The Veruca Salts of Today: Where They Will End Up and Why

Molly Bond

Slamming doors and crying “I hate you!” when not getting your way. Pouting and whining “but, Daddy!” Stomping your feet and letting the crocodile tears flow, just to get what you want.

Sound familiar? If so, you are a part of the unfortunate majority of kids of the middle to upper classes who have evolved into weak, spoiled brats. The children of these classes in America today are being babied to no end by their parents, which usually results in the above behavior. This will later negatively affect their success in the “real world.”

An example of the “wussification” of America is the ever-popular weekly allowance. Should your kids really be awarded ten dollars for sweeping the floor or cleaning the sink? Or are these chores character-building?

Another example of how spoiled kids are growing weaker and weaker was conveyed to me recently: when at the home of a friend (who wishes to remain anonymous) just a few months ago, we were ordering in Chinese food; my friend, who is 17 years old, found herself unable to order the food herself, and made her mother order for us.

This is the kind of babying that will destroy our nation in the near future. If kids these days cannot even order their own food, or feel they need compensation for common household tasks, how will they be able to go to work without Mommy and Daddy cheering them on? And for that matter, how will they even get a job?

Now you may be thinking “OMG! I’m so sick of people criticizing our generation!” In some cases this can be annoying (i.e. assuming all teenagers know how to install a computer just because of the year in which one was born), but this situation can and will influence our futures, if we do not act now, which means nipping the whiner in the bud before it gets out of hand.

But do some people feel that this fluffy, everything-will-be-okay style of parenting is good? Should parents be there to catch their kids as often as they can, for as long as they can?

This is exactly what Dr. Ray Guarendi impresses upon the concerned Catholic parents who write to him. This clinical psychologist said to a woman who wrote to him (under the pseudonym “Cautious Mom,” asking him how to protect her children from the real world for as long as she possibly could) “Far more children have trouble as adults not because they grew up slowly, but because they saw and learned too much too early.”

Basically what this doctor is saying is that if children learn too fast, they will struggle as adults, which does not seem to make any sense. If a child is educated about the ways of the world after the age of fourteen, they will be in for rude awakening upon entering high school. If a child has been sheltered all their life, what will they do when encountering peer pressure?

In contrast to Dr. Guardeni, the somewhat creepy yet apparently insightful Dr. Phil says: “Your primary job as a parent is to prepare your child for how the world really works. In the real world, you don’t always get what you want. You will be better able to deal with that as an adult if you’ve experienced it as a child.”

Obviously, Dr. Phil believes in tough love, and educating children on the truth of what the world is all about, which will result in, yes, a somewhat less innocent child, but wiser all the same.

But how does the prolonged conservation of innocence relate to parents spoiling their kids? Will shielding result in a nasty brat, or an innocent angel, as anticipated?

In most cases, the child eventually learns that (gasp!) they have a mind of their own, and they are going to want to exercise their independence, which the parent will resist, resulting in slamming doors screaming matches along the lines of “why can’t I go to the party?” “Because I said so!” and so on.

Living in Franklin, most people are pretty well-off, financially. Because your parents are lucky enough to have a steady job, does this mean you are spoiled? Absolutely not. You cannot help your parents’ career; that is a matter of chance.

But, if you take advantage of your parents and their credit cards, you are, in fact, a spoiled brat, comparable with Veruca Salt, from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Bottom line: parents, do not over-indulge your kids, unless you want a Veruca Salt living in your house; you’re doing nothing that could possibly be beneficial to their characters. And kids: quit taking advantage of your parents, and appreciate what they give you.

And go get a job; you’re in high school, for Pete’s sake.