Our most important role is raising our kids to become capable, well-adjusted human beings. And in this consumer-driven, plugged-in, hyper-competitive me first, materialistic-pushing world, it's not always so easy. The fact is we seem to have a lot of "gimme" Me-Me-Me kids these days.
Bad attitudes are far more deadly than mere behaviors because they are more entrenched and are kids' operating beliefs for life. And there lies the danger: bad attitudes such as disrespect, bullying, arrogance, cheating are becoming "acceptable" to all too many kids.Warning Signs: The Kid Big Brat Factor Is Booming
Here are a few troubling signs-despite a recession- that are our kids are in trouble when it comes to attitude and character:
Nearly two out of three parents surveyed feel their kids are spoiled and say their kids measure self-worth more by possessions than they did at the same age. Time/CNN
80% of people think kids today are more spoiled than kids 10 or 15 years ago. Time/CNN
The average kid nags 9 times to get a product his parents refuse to purchase; about half the parents finally give in. Center for a New American Dream.
Since 1969, high school test cheating increased from 34% to 68%. 84% of college students believe they need to cheat to get ahead in the world U.S. News & World Report
1 in 4 high schoolers said they would lie to get a job. Josephson Institute of Ethics
Only 12% of adults polled feel that kids commonly treat others with respect; most described them as "rude," "irresponsible," and "lacking in discipline" AOL
For shame for shame! And - worse yet - we have only ourselves to blame. The truth is there is no gene for "spoiled."
But let's not go surrendering by waving the white flag and thinking we can't do anything about all of this. Turning this epidemic around is doable. Remember, attitudes and behaviors are learned so they can be unlearned. Research shows that when it comes to our kids' character, parents are the key influence. So read this next point carefully:
"Parents who raise kids with good character, don't do so by accident."
Research also finds that parents who raise kids who turn out to be caring, respectful and unselfish took time to think through how they wanted their kids to turn out. Then they turned their goal into their core parenting operating principle.
It's what I call "Character-Building Parenting" and it's the best antidote to curbing The Big Brat Factor which from those stats seems to be a growing and troubling childhood epidemic. Character-Building Parenting involves using those simple everyday moments to tune up our children's character.
Here are more parenting solutions to reduce the "Big Brat Factor" and help our kids turn out to be generous, caring, and responsible human beings. You can use these tips only after you do what Jane did: Take a moment to figure out how you want your kids to turn out. What are the key traits you hope years from now you see in your child? (Hint on this one - I've never heard a parent yet say: "I hope he is spoiled and selfish." So what matters most to you? Make those traits become your Parenting for Character Goals.
Parenting is not a popularity contest! There are many times that you will have to make choices that aren't always the choices your child will like. Once you make them, stick by them. You are in charge and your child needs to learn to respect authority (a.k.a. you!) And your child needs you there to raise him or her to be kind, caring, respectful, responsible and consider others.
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