Given 963 million people go to bed hungry every night one and 150 million children under 14 years old are engaged in child labour worldwide too, we can safely say that our teens’ lives aren’t that bad.
“Try convincing my daughter of that!” one mum recently said to me. “She hasn’t stopped making demands since she woke up this morning!!”
Parents regularly speak to me about their teenager’s shocking sense of entitlement. On a bad day, they feel like they exist to meet their teenager’s every desire and whim, which is not a cool job description for any parent. On a good day, they are frustrated by their teens general disregard for time, money and things.
Research tells us that the number of teenagers refusing to help around the house has almost tripled from 5.6 per cent in 1992 to 15.8 per cent in 2006. On the other hand, the amount of time eight to 18 year olds spend watching TV, playing video games or surfing the internet has increased dramatically to around 7.5 hours a day. That’s 53 hours a week!
Before we get up in arms about this generation, I’d like to stop and see the world through their eyes for a minute. They are a generation who aspire to the good life, as found in their ‘news feeds’ every day. But ordinary can never measure up to the highlight reel of happy faces and special places they see.
Kids are asking themselves - Why can’t my life look like theirs? What is wrong with my family? Shouldn’t my life be better than it is?
This ‘perceived perfection’ is coming at a cost to our kids who are becoming restless, ungrateful, disappointed, anxious and unable to handle their everyday real lives. That’s why we have to work really hard at bringing young people back to basics; where hard work meets outcomes, money doesn’t grow on trees and we all live on an equal playing field.
My hope is that these three strategies will help you do just that.
Make room for life lessons.
Small incidental lessons are powerful ways of teaching teens respect. Any instances where you are in the ‘driver’s seat’ are moments you can use to your advantage. Here’s a great example that shows how easy it is to teach your children that your time is valuable….