Beware, they’re all around you!
As a teacher, I am acutely aware that many parents have unrealistic expectations of their children. So unrealistic, in fact, that they border on the psychotic. Then again, how can these expectations be realistic when parents are bombarded by YouTube videos of people claiming to be millionaires?
Just because a YouTuber says a child can be a millionaire by 20 doesn’t make it true. For some strange reason, a staggering number of parents believe everything they see on social media. These are the same parents who are supposed to teach their children what’s real and what’s not. It feels like society has been brainwashed by a cult and critical thinking is now anathema.
The creepily competitive society we live in brainwashes us to constantly compare ourselves to others. We are also constantly judged by others. As adults, we know not to take all the things we hear seriously. We have a mental shield. Children, on the other hand, don’t have that shield. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that young people are extremely vulnerable to judgmental comments. It’s perfectly understandable, given that the mental shield comes from life experience.
A sarcastic comment made by a parent is seared into a child’s memory. That’s why parents need to watch their words carefully. The ‘’tough love’’ parenting is utter nonsense.
Psychotic parents even go so far as to join their children in bullying others. That’s what I saw at an international school in China. A bully was laughing at another student’s passport photo. The parents of the bully joined in and started making funny faces and laughing maniacally. This bizarre behavior had a profoundly negative impact on the bullied student. I’m not a psychiatrist but the parents’ behavior was borderline psychotic, if not downright demonic.
Psychotic parents also want to turn their kids into little Da Vincis, no matter the cost. There is no parental love, just an emotional void. It’s not ambition — it’s elitism and child abuse disguised as ambition.
Don’t get me wrong — fostering genius is the only way to save humanity. I simply disagree with dehumanizing children and treating them like trophies. In my teaching experience, the worst case scenario arises when a genius child is much smarter than its parents. Sure, I would like to be an idealistic philosopher who believes that most parents would cherish their genius child. Sadly, my experience as a teacher tells me otherwise. I strongly believe that most parents would be threatened and intimidated by their child’s genius intellect.
Does that mean having a genius baby is more of a curse than a blessing? Not at all — as long as one of the parents is a genius. It’s my conviction that only a genius parent can truly understand what their genius child is going through. Then and only then can the real bonding begin.
We live in a world of illusions where just about everything and anything is for sale. Everything is a business transaction, including child-parent relations. Children are an investment. The word — investment — has always sounded so impersonal and matter-of-fact to me. What is a child’s suicide, then? A failed investment? We live in a society that would make Orwell wince.
Be the change you want to see in the world. Philosophizing won’t fix society.