Do you think most kids are brats?

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Are a majority of American kids between the ages of 4 and 12 brats?

Poll ended at Tue Dec 13, 2011 8:11 am

Yes.
58
37%
No.
76
49%
I don't know.
13
8%
I don't care.
8
5%
 
Total votes: 155

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fredflinstone
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Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by fredflinstone » Tue Dec 06, 2011 8:11 am

Observing my kids' playmates during the past decade or so, I have come to the conclusion that a majority -- perhaps the overwhelming majority -- of U.S. children are brats.

Here are several common variations:

Brat Type #1: the violent kid (usually a boy). Everyone knows one or two of these. The next-door neighbor who hits his brother with a baseball bat for no reason. The classmate who is suspended from school for biting another child. The kid at the playground who picks up dirt or sand and tosses it at other kids.

Brat type #2: the "sometimes friend" friend: This is the kid who treats your child great when it's a one-on-one playdate but treats your child like dirt when some other kid happens to be around. This is by far the most common type of brat. Example: my son went with one his "friends" to the swimming pool. Once there, my son's "friend" saw some other kid and played with that kid rather than my son. I don't mean it was a threesome; I mean he completely ignored my son.

Brat type #3: the disrespectful child. This is the kid who yells at his parents, shrieks that he is bored, and in general must be the center of attention at all times and is totally disrespectful to all adults.

Brat type #4: the screen-addicted child. This is the kid who is front of a TV, DVD player, computer, Nintendo DS, wii, iPad, iPhone, or Xbox for 40 hours a week. Unable to go for more than 15 minutes without his screen fix. [Update: this one doesn't really belong. A screen-addicted child who is kind to other people has problems but it is not right to call him a brat.]

Have I forgotten any brat classifications? Please feel free to add your own.

Of course, the four categories mentioned above are not mutually exclusive. Some brats exhibit behavior of all four brat types. These kids may be referred to as "super brats."

What is surprising is that most brats have very nice parents. Typically, these parents have poor parenting kids (e.g. lack of discipline) and they think their brat kids walk on water.

A majority of young U.S. kids fall into at least one of the above categories. If you have young kids it is more likely than not that your kids are brats. Sad but true.

I am curious if other Bogleheads share my assessment.
Last edited by fredflinstone on Tue Dec 06, 2011 8:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

PreserveCapital
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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by PreserveCapital » Tue Dec 06, 2011 8:13 am

Everyone else's kids are brats but mine are darling angels.

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Sheepdog
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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by Sheepdog » Tue Dec 06, 2011 8:18 am

Children learn the most of their behavior from their parents and siblings.
'nuff said.
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fredflinstone
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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by fredflinstone » Tue Dec 06, 2011 8:22 am

Sheepdog wrote:Children learn the most of their behavior from their parents and siblings.
'nuff said.
Not quite right, IMO. One of the brats in my daughter's class has the nicest parents you can imagine. They do not discipline their son, however; I believe this is the source of the problem.

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vectorizer
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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by vectorizer » Tue Dec 06, 2011 8:23 am

Brat type #4 seems out of place. There are negatives to "screen addiction", but that isn't necessarily reflected in bad behavior toward others like your other brat types.

Among my three kids, my most screen-addicted one is also the most well-adjusted, outgoing, healthy-weighted, and athletic. Polite and respectful, according to his teachers. Go figure.

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fredflinstone
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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by fredflinstone » Tue Dec 06, 2011 8:27 am

vectorizer wrote:Brat type #4 seems out of place. There are negatives to "screen addiction", but that isn't necessarily reflected in bad behavior toward others like your other brat types.

Among my three kids, my most screen-addicted one is also the most well-adjusted, outgoing, healthy-weighted, and athletic. Polite and respectful, according to his teachers. Go figure.
Sounds like a nice kid. I think you are right. That one is different. I will add a note to my original post.

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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by Ruprecht » Tue Dec 06, 2011 8:29 am

.....
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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by Brody » Tue Dec 06, 2011 8:33 am

100% of kids are brats some of the time.
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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by jtea3051 » Tue Dec 06, 2011 8:35 am

As a teacher, I find that the parents tend to be more on the bratting side, and it wears off on the kids.

