I’ve been holding off on commenting on Elizabeth Kolbert’s article in the New Yorker on why American kids are so spoiled (I’d say North American not just USA American).
Her points in a nutshell:
- Kids in developing countries are expected to pitch in from toddlerhood as the family’s survival depends on it.
- French kids are well-behaved because their parents say “no” and mean it, and also French parents ignore their children.
- North American kids never do anything for themselves and are spoiled and lazy.
My parenting advice based on the information in the article.
- Make pitching in a matter of survival. If you don’t help out, you don’t eat, and you have to sleep outside.
- Say “no” and don’t change your mind just because they whine or keep asking. Changing your answer to “yes” after whining teaches them that whining is how they are supposed to get their way in this world.
- Ignore your children more so they learn to not need you as much.
- Don’t do anything for them that they can do for themselves.
Of course, I don’t think that any of you will be able to do any of this. Why not? Because you are most likely either a lazy parent, or you are parenting by guilt. If you are lazy, taking my parenting advice is too much work. If you are guilty, then you will feel too bad following my advice.
If somehow you are able to rise above your guilt or laziness, then congratulations, you are on your way to developing a contributing member of society who will one day (sooner rather than later) exit the nest and not mooch off you during your retirement years.