Why are children treated like gods these days?

I came across this article and I was very interested because it covers an issue that’s bothered me a lot as I’ve grown into a young adult and realized that to society, I am no longer “precious” in a way I was when I was a small child. Take this quote:

*“Nobody would have placed such a sign on a car if it were not already understood by society that the life of a human achieves its peak value at birth and declines thereafter. A toddler is almost as precious as a baby, but a teenager less so, and by the time that baby turns fifty, it seems that nobody cares much anymore if someone crashes into her car.”

Bingo! It seems like our society worships children as gods. Innocence, naivety and beauty are valued far more highly than wisdom, intelligence, compassion or courage. A baby is the ultimate peak of human existence, a small child is just a little bit behind. A preteen is mostly beyond criticism, the only exception being if they commit a heinous crime (think of the James Bulger case), in which they must be tried as adults and suffer a horrible death at the hands of vigilantes or their fellow inmates.

By the time a child reaches the age of 12 or 13 they are no longer an angelic being and are to be treated by the same standard as an adult. Maybe even a little bit harsher, because those damn teenagers and their scary rap music!

By the age of 25 a person gains a bit of respect for being “old school” but they’re still an adult and can take care of themselves, so it’s not really necessary to have any human compassion for them. Let em eat cake frankly.

Old people get a bit of lip service attention especially if they’re grandparents (again, their value is tied to children) or war veterans (because killing people is so awesome, dude! Especially if they’re brown and Muslim or commie). But nobody really cares if their benefits are cut, they can still work right?

Society’s worship of children has actually caused me to resent kids a bit. But I don’t really hold anything against them, I only blame their stupid parents for being so narcissistic and shallow that once they have the kids their spouses, their parents and their friends mean absolutely nothing to them.

That was at a time where seatbelts had become ubiquitous for adults and older children, but babies were riding mostly unrestrained, so there was a greater (perceived) danger of serious injury to small kids.

The “baby on board” signs may have been unreflected behavior, but the jump to “treating children like gods” seems a bit large.

Being protective of the weak and innocent does not remotely amount to “treating them like gods”.

Have you got any cites for these assertions?

It goes beyond being protective. Look at the facebook feeds of mothers, fathers and even aunts and uncles. It’s nothing but kids, kids, kids. Our whole society worships youth in general.

Besides why don’t people feel equally protective of adults? Shouldn’t we care about everyone?

I admit I was being a little bit satirical.

Wow, parents love their children! Who knew?

People have fewer children than they used to. Fewer children --> the more investment per child.

Also, it makes sense that people are focusing on making childhood as ideal as possible. Have you seen what adulthood is like? It’s a fucking rat race. Back in the day, people simply didn’t realize how much the “little” things matter towards having a successful adulthood. “Oh, it’s just a little lead paint. He’s fine.” “Oh, being smacked in the face a few times a day never killed anyone. He’s fine.” “Oh, he has problems reading. It’s okay. None of the guys at the factory are Rhodes Scholars and they’re fine.” Maybe if the parents of the 50s, 60s, and 70s had been as “kid-centric” as we are now, contemporary society would be a much better one. If kids today are a trip, their parents are worse.

That said, as a person without children, I do gag a little over some of the “what about the children!?” rhetoric. The other day a coworker said she’d never trust her 14-year-old kid to walk home from school. A mile-long journey is too “scary” for her to wrap her head around. I just can’t relate to this mentality.

Yeah, but that’s just parent weakness. My 9-year-old walks to and from school, a 15-minute walk through busy city streets. It’s scarier for me than it is for him… but I get over it. Teaching my kid to be independent is part of my duties as a parent, and it’ll make him happier in the long run.

If we’re using Facebook as evidence, then I need to start a thread called, “Why is food treated like a god these days?”

Facebook is for stuff going on in your life. If you have a kid, it will probably be doing stuff.

Nothing new, we just have a potentially bigger audience for the photos in our wallets nowadays.

And click-bait news that announces, “The 3 things in your children’s school lunch that may be killing them every day! What every parent should know! Stay tuned to Channel 5 NEWS @ 11pm to find out.” :eek:

When I drive through neighborhoods that have those signs “Slow Down - We Love Our Children” I jam down on the accelerator. :slight_smile:

Firstly a qualifier, my wife and I don’t have kids. Would have liked the chance but we only met when we were almost 40…

One of the things that has changed, I think, is that a families activities have become so child-centric. Half of our friends lives are spent ferrying their kids around to activities, picking them up or going to things as a family that the parents would not even consider unless they had their kids with them.