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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by xerty24 » Tue Dec 06, 2011 8:49 am

If you can train your pet, you can train your kid - hopefully they're a lot smarter and learn faster too. If school teachers were more able/willing to discipline kids, they might be able to help. As it is these days, their best threat it to send the kid home for a few days for bad behavior, essentially punishing the parents by revoking their free day care privileges. Perhaps if the parents had to put up with their misbehaving kid full time (as well as give up vacation or whatever it takes to stay home from work on short notice), maybe they'll start to do their job as parents.
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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Tue Dec 06, 2011 8:50 am

We live in an affluent neighborhood and many of the children feel "entitled." That being said, there are many nice kids, but of course they have the occasional bratty moment. I might be overly influenced by my kids' hockey friends; most of them seem to be pretty darned nice.

It's a good thing you restricted the age to 4-12. My two teenagers are beyond bratty, but I guess that's par for the course :)

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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Tue Dec 06, 2011 8:51 am

xerty24 wrote:If you can train your pet, you can train your kid - hopefully they're a lot smarter and learn faster too. If school teachers were more able/willing to discipline kids, they might be able to help. As it is these days, their best threat it to send the kid home for a few days for bad behavior, essentially punishing the parents by revoking their free day care privileges. Perhaps if the parents had to put up with their misbehaving kid full time (as well as give up vacation or whatever it takes to stay home from work on short notice), maybe they'll start to do their job as parents.
Good morning sunshine :)

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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by 3CT_Paddler » Tue Dec 06, 2011 8:55 am

Ruprecht wrote:
Sheepdog wrote:Children learn most of their behavior from their parents.
'nuff said.
There's certainly a lot of truth to that, but it's not completely true. No one has ever had to teach a child how to be selfish. That comes naturally. In fact, a lot of antisocial behavior is perfectly natural. In order to function in a peaceful society, all of us have to adjust our behavior to include some artificial limitations.

Whether or not people are born inherently good or inherently evil is a deep philosophical and/or religious topic. But anyone who denies that people are born selfish, self-destructive, and mostly antisocial is either ignorant or delusional.
Yes I think a clarification would be that parents must be intentional about disciplining/molding their children to treat others how they would want to be treated. The parents may be nice people by all outward appearances, but that doesn't automatically mean they are great parents. Every kid at some point is going to have their bratty moment... but hopefully the parents have enough sense to not enable that behavior.

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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by jh » Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:03 am

.....
Last edited by jh on Fri May 04, 2012 10:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by sscritic » Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:11 am

fredflinstone wrote:
Sheepdog wrote:Children learn the most of their behavior from their parents and siblings.
Not quite right, IMO. One of the brats in my daughter's class has the nicest parents you can imagine. They do not discipline their son, however; I believe this is the source of the problem.
So the brat is learning from the parents that they don't expect him to show respect for others because there are no consequences when he acts out. Yes, he is learning his behavior from his parents. And when his turn comes, he will most likely be a terrible parent as well. These are not nice parents; nice parents show concern for you and your child. These people don't care how their son acts towards others, proof that they don't care about others themselves. They just put up a front of niceness. I can imagine much nicer parents, and I know them. [Spoken by someone who has never met any of the people involved, but that's the joy of the internet.]

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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by FafnerMorell » Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:37 am

Back when I was a young adult, I was quick to assume kids were brats and not being raised right. The screaming child in the grocery store and the spoiled brat throwing a fit in the shopping mall made up the stereotype I held of what "kids today" were like.

Now that I've spent more time observing kids & the folks raising them, I've changed my opinion. Sure, there's still 10% or so of humanity which seem intent on making themselves and everyone around them miserable, or just don't give a darn, but I'd say the vast majority of parents today are deeply concerned about raising their kids to be decent people, and most kids are on the right path. Maybe I'm just lucky to live in an area where folks care about their families, but overall I've been very impressed.

Parents these days walk a delicate tightrope on discipline. It's vitally necessary, but too much comes across as abusive (or OCD) and too little results in out of control monsters. Teachers have a similar issue - they're the villain if they're constantly correcting a child, but neglectful if they're not - and by the way, there's 20 or so of them. And Sally's allergic to peanuts, Bobby has a glutten thing, Vishnu can't have meat and who knows what's up with the ones always complaining of sore tummies. Hopefully they genuinely like kids - I can't imagine doing their jobs (I have a hard enough time remembering to buy peanut-free candy for Halloween, just to avoid potential complications). Nobody is perfect, and kids, parents & teachers will all have the occasional bad day. And there's always a lurking fear of all the bad stuff (abuse, etc) that's out there.

