Why are American kids so spoiled? Help me understand this article. - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-06-2012, 12:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think plenty of people have made great explanations to why this article doesn't get it quite right. I mean, the girl in Peru likely doesn't have shoes to argue about tying or toys to argue about picking up. A culture of survival and a culture of stuff will have different expections for their kids. Not that our expections of our kids are all that good, they just can't be compared. As far as spoiled, I think of a lot of American adults are spoiled too. We take for granted things that much of the world-wide population has to work very hard for -- clean water, electricity, food, time for recreation and fun. We expect the government to bail us out (housing, banking, autos), we still want tax deductions and credits for having a child, childcare costs, being energy-efficient, buying a house....

 

This bolded part really resonates with me.  I think our children echo back to us our own values...what they truly are, not what we "say" they are...and if we don't like what our children are doing, it's because there's something fundamentally amiss in our culture. I'm wary of pointing fingers at others, but I do know that I struggle NOT to take things you mentioned for granted. And I feel like government can & should be a useful tool for supporting community, but increasingly it seems to support corporate interests more than true community.


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Old 07-06-2012, 03:48 PM
 
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Nicely said.

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Old 07-07-2012, 07:17 AM
 
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Wow. This entire article made my head spin. I agree and disagree at the same time. Do I think that society as a whole needs a revamp on how we treat children? Yes. But I do not think it's fair to take a few families in LA and judge American children AS A WHOLE by that. 

 

My brother and I were fairly self sufficient growing up...because we had to be. My parents owned their own janitorial business and cleaned at night. A lot of times that meant we stayed at home alone...at 5 and 7. (A lot of you gasped didn't you? lol) I could make dinner (heat up a meal or make something simple like scrambled eggs), clean up, use the phone, etc... I was baby sitting for money by age 10. 

 

My kids are 3 and 18mo. They can unload the dishwasher almost by themselves (I help with heavy/sharp things and high up things. But pots/pans/plastic/flatware is all them), they can help pick up a room, and my 3yo is learning to make his bed. Sometimes THEY will take the initiative to help clean up. ("Mommy, help us unload the dishwasher!" sort of thing)  Why? Because they wanted to learn and I said 'Okay, let's do that.' I never force them to help. 

 

I do tell my kids no...and mean it. I didn't understand that line. When I say "No." It's usually to something like climbing into the sink or asking for ice cream before dinner (even then it's a "not until you eat" thing)

 

 

I do know lots of parents (American FWIW) that don't let their kids ATTEMPT basic chores because "they're too young" and then complain when they don't pick it up immediately as they get older. Or parents that hold too tightly onto the "kids should be kids" and view any attempt at helping around the house as growing up too fast. 

 

I'll also say that on the "snow plow parents"...my mom was like that when it came to school and school work. It took a semester in college for me to really get into the swing of "no one is coming to save you when you put things off." Thankfully I DID get it. 

 

(disclaimer: I haven't had my coffee so if this is rambly that's why)


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Old 07-07-2012, 07:51 AM
 
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There are a couple of reasons why my kids use respectful language. Their father lives on a different island,in order to make money to pay the bills,and so we go sometimes a couple weeks without seeing him. While this can be difficult, I think it builds strength,and now its even easy for me to handle 4 boys alone,for long periods of time. That being said,I've had to be very strict with them,and very consistent with teaching them what behaviour is unacceptable. When they push,they are looking for boundaries,and I give it to them. I don't say NO very often,and they are allowed lots of freedoms, but if they do something that greatly increases my stress load, I will hold them firmly by the arm,look them in the eyes,and say that that is NOT allowed. I also tell them the reason why. A strong West Indian accent commands attention,so that works to my advantage. I homeschool, using Oak Meadow,and am a firm believer that they will imitate you,and you have to set the example for them. I always say please,thank you,etc. and they do too. I speak to them as equals,but when they try to push boundaries,that's when I assume the authoritarian role,and let them know what they can't do.

