But are today’s kids, perhaps, the rudest, most spoiled generation in history – all thanks to parents’ Gen-Xer tendency to AP?
Many experts say today’s kids are ruder than ever. And it may have something to do with popular parenting movements focusing on self-esteem and the generation that’s embracing them: Generation X, or those born between 1965 and 1977.
On paper, it doesn’t add up. After all, by many accounts Generation X may be the most devoted parents in American history. They are champions of “attachment parenting,” the school of child-rearing that calls for a high level of closeness between parents and children, Many Gen-X parents co-sleep with their children, hold them back from entering kindergarten if they feel their children’s emotional maturity is at stake and volunteer at their kids’ schools at record rates. Gen-X moms have been famously criticized by early feminists for dropping out of the workforce to care for their young children.
Yet, their kids are, well, rude. It may be that today’s parents are so fixated on their children’s emotional well-being that they’re teaching them that the well-being of others is comparatively unimportant, says Dr. Philippa Gordon, a long-time pediatrician in Park Slope, Brooklyn, an urban New York neighborhood famous for its dense Gen-X parent population.
Y’all know I am second to none in my criticism of AP practices and philosophy. And I do think that in general, AP parenting tends to produce entitled and demanding infants/young children more often than mainstream parenting does (though, from observation, the entitledness tends to diminish considerably once the child is exposed to peers on a regular basis). But I think Gen-Xers are far from the most neglected children in history, and AP is merely one manifestation of our society’s obsession with risk and advocacy for one’s ‘rights’, everyone else’s sensitivities be damned. As the article points out, we have become less polite as a society, and this is, presumably, reflected in the way we all parent. I don’t think Jerry Springer would have passed muster as a ’50s TV show, for example.
As my second son’s (non-AP) friend recently complained to me, “You always make me say ‘please’ and thank you’ before I get something!”. *sigh*