Spoiled Rotten

We’re lavishing our kids with unwarranted praise, trying to be their BFFs instead of their parents, and giving them anything they ask for. Where have we gone wrong?

But it’s hard to find the time. We get caught up in the rat race, sprinting from one activity to the next. Our kids are too busy to volunteer at soup kitchens or read to the blind, let alone empty the dishwasher, take out the garbage, or rake the leaves. They’re exhausted from athletics, piano practice, Scout meetings, Kumon, and Russian Math—and so are we. Sometimes it’s just easier to do these tasks ourselves, to avoid the nagging, the idle threats, and the ensuing argument. Besides, we’re more likely to do it right the first time. While 82 percent of adults reported having regular chores when they were growing up, only 28 percent said they required their own children to do them, according to a 2014 survey by Braun Research.

Bring back the chores, proclaims Richard Bromfield, a Boston psychologist and author of How to Unspoil Your Child Fast. Simple tasks like making beds, washing dishes, and setting the table teach kids a basic work ethic and give them a sense of accomplishment. That’s what makes kids happy—“not constant flattery and reward,” Bromfield says. “Competency and real skills are what endow a child with robust self-esteem.” Chores, in other words, give them purpose and “a real connection to their world and their place in it.”

My husband remembers going door to door when he was my sons’ age, asking neighbors if he could wash their cars so that he could earn money to buy Star Wars action figures. It’s hard to imagine my boys doing the same thing. We give them everything they want—often with just a click of the mouse. “Every birthday and holiday I struggle,” admits one mom. “My kids seem to have every toy [and] plaything that they want.”

Stop giving. “Getting what they want, whenever they want it, can undermine children’s learning patience, gratitude, and all those old-fashioned values that help the adults they grow into manage a healthy, responsible, and contented life,” Bromfield says. Ironically, he says, “Affluent parenting can deprive a child of fundamental life skills.”

A dad tells me about his own awakening: His six- and eight-year-old boys had already opened dozens of Christmas gifts, but their big presents from their grandparents were sitting on the driveway. “I was super- excited, as were my parents,” he says, as he led the boys outside with their eyes closed. “After a dozen steps, they opened their eyes to find brand-new bikes. Their reactions were equivalent to having just found a dime under the couch cushion in the family room,” he recalls painfully. “I looked at my parents and almost died of embarrassment.”

He tells me he views his boys’ ambivalence as a reflection of the parenting mistakes he’d been making for years. “I don’t blame [my kids]. I blame my swing-and-a-miss parenting skills for their oblivious reaction.” His boys had no idea how much the bikes had cost. Why would they? Our kids have no concept of the value of money because they’ve never needed to.

Scrolling through Facebook recently, I came across a friend’s post asking the Tooth Fairy’s going rate. What troubled me was the obvious discomfort one mom felt when she discovered she was giving less: “Guess the tooth fairy is cheap in our house—$1 per tooth,” she wrote, qualifying her comment with “but they get a letter from her too.” Hey, there’s no shame in sticking to your values. Yet parents are more concerned with making sure their kid isn’t the one at the playground who got the least—and we’re not just talking about the Tooth Fairy here. Electronics, clothing, shoes, and sports gear are all fair game. “But Zach has his own iPad,” my kids whine when I tell them they can’t use mine—followed by a chorus of “It’s not fair!”

It seems that we’ve lost something of the solidarity our parents used to have with other moms and dads. There was definitely less pressure to keep up with the Joneses, my mother says of raising my sister and me in the suburbs of Washington, DC. In fact, Bromfield adds, it was not only “manageable, but also was often a force that supported parents maintaining the ‘status no.’ Many parents could comfortably deny their children because they knew, at that very moment, that other parents were doing the same thing right down the street.” It’s not the same now, he acknowledges. “Most parents are not saying no. Today’s children know, from firsthand experience, if they persist hard and long enough, their efforts will pay off: Their parents will eventually tire and surrender.”

