Wednesday, November 17, 2010
I was reading an article about another school killing. This time it was a jealous boyfriend killing his ex-girlfriend. It made me think about the other crazy killings that have happened in recent years. Kids killing teachers; kids killing jocks; kids killing people they felt looked down on them; kids killing just to make a statement.
It also made me think about the fact I've never heard of anything like that happening here in Mexico. I asked Rey, and he said he hadn't either (and he should know--he is a complete news junkie).
I began thinking about the "why" of that. First of all--what is the difference in the way the majority of Mexicans raise their children and the way the majority of Americans raise their children?
From what I've seen here... generally Mexicans view children as an appendage to be dragged around wherever they go. I see teeny babies given Coke to drink in their bottles. I see little kids sleeping wherever their bodies fall while mamá shops or the folks are dancing the night away at a wedding. I see groups of adults loudly talking about the faults and bad behavior of their children in front of those same children. I hear children being told to shut up, that they are stupid and to hurry up. I see kids playing in the street with explicit songs blaring from their parents' radio.
I also see generally self-contained kids. Kids who don't expect a lot out of life or out of adults. I see kids who are much older younger.
It seems that in the US, we do all we can to shelter our children and let them know they are the center of our universe. That the sky is the limit and that they matter. That nothing should stand between them and their dreams.
I, of course, think as an American and am often angered and horrified at the "parenting" I see going on here. (This morning, I heard a woman cackling to her friends about how her daughter tangled up one of her necklaces so she sent her to bed without supper. What? Really?)
But, I wonder if many Americans, then, are not allowing their children to learn about "no's" and disappointments. If they aren't teaching their children they can't always have what they want, and to deal with it. If we aren't teaching them that they are children, and we are adults. Could that be part of the reason for then all this aggression when kids hit adolescence? When kids can't be sheltered by mom and dad and start feeling the sting of rejection and disappointment?
Now, flip side of this coin here in Mexico... I would have to say probably 1 out of every 2 women I talk to has been/is being abused by their husbands. Many marry young (try 15-years-old young) and have no guidance in marriage. The boys still want to be "players" and are out on the streets most nights even after being married. It seems that the men here think it's their right to hit their wives. The norm. So, obviously--there's aggression there.
Hmm. So, in the US it seems that many children are not taught to weather/expect disappointment. While adolescence, then, may be stormy... they tend to get it together somewhat by the time they are adults.
Here in Mexico, the children often don't experience tender, unconditional love or reasonable discipline. This keeps them in line until they have their own roost... which they tend to run the same way their parents did. Perhaps, then, adulthood here is the time that they feel they can take out all the aggression they received from their parents?
Obviously, I don't think "the Mexican way" is right in this regard... But, it does make me think that it's ok--actually necessary--for my kids to experience no, to experience disappointment. To know it is a part of life. To teach my babies that it isn't "all about them".
I don't have a pithy ending to this post. Just some cultural musings... :)