During winter break, I didn't step foot on a college campus. As I drove hours away from Fort Collins, I found myself spending more and more time in places like grocery stores and shopping malls. It was in these places that I saw them.
I watched them stand in lines and scream until they were blue in the face. I watched them stuff their faces with candy while spreading around flu germs by touching everything in sight.
Yes, I am talking about children.
I don't want to sound like the evil witch from Hansel and Gretel. For the most part, I love children. It wasn't that long ago I used to be one. They're hilarious, silly and they appreciate the simpler things in life. But when I stepped out in public this holiday season, I found myself cringing at the sight of numerous "kidults." These are children stricken with the same nasty attitudes and emotional mini-dramas that were once reserved for people who paid their own taxes.
At Starbucks, I watched with horror as a woman bought her two four-year-old children frappuccinos. People wonder why their children have behavioral problems.
It can't be the fact they spoil them with caffeinated drinks and toys to get them to shut up. Because the problem can't possibly be due to the thought that their parenting skills are out of whack, parents blame bad behavior on other culprits, such as ADD.
It seems every unruly child nowadays has ADD and is being prescribed some sort of medication. The reality is that ADD isn't typically diagnosed until the child is between ages eight and 10. Claiming your five year old has ADD is just bad parenting. Why would any parent want to put their child on a stabilizing medication when his or her brain hasn't even fully developed yet?
I've lived in several different states. Maybe it's because I am older and less patient, but I feel Colorado is the most "family-oriented" place I have ever lived. I have friends who attend University of Colorado-Colorado Springs and tell me stories of how students and even professors bring their children to lectures. To me, that's just unacceptable.
There are certain places children don't belong and there are certain behaviors they should be prohibited from. It's not acceptable when I'm standing in line at the movie theatre that I should have to listen to an 8-year-old use the "F" word 20 times in two minutes. At age 19, I shouldn't have to accept the consequences that result from the bad parenting decisions of others.
And so parents and future parents of Colorado, I beseech you. No one is telling you that you can't have children or even how to raise your children. The state will tell us a 16-year-old can't buy liquor, but anyone has the right to give birth. Children are in a hurry to grow, and parents are in a hurry to raise their children, relying on quick fixes and the easy way out. I'd like for Americans to take a step back in time and travel to a place where the lives of children were filled with more Silly Putty and less mood stabilizers.
Megan Schulz is a sophomore technical journalism major. Her column runs every Friday in the Collegian.