Now, before anyone gets wound up, I want you to know that this article is not about how disrespectful, ill-mannered, and lazy today’s children might be. I want to address what I believe to be the root cause of the whole issue right from the beginning. I am talking about the Baby Boomers. Yes, I said the boomers, of which I am one.
Back during the sixties and even into the early seventies, we were far too interested in “Flower Power,” “Expand your mind,” “If it feels good, do it,” “Peace, love, and the rest of the anti-establishment” movements. The problem with all of this is that we forgot to learn how to be good parents. The bratty kids that you may see today are the grandchildren and great grandchildren of the boomers. Since we forgot to learn how to be good parents, we were unable to teach the parents of today’s children how to raise courteous, politem and respectful kids. Instead we have a generation of narcissistic brats. I have also been told by a professional that this type of narcissism can also be a contributing factor to a child becoming a bully.
Now before anyone starts screaming “String him up!” I think it’s only fair to say that not all of today’s children fit this description. Yes I know, your child is a little angel. Aren’t they all?! But it does fit an uncomfortably large percentage. I can’t even begin to remember all of the horror stories my wife has told me about how some children treat their parents in public. My wife is the manager of a retail store, and she recently told me about one young man about ten years old who threatened to burn the family’s house down if he did not get what he wanted. I agree, that young man has some far more serious problems. But it points out just how far some parents today will allow their children to go. They have been listening to the advice of far too many social workers and psychologists that tell them to just ignore the tantrums. I am sure that there is a perfectly good use for the so-called child-rearing experts. I just haven’t figured out what it is yet.
While it may be blatantly obvious that I am not a college-educated child-rearing expert, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that, if you just ignore your child’s tantrum, you have just told them that they did not get loud enough for you to pay attention to them. So what are they going to do the next time? That’s right, Einstein; they will get even louder. They will continue to increase in intensity with each succeeding tantrum until you finally do pay attention to them. But by then you may be wishing that you had paid attention the first time around.
One more issue while I am at it. I’m on a roll so leave me alone. Those of you who think that you need to be your child’s best friend have, again, been listening to too much psycho-babble. You can NOT be a parent and a best friend at the same time. It just DOES NOT work. I once had a child psychologist tell me (he is one of the few that seemed to know what he was talking about) that the relationship between a child and a parent is a battle of wills. The one with the stronger will power will win. And that is a battle that, as a parent, you cannot afford to lose. If you think they need a best friend, buy them a dog. But it’s far more important that you be their parent.
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