That’s a whole lot of negative adjectives piled up to describe many of today’s children. But really, without sounding like an old fuddy-duddy, there is indeed something true about the notion that this latest generation of kids is, well yes, impatient, bored, friendless and entitled.
Wondering why are kids impatient, bored, friendless, and entitled?
Before venturing any further, let it be said of course not all kids are like this. Gross generalizations can be untrue and even dangerous, but even to the most casual of observers, there is something distinctly different about this group.
Let’s pick it apart and look at causes, possible solutions, and the implications of what this means when we find ourselves asking, “Why are kids impatient, bored, friendless, and entitled?”
All children are impatient
Impatience is not necessarily a bad thing. Impatience is in part something which makes us expedite actions; it is what makes us excel at times.
Impatience is what makes us look for new discoveries, new solutions, new experiences. So, all in all, impatience may be a very good thing. But try telling yourself that when your child is screaming at the top of his lungs to get him some ice cream now, or when your daughter is whining that she wants to go out and play when she has hours of homework to do.
Most children will learn patience in time as they grow older, but we all have had the experience of knowing an adult who has little or no patience. Usually, that person will be found tailgating you on the highway or cutting in front of you as you board a bus or subway car. Alas, some people never grow up.
Children, though, do grow up and can learn patience from parents and teachers.
Is boredom necessarily a bad thing?
An all too common refrain out of the mouths of most kids is “I am soooooo bored.” This is certainly not new, nor unique to this generation of children. Kids have been saying that they are bored since they stopped playing hide and seek with dinosaurs.
There is, of course, that old cliche about idle hands being the devil’s workshop, but is boredom necessarily a bad thing? As Jordyn Cormier writes, “Boredom can significantly boost creativity.” Boredom makes kids and adults think of alternate ways of doing things and accomplishing tasks.
In dealing with a child who says they are bored, ask them what would make them less bored. If a child can come up with an answer (and most can not), listen to the suggestion. This answer will demonstrate the creativity and inventiveness that all children should cultivate.
Can you ever have too many friends?
Humans are social beings. Even that stereotypical hermit in the cave a million miles from civilization is a social being of sorts, even if he only socializes with the bugs that share his cave!
Unfortunately, with the advent of social media, many people have “friends” whom they have never met. Is a friend someone you have never met face to face? Many people would agree that a friend you have never laid eyes on in real life, could still be a friend.
Kids, especially feel this way and try to argue with them otherwise, and you will not get too far. Children need to meet other children of their same age, so it is up to the parents or caregivers to ensure that interactions of this sort occur: take children to a park, to classes run by your town’s Parks and Recreation Department.
Friends can be made in art, ballet, gymnastics, swimming, tennis and other classes specifically developed for kids. It is important for the parent or caregiver to make sure that children do not spend days parked in front of the television, iPad, smartphone, or computer screen.
Real life is just that–real; it does not happen behind an electronic screen.
How do kids become entitled? The answer: the parents
Very simply, it is the parents who create feelings of entitlement in children.
Children are not born entitled; it is not inherent in any child to feel that they deserve things. Let’s look at some examples of how parents bring about feelings of entitlement in children:
- If you reward–or worse yet, bribe–your child for good behavior, you are unintentionally helping to create feelings of entitlement in your child. Think about it: does your child have to be given some sort of treat every time you go shopping with them?
- If you praise every single thing your child does, in other words, if you over-praise, you make your child accustomed to constant praise. This is a straight line to feelings of permanent entitlement.
- The overs: over-praise, over-protect, over-pamper, over-indulge, all are a one way street to over-parenting, and raising a child with a huge sense of entitlement.
- All children must make mistakes. Children learn from mistakes; they are essential for growth and development. Do not help your child avoid all mistakes or they will always expect to rescue.
- Nobody likes disappointment, yet some parents go overboard in making sure that their children do not experience this. Disappointment is part of life, and you are not doing your child a favor by shielding them from it. Learning to handle disappointment should be part of every child’s development.
- Birthday parties have become so over the top in recent years (circuses in the backyard, dressed up hired princesses from the latest Disney movie passing around hors d’oeuvres to the guests, petting zoos set up inside the house, etc.)
Keep it simple, and there is far less chance that your child will feel entitled. When you keep things fluff-free, you kids will grow up as level headed, patient and respectful. In all probability, you won’t find yourself tugging at your hair and asking, “Why are kids impatient, bored, friendless, and entitled?
Not every moment in your child’s life is meant to be Instagram-able
Before you ask yourself, “Why are kids impatient, bored, friendless, and entitled?”, you need to do a parenting check-in. In your bid to raise a happy child, are you forgetting about maintaining the fine balance between being indulgent and being strict?
Raising children to be productive happy well-balanced kids is not an easy task for anyone.
Often times it isn’t pretty or fun, But by instilling children with common sense values (take your turn, share, wait patiently, etc.), you will ensure that this next generation is not impatient, bored, friendless and entitled.