Rotten to the core

Published 11:35 pm Wednesday, February 20, 2008

What do you think of when you hear the word rotten? Gross decaying matter, putrid smells, decomposing yuck. It all is very despicable to think about.

Yet, we are a generation of spoiled adults raising spoiled children and boy does it stink!

If you are in denial about your own self-indulgent behavior and lifestyle, or your over-indulgent parenting skills, then please feel free to skip this column because you probably won’t think this column is about you. Don’t you?

Statistically, it probably is.

Besides my own spoiled offspring, what made me think of how over indulged our children are? American Idol. One particular contestant was so child star diva’esh that Simon pointed out how indulgent she was. The judges said no to her overconfident and not very good performance. This sparked a childhood fit and speaking volumes of what a bad seed she was as she left the building the rejected Idol wannabe thrust the comforting arm of her mother away. It was a child that only her mother could love.

Although, I felt bad for the mother, I know she produced the horrid child; but in defense of the woman, so are a majority of parents giving in, not disciplining, and not teaching the basic cores of manners, civility, and caring for others more than yourself.

I feel I too am extremely anemic in those areas of parenting. Well meaning or not, over-indulged children are becoming the norm and where does that leave our world? Yikes. I think how it will be when I am too old to change my own diapers and no next generation citizens will provide me assistance.

The nursing home of the future will have robots and diaper changing assembly lines to take care of the lowly duties of caring for the aged and helpless.

I am all for spoiling kids with love, but the shelling out gifts and luxuries on a continuous basis can not be good. When will we teach our youth the power of achievement other than a test at school? Where is the power of helping the world be a better place for anyone else other than ourselves?

Rudeness has becoming epidemic. Behavior in small children has become horrifying. I know. I live with the creatures!

I dine with my twins who are now six. I am ever mindful of their behavior whether bad or good. Yes, there are some angelic performances and boy are there some devilish ones as well. It is a hit and miss for me. But, I am distressed when they misbehave. I make it known it is not acceptable behavior and punishment is at hand. I am fighting the war one battle at a time.

I corrected my number two son when he said yeah while at a high school meeting with a counselor. She applauded me as if the occasion were a rare and exciting event, as if the loch ness had been spotted in her office. Come see everyone, a parent has corrected her child’s manners!

School teachers confide in me often about the downward decline of children’s behavior and who can we blame? Not the kids so much, but it is the parent’s we must hold accountable. Nearly eight in ten teachers, according to the 2004 Public Agenda report, said their students were quick to remind them that they had rights or that their parents could sue if they were too harshly disciplined. Our teachers can not fill in the gaps of lacking parenting because they will bare the scars.

A well meaning parent would like their kids to be nice, polite, and considerate. They treasure well behaved children but because parents today are tired, worn down by work and busy schedules they never get around to teaching proper behavior at home. They find doing the chores themselves is easier than standing over children and forcing them to do chores. We stand over them for homework, but lack time and energy for manners, self-worth, and behavior.

We get educated kids but not nice kids.

Parents feel guilty for their lack of time and they add fuel to the flame by providing an overabundance of toys whether playdough or Xboxes to make up for their shortcomings. Kids begin expecting that they deserve stuff and the once happy and appreciative kid becomes the demanding, obnoxious “Damien” child with horns and a 666 tattoo.

What is a parent to do? Can we fix this trainwreck? Do you want a child behaving like the likes of indulged children like Paris, Britney, Lindsey and Nicole?

One suggestion is spend less “quality” time with kids and more time getting them to do what they are suppose to do. That may sound backwards since we encourage parents all the time to spend quality time with kids so they won’t misbehave to get their attention. It’s a balancing act.

Mother, are you picking up your kids clothing? Are you doing all the chores? Are you serving your children like a personal assistant or a butler? Then stop it now!

Fathers, is it easier for you to do outside man chores and not drag out the teen to do a few things. He might be tired from the sports practices and games so you rather not bother him or her, or its too much trouble for you. Or you have little time for yourself and you like to piddle on your own without distraction? Then stop, for the sake of your kids. Give some time away.

Search for the inner mean parent inside and enjoy the effort. Who doesn’t enjoy watching a teenager try to rake a yard for the first time? See if they can crank the lawnmower on their own, that’s a good one!

As the wonderful, un-indulged child I was, I remember asking to mow the family yard at the age of eleven and I was awarded the honor. I am still mowing the grass in my forties. I actually like it. Yet, to see my brain child with a 34 on his ACT try to cut the family lawn shows what I failed to pass on to my next generation. It isn’t a pretty sight.

Life is more than mowing, but life is also more about a work ethic too. Shame on me. At least, number one son can work a lawn mower which shows my parenting skills goes in ebbs and flows.

Not too long in our history, a child had to go to work to help out the family, sometimes quitting school to bring in needed income. These days, most families can survive, but now when a child leaves home he doesn’t send home a check to his little gray haired mother (like Clark Kent did). Instead, he is in school or working, living at home, or residing in the yard in a trailer, with a hand out to his parents and whose mother is not gray haired but professionally highlighted.

For our children, there is still some hope for the next generation. You can always start making up for bad parenting. How about some solutions? Your child will still love you if you say “no” to him.

Giving attention when you are busy because your kid demands it is a bad signal to the kid. When a child is throwing a fit he is also demanding attention and needs to be ignored. The child has to learn to wait.

Certain rules are not to be negotiated. Bedtime, staying in their car seat, bath time and similar adult decisions are not children’s choices. They should never think they can “get out” of one of these rules. These are the few rules that are set in stone. You can be more tolerant on other decisions like which cereal to eat for breakfast or which toys to bring to bath time.

Never, ever give in to a tantrum! These tactics are meant to wear you down. Decide now that the next fit you will win and so on and so on.

Don’t overpraise your child. Giving your child constant attention can make him praise-dependent and demanding. As well as don’t spend all your free time with your child.

Now, for all of you adults who are spoiled, you can change your spots. Do something nice for someone else. You could watch the twins for awhile, that’s nice.

Why should anyone listen to my parenting advice? Because I know how to raise kids in all the wrong ways!

Thankfully, I am not spoiled. I am totally in tuned with helping others, being nice, I have spotless manners…..its my children that I screwed up royally. I guess we can’t all be perfect!