 

 I lay down the law with the first son,so the others follow his lead. When my third son is being disagreeable,and looks like he needs a break from reality,I send him to lie down,and take a few moments to cry or scream. I don't set a time,or shut the door,he goes on his own accord when I tell him. He's a Gemini,so I think sometimes he needs a break from people! lol. I am a very disciplined person,and I don't allow them to have any screentime during the week,and only get it on weekends. I can also use this as a bargaining tool ;)

 

In terms of being spoiled materialistically, that's where America is a bitch! Products are pushed on your kids from early,cause parents' pockets are deep,and so corporate devils target your kids,younger and younger! We are not exempt to that,by any means,but we don't have cable,so that helps. For Christmas,the kids get one present each from Santa,and to get that,they have to write a letter to Santa,and tell him about their life,and ask him about his. They know that we don't have much money, so while they do beg for things when we go to K Mart,they know not to push it,because no matter what,they aren't getting anything.

 

My kids are very independent,because they visit the island where I grew up,that's only 4sq miles, with 300 inhabitants. I'm so lucky that they can experience this as well. Everyone knows everyone,and when we visit,I don't even have to keep track of them! They can walk anywhere,and will go swimming off the pier,cast their nets, fish off the Kayak, and now my 8yr old can even drive the denghie! They work together as a team,and I love to watch them do so. For those who don't live in such an environment, I strongly encourage activities that require their full focus,like knitting,and crafting,because I believe it centres them a lot! Helping out in the community,and doing clean ups are also wonderful! I believe that all these things gives them a sense of purpose,and they need that!

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Old 07-07-2012, 05:59 PM
 
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lol I didn't even read any of the responses... I will... but something struck me RIGHT AWAY...

 

Whaaaa?  What do you mean that doesn't happen?  My 5 year old takes a bath alone every day.  I didn't realize that was unusual.  I did when I was 5, too?

 

 

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We expect them both to behave like adults (asking a 5 year old to go take a bath without accompaniment? Yeah, not really gonna happen),

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Old 07-07-2012, 07:03 PM
 
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Whoops.


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Old 07-08-2012, 08:16 AM
 
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This is what I find destructive about the kinds of articles that prompted this thread. 

 

 

If you feel like a failure, like your child is spoiled and selfish, what are you communicating to your child? 

 

What jvdsista is doing is great! She knows her children well and feels confident that she's providing what they need to function. She mainly likes their behavior now and looks forward to their future as independent adults. She has high expectations of them, both modeling and demanding respect, and she's satisfied that this is working.

 

 

I did this worrying about my own parenting inadequacy thing a lot, until very recently. I realized that my own mother has communicated, for most of my life, her worries about my shortcomings. If my room was dirty, she compared me to vandals who steal the plumbing from their rental apartments. When I had a kid, she started to give me advice, and I finally told her, "If you aren't satisfied with how I turned out, I don't really want your parenting advice." (Because even though I have a lot of reservations about her parenting, she did succeed in raising a person who isn't afraid to speak truth to her mother!) 

 

Parents are a success when they feel happy that they've raised competent, happy, kind adults. This is where the rubber hits the road. 

 

High expectations are good. Teaching our values is the highest good. You have to believe you are equal to this and that your child is, too, that you are, more often than not, doing it right and that you can both learn what you need to learn. Have some confidence in yourself and your child. You do have good values and something to teach, and the child is capable of learning it. 

 

 

 

 

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You sound very fortunate to have it so figured out and all together!  I struggle day to day and wish I had all the methods to deal with my child as well as all the answers.   It would make my life so much more incredibly meaningful...and better.  Thanks for your post!  It gave me a lot of insight on how inadequate I am!


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Old 07-08-2012, 03:44 PM
 
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But I do not think it's fair to take a few families in LA and judge American children AS A WHOLE by that. 

 

My brother and I were fairly self sufficient growing up...because we had to be. My parents owned their own janitorial business and cleaned at night. A lot of times that meant we stayed at home alone...at 5 and 7. (A lot of you gasped didn't you? lol) I could make dinner (heat up a meal or make something simple like scrambled eggs), clean up, use the phone, etc... I was baby sitting for money by age 10. 

 

 

 

yes and yes. I live in a mid-sized city that is very different than LA.

 

And when I was 5, I was considered old enough to be home by myself. I had a key to the house on a piece of yarn around my neck, and I could let myself in afterschool. This was a LONG time ago, before after school care was invented.

 

I didn't like it at the time -- I remember being lonely a lot, and sometimes being scared. It impacted how I raised my kids. I really didn't want them to have the same experiences that I had.