But overall, I think there's going to be a lot of great adults coming out of this. I'm sure there will be a lot of them which lose it along the way, but looking at statistics, for the US, the "moral decline" peaked around the 1970s - since then, it's been getting progressively better. Now, those of you who are in your 50s-60s, you're pretty much the worst human beings that the US of A has ever churned out (well statistically speaking :wink: ), but the rest of us will be fine.
:beer

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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by Atilla » Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:55 am

I help teach Sunday School once a month. Kids are second through sixth grade. Brats are in the minority, but the ones who are - hoo boy.

The problem with other peoples' kids is you can't beat them like you can your own (kidding, sorta).

Bratty behavior is definitely a reflection on parenting. My brother in law is an adult brat and his boy fits into multiple categories of brattiness as outlined above. The boy is reasonably well-behaved when someone like myself is in charge and expectations of behavior are clear. But get him in front of his dad and it's instant hellion. It's like flipping a switch.
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HomerJ
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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by HomerJ » Tue Dec 06, 2011 10:04 am

Claude wrote:It's a good thing you restricted the age to 4-12. My two teenagers are beyond bratty, but I guess that's par for the course :)
Exactly... Most of the 4-12 year olds I know have bad moments, but in general they are all mostly nice kids...

Now teenagers.... <shudder> :annoyed

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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by bottlecap » Tue Dec 06, 2011 10:11 am

I don't know. A lot of people are brats as you've defined them. Even if the parents are nice to you, I guarantee many are selfish and inconsiderate when they don't know the other person (ie., when no one that matters is looking). That said, I don't really believe that "most" people are that way.

I suspect kids are just kids - they get away with what they can. Many parents don't spend much time with their kids - somebody at day care watching 12 other kids is "raising" them. I think some of our friends tend to indulge their kids behavior because they spend so little time with them that the time they do spend they don't want to be the "bad" guy. Luckily, my wife has gone back to work only part time, but last night, I saw my daughter for a grand total of an hour and a half before she went to bed. When she gets older, it will be less than that.

JT

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nisiprius
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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by nisiprius » Tue Dec 06, 2011 10:20 am

Kids are what they are. They are human beings who have not developed their social masks and personas as completely or as skillfully as most adults. They are all bratty at times. And there is a huge gulf between children as they are and children as they are idealized in media. Hints of children as they are will peek through the works of the more honest writers.

''Tom Sawyer'' is an example, and when reading it, it's important to see across the culture gap of 1-1/2 centuries, even Twain's reluctance to be fully frank, and the aura of "literature" that surrounds it. Tom lies. Tom engages in violent behavior with other kids, no less violent just because it is so juvenile and because Twain views it through an indulgent eye. Tom's a bit older than the kids fredflinstone is describing, I think, but can anyone believe Tom wasn't a brat when he was younger?

Eugene Field's New Tribune Primer, 1901 is an ironic series of sketches in mock-schoolbook tone exhorting kids to commit mischief and worse:
The Caterpillar is Crawling along the Fence. He has pretty Fur all over his Back, and he Walks by Wrinkling up his Skin. He is Full of Nice yellow Custard. Perhaps you had better take him into the house, where it is warm, and Mash him on the Wall Paper with Sister Lulu's Album. Then the Wall Paper will Look as if a Red Headed Girl had been leaning Against it.
This is, implicitly, a world of brats.

Perhaps Stephen Crane's An Ominous Baby doesn't count, though, because it's describing a "child from the poor district," and "bratty" behavior applies to middle-class kids of whom we expect better.
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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by guitarguy » Tue Dec 06, 2011 10:25 am

fredflinstone wrote:
Sheepdog wrote:Children learn the most of their behavior from their parents and siblings.
'nuff said.
Not quite right, IMO. One of the brats in my daughter's class has the nicest parents you can imagine. They do not discipline their son, however; I believe this is the source of the problem.
Enabling the kid to act that way without consequence allows them 'learn' the behavior is OK.

Obviously not every bad behavior is learned from children following their parents example, but enabling is just as bad.

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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by fredflinstone » Tue Dec 06, 2011 10:27 am

jh wrote:If you were a nerdy kid, and I was, then you have seen people's true selves...
Bumping this comment, because it is so painfully true.

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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by SP-diceman » Tue Dec 06, 2011 10:30 am

I think a lot of it is the parents fault.
(ultimately every issue with a normal child should be)

First off, there’s a lot of psycho-babble.
(notice how many “experts” we have today)

For some reason the recent generation of parents have wanted to be the
child’s friend and be the “cool” parent.
(not the standards setter, disciplinarian)

Mix with that our over abundant lifestyle,
(most kids rooms look like ToysR-US)
I had few toys and used to value them.

