Do kids these days really get to have a childhood? Having worked in a school, I have heard first-hand the debates between schools and parents about the amount of homework children receive. I’m all for working hard and succeeding in school but why do kids have to then go home and work more? Even most adults only work eight hours a day. This really bothers me. Not to mention the high pressured high schools. These students are not even nineteen years old and they have full-blown Adultitis. Anand Vaishnav from The Boston Globe recently wrote an article entitled: ‘Suburban high schools try to ease up on teen stress.’ It is refreshing to hear that some people are noticing that this is a problem.
‘Society as a whole is creating a stressful environment,” said Rena P. Mirkin, principal of Wellesley High. ”It’s not ‘Are you achieving?’ It’s ‘Are you achieving with five honors courses, eight clubs, two sports, and three community service activities?’
Sadly, this is not just a problem for high schoolers in prep schools. I’ve seen this problem with five and six year olds in my own kindergarten classroom. Karate on Mondays, dance on Tuesdays, swimming lessons on Wednesdays, Thursday they have a friend over for a “play date” (if they’re lucky enough to be able to convince their parents to let them skip t-ball). This is insane. When do kids get to just hang out in the backyard and play? How in the world can their imaginations and creativity develop if they are always in a structured environment? What do you think is worse – parents of small children who sign their kids up for whatever their kids may think they NEED to be a part of? (As if kids know what’s best for themselves!)…or parents who sit passivly watching their high schoolers join every team, club, and/or group, never leaving them time to explore possible interests that may impact their career choices and ultimately their happiness in adulthood? (As if high schoolers know what’s best for themselves!) Both sets of parents are blinded by their own Adultitis. They have such an extreme case themselves, they do not see how it is rubbing off on their children. This is wrong…and very very sad. Be careful – Adultitis is contagious, especially among family members.