 

There’s a teenager who roars down our street in a bright yellow Audi. I asked my neighbor, “Who buys their teenage son a brand-new sports car?” She gave it to me straight: “Dumb parents.” She has a point; but really, what drives people to make poor parenting decisions? I have a theory: They want their kids to like them. That has to be the reason parents these days allow their middle schoolers to stay up past midnight to watch The Tonight Show, or let their teenagers host unsupervised gatherings at their homes, or why they remain silent while their kids badmouth their teachers.

The trouble is that we’re sending mixed messages to our kids: Are we their moms and dads…or their BFFs? Weissbourd calls it a “big social experiment.” Clearly it’s important for us to be close to our children: 51 percent of us say we spend more time with our kids than our parents did with us, according to a fall 2014 NBC News parenting poll. We want our kids to feel comfortable telling us anything, without fear of judgment or reprisal. But as a result, we’ve lost some of our authority—and “the confidence that supports effective parenting,” Bromfield says.

Here’s the real problem with it, adds Weissbourd: “Kids appropriate their parents’ values [by] trying to be like them.” If we are too close to our children, he says, it can make it hard for our kids to idealize us, in part because we are too busy idealizing them. Maybe we’re trying to relive our glory years through our children, or to parent them the way we wish our parents had parented us, or to reconcile our guilt for working long hours or dragging them through a painful divorce; whatever the reason, we’re blurring the lines. Weissbourd isn’t suggesting we return to the more distant relationships of our grandparents’ generation, but he says we need to figure out a way to be more involved in our children’s lives while still promoting their moral growth. “In the end, you have to make decisions as a parent, not as a friend,” he adds.

The good news? Kids from homes where clear expectations and limits live in balance with nurturing and respect tend to be “livelier, happier, more emotionally self-regulated, resilient, socially adept, and flexible” than kids from either permissive or authoritarian homes, Bromfield asserts.

 

As I’m writing this article, I have a nagging feeling that I’m missing something. What is it we’re really concerned about? Is it the epic tantrums in the toy-store aisle? The gimme-more attitude? The laments of “it’s not fair”? Or is it something deeper that I can’t quite articulate…or, perhaps, feel uncomfortable saying out loud? And then my friend nails it. He tells the story of driving 20 hours to Walt Disney World as a kid in the 1970s, “jockeying [with my siblings] for a premium back-seat position…the good, the bad, and the ugly,” he recalls. “To this day, I joke about that trip with my siblings, and love that I have those memories.”

In spring 2014, he took his family of five to Disney. The flight was three hours. “I tell my children about driving to Florida,” he says, “and they don’t understand it. ‘Why didn’t you fly?’ ‘Wasn’t it a long drive?’” He wonders whether his attempt to give his kids a better upbringing than he had (an upbringing, he emphasizes, that he loved) is “stealing some cool story moments” from his boys. “JetBlue with an iPad is a shortcut with some benefits, but at the end of the day, the price of the ticket isn’t the only cost one must assume.” He admits, “It’s on me, not my children…. I just feel a bit sad at times.”

My friend recognizes that his story is likely to elicit more than a few “cry me a river” responses, but his honesty strikes a chord. Part of me does worry that I’m short-changing my kids of those character-building experiences that shaped our childhoods and made us who we are today. Their lives are so structured, shuttled from one supervised activity to another, with little time for free play or reflection. Like my friend, I feel nostalgic for a time when there wasn’t as much stuff, when there were a lot fewer choices, when building forts meant real ones in the woods, not virtual ones with 3-D blocks. Then again, there’s always been a tendency for people to view their childhood through rose-colored glasses. Our grandparents didn’t just walk 2 miles uphill to school barefoot in the snow—they boasted about it. I find myself leaning on the familiar trope “When I was your age…” far more often than I’d like. But remember, it wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies: Our fathers were less present, the divorce rates were escalating, many of us were highly unsupervised, and, in all likelihood, our mothers were not only barefoot but smoking and sipping Harvey Wallbangers while they were pregnant with us.

