I’ve heard this question (actually more of a lament) with increasing frequency. I am sure you have too. When actually spoken aloud the question is often met with responses such as no respect for authority, poor dietary habits, food dyes, too many activities, too few activities – and the list goes on.
Recently I went to the movies with one of my sons. While sitting in the theater waiting for the movie to start I heard a child at the end of my row asking his mother to please turn off her cell phone and stop texting. She casually brushed his comment aside and kept using her cell phone. After the please turn off your cell phone and don’t text message came on the movie theater screen, the child again asked his mother to stop. Instead of stopping, she turned sideways in her chair so that the child couldn’t see what she was doing. Her behavior could not have fooled the child because anyone could see the glow of her phone inside the darkened theater. I can only imagine his confusion. I bet if he had failed to turn off a cell phone he would have been in trouble. I can imagine that the last time he was told to turn off his video game and didn’t do it, that he at least was yelled at. This parent continued to text off and on throughout the entire movie.
Not only was I annoyed by the bright light of her phone, I was irritated by her lack of respect for her child and the other people in the theater. What is wrong with kids today? Parents today! This parent’s behavior spoke volumes about respect for other people and respect for the rules. If parents do not have to follow the rules, why should children? If the parent only has to consider their own wishes and not those of any one else, why should children?
Good parenting isn’t what we tell children, it is what we show children. When parents are honest children are more likely to be honest. When parents respect rules, children are more likely to respect rules. When parents respect authority, children are more likely to respect authority.
The next time you are tempted to ask what is wrong with kids today, look in the mirror. Better yet, just look at your kids. More often than not they are your mirror. If you don’t like what you see in them – it is time to do some work on yourself.