“Kids these days…” It’s a phrase that we have all heard before, and one that we have certainly rolled our eyes at whenever we heard it uttered by parents, grandparents, or even strangers. However, now that we have reached the age of parenthood ourselves, we can actually find ourselves making the same statement that we hated hearing when we were kids… And what’s more, we really mean it!
Go out to any restaurant, go to any park, or just go to the grocery store and there are sure to be children screaming, throwing hissy fats, talking back to their parents and just being completely disrespectful. It seems as if they are absolute monsters! And just one look at the parents and anyone can plainly see they are completely and totally overwhelmed.
We can’t help but wonder why kids these days are acting like such monsters.
Thinking back on childhood experiences we might remember being a little bit more respectful to our elders. When they spoke, we listened. Sure, we may have had a tantrum from time to time, but we certainly didn’t act like a little heathen, and we never had a ‘holier than though’ attitude the likes children seem to have today. So, what gives?
Believe it or not, a big reason why children today act out so severely and are, well, monsters, is because of their parents. This is not to say that their parents don’t love them, because of course they do, but there are definitely things that parents today do that can contribute to their children acting like, (for lack of a better term) ‘spoiled brats.’
What’s going on with kids – and moreover, parents – these days? Read on to find out.
13 Unwarranted Praise
Of course, you want your child to feel loved, appreciated and proud of himself. Praise is so important for kids, becauses it really does help to shape their self-confidence. However, there is such a thing as too much praise.
A child cleans up a huge mess that she makes and her parents tell her ‘Good job!’ Or she brushes her teeth without a hassle, and she’s given a sticker and a high five. Sure, you want your kids to do the right thing, but every single little thing that they do does not require praise.
In fact, when you are giving them a pat on the back because they cleaned up a huge mess that they made or for brushing their teeth without an argument, you aren’t doing yourself – or your kids – any favors.
Sure, it may seem like offering praise for doing those everyday tasks that your child needs to be responsible will avoid a huge meltdown, but it can actually lead to bigger problems… Like your child never cleaning anything up or never brushing her teeth unless she is praised. That can definitely lead to monster-ish behaviors.
12 Constantly Giving In
Parenting is one a hard gig; in fact, it’s one of the hardest gigs in the world. Add to all of the challenges of raising children the fact that most parents have to work a full-time job in order to support their family and deal with major financial stresses, and the job of child rearing is even more difficult today.
At the end of the day, parents are purely exhausted. They have woken up at the crack of dawn, gotten their kids ready for school and worked all day. When they get home from work, they are just out of steam, and the last thing they have energy for is dealing with tantrums and meltdowns.
So, instead of telling their kids ‘no’ when they ask for something, they cave in and let them do whatever they ask for. Do that enough and you can guarantee your child will become a spoiled brat.
11 Helicopter Parenting
What is ‘helicoptering?’ It’s a word use to describe helicopter parenting; in other words, parents who hover around their kids all the time. They stand behind them with every step they take, ready to catch them, give them a boost or just do it for them (whatever ‘it’ may be.)
Sure, you want to make sure your child is protected and is able to achieve goals; however, if you are protecting him from every little thing, or not letting him achieve goals on his own, than you are going to end up with serious trouble down the road – and perhaps even a monster.
Kids learn through experience, and when they aren’t given those experiences, they miss out on a lot. They also don’t learn how to react appropriately and tend to throw fits when they can’t accomplish something on their own. Additionally, they always expect someone to be there to do it (again, whatever ‘it’ may be,) for them.
10 Too Much Coddling
Sure, it’s perfectly acceptable to be protective of your children. You are, after all, their biggest advocate. If you never stood up for your children or were harsh and distant to your children, then you might wind up with a different type of monster. However, too much coddling can make kids turn into monsters.
When kids are coddled too much, they start to develop a sense of entitlement; that they are allowed to do whatever they want because their parents will protect them and stand up for them, no matter what.
While yes, you do want to let your child know that you will stand up for and protect him, you do have to let him know that there are times when his behavior is unacceptable and won’t be tolerated. If you coddle too much, your child won’t understand what behavior is unacceptable; hence, the development of a little monster.
9 Setting A Poor Example
Kids are a reflection of their parents. The imitate everything you say and do, which is why it is so important to set good examples for them. If you give the janitor of a building the same respect as you give the CEO of the company that is run in that building, your kids will learn to treat everyone equally kind.
However, if you talk down to people, act superior and disrespectful, you can bet that your kids are going to do the same thing.
Here’s a perfect example: A mom I spoke to was grocery shopping with her 2-year-old and when he asked for something and she said no, his response was ‘G$# D$MM*T’. Naturally, she was horrified; however, she quickly realized that her son said that word because she muttered it all the time, and not as under her breath as she thought.
If you don’t want your kids to be monsters, you have to set good examples and teach them how to be respectful.
8 Making The Kids The Center Of Attention
It’s a fact that children need attention; however, too much attention can be a bad thing. When kids are constantly doted on, they grow to expect it.
