Articles are available for reprint as long as the author is acknowledged: Domenick J. Maglio Ph.D.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

American "Princes" and "Princesses": Valet Parents and Parasitic Children

Neither long lines, price nor time matter in getting one’s child the Playstation III, WII or “TME Elmo”or whatever is the latest fad. Many of our children are showered with whatever they want without earning it.

These children are today’s princes and princesses. Their servants are their own parents who chauffeur them around, feed them whatever they desire, do their homework, their chores and provide everything possible to make them happy. It is the responsibility of the parent to orchestrate the state of childhood blissfulness. The child’s only requirement is to express pleasure that allows the parents to know they are servicing the child well.

Today’s parents are encouraging their children to do only what they want to do when they want to do it and disregarding anything they find distasteful. They are setting their children up for a life of disappointment.

We are producing dependent-instant-gratification-parasites. These ungrateful, immature and unhappy children are becoming the norm. They are not equipped to function in the real world.

Laziness is epidemic. It is not due to faulty genes but to a lack of motivation to do anything. The more their appetite for expensive items and activities is fed, the more dissatisfied they become. They care little for others except to manipulate someone into satisfying a momentary whim. “Getting over” on an authority figure is a fun game that takes no physical effort and little mental effort. Any enthusiasm is sparked in the child from passively receiving whatever they want not by contributing to others.

Modern children recognize the attitude of looking down on others is seen by their peers as acting “cool”. Their brand name possessions and gaming skills, not their abilities, are the way they define themselves. They are preoccupied with acknowledgement from their friends, not with winning favor from adults in order to join the mainstream world.

The lifestyle of today’s children is like a perpetual “all inclusive resort” where the dedicated adults function to fulfill the members desire. The logos, jewelry, iPods, the latest video, money and most importantly having adults who are willing to provide them with riches and place them on a pedestal gives them a false superior attitude. Everyone and everything is beneath them. They cannot get any satisfaction.

The more despondent they act, the more their loved ones are supposed to bribe them with the next diversion. The greater the lack of enthusiasm for being alive the children demonstrate, the more they are coddled by their parents .

The problem with being lazy occurs when the “parent valets” stop doing for the child what he should be doing for himself. The lack of preparation in doing simple chores, organizing his time, setting goals, working towards them and learning perseverance leaves the child helpless and often hopeless to become a successful adult.

In our modern culture, it is cool and easy for children to be lazy. There is no reason for any person to want to be industrious if their every wish is met by their command. Children are conditioned by doting parents to appear they are working hard when they are hardly working.

The adage telling that “if you want something done, give it to a busy person” not to an idle one is as true today as in the past. Parents, teachers and all authority figures can assist children to become doers instead of fakers. Moving a child from a lazy state to an enthusiastic, live state can be accomplished by the following:

  • Stop negotiating with your child.
  • Recognize you are acting like a servant to your child and tell them “I did this when I was your age so it is time for you to do it now.”
  • Assist your child to become a self- competent, independent person.
  • Increase your expectations for your child to motivate them to complete the checklist of things necessary to become an adult.
  • Enforce time limits for homework and chores.
  • Demand your child always act appropriately, greet everyone with a cheerful demeanor and be a contributing family member.
  • Institute a policy of the child earning everything he gets.
  • Teach the child to delay gratification and increase frustration tolerance by encouraging them to solve their own problems with as little help as warranted.

Encourage your child in every way to grow up. Teach your children to help themselves rather than doing everything for them. This will allow them to outgrow their debilitating laziness that has become fashionable in our affluent nation.



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