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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Grooming Children for Addiction

Broaching the topic of sexual addictions/abuse has opened the proverbial 'can of worms.'  I've never received so many emails in the short span of this blog than I have over this topic.  People are looking for help and sharing their experiences.

Of course, I do not post these comments because I don't want to embarrass anyone, even if posted anonymously.  I admire the courage of those willing to share their experiences with me, a complete stranger.  That, in and of itself, takes a level of gumption that many folks don't have.  That's not to say that those who are quietly reading this blog are any less 'gumptuous,' because each person has his own reasons to speak or be silent.  If you are suffering, get help somewhere.  To be honest, I don't offer help, just information about getting help.

I was prepared to move on from this topic, when the Daily Mail (UK) posted this article:

Now, here's a note: I hate reading the Daily Mail, in large part because it cultivates a sidebar full of semi-nude and sexually-charged photos of celebrities and others that I find utterly annoying.  Therefore, I've linked the printer-version.

In an article about children being groomed to become sex addicts and abuse victims, it is horribly non-introspective and hypocritical of the Daily Mail to be publishing an article of sexuality out of control on the internet when they themselves publish 'soft-core' smut... in the name of news.  Mind you, it is a helpful article, but the context in which it appears underlines the serious problem of modern culture.

We are in an age when our hypocrisies have reached new heights.  We are told to respect women and treat them as equals, yet we objectify them with pornography.  We are told to value children, but abort them if we do not value them.  We are told to show respect to our neighbors, but feel free to say mean and unfair things about them if we do not agree with their politics or opinions.

This is also happening with children: while we are raising the threshold for adulthood in America (children now include 20-somethings staying on their patents' medical insurance for example), at the same time, we give them more adult privileges than ever before.  They have TVs in their rooms, cell phones, and unsupervised internet access.

They can drive at 16, vote at 18, but can't drive until they are 21.  Let's see, you can handle making important political decisions that effect millions, but you can't handle a beer?  

This 'sliding scale' reflects the social acknowledgement that children cannot make good decisions about everything, and that in earlier stages of development, one is 'needier' that later.

In terms of human sexuality, children in puberty are told to make adult decisions with children's brains.  They want to be loved and needed, but still do not know what proper love and caring is all about.  Rather than teaching these things at home, we have produced a generation of adults who fear being adults, and so they do not provide these things for their offspring, but rather shove kids into the adult world to avoid their own responsibilities.  Rather than, as my generation did, negotiate usage of a single TV for the entire family, now everyone can isolate and make their own decisions, receiving their own tailored information-stream.

The isolation of children from the 'family,' where they have no value in terms of supporting the household or providing the common good, leaves them feeling worthless.  We have now raised several generations of hedonists who do not know how to be part of a family that supports itself.  Children are dependent on parents for for things that give them feelings of companionship and worth, and parents in turn are becoming dependent on employment and the government to provide those same feelings of security that love and faith in God once did.

We have all become needy rather than valued.  We all sense that others are inconveniences that get in the way of our attaining the 'stuff' that makes us happy.

So, the unsupervised child begins to feel the call of sexual desire... and we offer them unrestricted internet access and teachers babbling about masturbation and homosexuality.  Many mid-pubescent children wonder if they are attracted to the same sex, and rather than showing them how to reign in their desires and curb their appetites until they are emotionally able to handle their impulses, we push them off the gang-plank with confusing messages and extreme options.

Then, we mourn their loss of innocence and wag our heads.

An addict by definition is an immature person.  recovery is largely about regaining lost ground in personal development.  Addicts will often say that they stopped growing emotionally once they started using.

When we take children and thrust them into addictive behaviors and substances by allowing them to make unsupervised decisions and affording them the freedom to engage in addiction-ready behaviors, we are grooming them for addiction.

Likewise, the 'helicopter parent' and 'attachment parent' that smothers the child's will also leaves his offspring feeling both inadequate and impeded.  This is another great way to make an addict: tell him that every decision he makes is wrong.  Eventually he'll learn to let someone other than his parents make his decisions for him, which is why so many middle-class and well-groomed kids fall under the pernicious influences of boy/girlfriends and worse.  Rather than learning how to have real relationships, they will end up sitting in their parents' basement in their 30s, unmarried and playing video games when not smoking pot and downloading porn. 

It is a growing trend:

We are told it is economic, and there are certainly plenty of cases where it is, but there is also the entire 'slacker' phenomenon which is leading many young adults into pornography and addictive/abusive behavior because they are bored.  That's the 'slacker aura'... boredom and worthlessness.

Our task is not to make children 'feel' worthy, but to actually value them as developing adults are than 'developing teenagers.'  We must teach them responsibility and give them tasks, but not allow them to flop about making many important decisions, such as their reading and viewing pleasures, by themselves. We must take away the sense of isolation and uncertainly of childhood, rather than contributing to it.

Otherwise, we are preparing children to become developmentally stunted addicts.  It is already happening.  As a society, we must wake up.

1 comment:

  1. I see this a lot -- parents having a wrong understanding of their relationship with their children. The two extremes are parents treating their children as cute little toys that are to remain so forever on one side, or treating children harshly like their belongings that are to make them..proud. Perhaps, more often we see a combination of these two. But, how far this is from a normal family! Children are not any less made in the image and likeness of God than their parents, are not any less free, nor any less expected to be loving and responsible individuals as they grow. In fact, and forgive me if I am wrong, we're probably going to want our children to become adults as fast as is possible, both for their sake and ours. No matter how cute a phase childhood is, our destination is really to become functioning adults so that we can know God better and live a happy, complete existence. I've even heard the Saints saying that giving birth to children, raising them, and all the other work that man has to do is a consequence of the Fall into sin; man was not meant to reproduce sexually, but God would have done it by His Power in a different way, like He made Adam and Eve. We also have Christ(the New Adam) being born of Virgin Mary, as a different kind of ralationship between individuals. We should not think for a second that Christ was born of Mary without seed, just so He can have the same kind of relationship that most parents have with their children nowadays (which really is a form of bondage and idolatry). However, we know must bear a Cross, but the Good News is that through these struggles, our destination is no longer The Garden of Eden, but The Kingdom of Heaven. And it's not that we can't rejoice along the way, but we have to always have the spiritual reality and our destination before us.