The truth is that we have good kids who mean well and are sure to make this world a much better place. It’s their moms and dads who could use a little fine-tuning. Otherwise, we risk being the parents of that child who walks into a 1,600-square-foot house for a play date, takes a look around, and asks, “So where’s the rest of your house?”

True story.

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  • joanmcn@aol.com

    I came from a house that both parents worked and I had a sick sister as well. We didn’t get everything we wanted and we were told no more often than not. We grew up- I’m close to sixty and my sister died at 17- knowing that we were loved. I have a sense of respect, compassion, politeness and all the qualities any parent should pass to their kids. My parents are both gone now but I thank God for the upbringing I had. That did a great job…

  • ML

    While I agree with much of this article, the one major point I think it misses is the tendency of these parents to focus on their own self-gratification as well. After all, children model adult behaviour. I have a few neighbors that refer to their expensive vacations with a moan, saying that it is just managing their children in a different location. I see a few mom’s do nothing more than tote their kids around in a stroller so the mom’s can get their exercise (and these kids are old enough to walk). I’m all about balance for the kids, but it seems to me that a lot of these parents are just as spoiled and selfish as their kids. And I know plenty of adults in their 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s that would be taken aback if their perceived abilities were criticized. As a society, both adults and children have become aculturized to expect nothing but positive interactions and self-gratification.

  • Fruity

    I took this article to heart and decided to make my spoiled kids help with chores around the house. I handed my 10 year old son a trash can of recycles and asked him to take them out to the garage. The next day I look out in the yard and the recycles are strewn across the yard. He apparently forgot what he was doing during the 20 steps from the kitchen to the garage. I tried again. Sent him back out to pick up the recycles and put them in the garage. 5 minutes later he showed up back in the kitchen with the full can of recycles that he was going to put back. I tried a 3rd time. Finally, the recycles made it to the recycling bin in the garage. I am one of those parents who finds it easier to do it myself but this article does make me realize that I’m not doing him any favors in the long run.

    • D Schulz

      And with other kids it might have been 5 or 6 times. I pray for the strength to keep trying.

  • http://www.my-little-poppies.com Caitie

    Fantastic article, Julie! I agree on all points. More parent should opt out of this rat race- it’s not healthy for anyone.

  • msmassachusetts

    I see in this article the same basis for parenting philosophy as that of the self-esteem movement – little more than speculation. I am one of the least authoritarian persons I know, and my kids aren’t spoiled at all. We are well off, yet when my older daughter wanted to go to Chicago to visit a friend she took a cheap bus and stayed in a youth hostel out of her own meager earnings from a pet store job. She came out of me already that way. I didn’t raise her to do that any more than my sister raised her son to spend every penny that came his way the instant it hit his pocket. Most of the people I know who are very strict with their children have problem children (college dropouts, drug use), but what came first? The chicken or the egg? You are dealt a hand when you have a child and you have very little control over how they turn out, because a large part of behavior is innate. I know one family of my relations, kids got everything they wanted and acted spoiled with whining, bickering, rudeness, etc. But now as young adults they are admirable and polite. One is a straight-A student in college, attends church and works in a preschool every summer, another became an Eagle scout. I swear the topic of conversation for many years in our family was how spoiled those kids were.
    Of course when I have my kids help with household chores, I have to follow through, otherwise I’m training them to ignore me, but I have to do that with my husband too. I view that as normal human interaction with people you live with, not some kind of training. Most of the raising of kids that I attempt to do is by example and conversation. But I have kids for which that works. It seems obvious to me that the most important thing I did to obtain good kids was to pick a husband with good genes.

    • pixiedust8

      Agreed. I think it depends on your kids’ personalities to a large extend. My child is very self-motivated and nice. I’d like to take the credit, but I think some of it is just his nature. I never have to raise my voice and I rarely have to nag. I think the key is helping your kids learn to help themselves,.

