DARE TO ASK: Kids dissing their parents? Like, yeah
By PHILLIP MILANO, The Times-Union
I always see children and teens degrading their parents or making them look
or feel stupid. Is this the parents' fault, or is it just what society is coming
Luz, 20, female, Illinois
I'm a high school biology teacher and you would not believe how much teens
disrespect everything. I've seen them throw fits because mom took their cell
phone away after they ran up the bill. The appropriate saying is "Spare the rod,
spoil the child."
Erica, 25, Alexandria, La.
We can't keep in line because we aren't given a line to keep in.
J., 14, female, Jacksonville
By the time I had kids, they weren't allowed to help around the house because
it would traumatize them. We weren't allowed to discipline them because a
neighbor might report us for child abuse. The kids ruled the roost. As a result,
we grew a generation of me, me, me people. They are starting to run our country,
and it shows: Enron, the stock market, Congress and the Senate.
Phyl, 63, female, Texas
Don't underestimate the role of hormones.
Eric, 17, Denver
The media is saturated with ads that cater to young people. Young people,
seeing everything catering to them, start believing all of it, and think they're
the ones in charge.
Ed, 26, Milpitas, Calif.
We sought out Bill Cosby because his TV kids would never have mumbled at him,
and they certainly wouldn't have left one of the trash cans and the recycling
bin on the driveway last Tuesday, and for heaven's sake, would you please take
out those ear buds in the car when I'm chauffeuring you to school every morning?
Oh, sorry. Got carried away.
Via e-mail Cosby told us it's a little bit everybody's fault when kids are
disrespectful, but everyone can take a bow when a kid behaves, too.
"The issue of personal conduct is influenced in a negative or positive way by
the child-rearing practices of the parents, the personality of the child and the
influences of family members as well as the peer group," he said. (Remember,
he's not only a comic genius but an academic one, too, with a doctorate in
Michael H. Popkin, meanwhile, famous for his Active Parenting books, tilts
toward parental miscues as the main culprit for children's misbehavior.
"We live in a much more casual society, so some things are tolerated now that
weren't in the past, like kids joking with their parents and smarting off. They
see their parents doing it, so they feel they can do it right back. The kids
have to know where the line is."
When drawing that line, remain calm, he said. Don't yell. Don't insult. Tie
punishment to the offense.
"The child needs to know that if they take a certain action, then certain
privileges will be removed. Don't be arbitrary. They won't respect you if you
don't respect them."
Phillip Milano, author of I Can't Believe You Asked That! (Perigee),
moderates cross-cultural dialogue at Y? The National Forum on People's
Differences. Visit www.yforum.com to submit questions and answers, or mail to
Phillip Milano, c/o The Florida Times-Union, P.O. Box 1949, Jacksonville, FL
32231. Include contact information. For Dare to Ask podcasts, go to
Jacksonville.com keyword: milano.