Parents’ who make their children the center of attention at all times, no matter what, can grow to become serious monsters. They expect all eyes to be on them, at all times, and they don’t understand that other people have needs, and those needs have to be met.
For instance, kids who are always the center of attention tend to interrupt more, make mountains out of molehills, misbehave when they don’t get the attention that they want, and overall, just don’t know how to put other people’s needs ahead of their own. In other words, they have a difficult time empathizing, which is such an important part of good social skills and developing healthy relationships.
When kids can’t empathize and constantly need attention, they can turn into little monsters when they aren’t getting it.
7 Not Giving Kids Enough Attention
Just like too much attention can be a bad thing for kids, so can too little attention.
Parents are busy, sure, but when parents always put their own needs ahead of their children, or when they are always busy or distracted, kids can suffer. Children crave attention (though, as we’ve discussed, that attention does need to be reined in,) and when they aren’t getting it, they can act out.
For instance, when a child wants attention but can’t seem to get it from their parents, she may decide to make a huge mess, draw on the walls or throw a fit. In her mind, these doing these things will surely catch the attention of her parents, and negative attention is better than no attention.
If you aren’t paying enough attention to your little one, a monster can certainly be born.
6 Avoiding Unhappiness At All Cost
Nobody likes to feel unhappy, and as a parent, this is an emotion that you certainly don’t want to see your child experience. If your child is down in the dumps, whatever the reason may be, your first reaction may be to cheer him up; and not just by giving him a hug and telling him that things will be OK, but by pulling out all of the stops.
Maybe you take him to the toy store and let him pick out anything he wants, or maybe you plan an over-the-top evening out.
Sure, it’s great that you want to make your kid feel happy at all times; however, if you are preventing him from ever feeling unhappy, you could be doing more harm than good - you could be turning him into a monster. Unhappiness is a normal emotion, and as long as it isn’t constant, it can actually teach your child some powerful lessons.
5 Not Following Through With Promises
Your child asks for a lollipop right after breakfast and you say no. Your child persists, asking for a lollipop over and over again. You say no a few more times, but eventually, you cave in and say yes, and the next thing you know, your child I sucking on a lollipop at 7:30 in the morning.
Saying no and then saying yes is a recipe for disaster. Do this just a few times and your child will never take you seriously when you say no. Every time you say it, she could will likely have a meltdown, no matter where you are – the grocery store, the library, a restaurant – until you finally give in and say yes, and that is totally monster-like behavior.
When you say no, mean it. Don’t feel obligated to offer explanations, either. Just say it and move on. If your just persists, ignore her pleas. She’ll quickly learn that when you say no, you mean it.
4 Always Putting The Children First
There is no doubt that your child is one of your biggest priorities, but he is not your only priority. You aren’t just a parent; you are a human being who has needs and other relationships, too.
If you are constantly putting your needs to the side in order to accommodate your child, not only will your kid end up expecting that you will always put his needs first, but you will also end up being miserable.
It’s OK for your child to see that you have needs, and that you tend to them. It will allow him to develop more respect and appreciation for you. Go ahead and plan a date night with your husband, a girl’s night out or just take a few hours for yourself, even if your child objects.
3 Not Correcting Rudeness
Your son wants a toy at the store and you tell him no, or your daughter doesn’t think it’s fair that another child is already playing with a toy that she wanted to play with when you arrive at the library. Your little one’s response to his or her frustration is rudeness. He tells you that he doesn’t like you, or she sticks her tongue out at the other child. You don’t say anything to correct the rudeness; you just excuse it and move on.
Not correcting your child’s rudeness will definitely make him or her a little monster. A rude child turns into a rude adult, and that’s not OK. Make sure you let your child know that rudeness is not tolerated from an early age. Teach the importance of manners and being kind to others – these things are so important.
2 Making Excuses Instead Of Using Discipline
Whether your child acted out at school or threw something at someone, instead of making your child apologize and own up to his mistake, you make excuses for the behavior. That can totally make a child into a monster.
Kids need to understand that they are accountable for their actions, and when their actions aren’t appropriate, there will be consequences. If you are constantly making excuses for your child instead of making him apologize and own up to inappropriate behavior, others aren’t only going to think your child is rude, but he is going to have a tough time later on in life in the real world.
For example, he might end up making excuses when he misses a deadline at work, which his boss won’t tolerate, and he could end up getting fired.
1 Being A Friend Instead Of A Parent
You definitely want to have a good relationship with your child. You want her to enjoy spending time with you, and you want her to come to you with issues. In order to ensure your child ‘likes’ you, you try to be her friend instead of her parent. This may include giving in when she makes demands, letting her do things that are inappropriate and not correcting her when she misbehaves.
Of course, you can be your child’s friend, but first and foremost, you have to be her parent. Kids will make plenty of friends throughout their life, but they only have one set of parents. As a parent, one of your biggest goals should be to shape your child into a good person.
You have to teach her right from wrong, correct her when she’s wrong and do things that she may not like. If you don’t, you can be sure that she will turn into a little monster.
Sources: Baby Center, Psychology Today, Scary Mommy