I was at a doctors office and a mother had many bags
of pretzels, chips, cookies, to “bribe’ her kids when they acted up in the waiting room.
(funny, my mom told me to behave)

I’ve sometimes (flipping thru channels) stopped on the show: Super Nanny.
(a British Nanny comes to your home and tells you how to control your kids)
You see little kids telling their parents off, needless to say, there would have been dire consequences if I ever told my father off.

So I think it all comes from:

Parents (discipline, standards, trying to buy love)
Psycho-Babble(too many experts)
Excess(we have too much stuff, kids don’t value things)

Come on, are kids really something new, how did they raise them in caveman days?
Am I supposed to believe no one knew how to raise a kid until Dr. Spocks baby book?


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SP-diceman

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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by Brody » Tue Dec 06, 2011 10:36 am

Sometimes, it is actually a problem when a child is well behaved all of the time. My oldest daughter was perfectly behaved in school 100% of the time. Instead of this being an indication of what a wonderful girl she was and proof that her parents were awesome, her great behavior was simply a product of her feeling less than completely comfortable. Many children have a tendency to retreat within themselves when they aren't comfortable.

As a parent, the goal isn't to raise good children. We are trying to raise responsible adults.

I've had people come up to me and tell me what an amazing parent that I am on many occasions. I've also seen that look in people's eyes when they are just disgusted with how a kid of mine has acted and they just know that I'm a terrible parent.

A bratty kid does not equal bad parents. A well behaved kid does not equal good parents.
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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by rustymutt » Tue Dec 06, 2011 10:42 am

Those brats grow up to be brats also. Once a brat, always a brat.
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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by guitarguy » Tue Dec 06, 2011 11:13 am

SP-diceman wrote: Parents (discipline, standards, trying to buy love)
Psycho-Babble(too many experts)
Excess(we have too much stuff, kids don’t value things)

I couldn't agree more. Kids today have such sense of entitlement and lack of discipline. It's crazy. They've never even heard the word 'chores' before. An allowance for nothing? Are you kidding me?? Kids with cell phones at 9 years old? Come on...ride your bike down the street and knock on your friends door for goodness sakes. I've seen so many kids that just flat out don't respect their parents...back talking to them I can't believe and the parent basically doing nothing but taking it. I can't even remember how many times I've said to myself, "Man...if I would've said that to my mom......"
Atilla wrote:The problem with other peoples' kids is you can't beat them like you can your own (kidding, sorta).
And add this to the list. I got a belt on my backside from my Dad twice in my life. Believe me, after those ass whoopins I never repeated that bad behavior again that's for sure. Can you even spank your kid now without going to jail? I am in no way advocating anything truly abusive or illegal...I just hate how soft our society has become.

But what do I know...I'm not even a parent yet. (Although God willing I'll be one soon...we're working on a brat now!) :lol:

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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by Brody » Tue Dec 06, 2011 11:22 am

Believe me, after those ass whoopins I never repeated that bad behavior again that's for sure.
Good luck on your brat. My kids have never been spanked. If it was up to me, they would be, but the wife says "no", so she wins. Thus far, in retrospect, I am glad that I have never hit them.

Do I think that my kids (at times) might be a little better behaved if the consequences were a spanking? Yes. Do I think that a spanking would help me to raise them to become more responsible adults? No.

Again, for me, the focus has to be on raising responsible adults as opposed to having obedient kids. I absolutely want obedient kids, but that can't be the goal. If a child is being good because they are afraid of the consequences of not behaving, what happens when that fear or the consequences are no longer present?
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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by guitarguy » Tue Dec 06, 2011 11:47 am

Brody wrote:
Believe me, after those ass whoopins I never repeated that bad behavior again that's for sure.
Good luck on your brat. My kids have never been spanked. If it was up to me, they would be, but the wife says "no", so she wins. Thus far, in retrospect, I am glad that I have never hit them.

Do I think that my kids (at times) might be a little better behaved if the consequences were a spanking? Yes. Do I think that a spanking would help me to raise them to become more responsible adults? No.

Again, for me, the focus has to be on raising responsible adults as opposed to having obedient kids. I absolutely want obedient kids, but that can't be the goal. If a child is being good because they are afraid of the consequences of not behaving, what happens when that fear or the consequences are no longer present?
If you're good luck wishes are sincere, then thank you.

