Parenting the "Gimme" Generation

By GalTime Teen Expert Jennifer A. Powell-Lunder, Psy.D.

The The parenting in the digital age

We live in an era in which digital technology can provide consumers with instant gratification. The creation of apps has allowed us immediate access to goods and services.

The result of this evolution is often the expectation that we can indeed get the majority of items we covet in no time at all.

In the comfort of our own homes we can now conduct business, order necessities, watch movies, listen to music, take classes, earn money, hold meetings, exchange information…..and the list goes on and on.

Armed with a computer or a smart phone and access to the Internet the world has become a smaller more accessible place. Digital technology has revolutionized the way we think, feel, and even behave.

Related: 5 Ways to Deal with Your Child's Social Media Addiction

What we must then wonder is the impact of this cultural dynamic, which allows one to satisfy wants, needs and desires by simply tapping on a keyboard or clicking on a mouse. What new challenges are parents presented with in an age where children have become familiar with getting much of what they want in real time? Have we indeed created a generation of gimme?

The reality of parenting in the digital age is that parents must adapt to address the concerns related to an era in which access to people places and things is far easier than it was just a few years before. Parents however, do indeed learn quickly.

It is gratifying to know that in a few short years the instances of children interacting with strangers on the Internet has decreased tremendously.

Specifically, children are much less likely to share personal information with people they don't know on the Internet.

Related: Red Flags: How to Keep Our Kids Safe From Predators

In addition, children are less likely to accept friend requests or respond to IM's from complete strangers. They are also more likely to report unwanted solicitations from strangers (especially if the advances are inappropriate) to their parents or other adults whom they trust.

Because the Internet provides so many opportunities for instant gratification, it is important for parents to set firm predictable limits with their children. Without such boundaries, parents run the risk of sending their children the message that they can always get what they want when they want it.

Unfortunately we do know that a permissive style of parenting is most associated with children who grow up at increased risks for substance abuse, promiscuity and even juvenile delinquency. Put simply, these children know no boundaries, because they live under the false belief that rules do not apply to them.

Related: You Can't Make Me: Tips on Handling A Defiant Child

Digital technology has quickened the pace at which most of us live our lives. The pace can seem so maddening at times that the associated stress can indeed be overwhelming. Because so much of what kids learn is modeled to them by the important adults in their lives, it is vital that parents create an environment in which the rhythm of daily living is structured, supportive, and somewhat predictable. When parents take it all in stride, their children are sure to follow suit.

As the Rolling Stones honestly observed, 'You can't always get what you want.' For parents however, the goal is to teach kids to focus on getting what they need, not on what they think they should have.

Such is the challenge of raising kids in a generation of gimme.

How would you raise this generation of kids?

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