Hope for Parenting the "Me" Generation
- Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Baby Boomers were so bent on having better relationships with their children than they had with their own parents, they tended to set aside their primary role as parents. Their desire to be their child's best friend spawned a self-centered, demanding, "Me Generation" who believes the world revolves around them.
Parenting in Past Generations -- Too Rigid
As I grow older, I see more with the eyes of my heart than I do with those on each side of my big nose. And the aging process has brought me to a greater understanding of my own mom and dad's parenting style. I've learned that things really weren't as bad as I used to think they were.
My dad, like yours, was less than relational; his focus was on providing for his family. Working at the same job for 38 years; providing was his way of showing love for his family. He demanded respect. He taught us to be responsible because that's the way he was taught, and he wanted us to live the same way.
My father worked hard because he grew up during the Great Depression, and he knew first-hand the challenges of having little to live on. He also saw to it that our family was protected. Food was always on the table, a roof was always over our head, we all went to college, and the enemy he fought in the South Pacific never marched on our homeland.
Parenting in Today's Generation -- Too Relational
Then, the 60's and 70's came along. Some called it a revolution. Millions of "Baby Boomers" fell head over heels toward relationships and feelings of love for all mankind. Our music and lifestyle expressed our desire for universal peace and love. We swooned to lyrics like "all you need is love," and "smile on your brother; everybody get together; try to love one another right now." There was a "whole lotta' love" going around. And we "showered the people we love with love...showing them the way that we feel." Then we took our desire for peace, love and affection right into our parenting style.
Baby boomers as parents focused on maintaining peace and love, at all costs. We determined to have better, stronger relationships with our kids than we had with our parents; carrying out these normally good and healthy desires to an extreme. Out of financial abundance, we gave our kids everything they ever wanted, and more. Modern conveniences allowed for more free time and less responsibility. Soccer moms equipped with minivans shuttled kids from one event or activity to another, with stops at McDonald's in-between. We indulged, spoiled and provided too much "stuff" as misguided expressions of our love.
But Love and Friendships Are Good, Aren't They?
What's wrong with too much love? Nothing! But there is something wrong with it if it is our only focus. To put it bluntly, placing kids on a pedestal and focusing our lives on them created feelings of entitlement. Kids began equating our love with our pocket book and our willingness to do things for them. Their thrills in life came from getting new toys, new clothes, new honors, and new excitements. They became demanding, selfish, adrenalin junkies, searching daily for new thrills. When the excitement ended or the money train slowed, they became angry. We wanted to be the best parents ever, but the more we focused our attention and our money on our kids, the more they fell into anxiety, depression, and outright defiance. After all, they wouldn't admit it, but deep down they were terrified for what they would do after they left the comforts and indulgences of home. Perhaps you have a teenager fitting this description living in your home right now?
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