I think there is a link between well behaved kids, responsible teenagers, and well-rounded adults. Having well behaved children should be a goal, not the goal. Do you want your 12 year old to steal a car and beat up some kid, spend time in juvi, and then come out with a straight attitude and become an upstanding, responsible, and successful adult? :roll: Of course not. You can't just focus on the end game.

And keep in mind I didn't say that spanking was a be-all-end-all answer to everything. It certainly wasn't in my childhood. Like I said, I can remember pretty much every time I ever got a real spanking, and could probably cound them on one hand.

I don't think fear is the right word either. I never walked around with the fear of God in me all the time as a child. Not in the least. But the consequences part is legit. They absolutely have to know there will be consequences (whatever they may be) for doing wrong...and it's not like that goes away when you grow up either.

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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by ladders11 » Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:01 pm

With all these brats, it makes sense that the decent kids are choosing computers, television, and video games. They probably can't stand all the brats they are stuck with.

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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by PaddyMac » Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:03 pm

I don't have a reason to be around kids much (can't complain!) but have been working with a young college student the past few weeks in a workshop of adults. What struck me most is how when she makes a mistake (even if it's an accident) she doesn't seem to feel any need to apologize. Or if she does feel the need, she doesn't actually apologize, she just shrugs. Is this something new? For instance, after spilling her cup of coffee over someone's book, there was just an "oops". No apology, and no offer to replace the ruined book. If that was one of the adults, they would be apologizing profusely for their clumsiness and offering a replacement.

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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by FabLab » Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:14 pm

Of course! That's why they're called kids.

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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by hidesert » Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:18 pm

As a dad, I found my son's years from 4 to 12 to be the golden years. I was his hero, all-knowing and invincible. It was only after he turned thirteen that I became stupid and secondary in importance to his "friends". Now he's 21, in college, and has discovered once again my wisdom :)

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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by Brody » Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:33 pm

guitarguy wrote:
Brody wrote:
Believe me, after those ass whoopins I never repeated that bad behavior again that's for sure.
Good luck on your brat. My kids have never been spanked. If it was up to me, they would be, but the wife says "no", so she wins. Thus far, in retrospect, I am glad that I have never hit them.

Do I think that my kids (at times) might be a little better behaved if the consequences were a spanking? Yes. Do I think that a spanking would help me to raise them to become more responsible adults? No.

Again, for me, the focus has to be on raising responsible adults as opposed to having obedient kids. I absolutely want obedient kids, but that can't be the goal. If a child is being good because they are afraid of the consequences of not behaving, what happens when that fear or the consequences are no longer present?
If you're good luck wishes are sincere, then thank you.

I think there is a link between well behaved kids, responsible teenagers, and well-rounded adults. Having well behaved children should be a goal, not the goal. Do you want your 12 year old to steal a car and beat up some kid, spend time in juvi, and then come out with a straight attitude and become an upstanding, responsible, and successful adult? :roll: Of course not. You can't just focus on the end game.

And keep in mind I didn't say that spanking was a be-all-end-all answer to everything. It certainly wasn't in my childhood. Like I said, I can remember pretty much every time I ever got a real spanking, and could probably cound them on one hand.

I don't think fear is the right word either. I never walked around with the fear of God in me all the time as a child. Not in the least. But the consequences part is legit. They absolutely have to know there will be consequences (whatever they may be) for doing wrong...and it's not like that goes away when you grow up either.
My good luck wishes were sincere. There is nothing more difficult or more rewarding than attempting to be a good parent.

Everything is a balancing act. Do I want my kids to be well behaved? Sure. Do I want my kids to be so well behaved that they don't push limits? It would make parenting much easier, but it isn't what is best for them.

This is hard to write what I'm trying to say in a coherent manner, but I'll try. Is that perfectly obedient kid going to grow up to be the type of successful adult that we want them to be? I doubt it. I'm hoping that my kid is the one who is willing to attempt to break the rules by sneaking out of her room at midnight, but is responsible enough to stay sober. One doesn't grow by being good all of the time.

Mine are still young, so I still deal with lots of bratty behavior(8,7,6, and 5). My kids are very well behaved. My kids are brats. If any of them were over your house for dinner, I guarantee that you would be telling me how well behaved they were. If you came to my house for dinner, I guarantee that at least one of them would end up in a time out or sent to his/her room. If I'm out with all 4 of them, it is a pretty good bet that someone will be misbehaved. If I'm out with 2 of them, there is a very good chance that they will be perfect.

