Dr. Leonard Sax is a family physician and parent that recently released a book called “The Collapse of Parenting.” Dr. Sax talks about his perception of a major shift that has occurred over the last sixteen years or so in the way that parents and children interact. In many cases, Dr. Sax says he sees the parents defer to their children, asking their opinions and feeling that they don’t have the right or ability to take disciplinary actions. He says that the sense of entitlement is growing, turning children rude and resentful.
The focus on boosting self esteem has backfired for many children. When kids are told that they are “awesome” and “amazing” regularly, Dr. Sax says it can breed resentfulness when someone tells them no, when they face disappointment, or when they have to work hard for something. Teaching kids humility can help to counteract the entitlement that has become ingrained in culture. This does not mean humiliating or bullying children, it means teaching them to apologize, be thankful, and help others.
Setting boundaries continuously throughout a child’s life can help to instill values and keep children from becoming disrespectful or entitled. Taking away electronics late at night and enforcing bedtimes, having dinners together with no distractions at least a few times per week, and making car-rides electronics free times to talk and listen to music can all help to instill boundaries and let kids know that they cannot do whatever they want whenever they want.
Forming Bonds and Modeling Behaviors
One of the biggest problems that many experts cite is that children and parents are both busier now than in the past, so there is less time for bonding. Instead of filling your schedule and your child’s schedule to the brim, make sure that you leave some time just for bonding and doing things together. The best way to show children how to be is to model humble behavior and let them see how it works out for you.