    • D Schulz

      Don’t sell yourself short! Nature and nurture both come into play! I do agree that identifying your kids natural tendencies and working with your kids to see them and work with them is critical. Some kinds can’t naturally wait for 3 weeks to save for a toy they want, others easily wait 3 months. If you are someone who can’t wait, then you encourage entrepreneurial endeavors to show them how to get their quicker. If you are someone who can wait then you encourage shopping around for the best price and features while you wait. Many parents don’t have the self-awareness to do this for themselves, much less for their little humans.

      I’m about 50/50. Sometimes I can knock it out of the park as a parent, other times I am the worst example and have to kick myself out of it. God help us all.

  • Brock Putnam

    I recall my son (in his early teens) complaining that something or other wasn’t “fair.” He pressed the point – I finally responded. “It’s not fair that you’ve never been hungry a day in your life when a third to a quarter of the world goes to sleep hungry every night. Don’t go wishing life was ‘fair,’ you might discover what ‘fair’ would really mean to you.”

  • LadyPack

    Just some thoughts…
    1. Shouldn’t confuse self-esteem with sense of self worth–children need to feel loved, competent, and worthy. The odds are, they will in turn be kind and caring.
    2. People took the idea of self-esteem and turned it into nonsense. False and over praising, “student of the week,” and competition among children and parents. The irony is that all this praise and competition makes kids feel LESS confident and eager to risk new or challenging things.
    3. Schools can be miserable places for children and getting worse–red marks, meanness, homework, competition, constant testing, and little or no play or recess, all contribute to a whole host of problem behaviors in children.
    4. Children get too much stuff-and so do adults. Special holidays and birthdays used to be a time for gift giving. Now it’s all the time. Go to MacDonalds and get a happy meal with toys! (junk). The more stuff they get, the more they want.
    5.It wasn’t about the price of the bikes. It was probably that an outdoor, physical activity wasn’t high on their list of presents (maybe a new Ipad would have done it). Also, when they get so much, they cannot see value in something special.
    6. I think parents in the last 40 years feel less confident. They are bombarded with advice and scary warnings. They ask their very young children, “Do you want to go to bed now? Do you want to take a bath? You have to stop hitting your sister, okay?” –instead of matter-of-factly telling children what needs to happen and doing it. I think that’s because they’re so unsure of themselves as parents.
    7. Parents are much too involved with their children and children have very little time to be independent and develop the confidence and skills to work out how to be with other people. And btw, just have fun and adventure AWAY FROM ADULTS!
    8. I agree with “msmassachusett,” that some children from overindulged homes can grow up to be fine outstanding adults, but far too many do not. And, the years of raising them can be more trying than they need to be.

  • Therealkhaleesi

    While I agree with a majority of the points in this article, I would
    hesitate to overstate the relationship between college students dealing
    with depression and parents spoiling their children in childhood. I
    would argue that the prevalence of mental health issues on college
    campuses has more to do with natural feelings that arise out of major
    life transitions and the fact that the onset of many mental
    psychological conditions is between 18 and 24 rather than being given
    “too many trophies.” It’s nothing new.

  • Bella B.

    This article makes some good points, but I don’t agree with everything the author suggests. Paying children to be competitive or to get good grades is ridiculous in my opinion because it doesn’t teach them the real value of their accomplishments. Modeling good behavior (being kind, polite, writing thank you notes, etc.) and expecting children to do the same is something that not all adults do today…rather sad, isn’t it? If my child complained about a “mean” teacher, I would definitely explore what was going on and I would not expect any child to suffer through that! It’s just not right for teachers to be mean bullies…and some are…I had several. Raising children to have a good sense of self worth is important. If one has low self esteem as a child or adult, one does not live the best life.

    Also, I would like to say the Oxfam dinner described in the article is not the best way to illustrate the world’s disparity. I would guess that only a “privileged” community would even think of such a thing…and a physician, whether he or she serves a poor or upper class community makes a damn good living and can afford to get his or her kids what they need or want for the most part.