I'm just pointing this out because I have to believe that my kids are the same as the kids of other parents who care. They are almost all brats AND they are all almost good kids.

Additionally, I do some coaching of youth sports. Even with the kids who misbehave and can't stay focus, it's usually pretty easy to see that the kids aren't so much brats as it is that they simply don't yet have the ability (maturity) to control themselves as easily as others.

I guess that what I'm trying to say with all of this is that there is a huge difference between being a brat (or sometimes exhibiting bratty behavior) and being a bad kid.
I am the poster formerly known as Oneanddone.

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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by epilnk » Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:48 pm

Wow. I'm glad I don't share a neighborhood with at least half of the people on this thread, because y'all sound like you're surrounded by some remarkably unpleasant children. I've been impressed and pleasantly surprised by the children I know in this age range. I find them more responsible, more caring, and more polite than what I recall from growing up. When I volunteer in the classrooms I have little difficulty getting the kids to listen and respond, and I can't think of any instances of actual rudeness.

Bullying, sadly, has not been cured; however it seems to have become more common for bystanders to intervene in a bullying situation. I know for sure of one instance where a nearby girl intervened when my son was being verbally bullied, and one instance where my son intervened on another kid's behalf. One kid with behavior problems whom no one could stand was invited to join a group activity because, "we don't like him but it's wrong to leave him out". I heard one boy being sneered at because his little brother wears pink sparkly shoes, and another kid jumped in and quashed that by saying, "So what? Some people are just born liking that stuff." The subject was dropped. No, I have no qualms about kids "these days". I rather like them.

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verbose
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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by verbose » Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:58 pm

I used to believe that poor parenting explained all brats over the age of 3. Then we had a second child...

As parents of a brat, I can tell you that certain members of the public make our job very hard. They approach our child when he's tantruming or pouting, and attempt to soothe him (validates the behavior). They dismiss us by contradicting our rules to him ("oh no, he doesn't have to" ). They give our child candy without asking us, sometimes while he is obviously in trouble.

The boy is so used to this that he looks for it, attemptIng to make eye contact with strangers.

If you hate brats, support discipline. Help parents by stonily ignoring children who behave badly.

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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by guitarguy » Tue Dec 06, 2011 1:01 pm

Brody wrote: I guess that what I'm trying to say with all of this is that there is a huge difference between being a brat (or sometimes exhibiting bratty behavior) and being a bad kid.
Like you said...
Brody wrote:100% of kids are brats some of the time.
:beer

It's what parents do or don't do when they exhibit this behavior, or behavior worse than just being bratty, that makes them good parents.

After all, a child that smacks his brother with a baseball bat for no reason (like the OP's first comments) sounds more like a violent sociopath to me than a brat. :shock: :lol:

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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by Flashes1 » Tue Dec 06, 2011 1:12 pm

I've learned it's very easy to pass judgment on other people's parenting skills, especially when you're not a parent or after you're kids are out of the house. However, I've learned it's probably not a good idea. Kids are tempermental and each one is different. It's not always the parents' fault....i.e. it's not for a lack of stern discipline (a 2"4" across some kids' heads will not stop them from melting down if that's what they decided they are going to do).

I'm not sure what point I'm trying to make except be careful when judging people. It's easy, and fun to do, but not always accurate or productive.

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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by Jerilynn » Tue Dec 06, 2011 2:10 pm

"The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for
authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place
of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their
households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They
contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties
at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers."

--Attributed to Socrates c.400 BCE
Cordially, Jeri . . . 100% all natural asset allocation. (no supernatural methods used)

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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by tadamsmar » Tue Dec 06, 2011 2:42 pm

Most parents are incompetent. In the US we have mostly turned against corporal punishment in the last few decades, but we have substituted negative attention (scolding and whatnot). The problem is that all attention is positive reinforcement. So when you attend to your kid's behavior, you get more of the same behavior. If you are looking at your 3 year old kid and flapping your lips, they like it, it does not matter much what you are saying. Parents might as well give up because they are do all the wrong things when they try to control their kids.

The key thing is that you have to give your kid's lots of attention for good behavior and pretend to completely ignore most bad behavior. For some intolerable (mostly dangerous) bad behavior, you have to use time-out, but it's very important to use special time-out techniques that don't reinforce the behavior. This is summarized here:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles ... ut-control

Withdrawing attention is sort of like "timeout in place". For a tantrum you walk away, leave the room, pretend to ignore. When they get finally control you come back and praise them for getting control.

