Articles are available for reprint as long as the author is acknowledged: Domenick J. Maglio Ph.D.

Sunday, July 17, 2011



By Domenick J. Maglio, PhD. Traditional Realist

Far too many children are being left without sufficient loving support to understand how to interpret the reality surrounding then. They are alone, unprepared and unprotected to handle the random and unpredictable events of existence.

Their parents are over extended in time and energy to meet their ever increasing material expectations. They are driven to better "the Joneses." The children that come along are treated to the latest fads on their parent's prosperity trip although they receive a minimal amount of their actual presence.

This means children have the best things money can buy except the time and loving involvement of their own parents.

Our modern existence has left our children to be raised in a virtual world. The dolls, gadgets, television shows, DVDs and electronic toys become like close family members. They are shaped by the mannerisms, reactions to events and values taught by the electronic babysitters. They become emotional zombies, slaves to their devices. When they place themselves in a trance with their electric world, their minds are disconnected from the real world around them, which keeps them in their virtual reality.

At times a human custodian may enter and leave the child's existence, often in the form of a nanny, daycare worker, or a friend of the family. There is little continuity in the interaction of this string of people and definitely no intensity in the teaching of values. Caretakers have to be cautious not to step on the parental toes. The child loses out on the lost teachable moment that would have established a way of dealing with a similar situation. Children are devoid of values that anchor them in time and space.

A valueless world is a negative world. It is a frightening world. To hide their fear, children employ either an eagerness to please or arrogance and nastiness to keep others at a distance. Sex, drugs and gangsta rap seem like escapes in a world without real heroes and goodness. It is a world where good is bad and bad is good, where sex and drug addiction make people feel good even though it is short lived and often sinful. Being a victim or a bully is cool while being honorable and self-reliant is negative. Positive attitudes are "corny and fake." Depression and ugliness are real and authentic. The "goth look" is proof that misery loves company in a world without positive role models.

False high self-esteem does not inoculate mangled souls from suffering. These fragile youngsters do compare themselves with healthy children who radiate competency and genuine positive self-acceptance. This reality cannot be denied by even the most adamant hater of wholesomeness.

No matter how many expensive things their parents have purchased for these value deficit children, they still will harbor bitterness towards them. They are isolated from intimacy that comes from honest feedback to shield and guide the child through life's obstacles. These children may not be able to articulate it but they sense their inadequacies.

Although they are dependent on their parents for their material things, just below the surface they resent the superficial relationship they have with them. The children were never taught to earn their privileges. Consequently, for good or bad, actions were overlooked as it is easier to appease a child then to train him. The child learns that complaining and nagging will get him what he wants quickly. As the child gets older, this is harder to reverse and marks him as obnoxious.

Not being taught to wait for things one wants or even earn them results in less appreciation of the item. Asking and receiving anything and everything one wants decreases the value. "Easy come, easy go,” says it all in a world of affluence.

Instant gratification is a powerful motivator to keep a child in a virtual world. But delayed gratification trumps instant gratification in the real world. The fight for getting what one wants heightens the value as there is more of the person invested in it.

The lack of learning the art of intimacy with their parents and deprivation of having the availability of peers to interact with in person leaves them clueless in establishing and maintaining real friendships. Understandably they turn to pretend friends online. Celebrity worship and reality television shows supposedly teach them how to interact in social situations. The unrealistic, choreographed reality show produces a young viewer who wants to be another sociopath lying his way to stardom

These insecure and untested children do the best than can do to present themselves as they think others would like them to be. They create an alter ego by falsifying who they really are. Self-centered children are at a loss as to who they are because they have never had the opportunity to be defined by the people who love them- their parents.

These poor souls do not learn to appreciate their unique blessings. Their energy is expended pretending to be something they are not instead of absorbing the spiritual energy around them.

Dr. Maglio is the author of Invasion Within and Essential Parenting. He is a psychotherapist and the owner/director of Wider Horizons School.


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