A decade-long “epidemic of damaging parenting” is turning Australia’s teenagers into cruel, greedy, selfish and mentally ill addicts – and the situation has reached crisis point, the Courier-Mail reports.
Parents need to take a good hard look at themselves and the “emotional abuse” they’re inflicting on their children.
They need to start working with teachers and schools to shape a resilient, adaptable and creative generation optimistic about taking on the joys and challenges of adulthood, and who believe the world can be changed for the better.
Author, educator and stepfather John Marsden knows the “strong views” expressed “directly and forcefully” in The Art of Growing Up – his manifesto on parenting, education and preparing children and teenagers for the future – are controversial and likely to attract criticism.
He couldn’t care less.
“Everywhere I look I see awful mismanagement of young people and the results are toxic and the consequences are dire, and we see the damage that causes in schools and lots of other areas of life, too,’’ says Marsden, 68.
“Some people won’t like it for sure. It’s such a powerful topic. It goes right to the heart of people’s lives; it goes right to their souls. So it is difficult territory.
“One of the problems we’ve seen in the last decade has been that people are afraid to speak directly about parents and how they need to manage their responsibilities.
“So there’s a lot of pussy-footing around, speaking in hushed tones and giving little hints that parents could maybe do things a little bit differently,’’ he says.
Marsden says parents need to address their own individual mental health issues, to be able to respond rationally to their children’s issues. He argues the mental health problems of both parents and students – who, especially, are caught up in a “pandemic” of anxiety and panic – is the biggest problem facing modern schools.