This is the best book on raising 3 to 8 year olds:

http://www.amazon.com/Incredible-Years- ... 619&sr=1-1

The methods in the book and the Psychology Today article are both evidence-based. The methods are those that tested out as effective in parenting research, much of it done that the University of Washington Parenting Clinic.

Unfortunately, I am not sure the Incredible Years book is sufficient. Most parents probably need the Incredible Years training course.

Societies that have a long history of avoiding corporal punishment have all sorts of systems that honor and draw attention to behaviors that show maturity. But in the US, all we did was stop beating our kids and start yelling at them and scolding them.

To get your kid to eat veggies, you attend to, talk about, and praise other kids that eat veggies. In two-parent home with a single kid, the parents attend to and discuss each other's veggie eating till the kid joins in. Never give a kid attention by telling the kid to eat his veggies.

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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by tadamsmar » Tue Dec 06, 2011 3:11 pm

Way before I had kids, I work as a substitute in the day care center for the kids of married students at UNC.

One day I was in charge of a room full of kids on cots at what was suppose to be sleep time. I tried to get the uncooperative ones to lay quietly. But the room started rising to a boil.

One of the experience teachers came in. She started to attend only to the ones who were behaving. She went around saying "Sherry is a good sleeper","John is a good sleeper". The room started to settle down... and I started to do what the experienced teacher was doing.

That was the best training in parenting that I ever had.

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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by mikeast » Tue Dec 06, 2011 3:16 pm

I wish I had gone to school with the kids of today rather than the ones in my generation (I'm 56). From what I see at my son's middle school, in the neighborhood, and in organized youth activities I participate in, kids today are kinder and more caring. They seem less likely to pick on each other because of differences and less likely to shun those kids who are less popular. I like 'em MUCH more than the kids I went to middle school with.

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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by 3CT_Paddler » Tue Dec 06, 2011 4:15 pm

Tadamsmar that is some excellent advice... thanks for posting.

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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by snowbound » Tue Dec 06, 2011 4:34 pm

My son had a rather severe stuttering problem into the latter part of his high school years. Not once did I see any classmate, friend or team mate make fun of him or treat him any differently then they treated other kids. The patince that these kids showed with my son was so outstanding and kind that it at times brought tears to my eyes.

Look around there are a lot of great kids out there!
"When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure"

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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by Puakinekine » Tue Dec 06, 2011 4:37 pm

To get your kid to eat veggies, you attend to, talk about, and praise other kids that eat veggies. In two-parent home with a single kid, the parents attend to and discuss each other's veggie eating till the kid joins in. Never give a kid attention by telling the kid to eat his veggies.
tadamsmar

That wouldn't have worked on me. Veggies were disgusting!

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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by XtremeSki2001 » Tue Dec 06, 2011 5:16 pm

tadamsmar wrote:Withdrawing attention is sort of like "timeout in place". For a tantrum you walk away, leave the room, pretend to ignore. When they get finally control you come back and praise them for getting control.
This sounds like how my wife manages me when I'm fired up about something. Gives me confidence that she will be an amazing mother :lol: :lol:
A box of rain will ease the pain and love will see you through

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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by MathWizard » Tue Dec 06, 2011 7:45 pm

The brats are not the majority.
But the ones that are have 10 times the effect,
so it just seem like they are the majority.

I'd say that the kids I see are much better now
than when I grew up, but maybe my perspective
has changed along with my status in life, and my
ability to choose the type of people I interact with.

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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by epilnk » Tue Dec 06, 2011 8:20 pm

tadamsmar wrote:To get your kid to eat veggies, you attend to, talk about, and praise other kids that eat veggies. In two-parent home with a single kid, the parents attend to and discuss each other's veggie eating till the kid joins in.
Thanks for the laugh - this is the funniest thing I've read all day. I can see how in a day care setting this would increase the overall degree of vegetable acceptance, though I'm skeptical that the magnitude of the effect would be large. However in the home, "other kids" are known as siblings - that is a completely different situation and likely to have the opposite effect. And anyone who thinks a child will be tempted by listening to his parents discuss each other's vegetables may be underestimating the intelligence of children.

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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by Rodc » Tue Dec 06, 2011 11:00 pm

I think the answer largely depends on the mind of the observer.

Once, many years ago when our country was young, a man moved to a new town. He asked a man he met how people were in this new town. The man answered, "Well, how were they in your old town?" The newbie answered that in his old town people were jerks, crooks and could not be trusted. The man said, "Well, you'll find the folks here are jerks, crooks and cannot be trusted."

