Why Are Kids Impatient, Bored, Friendless, and Entitled?
January 12, 2018
“Kids today are in a devastating emotional state! Most come to school emotionally unavailable for learning. There are many factors in our modern lifestyle that contribute to this.” ~V.P.
In her practice, my friend Victoria Prooday, OT is seeing something so widespread and alarming that I asked if I could share her thoughts. Due to the overwhelming interest and conversation on this topic, I am re-sharing her post.
我的朋友职业治疗师 Victoria Prooday 在她的实践中看到如此普遍存在和令人震惊的情况，我问我是否可以分享她的想法。由于对这个主题的巨大兴趣和讨论，我在这里给您分享她的帖子。
I encourage every parent who cares about the future of his/her children to read it. I know that many would choose not to hear what she says in the article, but your children need you to hear this message.
I am an occupational therapist with years of experience working with children, parents, and teachers. I completely agree with this teacher’s message that our children are getting worse and worse in many aspects.
I hear the same consistent message from every teacher I meet. Clearly, throughout my time as an Occupational Therapist, I have seen and continue to see a decline in children’s social, emotional, and academic functioning, as well as a sharp increase in learning disabilities and other diagnoses.
As we know, the brain is malleable. Through environment, we can make the brain “stronger” or make it “weaker”. I truly believe that, despite all our greatest intentions, we unfortunately remold our children’s brains in the wrong direction.
1. KIDS GET EVERYTHING THEY WANT WHEN THEY WANT IT
“I am Hungry!!” “In a sec I will stop at the drive thru” “I am Thirsty!” “Here is a vending machine.” “I am bored!” “Use my phone!” The ability to delay gratification is one of the key factors for future success. We have the best intentions — to make our child happy — but unfortunately, we make them happy at the moment but miserable in the long term. To be able to delay gratification means to be able to function under stress. Our children are gradually becoming less equipped to deal with even minor stressors, which eventually become huge obstacles to their success in life.
“我很饿!!”“我会在一秒钟内停在车道上”“我渴了！”“这是一台自动售货机。”“我很无聊！”“使用我的手机！”延迟满足的能力是未来成功的关键因素之一。我们有最大的意愿 - 让我们的孩子快乐 - 但不幸的是，我们现在让他们开心，但从长远来看却很悲惨。能够延迟满足意味着能够在压力下发挥作用。我们的孩子逐渐变得不那么有能力应对甚至是轻微的压力因素，这最终成为他们生活成功的巨大障碍。
The inability to delay gratification is often seen in classrooms, malls, restaurants, and toy stores the moment the child hears “No” because parents have taught their child’s brain to get what it wants right away.
2. LIMITED SOCIAL INTERACTION
We are all busy, so we give our children digital gadgets and make them “busy” too. Kids used to play outside, where, in unstructured natural environments, they learned and practiced their social skills. Unfortunately, technology replaced the outdoor time. Also, technology made the parents less available to socially interact with their child. Obviously, our kids fall behind… the babysitting gadget is not equipped to help kids develop social skills. Most successful people have great social skills. This is the priority!
The brain is just like a muscle that is trainable and re-trainable. If you want your child to be able to bike, you teach him biking skills. If you want your child to be able to wait, you need to teach that child patience. If you want your child to be able to socialize, you need to teach him social skills. The same applies to all the other skills. There is no difference!
3. ENDLESS FUN
We have created an artificial fun world for our children. There are no dull moments. The moment it becomes quiet, we run to entertain them again, because otherwise, we feel that we are not doing our parenting duty. We live in two separate worlds. They have their “fun” world, and we have our “work” world. Why aren’t children helping us in the kitchen or with laundry? Why don’t they tidy up their toys? This is basic monotonous work that trains the brain to be workable and function under “boredom,” which is the same “muscle” that is required to be eventually teachable at school. When they come to school and it is time for handwriting their answer is “I can’t. It is too hard. Too boring.” Why? Because the workable “muscle” is not getting trained through endless fun. It gets trained through work.
