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Parenting Connection: Understanding why modern kids are so undisciplined

Parenting Connection

It’s Parenting Connection Tuesday and 6 News is here for you with tips, strategies, and helpful reminders from local child development experts on how we can be better parents and guardians.

Today’s topic: Understanding why modern kids are so undisciplined.

6 News spoke with Katherine Reynolds Lewis, an award-winning author, Harvard graduate, and parenting expert about her book titled — “The Good News About Bad Behavior.” She spent 5 years researching how kids are different now, versus in decades past, involving input from scientists, teachers, and parents. Lewis found three ways our society has changed:

*Our growing extrinsic focus on social and mass media and the availability to it
*The loss of free thinking and play, involving packed schedules and kids always being under supervision
*The omission of work, chores, and responsibilities

Lewis believes these factors cause children nowadays to have more difficulty managing their behaviors, thoughts and emotions. She also says, old school parenting strategies involving rewards and punishments with modern kids don’t really work anymore and the goal in this modern era is getting your kids to control themselves.

“I like to think of it as a continuum of zero to 18. At zero, you are 100% in charge, and as we move to 18 we are going to be giving up more and more of that control, asking them to take on more responsibility and get more freedom in conjunction with that responsibility. If we frame it explicitly with our kids that the more you display that responsibility and you are following our rules and contributing to our family the more freedom and independence you get they will likely cooperate and be on board.”

Lewis points to decades of research proving that connecting with your kids is the number 1 thing to establish in your relationship. She says it needs to be a relationship where the child feels seen, respected, and has a say in their life. She also says parents need to communicate to their kids in ways that build self-regulation and to get them to display their capability to behave.

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