The Bubblewrap Generation lives. Insecure parents who want to “protect” their kids from every evil in the Big Bad World raise them. Plus, they also demand everyone else help protect their kid by banishing normal childhood behavior because, you know, parenting is so haaaard.
No shit Sherlock. It is hard, but that’s what you signed up for. Suck it up and stop expecting the world to capitulate to your irrational wish to bubblewrap your kids and hide them away in a locked storage container.
I have a 24-year old daughter. She is bright, highly functional, loving, responsible — and most importantly — able to cope with the real world sans pants-pissing terror. She learned that people, particularly kids, are sometimes assholes. She learned this is a fact of life no matter how much I, or anyone else, would like it to be otherwise. She also learned that sometimes you have to deal with those assholes and living in the world’s largest roll of bubblewrap is not an option.
The Boy in the Bubblewrap
The latest example of Boy in the Bubblewrap Syndrome is a JCPenny ad hawking back to school clothes. According to many parents the ad, (SHOCK AND HORROR!) uses uncoolness if you don’t buy their crappy clothes as a theme. The overwrought parents are organizing the usual boycotts and write-in campaigns to tell JCPenny they will brook no advertising causing great waves of bullying and ostracization to lonely lunchroom tables.
I’ve watched the video twice. The first time I missed the offending part because I blinked. According to the offended, the lonely Arizona jeansless kid is doomed to mac and cheese alone for the rest of his life. The fear that other kids might tease him because he’s not wearing Levis or whatever ass-drooping pants the kids wear these days. WHY, THOSE BULLIES!
Newsflash. This is what kids do. They make fun of each other, sometime cruelly. They tease kids about zits. They tease kids about (apologies to the touchy feminists) hitting like girls. Some kids can’t climb ropes in gym and some come off as dumb as bricks. Some kids even get teased for only wearing the newest hipster garb that JCPenny is selling.
Sure it would be nice if kids acted like adults, but that won’t happen any more than adults acting like adults. It’s funny, but the biggest thing wrong with the human race is that they are, well, human.
That isn’t to say there isn’t legitimate bullying. Suicide statistics and physical assault numbers clearly show that. Sometimes the anti-cool kids jeans lobby turns it into something more nefarious, usually not. When that happens it’s time to step up and be a parent. Fight with school officials and other parents. Demand action and don’t wait until your kid kills himself live on YouTube and say, “we never knew” or “the school did nothing”.
You are the parent, not JCPenny. You are responsible for the leg work. Talk to your kid. Get them to tell you what’s happening. Tell them that JCPenny is doing exactly what companies do, sell merchandise by targeting customers’ perceived desires and needs. Explain that kids are sometimes assholes. Explain that some kids are gigantic douches and they should let you know when something happens. Flush with that knowledge you can make intelligent decisions that are correct and, most of all, effective.
Do not swathe them in bubblewrap. It ultimately doesn’t work and creates overly- dependent adults as knock-kneed as you. Standing up to bullies requires strength because it sure isn’t fair that you have to. But you do. Life is like that. Better that you and your child know that and deal with it.
Taking your fears out on a pair of mid-priced department store jeans that appear for 1 1/2 seconds out of a 30 second commercial isn’t doing anyone any good. Bubblewrap pops. Forget useless, sweeping protection in lieu of parenting because it helps no one.
Least of all, your child.