Using technology as a “Free babysitting service” is, in fact, not free at all. The payment is waiting for you just around the corner. We pay with our kids’ nervous systems, with their attention, and with their ability for delayed gratification. Compared to virtual reality, everyday life is boring. When kids come to the classroom, they are exposed to human voices and adequate visual stimulation as opposed to being bombarded with the graphic explosions and special effects that they are used to seeing on the screens. After hours of virtual reality, processing information in a classroom becomes increasingly challenging for our kids because their brains are getting used to the high levels of stimulation that video games provide. The inability to process lower levels of stimulation leaves kids vulnerable to academic challenges. Technology also disconnects us emotionally from our children and our families. Parental emotional availability is the main nutrient for child’s brain. Unfortunately, we are gradually depriving our children of that nutrient.
5. KIDS RULE THE WORLD
“My son doesn’t like vegetables.” “She doesn’t like going to bed early.” “He doesn’t like to eat breakfast.” “She doesn’t like toys, but she is very good at her iPad” “He doesn’t want to get dressed on his own.” “She is too lazy to eat on her own.” This is what I hear from parents all the time. Since when do children dictate to us how to parent them? If we leave it all up to them, all they are going to do is eat macaroni and cheese and bagels with cream cheese, watch TV, play on their tablets, and never go to bed.
“我的儿子不喜欢蔬菜。”“她不喜欢早睡。”“他不喜欢吃早餐。”“她不喜欢玩具，但她非常擅长 iPad” “他不想自己穿衣服。”“她懒得自己吃饭。” 这是我一直听到父母的话。从什么时候开始，孩子们向我们指示如何养育他们？如果我们把这个责任全部交由他们，他们所要做的就是吃通心粉和奶酪和涂了奶油芝士的贝果，看电视，玩平板电脑，永不上床睡觉。
What good are we doing them by giving them what they WANT when we know that it is not GOOD for them? Without proper nutrition and a good night’s sleep, our kids come to school irritable, anxious, and inattentive. In addition, we send them the wrong message. They learn they can do what they want and not do what they don’t want.
The concept of “need to do” is absent. Unfortunately, in order to achieve our goals in our lives, we have to do what’s necessary, which may not always be what we want to do. For example, if a child wants to be an A student, he needs to study hard. If he wants to be a successful soccer player, he needs to practice every day. Our children know very well what they want, but have a very hard time doing what is necessary to achieve that goal. This results in unattainable goals and leaves the kids disappointed.
TRAIN THEIR BRAIN
You can make a difference in your child’s life by training your child’s brain so that your child will successfully function on social, emotional, and academic levels. Here is how:
1. Don’t be afraid to set the limits. Kids need limits to grow happy and healthy!!
• Make a schedule for meal times, sleep times, technology time
• Think of what is GOOD for them- not what they WANT/DON’T WANT. They are going to thank you for that later on in life. Parenting is a hard job. You need to be creative to make them do what is good for them because, most of the time, that is the exact opposite of what they want.
想想对他们来说什么是好的 —— 而不是他们想要/不想要的东西。他们将在以后的生活中感谢你。育儿是一项艰苦的工作。你需要有创造力才能让他们做对他们有益的事情，因为在大多数情况下，这与他们想要的完全相反。
• Kids need breakfast and nutritious food. They need to spend time outdoor and go to bed at a consistent time in order to come to school available for learning the next day!
• Convert things that they don’t like doing/trying into fun, emotionally stimulating games
2. Limit technology, and re-connect with your kids emotionally
• Surprise them with flowers, share a smile, tickle them, put a love note in their backpack or under their pillow, surprise them by taking them out for lunch on a school day, dance together, crawl together, have pillow fights
• Have family dinners, board game nights (see the list of my favorite board games), go biking, go to outdoor walks with a flashlight in the evening
3. Train delayed gratification
• Make them wait!!! It is ok to have “I am bored” time – this is the first step to creativity
让他们等待！有 “我很无聊”的时候是很正常的 - 这是创造力的第一步
• Gradually increase the waiting time between “I want” and “I get”
• Avoid technology use in cars and restaurants, and instead teach them waiting while talking and playing games
• Limit constant snacking
4. Teach your child to do monotonous work from early years as it is the foundation for future “workability”
• Folding laundry, tidying up toys, hanging clothes, unpacking groceries, setting the table, making lunch, unpacking their lunch box, making their bed
• Be creative. Initially make it stimulating and fun so that their brain associates it with something positive.
5. Teach social skills
Teach them turn taking, sharing, losing/winning, compromising, complimenting others, using “please and thank you”