reply to post by kacou
I think that empathy is being encouraged and taught. It seems to me that your argument is that it is being encourage din the wrong directions from
what you'd like to see them directed towards.
I would agree with you, when it comes to the current american culture.
For example empathy and sympathy is encouraged towards pets, to a much higher level than in some other cultures.
What and whom are deserving of acceptance and compassion in a culture is all up for argumentation, as it is relative and for each culture to decide
what they shall value and not.
Another possibility to consider though is the future effects of children who do not face challenge and discomfort early on in life, and the risk that
they become highly sensitive to criticism from the exterior, or difficulty, and unable to face it rationally and effectively.
It is a mistake to think that a highly sensitive personality will therefore be passive and peaceful, in order to avoid confrontation, conflict, and
discord. What is more often observed is that child that is highly protected from conflict, confrontation and difficulty becomes a highly sensitive
individual later that when faced with such things later in life become overwhelmed and introvert (like isolate themselves from collective interaction
and prefer interacting wiht a computer screen instead of real life and people). They see a criticism or disagrement as a violent attack instead of
criticism or disagreement, and when they cannot retreat and avoid the situation, eventually blow up into uncontrolled violence or hostility to defend
themselves, instead of controlled rational action.
Instead of just listening to the stories from the point of view of the adults who are having problems integrating and acting effectively in their
environment, one can get a more complete view if they can watch the actual story happening when they were children, or at least, get the point of view
and memories from the other people involved in that childhood!
A lot of times, our memory is selective and highly subjective. In this case, I refer to chidlren that were highly protected or kept from difficulties
when a toddler, so that as they got older, the slightest difficulty or challenge from others was seen as major attack and trauma.... and they held
onto that judgment.
I personally think that raising kid to have an extra thin skin seems to be a good idea when we are young parents- because we find they can sense what
we want from them without us having to enforce and assert it firmly, and because we assume just raising our voice a little will then have enough
impact to get them obeying, if they are sensitive enough. In other words- we don't have to put as much energy into the whole discipline thing. It
will go "naturally".
Having watched and tried this approach, I foudn that that thin skin becomes a handicap for them, especially as they reach the teen age, when
interacting with others and the world outside the family ciricle become the focus of their experience and the world becomes too harsh for their thin
skin and reactive nervous systems.
It's one thing to complain about the world being too harsh a place- go for it! In the mean time, your kids are going to have to DEAL with that harsh
world as you go about that complaining. Idealism is a neat thing. Realism is a useful thing.