We're breeding and cultivating a Generation I complete with the Me, Myself and I mentality. I know you're thinking......wow, Marlene, don't you think that's harsh? Perhaps it is. But I'm merely stating the reality in first world countries as well as in the emerging nations like India, Indonesia and China, thanks to the rise of global middle class.
We have less kids. We have more disposable incomes. We've experienced hardship (well, to a certain degree though that can't be compared to those who went through war or faced abject poverty). We want a better life for our little darlings. They're no strangers to iPad, iPhones, Legoland, Disneyland, Wii, Nintendo DS. They don't know what hunger feels like because we have a cupboard full of snacks. Just in case if they're hungry after breakfast, before or after lunch and dinner.
They're given options when they're dining. No wonder they're fussy. I'd be fussy too if I have minions (aka parents) to cater to my whims. Most households I know prepare 2 dinners every single night (though I understand that most kids can't deal with spicy food and neither can I). Then there are the helicopter parents (yes, I've been guilty of being one too) hovering to rescue our kids instead of teaching them to be more independent and to learn to accept consequences for their actions. I've always believed the best way to cure a child of their hitting/kicking/biting fetish is to give them a taste of their own medicine. There's nothing like experiencing pain to stop them dead in their tracks. Nip it in the bud or they'll grow up to become bullies.
The thing is how do they comprehend gratitude if they've never experienced hardship? Or instead of feeling privileged, it's a case of entitlement? How do they appreciate gifts when they get a mountain of stuff on their wish list every Christmas and birthday? There's a danger in this kind of love because it's like karma. Without learning compassion, kindness or even gratitude, how would we expect our "over-loved" kids to show those very important emotions to us when they're adults?
I found this "note" on a blog some years ago and I've got it taped on my wall as a reminder to myself.
Notes from a child - Anonymous
1. Don’t spoil me. I know quite well that I ought not to have all I ask for. I’m only testing you.
2. Don’t be afraid to be firm with me. I prefer it, it makes me feel secure.
3. Don’t let me form bad habits. I have to rely on you to detect them in the early stages.
4. Don’t make me feel smaller than I am. It only makes me behave stupidly “big”.
5. Don’t correct me in front of people if you can help it. I’ll take much more notice if you talk quietly with me in private.
6. Don’t make me feel that my mistakes are sins. It upsets my sense of values.
7. Don’t protect me from consequences. I need to learn the painful way sometimes.
8. Don’t be too upset when I say “I hate you”. Sometimes it isn’t you I hate but your power to thwart me.
9. Don’t take too much notice of my small ailments. Sometimes they get me the attention I need.
10. Don’t nag. If you do, I shall have to protect myself by appearing deaf.
11. Don’t forget that I cannot explain myself as well as I should like. That is why I am not always accurate.
12. Don’t put me off when I ask questions. If you do, you will find that I stop asking and seek my information elsewhere.
13. Don’t be inconsistent. That completely confuses me and makes me lose faith in you.
14. Don’t tell me my fears are silly. They are terribly real and you can do much to reassure me if you try to understand.
15. Don’t ever suggest that you are perfect or infallible. It gives me too great a shock when I discover that you are neither.
16. Don’t ever think that it is beneath your dignity to apologize to me. An honest apology makes me feel surprisingly warm towards you.
17. Don’t forget I love experimenting. I couldn’t get along without it, so please put up with it.
18. Don’t forget how quickly I am growing up. It must be very difficult for you to keep pace with me, but please do try.
19. Don’t forget that I don’t thrive without lots of love and understanding, but I don’t need to tell you, do I?
20. Please keep yourself fit and healthy. I need you.