck getting any of that out of him if he doesn’t feel like showing off. My second child, a daughter, has had multiple heart surgeries and has quirks from that. My third child, a son, refuses to talk. My eighteen month old daughter, like most kids her age, just tries repeatedly to get into as much trouble as possible. Normal kid stuff.
The thing is, everyone has a fix for every single quirk my kids have these days. At first I worried and thought there were genuinely things WRONG with my kids. I followed advice and drove them to all sorts of doctors and therapists. I don’t know why, looking back. I was trying to do the right thing, mom wise. Your kid sees ghosts? Get his eyes checked out! Your kid is smart but shy? It could be ADD, ADHD, Asperger Syndrome, Austism, etc. Maybe he needs a hearing test! Your kid can’t spit out her toothpaste properly? She needs an occupational therapist! Don’t let it go too long or they’ll all explode!
Eventually I realized that, though I think there are kids that DO have real problems that need help, our society has become one of constantly fixing our kids. Anything not down the middle of the road is a problem. I’ve slowly become desensitized to most of these suggestions, sort of similar to the way I let those little old ladies’ comments in the grocery store roll off my back. That child should be wearing socks!! I just smile and nod.
Maybe that makes me a bad parent. Maybe taking every little hiccup in the road seriously is the way to go. But I’m exhausted. And kids are just weird. They are. Like crazy little snowflakes. I think we should go back to letting kids be kids. Surely they will grow out of talking like a robot, even without therapy, right?
Here is a small taste of what makes parenting so difficult. I will use my son’s ghost anxiety as an example of how many options are available to fix children these days.