"...they keep sending kids messages, backing the way they WANt kids to be, but not the way kids actually ARE."
I think there are two reasons:
1) Politics: Schools no longer consider individual differences to be paramount . All kids must be taught the same thing (within a very narrow curriculum) and learn it in roughly the same time frame. Then, the kids are subjected to a battery of tests, the results of which are often put in the local newspaper and sent to parents. Education is now driven by the test rather than by sensitive, appropriate pedogogy. Politicians (NOT educators) have decided that these strict standards, and narrow curricula, will apply to all children regardless of talents, interests or ability. What it amounts to is treating children as if they were eggs; all must fit into the carton in order to be included. This is a brazen attempt to homogenize the learning style, character, and way of thinking of the populus.
Most adults, Child Lovers excepted, have forgotten what it feels like to be a child. They cannot see things through the eyes of a child, and hence, have become blind to the realities of childhood. While most people do love their children, empathy is seldom part of that love.