A week later an other newbie moved to town and just so happened to run into the same man. The newbie asked how are people in this town? The man replied, "Well, how were they in your old town?" The newbie said, "Most they were nice, helpful and honest." The man replied, "Well, you are in luck. You will find the folks here are mostly nice, helpful and honest."

I don't think there was ever a mythical period where kids were all that different from kids today. They weren't much different when I was this age about 5 decades ago. (edited. Agree with others that in fact likely better today)

I personally find most kids to be fine kids, even teenagers. But then I generally like them. I take the time to talk to them. I treat them like human beings and they treat me like a human being. It is not so hard.

PS: One generation ragging on how kids today are going to hell in a hand-basket goes all the way back to the ancient Greeks. Many old folks thought you were jerks when you were a kid too, and just look how you turned out. :) And, just imagine how awesome the very first generation was if after n-1 generation the world got you. I mean you weren't that bad right? The kids before you were better. The kids before them were better. Repeat to the beginning.
Last edited by Rodc on Tue Dec 06, 2011 11:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by jpsfranks » Tue Dec 06, 2011 11:17 pm

I think this thread should be merged with the recent "How to tell you might be turning into an old Boglehead" thread.

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Re: Do you think most kids are brats?

Post by Rodc » Tue Dec 06, 2011 11:21 pm

Brody wrote:
guitarguy wrote:
Brody wrote:
Believe me, after those ass whoopins I never repeated that bad behavior again that's for sure.
Good luck on your brat. My kids have never been spanked. If it was up to me, they would be, but the wife says "no", so she wins. Thus far, in retrospect, I am glad that I have never hit them.

Do I think that my kids (at times) might be a little better behaved if the consequences were a spanking? Yes. Do I think that a spanking would help me to raise them to become more responsible adults? No.

Again, for me, the focus has to be on raising responsible adults as opposed to having obedient kids. I absolutely want obedient kids, but that can't be the goal. If a child is being good because they are afraid of the consequences of not behaving, what happens when that fear or the consequences are no longer present?
If you're good luck wishes are sincere, then thank you.

I think there is a link between well behaved kids, responsible teenagers, and well-rounded adults. Having well behaved children should be a goal, not the goal. Do you want your 12 year old to steal a car and beat up some kid, spend time in juvi, and then come out with a straight attitude and become an upstanding, responsible, and successful adult? :roll: Of course not. You can't just focus on the end game.

And keep in mind I didn't say that spanking was a be-all-end-all answer to everything. It certainly wasn't in my childhood. Like I said, I can remember pretty much every time I ever got a real spanking, and could probably cound them on one hand.

I don't think fear is the right word either. I never walked around with the fear of God in me all the time as a child. Not in the least. But the consequences part is legit. They absolutely have to know there will be consequences (whatever they may be) for doing wrong...and it's not like that goes away when you grow up either.
My good luck wishes were sincere. There is nothing more difficult or more rewarding than attempting to be a good parent.

Everything is a balancing act. Do I want my kids to be well behaved? Sure. Do I want my kids to be so well behaved that they don't push limits? It would make parenting much easier, but it isn't what is best for them.

This is hard to write what I'm trying to say in a coherent manner, but I'll try. Is that perfectly obedient kid going to grow up to be the type of successful adult that we want them to be? I doubt it. I'm hoping that my kid is the one who is willing to attempt to break the rules by sneaking out of her room at midnight, but is responsible enough to stay sober. One doesn't grow by being good all of the time.

Mine are still young, so I still deal with lots of bratty behavior(8,7,6, and 5). My kids are very well behaved. My kids are brats. If any of them were over your house for dinner, I guarantee that you would be telling me how well behaved they were. If you came to my house for dinner, I guarantee that at least one of them would end up in a time out or sent to his/her room. If I'm out with all 4 of them, it is a pretty good bet that someone will be misbehaved. If I'm out with 2 of them, there is a very good chance that they will be perfect.

I'm just pointing this out because I have to believe that my kids are the same as the kids of other parents who care. They are almost all brats AND they are all almost good kids.

Additionally, I do some coaching of youth sports. Even with the kids who misbehave and can't stay focus, it's usually pretty easy to see that the kids aren't so much brats as it is that they simply don't yet have the ability (maturity) to control themselves as easily as others.

I guess that what I'm trying to say with all of this is that there is a huge difference between being a brat (or sometimes exhibiting bratty behavior) and being a bad kid.
Well said.
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.

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