Dummying Down Kids: A Passion of Adults

Yenisel Rodriguez

Ferris wheel. Photo: Sonia Kovacic

When I visited the Coconut Island Amusement Park, I was surprised when I saw how the adults sabotaged the children’s day of recreation.

With the children grabbed by the hands, ordered to remain silent, forcibly made to sit down, etc., an amusement park like Coconut Island changed from one moment to another into an island of coco-nutty parents.

That’s why I wasn’t bothered when the time came for snacks, lunch and siestas.  The children would begin the counterattack:

“I’m tired mommy…”

“But I’m not hungry daddy…”

“That’s my balloon!”

The children charged dearly for the parent’s overprotection by asserting themselves when mommy least expected it.  Total chaos reigned in the park’s food court.  The kids didn’t want to be quiet.  They still had a lot of energy to burn.

The adults failed to comprehend the message of the little ones.  Again coco-nuttyness rained. Alarmed, the parents tried to stuff the kids with food.

I refuse to say that tantrums and hissy fits are part of the “nature” of children.  Rather, I think it’s a resistance strategy deployed against the intolerance and selfishness of adults.  Acting spoiled is the recycling of pampering, and it means you temporarily use a weapon that until recently dominated you.

After eating lunch, I decided to go for a walk around the park.  By chance, I stumbled on a birthday celebration.  But it was more of the same.

The smothering of the children was invisible to the parents, who took pains to dramatize their omnipresent affection.  Only after feeling recognized as “givers of love” by the other adults attending the children’s party did they allow the children to create their own festive space.

A child without freedom, without their own cultural context, where the interaction with adults is only one part of their communication with the universe, will result in a child as an object, a child as the merchandise of affection, a stupid child or —better said— a “dummied down” child.

Yenisel Rodriguez

Yenisel Rodriguez Perez: I have lived in Cuba my entire life, except for several months in 2013 when I was in Miami with my father. Despite the 90 miles that separate Havana and Miami, I find profound reasons in both for political and community activism. My encounter with socio-cultural anthropology eight years ago prepared me for a commitment of love for cultural diversity.

One thought on “Dummying Down Kids: A Passion of Adults

  • September 5, 2010 at 9:29 pm


    That’s a great metaphor that is exactly what the paternalistic Cuban regime has been trying to create
    a dummied down citizen!

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