Lack of discipline among young children

Kellie Salmond, Staff Writer

“What I say goes” and “because I said so” was all it took for us to realize we were in the wrong or in trouble as a child. For young kids now-a-days it’s not that simple.

The new generation of children may be starting to show excessive lack of respect and discipline.

After school and during summer I watch children typically from ages 5-8 between three to five hours a day. You would think they would still be willing to listen and respond to discipline, but sadly that’s not the case for all of them.

There is a standard way of discipline many people use for the younger kids. It calls for three verbal warnings before they are sent to the school age director, whose power is comparable to a principal at school. For most kids I don’t have to go past two warnings, but for some kids I  can get to three and they have no care in the world and continue to act out.

I explain to those kids they will be sent to see the “principal,” written up and possibly have their parents called. As a child you’d think that would sound scary, but their use to getting trouble at school everyday as well.

So what do you do for those kids? How do you get through to them? Why do they act like this? I reached out to former and current people who work in child care and asked them what they thought about the theory.

In order to get different perspectives, I asked questions to people with all different types of experience.  Someone who works only over the summer, and works long term. I also did researched articles online to get outsiders perspectives on the theory.

Senior Sydney Carrington, who has worked two summers, worked with kids ages 6-7 years old.  She agreed kids from the new generation lack respect for authority. She feels as though “some kids think [she] is just a person that is there with one responsibility, to bring them to different activities.” Kids more or less treat them as a babysitter, rather than an adult in charge.

Another underlying problem with disciplining someone else’s children is once they are sent to a higher authority, there’s no real consequences and they are sent back shortly after. She also thinks the new generation of parents “are more like friends than an authority figure.” When asked at what age do the kids begin to stop respecting authority she had two different answers. She believes some kids start being bad at a younger age, and are never corrected so they continue when they’re older. But on the other hand some kids are “very well mannered and that goes back to the style at home.”

Overall she feels the kid truly behaves how they are taught at home, and “if they aren’t taught manners then they are never going to be able to use them.

In a blog written by Rebecca Eanes, she touched upon similar issues on how parents may be too “buddy-buddy” with their kids. Eanes feels as though parents “coddle and dote and bend over backward to shield them from frustration and protect their self-esteem.” By parents sheltering their kids, it’s resulting in “a generation of undisciplined narcissists who expect everything to go their way.” After a long day of work when you hear your child acted out all day long, it’s much easier to throw them an ipad so they’re quit than to deal with their behavior.

I also asked Senior Meghan Adams who works the summers and during the school her take on the situation. She has only been working with kids for a year, but has noticed behavior changes in the kids during that time as well. She works with kids between the ages of 7 and 9. She feels as though the new generation of kids do not care what consequences they face because “their parents will defend them no matter what.”

This all goes back to the issue of parents not separating their friendship with their children and parenting. She also believes kids stop listening as early as age 8. She thinks “at age 8 they start to think they’re not too old and not too young making them think they can do whatever they want.” She also believes the kids are worse when it comes to discipline in the summer, because “school’s out and it’s their time to have fun.”

In an article written by Laura Clark, she explained her thoughts as to why the young kids misbehave more than ever. She too believes that parents are also to blame for the bad behavior,  and says,  “behaviour must lie with parents as well as a media that promotes inappropriate values and advertisers who use children as marketing opportunities.”

Overall, the new generation of children has potential to improve their behavior over time. As for bad behavior and disrespect happening so early in age, the parents may be to blame rather than the children. For people who work in child care, or even babysit, I recommend you really try to sit and connect with the troubled child rather than yelling at them to make a point. Try to get through to them by having a talk with their parents, and asking for advice from people who are higher up in child education.