 

I really think there is a happy medium with this stuff. I'm not raising kids to be subsistence farmers who live in jungle and I find that an absurd measuring stick. My kids are college bound and do need to get decent SAT scores. None the less, basic life skills are part of it, too.

 

I find generalizations about Americans, esp American teens, to be annoying. That's me and my kids. My kids aren't spoiled. They are really nice kids who do volunteer work and help around the house. They can take care of chickens and garden. They cook. They aren't great about keeping their rooms/bathroom clean, but they do really well in parts of the house that we all use. And in spite of being Americans with cable, they use respectful language.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 07-08-2012, 05:59 PM
 
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This is what I find destructive about the kinds of articles that prompted this thread. 

 

 

If you feel like a failure, like your child is spoiled and selfish, what are you communicating to your child? 

 

What jvdsista is doing is great! She knows her children well and feels confident that she's providing what they need to function. She mainly likes their behavior now and looks forward to their future as independent adults. She has high expectations of them, both modeling and demanding respect, and she's satisfied that this is working.

 

 

I did this worrying about my own parenting inadequacy thing a lot, until very recently. I realized that my own mother has communicated, for most of my life, her worries about my shortcomings. If my room was dirty, she compared me to vandals who steal the plumbing from their rental apartments. When I had a kid, she started to give me advice, and I finally told her, "If you aren't satisfied with how I turned out, I don't really want your parenting advice." (Because even though I have a lot of reservations about her parenting, she did succeed in raising a person who isn't afraid to speak truth to her mother!) 

 

Parents are a success when they feel happy that they've raised competent, happy, kind adults. This is where the rubber hits the road. 

 

High expectations are good. Teaching our values is the highest good. You have to believe you are equal to this and that your child is, too, that you are, more often than not, doing it right and that you can both learn what you need to learn. Have some confidence in yourself and your child. You do have good values and something to teach, and the child is capable of learning it. 

 

 

 

 

Sorry, you caught my post before I deleted it...and I deleted it because it was snark.  Something I don't like to do and for which I am sorry, which is why I deleted it.  I have these snarkiness problems when people start talking about how awesome their decisions are and how great their kids are, mostly because for a lot of us, raising kids is a struggle.  I don't live on an island (actually I do, but not a south atlantic island) where my kid is out fishing and learning the basics of seafaring and all that good stuff.  I live in a dense city where I have separate problems to contend with. I actually feel pretty good about our decisions with DD, and she's turning out to be a great kid on a lot of fronts.  But I guess the problem I had with the previous poster's post was the idea that there is an American problem with  marketing and deep pockets and spoiling and all that stuff.  I think the issue is much more complex than that.  I think marketing is a problem but there is this view that American's are rich and will spend on anything.  I just don't find that to be true.  Even with expendable income, there are a lot of Americans who just say no.  It is  how I was raised and how I approach  my present life.  I have problems with the broad sweeps that people make about parents and kids.  None of us are perfect.  Okay, maybe some people are.  eyesroll.gif  But this life is an ongoing struggle to achieve balance.  Again, sorry for the snark, sometimes I just need to shut up!  Sheepish.gif


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Old 07-08-2012, 06:41 PM
 
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Sorry, you caught my post before I deleted it...and I deleted it because it was snark.  Something I don't like to do and for which I am sorry, which is why I deleted it.  I have these snarkiness problems when people start talking about how awesome their decisions are and how great their kids are, mostly because for a lot of us, raising kids is a struggle.  I don't live on an island (actually I do, but not a south atlantic island) where my kid is out fishing and learning the basics of seafaring and all that good stuff.  I live in a dense city where I have separate problems to contend with. I actually feel pretty good about our decisions with DD, and she's turning out to be a great kid on a lot of fronts.  But I guess the problem I had with the previous poster's post was the idea that there is an American problem with  marketing and deep pockets and spoiling and all that stuff.  I think the issue is much more complex than that.  I think marketing is a problem but there is this view that American's are rich and will spend on anything.  I just don't find that to be true.  Even with expendable income, there are a lot of Americans who just say no.  It is  how I was raised and how I approach  my present life.  I have problems with the broad sweeps that people make about parents and kids.  None of us are perfect.  Okay, maybe some people are.  eyesroll.gif  But this life is an ongoing struggle to achieve balance.  Again, sorry for the snark, sometimes I just need to shut up!  Sheepish.gif

 

if it was just a comparison between geometry it would be easy to compare but parenting is not quite the same!!

