Adolescences and Bad Behavior

Adolescences and Bad Behavior

A woman told me recently that today’s teens are different in terms of behavior. I corrected her, today’s teens are the same as yesterdays, what has changed is parenting. The overwhelming majority of cases that I have been involved with, in which a teenager was behaving badly, the problems began long before they reached adolescence. Too many of the teenagers I have worked with had few, if any, rules during their forming years. This combined with other factors has contributed to the incorrigible teen they became years later.

The three year old child who tells his mother to “shut up” is not a rare case anymore. In one example, the mother giggled, although she did appear to be embarrassed and told her friend, “these children nowadays.” I turned around and asked her, “Can you imagine when he’s a teenager?” She was not happy with me. She stormed off.

The truth is children haven’t changed parenting has. Her child behaves this way because there are no consequences for his poor behavior. The child is being raised in a poverty stricken environment and is being done a disservice. In essence he is being set up for failure.

Passive parenting, especially when accompanied by little intentional involvement (bordering on non-parenting) is a curse upon the child. A child is not a miniature adult. Instead he is a manipulative being and given the opportunity he will enact his will for the sake of self-interest even if it is detrimental to his person, future, family, etc.

Years later I will meet such a child only now as a teenager who can’t get along. He will have problems with his peers and authority figures.  As long as he is getting his way he is very easy to get along with, but displease him, such as by asking him to do something he doesn’t want to do, i.e. homework, and WWIII awaits you.

Are there exceptions? Of course there are! Please understand that this is exactly what they are, exceptions.  We as Americans love exceptions. We call them “underdogs” and all too often we get caught up in the emotion of hoping and ignore the fact that exceptions are rare and “underdogs” rarely succeed. It is far better to plan for success and then put forth an effort executing that plan. Raising children requires a plan. Too many parents are using a hands-off approach fully expecting that one morning their child will wake up, rush to their side, thank them for all their sacrifices and set out to be the obedient studious prodigy.

This world is a very unfair and evil place. There are forces and people, ones whom I have come to know quite well, who eagerly await to educate your children if you fail to do so.


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