    This is nothing new, by the way. I grew up (in a very UN-posh community) with kids who got new cars, motorcycles, had families that owned vacation homes, etc. Not everyone had these things, of course, but some did, while it was an impossibility for others. People spend within their financial means, for the most part. I think it is normal for parents to provide things for their children. Children can grow up with lots of “stuff” and still learn that there are those who have less, they need to be grateful, give back to society, be kind, helpful, polite. This can easily be instilled by parents who need to stop looking at their phones and take the time to participate fully in raising a good human being.

  • Kevin Phelps

    Anti-Whites say there should be no White Countries
    Anti-Whites say there should be no White Towns
    Anti-Whites say there should be no White Neighbourhoods
    Anti-Whites say there should be no White Schools
    Anti-Whites say there should be no White Classes
    Anti-Whites say there should be no White Sports
    Anti-Whites say there should be no White Anything

    Anti-Whites say there should be no White people

    Anti-racist is a codeword for anti White.

    • Bella B.

      Kevin Phelps, did you mean to put this response in the Saida Grundy article comments section?

      • Kevin Phelps

        my comment belongs in EVERY article

        • American1

          Kevin Phelps,
          When are you going to say something about your WHITE pillowcase?

  • juliette_tanderson
  • Ann Hessenius

    Julie..This is one of the VERY best articles I have EVER read on this crucial subject. You are SOOOO wise in your assessment. Please, please keep writing/speaking/doing whatever you can do to discuss this. So much depends on a great course-correction of our narcissistic culture that has developed over (especially) the past 3 decades, and which has now accelerated to a point of dangerous magnitude.

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  • DeJure56

    It is indeed a critical subject. There are two key needs for children. First, as parents we need to provide them with life skills with which they can cope with adult life. If they are given everything they want and don’t have to make effort to achieve anything, how can they manage a career if they can’t persist in the face of difficulty. It doesn’t mean we have to beat them to death but just ensure that they learn to cope with things that don’t always go there way. They need to work as part of a group – initially the family, helping each other out.

    This is critical. While many say “oh, let them have their childhood – they can learn about these things later” it is actually a negative thing. One key element in the development of a child’s brain is that during early puberty the brain will destroy synaptic pathways that are not used and reinforce those pathways that are used more heavily. Basically, this means that if they haven’t achieved a reasonable level of life skills by that age, they will never have those strong skills…

  • ProPeople

    As soon as I hear a parent call one of their kids Buddy, I know they’ll have trouble before long.

  • ntznomad

    Who is this “we” that you speak of? My children have chores, work hard in school and extracurriculars, and are respectful to each other and adults.

    I am often called a “mean mom” by the same parents who complain about the behaviors you describe. Parenting well is HARD WORK. Most don’t want to do it.

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  • MoAnamCara

    I LOVE this article. My kids have chores, are doing great academically and yet, they are just as happy as the kids who are celebrating their birthdays at expensive places.

    Actually, my kids stop having birthday parties altogether when my son was 5 and my girl was 6. They said, some of the parties they were going to, are so childish; are sick of going to Chuck E Cheeses, My Gym, etc. and they realize, with the party money, we could do more during family vacation.
    I teach them how to distinguish ‘need’ and ‘want’. I proudly say, they never throw tantrum over toys and could make wise decision about what they want/ need to buy.

    All because of one thing. My best friend is one of the moms in the article. She lets her kids run around Toys R Us the day after Thanksgiving, armed with pens and paper to write down what toys they want for Christmas. Sometimes the list is a double page long. Amazingly, she would, in a whim, try to get them all, by buying them and then call every family member, saying ‘this is the toys they want in their list. I have them, would you buy it off me and wrap it so she could get it from you?’. Yet she wonders why her kids throw tantrum if they don’t get anything they want on daily basis, why her house is a mess and why she is not happy with everything, including her earning 6 figures salary husband.

