By Dr Ken Resnick, parenting specialist
I have noticed that there is a growing number of families who are sitting with young adult kids who have dropped out of varsity, have the car, the iPad, the girlfriend and the easy life and who have no intention of leaving home. Many parents are pulling their hair out at the lack of motivation and ambition with their youngster and have no idea on how to deal with this growing problem.
The impact of the economy and technology on parenting
I have been puzzled by this growing phenomenon and believe that this problem could have manifested itself just after the birth of the new South Africa when parents were very uncertain as to the future of the country. It seems that many parents either over-protected or over-indulged their child. Technology and the advent of electronic games were exploding into the world. For the parent, the advantage of these computerised games, iPads, iPods etc. meant that they had found an easy way to keep their child quiet and pre-occupied. This meant that these children were growing up with a feeling of entitlement with most parents being unsure of knowing how to control the usage of these games. Cell phones were evolving into smartphones and children as young as 6 were being given these devices to play with.
The purpose of parenting is to guide a child to adulthood. Every child is born with passion and a sense of curiosity. From the time that they become aware of the world around them, they want to explore and touch and move. They are born with passion and I believe that the above-mentioned electronic devices and games kill that passion. One of the early warning signs of learning difficulties is when children at an early age don’t persevere. They always expect someone to be there to help them. They start avoiding challenges as they and they begin to develop a fear of failure. When they’re playing electronic games there’s no reason for them to persevere at the moment that they start losing a game, they flick over to another game and losing means nothing to them.
Are you being too easy on your kids?
Many parents raise their children wanting to give their child an ‘easy’ life, but life is not about winning, it’s about handling disappointments. How are our kids ever going to handle the challenges of life if we don’t allow them to handle all the curve balls that life throws at them? Virtually all parents are great nurturers but poor managers of their children and I believe that this is the main reason why they are sitting with adult kids who lack motivation, passion and a sense of responsibility.
Feedback from parents
Below are two letters that I received this past week from two different parents. The one participated in the SmartChoiceParenting programme about 6 months ago and the other, who does not reside in Joburg, participated with her husband in two or three Skype sessions. Her child had been diagnosed with ADHD and ‘mild’ Asperger’s whatever that is.
I attended your parenting workshop at St Peter’s last year, and just thought I would let you know how things are going….
Since your workshop, I have not smacked my boys once – regular hidings to keep them in check are a thing of the past. I also shout FAR less than I ever did before – and now when I DO have to shout – it makes them jump and, boy, do they listen!! Before I started Kensway – I was shouting daily and my “shouty” voice was just ignored!
We still have “TopDog, Shop, Chores, End of Day” etc. – in place – but I have only ever had to “end a day” ONCE! Both boys are also eating better – not because they have to, but because they want to shop after dinner.
My husband has started a job which involves long trips away from home – he has been gone for 7 weeks – and I am still completely sane and in control…..not something that could have been possible before!!
If you are ever doing any ‘refresher’ courses, I would love to be on your mailing list to attend
Thank you for a life-changing course – it was worth every minute and cent! We now have a calm household, happy kids and happy parents.
Here is the other letter that I received:
Sent: 20 March 2014 10:10 AM
To: ken Resnick
Subject: THANK YOU!!!!
We started implementing the plan of action yesterday, and WOW I’m already seeing the results after one day!
I must admit I was very hesitant in the beginning but I now realise how Matthew had made a hook of being scared all the time, and playing on it.
I told him it’s fine I will follow him to the toilet, but then he’s choosing to act like a baby, as only babies expected that (and I acted very confused),
I also went on to say I will get all his baby toys out and his baby blanket, which I did, and BOY DID HE NOT LIKE THAT! This morning he was speaking out of habit and called me, then paused and stopped himself and went “oh never mind” and went to the toilet on his own.
Also, he had a tantrum last night, and I told him he that because of his attitude (which isn’t acceptable) he is now choosing to go to his room, so I managed to get him to his room, and I held the door closed. (not easy!!!)
He banged and banged and said “I can’t breathe” and cried “I’m scared”, then tried “I love you mom!” etc. etc.
I stood outside the door and told him the longer he chooses to scream and perform the longer he will stay in there. He eventually settled down after about 10 / 15 minutes and I opened the door and he apologised and was good as gold and played so nicely on the couch with his books
Last night, putting him to sleep in his own room was a dream! He went straight to sleep!
Thank you so much for helping us with this, every cent we have paid towards this is worth it!
My husband and I are Christians and what I like about this programme is it has Biblical principles, as God never forces his Children to serve him or to do things, he gives us a Choice, and the same applies here we are giving our child the freedom to make his own choices, but we also made him aware that if he chooses to makes bad choices there are negative consequence.
Thanks again, we are taking it one step at a time and will keep you posted!
The SmartChoiceParenting programme is an evidence-based positive parenting programme which is very effective in helping parents to deal with a variety of childhood disorders including ADD, ADHD, encopresis (soiling), bedwetting, oppositional defiant disorders (ODD) and many other behaviour problems. It also deals with parenting children of divorce.
Marriage counseling is also offered online.
Online workshops are also available www.smartchoiceparenting.com
Any school or organisation interested in a presentation for teachers and parents should contact me at email@example.com.