Skip to comments.The War on "No" Is Child "Centered Parenting" producing a generation of brats?
Posted on 11/30/2007 8:18:46 AM PST by qam1
Extreme parenting has come to be associated with images of overly involved parents this generation's stage parents, who manage and control every minute of their child's life, imposing their adult dreams and desires onto the little ones in a pathetic attempt to fuel their own insatiable need for success and recognition. As familiar as this parental profile has become, another form of extreme parenting has emerged, one that is getting harder to ignore. I am referring to the increasingly ubiquitous parenting approach that rejects the use of the word "no," and in which even the most reasonable degree of parental limit-setting is consistently absent.
Most of us have been in social situations where we've observed, with incredulity, a parent bow to the extreme demands of a menacingly persistent child, inches from a tantrum "Okay, but honey, that's your last package of Twizzlers before breakfast." Worse, many of us too often have been that parent. What is happening here? I thought the Dr. Spock generation put an end to tyrannical rule within family life a few generations ago. It did not. In too many families the tyrant still rules but today he is much shorter.
How did the power balance in our parent-child relationship become so off-kilter? In what other relationship would we give in to someone we love, as a matter of course, saying "yes" to every demand, every whim, no matter how unreasonable and expect our emotional connection to remain unharmed? "I know, dear, our new neighbor really is a knock-out, especially in that two-piece. Well, okay, but just this once, and don't be home too late, it's a work night."
On the very far end of the non-confrontational parenting trend, and seemingly designed for parents who would rather get out of the driver's seat altogether, is an organization called Taking Children Seriously. TCS adherents attempt to parent without infringing upon the children's will. When there's a conflict, they find a compromise between the child's and parent's desires; eliminating the win/lose dynamic. The examples provided on their website seem absurdly idealistic, and impossible for any parent who needs to care for a newborn sibling, meet a deadline or get dinner on the table to implement. Not to mention, this approach seems to overlook the profound limitations of a young child's capacity for reason and impulse control
Aside from this extreme example, this recent transformation in child-rearing appears to be a twisted, supercharged version of what began benignly as a "child-centered" approach to family life. Its effect on our children is attracting notice and not just among our in-laws. Several new books have appeared within the last year, each identifying a cultural phenomenon of concern to any of us who are attempting to raise happy, healthy, well-adjusted children. If the experts' predictions are on target, we're facing a future filled with overgrown, ill-tempered, and entitled Baby Hueys who will spend their adulthood wondering why they can't sustain an intimate adult relationship or hold down a decent job.
It's not just that many American parents are under-parenting by not setting reasonable limits. Paradoxically, we are also over-parenting by making every effort to ensure that our children are not given the opportunity to fail. At the same time, our pediatricians are urging us to cut back on the excessive use of hand sanitizers and antibiotics (kids need exposure to some germs if their immune systems are going to successfully fight the really bad ones), our child development experts are telling us to stop excessively slathering our children with the word "Yes." Our kid's emotional "immune systems" need exposure to life lessons that involve at least the risk of disappointment, failure or emotional turmoil if they are going to be able to withstand the bigger setbacks and losses they will inevitably face in adulthood.
An increasing number of childcare experts suggest that American parents are in dire need of a comprehensive re-evaluation of how effectively we are raising our children. If parents, like most employees, received an end-of-year job evaluation, this year's would be a particularly uncomfortable assessment. Don't even think about a performance-based bonus...........
I hope parents here take the time to read it.
Ping list for the discussion of the politics and social (and sometimes nostalgic) aspects that directly effects Generation Reagan / Generation-X (Those born from 1965-1981) including all the spending previous generations are doing that Gen-X and Y will end up paying for.
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Children are born liberals. The role of parenting is one of civilizing them into conservatives.
Great article...we do need to protect our children, but we don’t need to bubblewrap them.
Want the short answer to the headline?
MA is making it illegal to swat your kid on the butt.
Children are born liberals. The role of parenting is one of civilizing them into conservatives.
If only this message would fit on a bumper sticker.
“Most of us have been in social situations where we’ve observed, with incredulity, a parent bow to the extreme demands of a menacingly persistent child, inches from a tantrum “Okay, but honey, that’s your last package of Twizzlers before breakfast.” Worse, many of us too often have been that parent.”
We’ve all been there. It’s so much easier to just give in, and I’ve been guilty of it occasionally but you have to find the energy and willpower to remain vigilant. It only helps them down the road and life and helps retain your own sanity for the long term. ;)
Anyone who wants to raise their child correctly needs to read “Child Training Tips”.
The most insightful statement I have read in a while. If you give little hedonists everything they want they will grow into big hedonists.
Or the book I’m currently studying, Dr. Dobson’s “The Strong Willed Child.”
I admit that our own sons have a great deal in the way of material possessions. It is hard to come up with ideas for Christmas or birthday gifts, because frankly, they have so much already. They don't have as much as their peers, however, and certainly far less in the form of consumer electronics, let alone expensive clothing. Thanks in good measure to my tough-as-nails husband, they hear "no" quite regularly. They help with yard work and house cleaning, which was a normal thing in households of our youth. In our community, this is now rare. Most of the yard work is done by "Manuel and Jose" and the housecleaning by "Juanita and Maria". Most local kids don't have a clue how to clean a toilet, change a cat box, set a mousetrap, use power tools, or start a push lawnmower. It's not good for them, and when times get tough, they'll have a steep learning curve.
