Dennis Prager

But all this excitement is actually inhibiting our children's ability to enjoy life and therefore be happy. All this excitement renders young people jaded, not happy. To cite a simple example, many children today would refuse to watch a black and white film -- "It's boring," they say. They would even refuse to watch many of the greatest color films if they lacked the amount of excitement -- usually meaning violence but also frequently meaning foul language and sexual content -- that they are now so used to seeing in films. Plot development is "boring"; blowing up people and buildings is exciting.

That is why the frequent complaint of "I'm bored" is often a sign of a jaded child, i.e., a child addicted to excitement and therefore incapable of enjoying life when not being excited.

All this excitement in their lives bodes poorly for the future happiness of millions of American children. Real life, let alone daily life, will seem so boring to them that they will not be able to enjoy it. And more than a few of them will opt for lives of constant excitement, often in ways destructive to themselves and others.

The solutions are as simple to offer as they may be difficult to enforce. Limit the amount of excitement in your children's lives: the amount of video games, the amount of non-serious television, the amount of music whose only aim is to excite. If they are bored, they will have to remedy that boredom by playing with friends, finding a hobby, talking to a family member, walking the dog, doing chores, reading a book or magazine, learning a musical instrument or foreign language, memorizing state capitals, writing a story or just their thoughts, exercising or playing a sport, or just thinking.

The younger the age from which children are deprived of superficial excitement, the longer they will remain innocent -- i.e., not jaded -- and capable of real happiness. For as long as they live under your roof, and therefore (hopefully) under your control, you can implement excitement detox. If you do, they may hate you now, but they will thank you later, which is far superior to liking you now and hating you later. And in parenting, that is often the choice we must make.

Dennis Prager

Dennis Prager is a SRN radio show host, contributing columnist for and author of his newest book, “The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code.”

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