    *sigh* So, like ntznomad said, I am dubbed by several as a ‘mean mom’ or worst, as a ‘tiger mom’ because I don’t cave in to every demands.

    • Kim Erban Bachman

      Woot! Woot!

  • http://Www.wholesomemamma.in/ Aloka Gambhir

    When i read such articles, i agree with most points ofcourse. it’s just that i often wonder about it because I am sure that every previous generation felt their kids were different form how they were brought up. our kids are growing up in a world very different from us, they are being parented by people very different from our parents. so they are bound to be different, have different values etc.
    we may not like it and ofcourse we as parents are to blame but it’s not necessarily always a bad thing that they are growing with plenty. empathy and putting yourself in other people’s shoes is something that comes with time and from within. if a child is always sheltered then maybe those lessons are learnt later.
    i just think that every generation thinks the same way as this. my parents always tell me when we were young we didnt answer like this or didnt have this etc.

    • Rosie

      You’re right… and you can trace a steady decline in motivation … respect… morals… etc. Maybe it’s time to take a stand instead of using that same old, tired excuse.

    • pixiedust8

      I think this younger generation is much more motivated to help others than older generations, so I definitely think you can choose to look on the bright side or the dark side (as you point out). Personally, I feel very optimistic about the future.

  • DIE_BankofAmerica_PHUKKING_DIE

    A good screaming at for a few hours a day never killed anyone and keeps the kids in line. Coupled with a strategically raised hand and threats to send kids up for adoption in Algeria keeps expectations more in line with reality and keeps kids rational.

    • Amy Zucker Morgenstern

      We used to say, “Get me the phone book. Look up O for orphanages.” Now we threaten military school (she’s finally old enough to be shipped off to one of those! glory be!). And of course, the old dungeon-and-bread-and-water threat works wonders. The advantage of this approach is that a whiny child quickly becomes a laughing child, and also that she knows what a phone book is, though come to think of it I’m not sure why she needs to.

      • DIE_BankofAmerica_PHUKKING_DIE

        Convent! Threaten to ship her off to a convent where everyone bathes in trench coats and gets a six hour whipping every morning at dawn in the name of God!

        • pixiedust8

          Ha! My mom used to threaten to send me to her old boarding school, which sounded very similar to your convent description. I have to admit that it didn’t strike that much fear into my heart, since it was halfway around the world…

  • Merrick

    I find this kind of article facile in reasoning and essentially boring.
    Every generation complains about how spoiled and useless the next is. I
    think the new generation — like all new generations — is probably
    better than the one that came before. Yes, kids are selfish by developmental stage and annoying to deal with; every generation thinks they’ve discovered this anew. But already we have strong evidence that Millennials exhibit MORE pro-social values than Gen-X (my generation) or Boomers.

    Anecdotally, I know tons of families raising kids with great values — with empathy for others, with a sense of responsibility to the community. A 2012 Pew Study reported that kids growing up in increasingly secular homes with strong ethical values centered around empathy and respect. Our society continues to bend towards justice — because we are collectively getting kinder.

    You can keep whining about these kids today, but I suspect it has more to do with our own aging and frustration with our growing irrelevance than with a clear-headed look at society.

  • pixiedust8

    Huh. My kid never complains if she asks for something and I don’t buy it for her and thanks me when I do buy things for her.She does get a lot compared to some kids (and not much compared to others), but she is always grateful. I don’t know if all her friends are quite as good as she is, but they are all nice, unspoiled kids. I think you are hanging around the wrong people.

    • Kim Erban Bachman

      ARE YOU KIDDING? THIS ARTICLE IS RIGHT ON TARGET! EXCELLENT, I MIGHT ADD! I DON’T HAVE ONE GRATEFUL CHILD, i HAVE 8 AND IT IS BECAUSE OF PRACTICES LIKE THIS!

