Alain de Botton has made points on modern parenting. Parents today appear to mollycoddle children. Each detail of life is considered with great attention. Questions are answered and considered.
Mr. de Botton points out that throughout history, children have been ignored, slightly neglected, and questions unanswered. This would have been due to the high mortality rate of young people and therefore less time invested. However, today, the child is the centre of attention.
The attitude today is that if childhood is not perfect, success will not appear later in life. Those of older generations find all this attention a bit wrong—as if they will not learn to be tough in childhood.
However, this “mollycoddling” is necessary for raising children in today’s society. Creativity is important in the modern world and thus parents encourage it in their children. Survival in the world today is an entirely different matter from the “toughening up” attitude of earlier generations.
Intelligence and knowledge are very important to the well being of our offspring—hence we put much of our focus on education, down to the kinds of food to feed children for the best brainpower.
Mr. de Botton believes quite rightly that this may seem ridiculous to those looking in from the outside. All of this education will not stop emotional heartache or protect children from bills or physical violence. Yet the better start we give them at the beginning of life, the more likely their chance of succeeding and surviving.
Not only education, but also confidence, originality, and creativity are what counts today. So parents listen to hundreds of pointless questions in order to instill confidence in children. Exposure to the arts and other creative outlets allow originality and creativity. Additionally, rather than submissive behaviour, a questioning of authority, within reasonable constraints, is advocated.
Parents today put time and effort into the personalities of their children—because it is those personalities that will ensure they make friends, get a job that will provide for them, and find a partner as adults. They will succeed the way their parents have done if their parents put the energy into making them succeed, because in the modern world, building life up for yourself will not give you the valuable head start necessary to make it to the top.