To use the dreaded phrase, when I was a kid (born 1964) we mostly joined in what our parents would doing. As such I did stuff like:

  1. Watch my dad play cricket. Learned as a result to keep the score book and the laws of the game by the age of eight or nine.
  2. Learned to sail dinghies and steer motorboats by eleven.
  3. Was co-driver in my dad’s trials car in competition from around fourteen.
  4. As a result learned to maintain cars, boats and general DIY by first holding a spanner to ultimately changing a gear box on my first car aged seventeen.
  5. Learned to cook by a process of saving meals from ruining whilst my mum waited in vain for my father to appear off his commuter train, to saying it would be easier if I just started them off from scratch.

My brother and I did the usual kids stuff too of riding bikes, playing sports after school (and cycling home afterwards) climbing trees, listening to inappropriate music and playing make-believe but I just don’t get the feeling that kids do adult things or join in the family any more. It is more that the family revolves around them. I knew and grew up with my parents friends, as often they were dong the same activities that we joined our parents doing or watching. Now we don’t really see our friends with their kids, simply as we don’t have kids and everything revolves around them.

I guess that is just the way things are but I value the way I was brought up more than what I see around us now.

His cite is in his OP: ‘… an issue that’s bothered me a lot as I’ve grown into a young adult and realized that to society, I am no longer “precious” in a way I was when I was a small child.’

He’s envious. He doesn’t like being a grown up.

Really, some parents* do* go a bit far. But there’s still plenty of child abuse in the news. And too many politicians (especially the fetus-lovers) love to cut funds for programs that feed, house & educate children.

In all fairness, a fetus feeds and houses him/her-self and doesn’t require an education. :wink:

You’re right. It’s racist to respect veterans. Thank you for pointing out the error of my ways.

Really? Nobody cares if old people’s benefits are cut? So all those people calling Social Security the “third rail” of American politics are wrong?

I learn so much by reading well-thought-out OP’s like this one.

And just how would you treat a god, if you had the care of one? Refuse to let him go outdoors by himself, and monitor his online activity, and feed him sugar frosted flakes for breakfast and pop tarts for lunch and pizza for supper?

I’m amused that the author holds up the 1980’s “Baby on Board” sign as evidence of this idolatry. Then goes on to talk about how we never speak ill of our kids. The 1980’s also gave us the popularity of the “I love my kids but they are deeply flawed people” sitcom such as Rosanne and Married With Children which continues to be a popular genre today (Modern Family, etc).

Part of this is projection on the part of the parents. After all, they gave birth to a god. Then you make bearing a child something important instead of the singlemost unoriginal act a human can do, which is what it is. Then you have the ‘single mom’ syndrome where a woman acts incredibly irresponsibly and then wants a special privilege to avoid all other responsibilities. And their counterpart the part time dad who ditches work for his kid’s birthday, but don’t judge him because that’s so important, and the only day a year he’ll bother to see his child.

These things don’t apply to everybody, most parents are just parents, usually a little too proud of their kids and themselves, but not so differently from every generation before.

I cannot answer the OP’s question but here are my observations. When I was growing up in the 40s, I spent a lot of time playing outside unsupervised. I walked to school (actually crossed US 1 four times a day) came home for lunch and raced home after school to throw my school bag into the living room and go out to play. Summer vacation was one long playtime. We didn’t even own a car till my senior year in HS (1953-54). When my kids were growing up, they also walked to school and came home for lunch. But they went out to play relatively infrequently. But the concept of playdate didn’t exist and, until my youngest was in school in the early 80s, no kid was driven to school. Then one mother drove her kid to school and was roundly criticized for doing so. Now there is a traffic jam at the school every morning and every afternoon. Mothers freely park in a way that blocks my driveway (I live in the next block) and when I complain, the get nasty and explain they are just taking their kids to school (as if I didn’t know that). Few kids walk and it is dangerous because of all the traffic. My grandchildren were almost always driven to school although they had a safe and traffic-free way to walk about 3/4 of a mile. When they got to HS, they got a “kid’s car” to drive themselves even though they could have walked a similar 3/4 mile walk there. Their only activities (aside from computer games, texting and the like) are play dates and organized sports. No spontaneous play as far as I can tell. And I think if an 8 or 10 year old were out on the street alone, some neighbor would call child protection.

So things really have changed. One of the driving forces, IMHO, has been the media-driven hysteria about kidnapped children. It was always rare and even rarer today (of course, their never being left unsupervised may explain that). My daughter lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, where children are never left unsupervised, only unvaccinated.