      YOUR KID MAY NEVER COMPLAIN FOR OTHER REASONS THAT YOU MAY NOT BE SEEING! DO YOU HAVE MORE CHILDREN/DIVERSITY IN PERSONALITIES PIXIE? IF NOT, I SUGGEST GAINING INSIGHT OR KEEP YOUR NARROW MINDED OPINIONS TO YOU AND YOUR “ALMOST PERFECTLY” REARED CHILD! THIS ARTICLE MAY NOT BE FOR YOU!

      I WOULD GIVE THE SAME ADVICE TO CATE AS THE AUTHOR DID NOT ADDRESS KIDS WITH DIFFERENT LEARNING STYLES EITHER. PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT HE IS SAYING AND APPLY IT TO YOUR CHILD AS WELL. AND MAKE THE NECESSARY ADJUSTMENTS. I WORK WITH PEOPLE WITH DISSABILITIES AND IF LEFT UNCHECKED, THEIR ENTITLEMENT IS WORSE THAN THOSE WITH TYPICAL ABILITIES!

      MY, ALL CAPS, IS BECAUSE I FEEL SO STRONG ON THIS SUBJECT AS I HAVE SPENT THE PAST 30 YEARS UNDOING THE DAMAGE OF BEING RAISED, ALMOST TO A TEE, AS THIS ARTICLE DESCRIBES AND WILL CONTINUE TO DO SO AS IT IS VITAL TO MY OWN SELF FIRST! YOU
      CANNOT TEACH/GIVE WHAT YOU DO NOT OWN!
      AND IT IS RAMPANT IN THIS COUNTRY! END OF STORY!

      • pixiedust8

        Good luck to you working on those issues.

        • Kim Erban Bachman

          Thanks Pixie! I am sorry for the “narrowminded” comment 🙁 that was very rude of me!

          I have learned and changed the way I believe and was able to pass this on to my children, mostly because I learned that there was a God and that this life was so much more than I ever knew! I have a great, supportive, faithful and aware husband plus 8 amazing, grateful, lovely children who have grown and far exceeded my expectations and even fears of what children can grow up to become! It could have gone terribly wrong!!!!

          With that said, I do think that we need to be careful not to look at changing our children, but focus on changing ourselves! Just like the push to build self esteem was off balance, so will this next wave be, if we do not look inward instead of projecting it to the children! They have parents for a reason!!

          Thanks for responding with such grace, it’s not wonder your daughter does the same! 🙂 You know what they say about apples!!!

  • Amy Zucker Morgenstern

    I am so tired of writers who confess to spoiling their children and then try to speak for everyone. Speak for yourself. My kid doesn’t respond to a broken toy with a “don’t worry, we’ll buy another one,” because she doesn’t hear that from adults. She doesn’t beg for treats every time we shop because from a very young age, when she asked, she almost always got a “no,” and if she responded to that with whining, the no got firmer.

    I don’t always parent as I aspire to, and my child doesn’t always behave as I hope she will, but this “oh we’re all so awful” needs a mirror more than a platform in a magazine.

    • Cate Mikkelsen

      Amy, it’s very easy to criticize parents in today’s world. From the “refrigerator mom” who was ostensibly responsible for autism (got THAT one wrong), to the ubiquitous helicopter parent, our journalism is full of mythical “lousy parents” at whom countless admonitory articles are aimed. Too bad that it doesn’t get as many clicks to write about joyful parents who make their kids make their beds, save their money, and do their chores.

      Personally, I’m waiting for someone to write about the mythical parent of a kid with learning differences who uses positive reinforcement (because failing all the time is brutal), looks out for their kid in school (because otherwise they fall through the cracks,) and negotiates with the school to get legal support. But those don’t drive clicks either!

      • Katherine Chapman

        Well your kid has arrived. I am clinically diagnosed with ADHD, Intermittent Explosive disorder and learning deficits in key areas like spatial perception hence why I don’t drive at the age of 27.