Absolutely correct, I’m horrified at the parenting I see around me, and my daughter is as well. My husband and I consider it a badge of honor that our children often told us growing up that we were the ‘meanest parents ever!!’
Producing? It’s already produced them.
This “child-centered” (so-called) parenting seems to be the norm. I cannot stand to be near most people’s brats on airlines, in restaurants, or at malls. They seem oblivious to well-managed stares and ‘the hairy eyeball’.
Bottom line—we treat our kids as equals, not as parent-child, and wonder why they get upset when some put their foot down eventually...
...interestingly, while we (the Grown-Ups) maintain the attitude that WE are the adults around here, YOU are the KIDS and it’s the ADULTS who make the decisions, we are accused of ‘violating’ their ‘rights’ as humans by not recognizing them as ‘equals.’
They get this from school.
We laugh it off and get the final word, (usually ;) but these kids are actually being engineered into thinking they should have as much authority and say-so as adults.
Not only that, but from *very* young ages, they are told they can call Children-Youth Services if they feel they are being ‘abused.’ (which can be anything from a severe beating to being made to sit in a corner or made to eat their brocolli.)
I’ve read/heard enough horror stories that once a call is placed, you can be embroiled in a battle with these dimwits simply for giving the kid Cheerios over Captain Crunch if the kid calls and cries ‘abuse!’
When mine were younger, I cringed at the idea when they’d make the threat....now that they are older, I tell them, ‘Here, would you like me to make the call FOR you? YOU will be the one put into foster care in the ghetto with 9 other kids and at least I won’t have to listen to your mouth for a few days.’
“No” was the second word my little son learned this year. The first word being the cat’s name of course, who helped him learn to walk.
Beat their arse and send them to their room to think about it. Rinse. Repeat until you get the desired behavior. It worked in my family.
We are trying to parent with the goal of teaching our son to be independent AND civilized. This is much harder than I anticipated. At fifteen months, it seems like we are experiencing the “terrible two’s”. He will frequently say “no, no, no, ...” as he is doing what we have previously told him not to do.
I may now be paying the price for all the complaining I used to do about other peoples’ children.
I find this to be great news.
Generations of muppets can’t compete with those I’m related to that were brought up properly. It bodes well for their success.
That is the quote of the day, I think!
When my daughters tell me she wants something, I always reply that I want a daughter who eats her vegetables. I then ask her If I am going to get what I want. She says, “No.” I then respond, “We don’t always get what we want, do we?”
Children are not mature enough to be “independent”.
Seriously, see my link above, read the book from your library. It makes a lot of sense. If he’s old enough to understand a command, he’s old enough to obey you, willingly and cheerfully.
When the child has enough parental guidance under his belt, THEN he can be independent, and more confidently so.
Incidentally, I talked to a Vietnamese family a while back, and out of curiosity asked about the “terrible two’s” - they hadn’t heard of it. Described it to the mother and she said “oh, that’s just misbehavior - spanking consistently cures that”.
My wife works childcare at our church preschool. She’s got 2 of these little hellions, both supposedly being raised in Christian homes. I happened to be there one day when one boy told my wife “no” when asked to pick up the mess he had made - I asked him if he tells his parents “no” - he nodded his head yes.
This next generation as “adults” is going to be something else! Road rage will be nothing compared to what their behavior will be like.
Undisciplined Children = Spoiled Brats = Liberal Peter Pans
I’m not responding since we don’t always get what we want.
You do know why they call them the "terrible two's", right? It's a phase that starts when they're two but, don't worry, it ends when they turn twenty two. :=)
It's amazing how many people don't manage their own homes... When I was young, my parents bought a good sized farm in Quakertown, PA. Besides getting out of the city (well, for few years) my father wanted us to learn how to work. I could use an ax, shoot and clean various guns and care for animals before I was in first grade.
As for the word 'No'. We were not generally not permitted to use the word 'No'. My parents taught us the only responses that they should hear from us was 'yes sir' and 'yes mam'
Whatever the experts say. I’m so glad that I’ve raised mine and wouldn’t even consider doing it again in today’s society. It’s like running a race on a track full of tacks and nails with a crowd throwing beer bottles at you and finally being disqualified by crooked judges after you’ve won.
I work at a local YMCA, and some of the children are so poorly behaved. One child was throwing a screaming tantrum because he didn’t want to leave, simply lying on his back and screaming while his parent watched. A few minutes later, he was running around on the pool deck. I talked to him about it, and told the father what I had just said. The father said ‘Oh, he’s almost five, and I can’t get anything through to him.’ I was completely floored that a parent would allow a child that old to simply scream their head off in public without telling them to stop because he just assumed that his kid wouldn’t listen. The only thing I hate more is the occasional parent who tells the kids it’s OK to break the rules - just because you’re their parent doesn’t mean that you’re the absolute authority in this world.
When did the notion that a household is a democracy with each inhabitant having an equal vote become prevalent? Since 2003, I have told my children that if our house was a country, the United States would have liberated them by now.
“No” was my oldest son’s first word (he’s now almost 8). Guess he heard it a lot! And, I’m glad to say, he and his little brother STILL hear it a lot!
...when parents create a household where the children cannot rely on them to say "no," or to set clear limits, the children lose a sense of safety, a sense of organization about the world around them, and the ability to experience and integrate the basic life lessons necessary for them to evolve into well-developed and mature adults.
What this child too often gains when parents indulge and overprotect ... is a profound sense of entitlement, a disregard for the needs of others, and an inability to put forth the genuine effort needed to develop academically, socially, and emotionally.