 

one cultures defection of independence vastly differs and even if it was only a US comparison between US generations the outcome might be the same as what the article implies-IMO

 

scales go up and go down-balance never stands still very long no matter what you do!


 

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Old 07-09-2012, 07:08 AM
 
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This article was hashed out on a friend's FB page recently.

 

I agree with what someone else said earlier in the thread, about what is considered spoiled. I remember a Times cover story not so long ago about "Only Child Myths". I'm an only child raising an only child, and I can't count how many times I have heard someone say (to either my mom when I was growing up, or to me about my daughter), "Why, she's so well-behaved for an only child!" I hate the assumption that only children are spoiled and selfish.

 

Which really has nothing to do with this article, except I think that "spoiled" has become such a hot button issue, but there is clearly no consensus on what it means exactly to be spoiled, only how it can be sensationalized in the media. And frankly, I'm tired of it. We're all terrible parents. We hover. We don't pay enough attention to our kids. We pay too much attention to them. We're overcommitted. We do too much, or not enough. Those are the messages constantly hurled at parents these days.

 

I used to read these kinds of things all the time. Mommy Wars, tiger parenting, spoiled American kids...you name it. But I got to a point where I just realized, I'm beating myself up over nothing. My 4 year old DD is happy, helpful, friendly, well-adjusted. Yes, we have our bad moments, but don't we all? That does not make me a bad parent. So I just keep on keeping on, doing what works best for us and ignoring the naysayers and criticism from strangers (which strangely, always seems to happen in a grocery store or Target!).

 

I read this article within days of it being published. And I will probably read the next sensationalized story. But now I take it with a grain of salt.


 

I am also a lover of books reading.gif, treehugger treehugger.gif, and occasional soapbox stander! soapbox.gif

 

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Old 07-09-2012, 12:02 PM
 
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Sorry, you caught my post before I deleted it...and I deleted it because it was snark.  Something I don't like to do and for which I am sorry, which is why I deleted it.  I have these snarkiness problems when people start talking about how awesome their decisions are and how great their kids are, mostly because for a lot of us, raising kids is a struggle.  I don't live on an island (actually I do, but not a south atlantic island) where my kid is out fishing and learning the basics of seafaring and all that good stuff.  I live in a dense city where I have separate problems to contend with. I actually feel pretty good about our decisions with DD, and she's turning out to be a great kid on a lot of fronts.  But I guess the problem I had with the previous poster's post was the idea that there is an American problem with  marketing and deep pockets and spoiling and all that stuff.  I think the issue is much more complex than that.  I think marketing is a problem but there is this view that American's are rich and will spend on anything.  I just don't find that to be true.  Even with expendable income, there are a lot of Americans who just say no.  It is  how I was raised and how I approach  my present life.  I have problems with the broad sweeps that people make about parents and kids.  None of us are perfect.  Okay, maybe some people are.  eyesroll.gif  But this life is an ongoing struggle to achieve balance.  Again, sorry for the snark, sometimes I just need to shut up!  Sheepish.gif

Wow, completely misunderstood! First,I wanted to show that it is only through mad struggle,and a LOT of work,extreme stress,and upset,that I ended up with the patience to deal with 4 little hellraisers! I firmly believe that through adversity comes growth,and my whole life is filled with adversity! Instead of looking at the negative,though,I always have to be optimistic. Second,I wasn't in anyway trying to put anyone down. If there's any blame and resentment I have,it's towards big corporations. By saying 'deep pockets',I didn't mean that parents are rich,but that they want what is best for their kids,and have no qualms about spending on products that they feel will benefit their kids. This is a very admirable trait,but what is NOT,is big business brainwashing a generation into believing that products are what will make you happy. They target innocent children into believing that if they have the Dora cake,party favours, backpack,tshirt,shoes,etc., then they will ultimately be 'cool' in their social circle. Parents,wanting the best for their kids,will buy said products, to please their kids,but it is a vicious cycle that keeps repeating,because you can never be satiated by material things. 

