The ‘NO’ Revolution: Tough Love Builds Character!
Nancy Kislin, LCSW, MFT
Why is this generation considered the most indulged in the history of the world?
During the past year, I became acutely aware of how privileged and entitled young people have become and how much power we are giving our children. I began a dialogue with friends and colleagues to see if they were noticing the same phenomenon. It seems I am not alone in my observations.
I decided to do something about it! Dear reader, whether you are a parent, grandparent, teacher or young person I challenge you to join me in the “NO” REVOLUTION.
Say “NO” to the culture of raising spoiled, privileged, entitled and simply unlikeable children who fear working hard, are incapable of being self sufficient and often lack self-esteem and a sense of social responsibility.
Think I don’t understand your child?
Or, maybe you feel it is too late to help your kid. It isn’t.
Over 28 years of working with teens and children has shown me that it is possible to change – them and you.
Parents – you have enormous potential and you have the Power! You have the power to say “NO” and to positively influence and shape the kind of person your child will become.
I want you to remember the excitement, and maybe the fear, you felt when you first held your baby. Remember all the dreams and the potential that literally lay in your hands.
Your children, regardless of their current ages, need you to dream and believe in them as much as they need you to set boundaries. Parents need to remember the incredible job they signed on to perform. Parents have a responsibility to provide our children with basic needs; love, guidance, a sense of humor, an ability to laugh at themselves, and many other life survival skills. You only have 18 years to help our children develop a solid foundation. What values are you choosing to communicate to your children and which one’s are you living by? You are their biggest role model!
At a recent dinner with friends, my vision for the “NO” Revolution campaign was reinforced. It became crystal clear that the children are not at fault for the way they are turning out, The parents are!!!
My friends’ husband turned to his elementary school age kids and told them to pick out whatever they wanted from the menu. His daughter stated she wanted plain pasta with butter. There was no discussion about eating a well-balanced meal – just “okay, sweetie.”
I chimed in “my entrée comes with a side of pasta. Your daughter can have my pasta instead of ordering an adult portion.” “No” replied the father.
The father stated it was not fair for his daughter not to get her own meal; she was far too smart and would catch on that she was being cheated.
Only after the father learned that the side dish of pasta came in the same size plate as the entrée and the other adults joined in the discussion, did he agree not to order his daughter another dish.
When did our society adopt a philosophy that children were entitled to “things” and at risk of getting cheated.
The child ended up eating five buttered penne noodles, drank two juice boxes, then whined that she was bored.
Recently at a cocktail party I had attended, I overheard a woman sharing how stressed out she was about helping her child prepare for the college application process. She was annoyed that her kid spent too much time playing video games and did not have enough volunteer experiences. This mom was scared her kid would not succeed so she asked a friend to write a letter of recommendation stating that her son had volunteered for an organization, although it was fictitious.
I overheard her saying that she was asking her husband's partner to write a letter claiming fictitious community service hours.
This raises many questions about the moral character of the community we are building. What are the values and morals that we are instilling in our children? At what cost are we helping our children get ahead?
And where are they rushing to go?
Parents, it is not your fault alone. We live in a world where instant gratification is the norm. But how far are we willing to go before we realize we have lost too much?
Our children are paying too high a price.
“NO” Revolution Tips and Strategies:
Don’t be afraid to listen to your heart, to your sense of right and wrong and don’t get caught up in what your neighbor or friend’s kid is doing.
Be part of the “NO” Revolution. Raise a child that is kind, loving, respectful and one you like hanging out with.