I always respected my parents – I may not have always agreed with what they thought or told us children – but I always respected them. Children nowadays have no respect at all for their parents, and it makes me wonder if this lack of respect is brought on by the parents themselves or society as a whole.
Parents in this day and age have been conditioned to not speak harshly to their children, to not give them a swat on the backside for something they have done wrong, that the ‘new’ form of punishment is the time-out chair and taking away favorite toys. And how is that working out for us America? I’ll tell you how – it’s NOT. Discipline is a way to teach children that there are consequences for every action. If you screw up at work, your fired. If you tear something up in your rental home, you have to pay for it. Children in this day and age expect that everything should be handed to them on a silver platter. That they are entitled to the finer things in life, that they do not need to earn them or put in a hard day’s work to save up for them. Why is that? Because we, as parents, give them what they want. We look back on our own childhood and remember saying, “When I have kids they will get whatever they want…I’m not going to tell them no they can’t have something just because.” Remember your parents telling you that? That you couldn’t have something “just because” and that was that? I do. I also know, now, that the reason why they did that was to instill in me a desire to earn the object or item that I wanted by working and saving until I could get it myself.
My children have in their bedrooms – each of them – a computer, a television, a game system (or two), a CD/DVD player, radios and more toys than they know what to do with. I can honestly say that I have not seen them play with toys from their toy box for months now. Yet my youngest is already coming to me and telling me that he wants a new PlayStation 3 for Christmas, along with several games for said game system, particular sneakers that cost upwards of $100.00 that he will outgrow within 6 months time, and it is all delivered in a matter-of-fact tone of voice as if to say, “This is what I expect from you, and I will be highly disappointed if I don’t receive it when asked for.”
My children are 12 and 9, and recent events with the 12 year old have brought to light issues within our family unit that I have had blinders on to – until now. Yes, I knew that they were happening, but it wasn’t a “major” problem so I ignored it. There were too many other things that needed to be dealt with – and the fact that my kids were growing up as spoiled, entitled-thinking children – was not one of them. Until now.
So the electronics are being removed, the privileges are being revoked, the fun has been taken away. If you want to play, then you’ll have to earn that privilege on a daily basis. When your chores are completed to the satisfaction of the warden (mom), then – and only then – will you be allowed to enjoy yourself and have fun again.
The same holds true for older children. When my first husband and I were married, it was just a given that we called home every week to speak to our parents. Not just because we lived several states away, but to show respect, to show that we cared, that we wanted to know that they were okay and if there was anything they needed or that we could do for them. Grown children nowadays don’t do that. They call their parents as an after-thought, too wrapped up in their own lives to pick up the phone for five minutes and just say, “I was thinking about you, so thought I would call.” That alone would speak volumes to a parent. It saddens me, makes me wonder what will happen if the day comes and my care is entrusted to that of my children. Will they just put me in a nursing home somewhere and forget about me? I seem to be already forgotten, so what hope do I have of the future being any different?
Take a good long look at how you are raising your children. Remember how your parents raised you. The way that they parented was not wrong – it instilled values in you, taught you morals, taught you the value of a dollar, and that anything worth having is worth working for. Don’t make the same mistakes with your children that I have with mine. Fix it now while you can, or begin fixing it if you are able to. It’s never too late to teach them good values … until they have moved out and on their own and living life and learning the hard way.