There’s a sad trend in Western society of late to erase childhood from the experience of childhood, a sort of ‘blink and you’ll miss it’. Kids can’t stand on their own two feet quickly enough for modern society, in the figurative even more than the literal sense.
We’ve forgotten that the time to indulge in foolish things fades quickly, but the need to experience this period is essential for the adult person that is developing. It affects whether the child faces the world with fear or with confidence; how they will live as adults, embracing the world, or view life from a glass half empty type of problem perspective.
The response more and more seems to be ‘forget all that’ – let’s skip childhood altogether and get on with the serious business of moulding children into underage activists, making them fodder for the cause. If harm is done along the way, we can console ourselves with the idea that you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs. However, if the current reported anxiety rates for children are to be believed, we’re breaking an awful lot of eggs.
Childhood has been difficult for many groups of children, as images of them working down mines or darting around factory floors can attest. It’s to our credit that these conditions have been abolished, although child labour is alive and well in the globalist sweatshops of third-world countries. The child soldier business is flourishing in other places, where the abolition of the distinction between child and adult is so stark that it cannot be denied.
The West is in denial about the use of its children in a war of a different kind; one whose emotional and physical aftermath is treated with indifference, but whose effects can be just as damaging and lifelong as those of a war zone. The war on childhood is alive and lethal.
When did this change occur?
The right of kids to be left alone to enjoy the experience of being kids has been replaced with the treatment of them as miniature adults with the same concerns and problem-solving capacities as adults.
Anyone who’s spent five minutes with a five-year-old can detect the evolving way they see the world and the sense of pride they take in their growing mastery of physical and intellectual challenges. You quickly appreciate that this is enough for a five-year-old to manage. The job of kids is to be kids. Childhood is a crucial period in its own right. Leave it alone so the child is given sufficient time to develop the maturity and confidence required to decide how they want to live as an adult.
It’s interesting that those who condemn conversion therapy aimed at the transgender community are perfectly happy to use it to turn the normal curiosity of childhood about identity and physical development into evidence of gender dysphoria. If a child is brave or innocent enough to ask a perfectly reasonable question about their bodies, it’s medicalised and they’re soon the unwitting bearers of the latest DSM-5 label, supported by a growing number of educators who seem to have thrown their responsibilities to the wind.
Children have the right to express whatever feelings they like about their bodies, and adults have an obligation to take the time to talk to them and not to seize upon their feelings as evidence of unease. Sometimes a question is simply a query.
One of the unfortunate aspects of psychiatry is the tendency for labels to become self-fulling. It’s the label that emerges as significant, not the person who might have been had the label not been applied as a catch-all. We have to avoid this with children. Good psychiatrists, the kind who save lives and help people deal with the world – who prescribe hope and not just pills – are careful with labels.
There’s a consequence to all of this. The anger of those denied their childhood will be heard when they’re old enough to articulate the loss. They’ll ask the adults around them:
‘Why did you allow this to happen?’
‘Why did you turn the common and understandable questions of childhood into an ideological battleground?’
‘Were the questions too hard for you to answer?’
‘Why did you medicalise the questions that I, as a child, had the right to ask?’
But most importantly, ‘Why didn’t you protect me?’
Who benefits from the denial of biological sex, as if that’s necessary to assume an identity different from the one assigned at birth? The removal of breasts and penises and the lifelong daily drudge of hormone replacement therapy are brushed aside as incidentals without any consideration for the aftermath for the individual involved.
No one knows the long-term effects for children denied puberty, although infertility seems to be one of them, but this is never discussed by the virtue signallers. Why? Because they don’t have to live with the life-long consequences, but a ten-year-old will.
People with gender dysphoria deserve an honest conversation about their options, they deserve compassion and the opportunity to make informed decisions.
It’s salutary to remember that lobotomies were once part of the psychiatric arsenal, but no longer. Perhaps because they caused irreversible brain damage and didn’t treat the underlying emotional distress of recipients. Medicine has known other failed treatments that were initiated in good faith, but eventually caused more damage and lifelong consequence, of the adverse kind. Why then is there no scrutiny of the procedures involved in gender re-assignment for children? They’re promoted as answers to a complex situation, but it’s the assurances of their safety and the dismissal of any concerns as transphobic, that are most worrying. Snake-oil salesmen seem to have more statutory obligations than some of the reassignment promoters.
This brings me to Disney and the battle for the soul of a company that has enriched the lives of four generations of children and brightened quite a few adult lives along the way.
Disney is now conscripted into the assault on childhood. Cultural Marxism has destroyed every other institution in Western society, why not a beloved icon of childhood? Or more to the point, what took them so long?
One of the joys of grandchildren is the journey back with them to Disney. Let’s preserve that for all once and future kids. There’s enough time to deal with being an adult – it’s a long stint – the best preparation is simply being left to be a kid.
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