The Spoilt Generation: Parents who fail to exert authority breeding youngsters with no respect for anyone
By Fiona Macrae for the Daily Mail and Paul Sims for MailOnline
Updated: 13:28 GMT, 14 September 2009
A growing lack of adult authority has bred a 'spoilt generation' of children who believe grown-ups must earn their respect, a leading psychologist has warned.
The rise of the 'little emperor' spans the class divide and is fuelling ills from childhood obesity to teenage pregnancy, Aric Sigman's research shows.
Attempts to 'empower' children and a lack of discipline in the classroom have also fostered rising levels of violence, at home, at school and in the street.
'Little emperors': A lack of discipline has created a generation of spoilt youngsters (Posed by models)
Dr Sigman, a fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, said nursery-age children are becoming increasingly violent and disrespectful towards their teachers, 'parent battering' is on the rise and the number of policemen attacked by children is soaring.
Dr Sigman said: 'Authority is a basic health requirement in children's lives.
'Children of the spoilt generation are used to having their demands met by their parents and others in authority, and that in turn makes them unprepared for the realities of adult life.
'This has consequences in every area of society, from the classroom to the workplace, the streets to the criminal courts and rehabilitation clinics. Being spoilt is now classless - from aristocracy to underclass, children are now spoilt in ways that go far beyond materialism.
'This is partly the result of an inability to distinguish between being authoritative versus authoritarian, leaving concepts such as authority and boundaries blurred.
'And the consequences are measurable - Britain now has the highest rates of child depression, child-on-child murder, underage pregnancy, obesity, violent and antisocial behaviour and pre-teen alcoholism since records began.'
For his report, The Spoilt Generation, he drew on 150 studies and reports, including official figures on crime and data on parenting strategies.
Taken together, they showed many of the problems blighting 'broken Britain' are linked to lack of discipline.
This is being exacerbated by misguided attempts to give children more control over their lives.
Dr Sigman says youngsters' inflated sense of their own importance is fuelling the obesity epidemic, because children feel they have the right to demand foods which would once have been given as occasional treats.
Some children thought to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder might simply have never learned how to behave, he suggests.
Calling for 'commonsense policies' to put children in their place, Dr Sigman said: 'There should be an absolute presumption both in law and in policy that adults "know better'' and are in the right unless there are exceptional reasons. Teachers' authority has been vastly weakened legally, professionally and culturally.
There should be a presumption that teachers "know better" and are in the right, unless it is shown otherwise.'
He also believes fathers should have more access to children following separation or divorce. 'Separated fathers must be legally recognised as being of paramount importance,' he said.
His views were echoed by experts in health and childcare.
Michele Elliott, of the children's charity Kidscape, said: 'Children no longer have boundaries. It's bad for children and it's bad for parents. Some parents, due to a lack of time, pressures at work and so forth, are trying to buy their children's love, which is toxic.
'They feel guilty for not being around as often so when their children ask for things they simply say "yes" to compensate.'
Professor Cary Cooper, head of psychology and health at Lancaster University, said long workinghours had taken a terrible toll on families.
'As a result parents cannot invest the time in their kids that they should.
'With their parents out to work all the time the children are turning to their peer groups to provide them with the family they need. We have been more concerned with becoming an affluent, successful country at the expense of investing in our family and our children.'
Tim Loughton, Tory children's spokesman, said: 'We believe that parents should be taking a greater responsibility for their children and that teachers and other figures in authority should be able to exercise their powers when the parameters are broken.'
He said the Conservatives were devising a National Citizens' Service for all 16-year- olds, giving them the chance to go on a summer challenge involving outward bound, team building and community engagement work.
A Department for Children, Schools and Families spokesman said: 'It's pathetic to knock a whole generation of young people through sweeping generalisations.
'The vast majority of young people play positive roles in their communities, do well at school and are a credit to their families and themselves.
'Parents, not politicians, bring up children. We've given police and teachers the tough powers they've asked for to deal with anti-social behaviour, criminal activity and poor discipline by the small minority.
'We help parents that need the most support through Family Intervention Partnerships. Standards have never been higher in school and there has been massive investment in youth facilities and activities outside the classroom. Teenage conceptions are falling and fewer young people are drinking alcohol or taking drugs.
'Ministers are clear that this should be the best country in the world for children to live - but we know there is more to do and have never made any bones about it.'
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Younger Generation Is Rash And Disobedient you can also share your views about this statement. One of the issues which are being observed all over the world is that the younger generation is getting rude and disobedient. Parents are highly concerned regarding this problem because this approach from the children and young generation have destroyed the environment of the home and have given extra tension and mental stress to the parents and family members.
There are so many reasons which have contributed in this ethical issue to prevail in the world today, amongst which few of them are highlighted below;
- The basic reason behind this attitude of the younger generation is because they are given excessive freedom and liberty in the family, the young children all over the world are made independent at very young age which means that they are no longer dependent on their parents and their families. This is one major reason that the attitude and the behavior of the young people have been changed dramatically which has inculcated rash behaviors and disobedient nature in the youngsters because they are not dependent on any of the person which gives them that extra leverage which is dangerous for the society.
- The leniency which is being adopted by the parents and the family members has given the youngsters an extra edge because they do not have any fear and respect left for their parents neither for their any family member who is elder than them and once the young people gets fearless than the element of disobedience is being very clearly witnessed in their attitude and daily behavior.
- The young generation of the present world wants to lead their lives as per their own will and does not appreciate the involvement of any other person no matter who is in their decisions and in their lives. That is one major reason behind this behavioral change amongst the youth of the present age and that is one factor which contributes in the personality traits which includes Rash, Rudeness and Disobedient.
It is very much important for the parents and the family heads that they should control the environment of the their houses in which there should be no tolerance shown on the misbehavior and disobedient attitude amongst the youth because it is very much crucial to keep the bonds intact and to keep the youth of the nation on the right track of success which should include both the ethical considerations and the educational liabilities.