Monday 26 Sep 2016

Kid Sickness
Jennifer Flaten

Recently, I was reading the paper and discovered that there is a new disease in town. This new disease goes by the name kid-sickness. At first, I was a little worried about all those poor, little kids getting sick. Then I read further and discovered this disease only affects adults. Oh! Well, I thought that makes sense, who hasn't occasionally been sick of kids? Especially your own kids, they are always making noise, breaking things, and being sassy. Plus, there is the whole issue of "other peoples" kids. You know the ones; vandals, troublemakers, and the ones you are constantly telling to "get off my lawn".

With that in mind, I read on. I was anticipating an article that was ode to those of us who are sick of kids. Unfortunately, as I got deeper into the article I discovered the shock of my life! This wasn't offering advice to those of us who are sick of kids. No instead, it was an article devoted to quite the opposite.

Seems there are people who are literally pining away for their children. Apparently, these poor souls have absolutely nothing else in their lives except their kids. I wouldn't have thought such a person existed outside of stage mothers and fictional stories, Yet, here was written proof that they do exist and they are in desperate need of help! Though in my opinion it is the kind of help found in a therapist's chair, but I digress.

According to the article, kid-sickness is a parent's inability to let go of their children. It seems this latest batch of parents must remain in constant contact with their children. Our technological advances have bred a new type of parent. A clingy, stalkerish type of parent. Who, according to the article cannot even face a week of summer camp without having a meltdown; as a reminder it is the parents who are doing the melting down, not the children.

The article went to further explain that the staff at summer camp now have to spend more time preparing the parents for the camp experience then the kids. So, in an effort to help those poor devastated parents, the media has decided to highlight this rampant problem. The thrust of the article was to provide some pointers on how to survive your kid going to sleep away camp. Apparently, being tickled pink they are gone and celebrating with a bottle of champagne is so yesterday. Now you must clutch a photo of them night and day and burst into uncontrollable sobs when someone speaks their name.

The helpful tips included a reminder to remain busy while the kid is away at camp. I admit that advice flummoxed me, more then the entire article did. I can't fathom why it would be necessary to specifically tell people to stay busy while the kids are gone. How could the parents not be busy already?

Personally, I find it distressing that so many people allow themselves to become so wrapped up in their kid that the lose their own identity. In case, you don't believe that is possible let me share a tidbit from the article. A women is quoted as saying that as a working parent she 'aches for her kids on a daily basis'. Sure, most of us normal people love our kids, but to ache for them on a daily basis, I don't think so. Admittedly, parts of me ache after spending the entire day with the kids, but not in the way she means.

Normally, I would say this woman needs to get a life, but it appears that she has one. Her kids. Imagine the pressure on those poor kids, I mean will she shrivel and die when they go off to school? No, most likely she will become one of those "helicopter" parents. If you haven't heard about them, they hover around their grown children. Some have been known to accompany their children on interviews. Yes, interviews for jobs! I can't imagine being that HR person. Imagine the wrath you will incur if you fail to select little johnny for the VP position. Even though he is fresh out of college and has no experience, mom thinks you should hire him. I would imagine you couldn't disqualify the candidate simply because their parents are nuts.

It is only natural to want to take care of your children, but a line has to be drawn between taking care of your children and smothering them. What we end up with are spoiled, lazy children that turn into lazy, spoiled adults. Yes, these lazy children become adults who can't do anything for themselves and rely on their aging parents to provide everything for them. So how do we stop the spread of kid-sickness? Well, for starters parents have to let go a little bit. Yes, it is a big, scary world out there and no you can't be oblivious, but for god's sakes let up a little bit. On the other hand you don't want the little darlings to be running wild either, we have all seen the news stories associated with that, let's go for happy medium shall we?

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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