My sister owned a night club,and brought well-known acts from the states,and it was stressful,because on such a small island,u never know if you'll make your money back. We carried the kids to see Chipmunks on Ice,and it was PACKED! I told her,this is where the money is at,because the kids identify so strongly with these characters they see on TV! My kids didn't like it,cause we don't have enough money for cable,but the other kids were screaming,"oh my god,it's Diego"!!!! Sounded as if we were at a Justin Beiber concert for 5yr olds!!lol. My point is,they used to target Teenagers,then Tweens,now Preschoolers. They are getting the kids caught up into their spell younger and younger,and it pisses me off,because it's evil! America is where it's most evident,but I believe it's spreading to other countries too. It's here,in full force as well! I mean,have u checked out the senseless crap they put on the Disney Channel,and MTV?? They are purposefully brainwashing a generation,and trying to dumb us down,so that all we do is consume,and work. U ever notice how on those Disney Channel shows,they never show the parents,and when they do,the kids yelling at em,and treating em like dumbasses? U think that's a coincidence? I think they are trying to split up the family unit,but then again I'm a conspiracy theorist ;)

Sorry for ranting,but you took offence to an issue that REALLY pisses me off,so I just wanted to clarify myself! 

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Old 07-09-2012, 12:10 PM
 
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Wow, completely misunderstood!

 

Sorry for ranting,but you took offence to an issue that REALLY pisses me off,so I just wanted to clarify myself! 

No, I was the one to blame for my post.  I was feeling a tad defensive on that particular day (not about anyone on here but just about some stuff in general) and in retrospect was not even reading the post properly, or at least with any kind of empathy.  To put my blathering in context, I had a major falling out with my sister and part of it is her rejection (and her DH's rejection) of what they consider poor American values (they moved to another country to get away from everyone!).  My post was knee-jerky and I'm sorry about that.  greensad.gif


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Old 07-09-2012, 03:52 PM
 
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No worries,sorry to hear about your own problems! You know,I think America is a wonderful place,and I love the people,and the ideas they come up with,I just feel the country has been hijacked by corporations. Anyway,I wish you the best with the relationship with your sister!

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Old 07-09-2012, 05:19 PM
 
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No worries,sorry to hear about your own problems! You know,I think America is a wonderful place,and I love the people,and the ideas they come up with,I just feel the country has been hijacked by corporations. Anyway,I wish you the best with the relationship with your sister!

Believe me, I'm with you on the corporations part!  (insert, Hugs emoticon...can't find in the emoticon section!).  


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Old 07-10-2012, 03:13 PM
 
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Oh. I'm glad it was snark! I thought you were being sincere. Sorry!

 

I think there's a lot a kid can learn about life and how to be a good person on that island where you live. Some of my favorite people grew up there.

 

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Sorry, you caught my post before I deleted it...and I deleted it because it was snark.  Something I don't like to do and for which I am sorry, which is why I deleted it.  I have these snarkiness problems when people start talking about how awesome their decisions are and how great their kids are, mostly because for a lot of us, raising kids is a struggle.  I don't live on an island (actually I do, but not a south atlantic island) where my kid is out fishing and learning the basics of seafaring and all that good stuff.  I live in a dense city where I have separate problems to contend with. I actually feel pretty good about our decisions with DD, and she's turning out to be a great kid on a lot of fronts.  But I guess the problem I had with the previous poster's post was the idea that there is an American problem with  marketing and deep pockets and spoiling and all that stuff.  I think the issue is much more complex than that.  I think marketing is a problem but there is this view that American's are rich and will spend on anything.  I just don't find that to be true.  Even with expendable income, there are a lot of Americans who just say no.  It is  how I was raised and how I approach  my present life.  I have problems with the broad sweeps that people make about parents and kids.  None of us are perfect.  Okay, maybe some people are.  eyesroll.gif  But this life is an ongoing struggle to achieve balance.  Again, sorry for the snark, sometimes I just need to shut up!  Sheepish.gif


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Old 07-10-2012, 03:40 PM
 
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Frankly this was a pretty worthless article, for all the reasons people already mentioned. The author obviously wanted to make a point, then went about gathering (or manufacturing) evidence to support her POV. It's unscientific, anecdotal (or made up), reactionary, and just plain agenda-ized.

 

It doesn't push my insecurity buttons because it's so pointless. Lol.

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