I may be two or three holidays behind but when I recently read the news story that came out Norfolk, England — in which a group of concerned citizens demanded the Advertising Standards Authority work to remove a series of scary clown posters from the community because they were distressing children — has only reaffirmed my belief western and First World culture is headed for trouble. The future will contain a wave of over-coddled, self-entitled children with no solid foundation to handle reality.
And I don’t mean just the scary clowns. Just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean you can automatically erase it from your world on those grounds alone.
Not only were the citizens calling for a restriction of advertising of a local event in a public space — censorship — but the posters weren’t any gorier or more inappropriate than any of the villains that can be found in today’s superhero movies.
There are many phrases for this phenomenon today, a few including hyper-parents and helicopter parents. There’s a difference between being supportive and being obsessive; between cuddling and coddling; and between being secure and being spoiled.
In the past, CBC has stated the trend of over-parenting began in the 1980s but I personally feel we as a society are just starting to see its worst effects now.
Overly anxious parents tend to bring up insecure children who fear and doubt their own capabilities and in turn can grow to become incompetent, under-confident adults.
Not only can this become a burden on society and those around them, but it’s also setting the child up for failure. Not only will they possibly lack the emotional maturity and knowledge to make informed decisions but they also won’t have the confidence to positively move forward with that information without first running to mommy or daddy for the go-ahead.
Over-coddling children, like in the case of the “scary” clown posters, is impractical. Rather than feeding their fears and teaching the children to be afraid of inanimate, imaginary clowns parents should be taking a different approach and educating their kids on the difference between reality and imaginary.
Not that I’m condoning bombarding toddlers with images of Pennywise the Clown in hopes of desensitizing them is a good idea — sounds traumatizing and some people simply do better with scary than others — but pushing a business to do away with their advertising because it doesn’t fit into your parenting plan is absurd.
At the very least travel down a different street.
Amelia Naismith is the new reporter/photographer for the Leduc/Wetaskiwin Pipestone Flyer and writes a regular column for the paper.