This generation is being labeled the “Entitled Generation” and the “Gimme Generation.”
The truth is every generation is different in some ways. When one generation of parents is too strict, the next generation of parents is too permissive.
As a child I was awed by a television set. My grandchildren have access to computers, iPads, iPods and mobile phones — technology that baffles me.
My generation liked big band music. Today's kids seem to be enchanted with rap music, which to this grandparent sounds like a lot of noise.
My generation pierced our ears. This generation pierces noses, eyebrows, lips and navels.
While I don't want to be the older person who “tsks, tsks” about today's young people, I do have concerns.
I am concerned for parents who struggle with credit card debt trying to meet their children's demands for designer clothes and accessories and the latest technology.
I am saddened by teens who use bad behaviors to get what they want. As psychologist Dr. Susan Jennings observed, “If the kid gets what she wants, she's all sweetness. If not, she'll tantrum, sulk and otherwise torture her parents until she gets her way.”
I see parents who rear their children with the attitude “I don't want to interrupt his happiness for even one moment.” However, their teens are having difficulty establishing the discipline and willpower necessary to work through life's challenges.
While I think being upset with the latest fads is usually a waste of time, let's not overlook some basic life skills that will equip them to be responsible adults.
Watch how we use praise. Give specific praise for a specific piece of work or action. For example, tell the child, “You did a great job on that picture” and not “You're a great artist.”
Teach children to apologize to others, to understand their point of view, and otherwise demonstrate “emotional intelligence.”
Put limits on spending by giving teens an allowance. When it's gone, there's no more until next time. Let them face the natural consequences of their behavior. If he bangs up the car, let him pay for it.
Most important, never forget kids learn from adults. From whom did they learn they should have everything they wanted?
Charlotte Lankard is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice. Email her at email@example.com.