        My mom is 66 years old with multiple advanced degrees in science. Well from the time I was four years old my mother coddled me and was involved in my life to the point where she knew my teachers just as well if not better than I did. The effect of this was years of low self-esteem and getting used to putting in no effort for passing grades in school. This has led to feeling like I am not good enough to succeed without my parents and therefore I don’t put any effort into myself. Mix that in with psychiatric disorders and you have yourself a vicious self-depreciation complex. I am going to volunteer for an organization that helps people with addiction and homelessness issues and hopefully that will inspire me to see potential in myself. So over parenting can be psychologically damaging to children. Being a parent is just that being a parent.

        Regards,

        Katherine

  • ComputerPolitics

    I agree we shouldn’t spank our kids. But, I feel it would be awesome if we could spank other kids.

    • http://inspirationshaveinone.blogspot.com Naville T
    • marc zimmerman

      KIDS NEED SPANKINGS. you people talk about the better behavior of kids? well GUESS WHAT THAT INCLUDED? spankings. Let me be clear….the kids are able to be “spanked” by cops with tazers and sticks, AND can be tried as adults. Its really funny how the country with the Jail based on profit system, is first in line to promote “dont spank your kids” but yet will allow police to do whatever to kids. Including pepper spraying them. For throwing a tantrum in a class? little kids ahve been handcuffed!!!! But you spank your kids and all of the sudden youre a bad guy right? and have you seen the kid shows nowadays like Callio? THE PARENTS SPEND EVERY WAKING MOMENT saying YES YES YES to the kid, and he gets WHATEVER he wants, until HE feels that he shouldnt have it. You people have taken ANY form of decent kids shows and assured there were no adults taking the lead. Even seseme street. Snuffle uppagus, now isnt “secret” because you people deemed the secret friend as pandering to PEDOPHILES! LOL so…has the pedophile numbers dropped now that you screw around with seseme street? yet at the same time you had some gay man as exec producer and running the elmo puppet that gets charged with sex assault allegations!!

  • Sambo57

    Well I see the comments below but my kids have fallen victim to this new stupid rule of everyone is a winner crap. And now when I play basketball with them hacky sack or anything that has to do with loosing they them selfs loose. They huff puff and give up and of course I don’t give into that behavior but no matter how hard I try it seems the damage from this new way of things is done. Work hard and play hard that’s how we did it growing up and now kids can’t even play tag because there is a loser and some sorry to say stupid overbearing parent is the cause of this movement. So now my kids can’t learn the basics of winning and loosing with other kids as a team now every one is a winner hoo ray NOT. It is stupid that I went to a soccer game to watch my little cousin play and when I asked the score everyone looked at me like I was crazy. They replied there is no score. I nearly lost it. How can they learn to strive to be better to go beyond their limits and push harder if there is no drive to do so. Oh but here is a trophie for nothing yay good job at sucking is what that is saying. I am personally fed up with this new way of things to try to make everyone equal crap. Because not every kid is equal yes some kids are faster and some throw better and some well can’t. Well that’s life and for the kids who can’t perform as the others it might make them want to. To win or to try and move on to the next thing. I cried when I lost a few matches of wrestling growing up. But those tears was because I worked my butt off in those matches but it did not stop me I got up and went to practice and went on to the next one. So I guess what I am trying to say is this new age we are in sucks for kids because they are being taught nothing but by parents like myself. Yeah sure they are learning abc 123 but life skills none any more and to be honest I fear for my children in the future and feel sorry when I tell them no I can’t help that they have to figure things out on their own. I do that now to but my influence is only a part because I got everything else working against me so who knows.

  • Sharon37

    We live in a world where everyone thinks they are the exception to the rule. Special people dont have to follow rules because they are destined for specialness and happiness. Many of these speciial parents will read this article knowing that it applies to them and how they spoil their kids. Then they will go into how they are too special to raise their kids like that and they are NOT one of those parents. The comments justifying how they raise their kids differently are probably the very ones who are spoiling their kids. You can reason and talk to kids but spankings should be used as well. Depends on the child. Spare the rod, spoil the child.