What is it with kids today?

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-14-2002
What is it with kids today?
Tue, 10-21-2003 - 11:10pm
Yesterday, I was finishing work on a remodel project and my SIL was cleaning in the next room. Her 3yo son was fussing and irritable (naptime) and kicked the freshly painted wall, leaving footprints (that I had to repaint). She smacked his diapered bottom once and he yelled back, "You can't do that! I'm going to call the cops!" She was not fazed in the least, and told him to settle down or he'd get another swat.

Now I have to wonder, where on earth does a child that young learn that kind of response?? He's not in day care, not in pre-school, spends little time with cousins older than he is, and there's no adult in his life who would put that idea in his head.

My BIL (SIL's brother) has two pre-teen sons with whom he struggles with discipline. Both boys are a handful. He has never spanked them (too old now, of course), but is not consistent with other forms of dicipline such as grounding, removal of privileges, extra chores, etc. He tells me there were times when they were little that he probably should have spanked them, but was *afraid* to be turned over to DFS for abuse. He's a too-lenient parent who's afraid to discipline his children. This appears to be a family problem, because there's another SIL with 3 teenage daughters who has the same problem. And the 3yo (mentioned above) spends some time with his grandmother, who won't even slap his hand or use time-out for fear she will be accused of abuse. The boy runs her into the ground and she does nothing to stop him.

Another case: My friend has a teenage daughter, and they live in a particularly bad part of the city - very high crime rate. We had a serial killer for a few years, who frequented the street they lived on - kidnapped women, raped them, hacked off their limbs, and threw their bodies into the river. Now this teenage girl was determined to go out, after dark, and walk the avenue with her friends. Mom refused. Girl tried to leave anyway. Mom wrestled her to the floor and pinned her there. Girl spewed profanities, Mom slapped her face. Girl called the police. Police listened to both sides, told Mom "good job - keep it up" and told girl "listen to your mother and do as she says." Girl said, "I'll run away." Cops said, "And we'll just bring you back home, or take you to juvenile hall."

These examples are three age groups: 3, 11-13, and 17. All four of these kids have threatened their parents with "I'll call the cops and tell them you abused me" when they did not like the form of discipline their parents used.

I've heard horror stories in recent news, too. FIL told me of a 13yo girl whose parents refused to let her attend an unchaperoned college party. She called the cops and told them her father had been sexually abusing her. Father lost his home, his business and livelihood in legal fees through years in court. Case was dismissed when the girl's friend recanted their made-up story and the girl confessed, but it was far too late.

Now, I completely support the schools' and law enforcements' effort to educate kids to speak up when there is actual abuse. But what's going wrong? Have any of you experienced situations like these with your kids or others in your family? How did you handle it?



Avatar for leslie2353
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Wed, 10-22-2003 - 2:45am
I could have called the cops when my parents were verbally and physically abusing me. I could have called the cops when Mom continue to verbally abuse my 95yrs. old dad or me and my neices. In those days, no one calls the cops, or heard of dysfunctional family or even heard of Foster Homes. I did call the cop when my youngest neice reported to me what her mom had done to her, and / or what her uncle had done to her, because they're either too strict or not letting her talk to her friends on the phone.

When that little boy got a smack on his diaper and said he'd call the cops, someone have been teaching him about child abuse. Kids don't know the difference between abuse and discipline. A mother (parents) should know better not to use physical to discipline their child. As a mother who use to spank our oldest child, know better that spanking is NOT the answer, from reading books on the subject, since I too was spanked and didn't want to have him follow me in my footsteps. There are other ways to discipline children. In order for them to respect you, parents need to respect their children and teach them what's right and wrong w/out yelling and spanking them.

My parents were abusive to me, only to discipline me the way they knew how. Because that was HOW their parents disciplined them. They didn't know any better. It can be done. Would I be a different person today, if I was disciplined another way? I choose to educate myself, to better myself and to pass that knowledge to my kids. It's their choice to accept or deny. Teaching begins at home. As children becomes adult, they will find out it's not an easy task.