When did the concept of RESPECT go out of style? When did it become okay for kids to be disrespectful to their parents and other adults? When did it become tolerated for children to curse at their parents or to say ‘No. I’m not gonna do that’ when given a direction from an adult? One of the advantages of practicing for over 30 years and raising my own children, is that I have been able to witness parenting trends. Some trends have been positive ones, such as less use of corporal punishment. However, many trends have not been as positive. It seems that in many areas, the parenting pendulum has swung too far from the parenting of previous generations. Thankfully, we rebelled against, ‘Children should be seen and not heard’ but we replaced it with a lack of genuine parenting! What I see in my practice is that parents today are often too concerned about the less important things, such as where their kids go to school, whether they make the right sports teams, or if they’re in the right social group, and they’re too unconcerned about the important things such as whether their kids are respectful, mannerly, kind, hard working. Parents are over involved in areas where they shouldn’t be and are really under-parenting in areas where kids truly need to be guided, directed and taught. I believe the hearts of today’s parents are absolutely in the right place. They love their children and want to do a good job raising them, but somehow being a parent that is in charge and has high expectations for their children’s behavior has gone out of vogue. I find this disturbing. A generation of children is suffering because of it. Anxiety in kids is more prevalent than ever. Instinctively they feel that no one is in charge! And parents are more exhausted than ever. Children relax when they know someone responsible is in charge. They respond positively to healthy boundaries, limits, and high expectations for behavior, and the tension in the home decreases. It won’t happen overnight but it will happen if parents are consistent. Let’s make RESPECT fashionable again! If you need help doing this in your family call me.

About Gretchen Derda (Woosley), MSW, LCSW

I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in a private psychotherapy practice where I specialize in work with families and children. My focus is to help families improve their functioning so that each member of the family can reach their full potential, becoming the persons they were meant to be.
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