Letter to the Editor
Congratulations on putting this story on the front cover of your paper and well done to the heads of the schools concerned for bringing this out in the open. Maybe now parents will see the reality of an epidemic of emotionally illiterate, spoiled, disrespectful teenagers who have been raised in our modern technology/consumer-driven world. If we add to the scene the rapidly increasing numbers of 12-14 years olds who are self harming, depressed and/or increasingly violent and aggressive towards the innocents of our communities, MAYBE parents of younger children will decide to be better informed about how to raise children with more emotional, social and spiritual competency.
One way would be to stop diminishing the role of children being children until at least seven, with endless TV, DVDs and computers that create virtual realities instead of real ones that would help. Preserving childhood would also mean ignoring padded kids bras and high heels for our little girls regardless of how cute they may be. It would also mean that parents invest heavily in the building of the above competencies with loving guidance while they can still hold firm boundaries.
The developing child’s brain needs constant and frequent reinforcement of things like manners, social norms and respect for themselves, others and our world. This takes place in the first five years of a child’s life and is not the responsibility of teachers or schools. They are able to reinforce the templates that have been built however are unable to build ones from scratch.
The freedoms of today’s 12-14-year-olds is a product of the pressures of modern living only to a degree effective positive parenting has always been the best way to ensure that the experimentation and boundary stretching of adolescence takes place as late as possible. The 12-14-year-old teenage brain cognitively, emotionally and socially is so far behind that of 15-18-year-old and the ability to make better decisions on how to preserve ones life, character and liver is also much lower. We must also make sure in this issue that the many teenagers who are not taking part in the binge culture are also recognised and celebrated.