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Kids These Days

May 9 , 2020
By Kidist Yidnekachew ( Kidist Yidnekachew has degrees in psychology and journalism and communications. She can be reached at )

I was at a friend’s house over the weekend, where I found myself sitting next to her four-year-old son. He was cute and adorable at first. But then he started making demands.

He asked his mother to bring him peanut butter with bread. She did not hesitate. She went into the kitchen and asked him to wait for her for just a minute. He followed her all the way there.

“Now, I said I want it now,” he screamed. She replied, “Give me a minute. I am in the middle of something. Let me finish that then I will wash my hands and make you peanut butter with bread.”

He relented and came back to the living room but later demanded a glass of milk.

When she finally brought him what he had specifically asked for, he screamed, “Why did you bring me these? I did not ask for these!”

He then took the remote control and changed the TV channel to a cartoon network.

He is only four, yes, but he was rude when he ought to have shown respect to his mother and asked for the things he wanted politely.

She says that she is trying to teach him to be polite and use words such as “please” and “thank you.” But he has been intractable, bursting out and crying whenever she denies him something. Admittedly, he is different from most children. Not many children have beat their mom at the age of four.

But the hostile attitude of today’s children is not hard to miss. They are not as pliable to their parents as we were. We could never have imagined talking back to our parents. We knew what would come our way if we did. These days, many children are becoming the bosses of their parents, not the other way around.

Just as interesting is how parents of today are not like those of yesterday. I confronted my friend about the way her child treats her once.

“I want him to learn and come around eventually. Besides, arguing with him takes more energy than giving in to all his demands,” she said.

“What happens when you cannot give him what he wants? And believe me, there will come a time when you won’t be able to do that,” I told her.

“One day I will be gone, and he will realise that, but for now I will do my best to make him happy by giving him what he wants,” she replied in a voice that was recognizably exasperated. “He will learn, he is only four now. Besides, school is closed, and he has a lot of energy to expend.”

True, he is only four years old. But he knows a lot as well. He is only that way with his mother, because she is too lenient on him. He respects his aunt and does not talk to her the same way.

His mother, on the other hand, is calm and does not lose her temper. I have seen her deal with him a lot of times before. She tries to be diplomatic, often to a fault. I once saw her swat him when he got out of control. Their relationship is, in fact, quite complicated. Whenever she tries to scold him, he gets tantrums and throws stuff at her and tries to hit her but he also sometimes helps out in the house and takes care of his sister.

Parents are giving more freedom and choice to their children, but the latter seem to be abusing this privilege. Kids these days are spoiled and over-pampered.

I doubt I will ever allow my son to talk back to me. I might not smack him, but I will use other punishment techniques or maybe raise my voice at him to teach him what is wrong and right.

Kids who are spoiled in the house grow up to assume that everything revolves around them and expect everybody to kiss their feet. They cannot take no for an answer and act out when they do not get what they want.

Some parents will disagree with me and argue that giving children whatever they want shows the parents’ level of love and care and that children should never be disciplined by the use of the stick. Eventually, these children will learn and mature.

But what happens when they do not learn or listen?

Not everybody has the patience to yell “stop" and “no’’ dozens of times a day. Every parent follows a parenting style that suits their personality, upbringing and their children. But it is an inescapable fact that giving children too much freedom will do more harm than good.

PUBLISHED ON May 09,2020 [ VOL 21 , NO 1045]

Kidist Yidnekachew has degrees in psychology and journalism and communications. She can be reached at

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