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spoiled children? 
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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:46 am
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Location: Nagano, Japan
Post spoiled children?
I've been hearing it a lot these days, 'These kids are so spoiled.'

I generally hear it when teachers are talking about children who want to be entertained in class or when children just won't do what teachers ask of them.

I'm just wondering if this is an adult perspective of students and children or if children really are more spoiled than they were 15-20 years ago. I would assume it's easy to forget what you were like as a child and think these children are spoiled.

On the other hand some societies are much more affluent than they were 20-30 years ago. In many cases both parents are working and parents are having kids later in life at higher incomes (not to mention having less children.) There's more money to go around, so it is possible.

I've only been teaching for 8 years so it's hard to compare, but what do you think? Are kids more spoiled than 10-20 years ago?

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Mon Jun 18, 2007 2:39 pm
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Location: Yamaguchi, Japan
Post smaller families
Yes in a number of ways kids are changing.
More technology, more income for some, 2 working parents and a different set of skills being acquired.
A lot of the changes relate to smaller family size. More money per child means they dont have to share things like clothes, toys, games, bedrooms etc etc.
Children dont learn the same negotiation skills in smaller families where they have no siblings. My wife is a kindergarten teacher and they can tell 95% of the time whether a child has siblings when they arrive. Single children are less likely to share, more likely to throw tantrums if they don`t get things their way etc.
Parents don`t get the chance to practice parenting skills (parenting classes seem to be a lot more common now). I certainly think I have become a better parent as number two and three arrived!! It is perhaps easier to give in (and spoil) one but if there are two or more and you give in then you will need to be reasonably wealthy or you won`t survive.

While I think this is true and China seems to be a good place to see this happening there are also some qualifiers.
Every generation of parents has complained about their children and harked back to the "golden age" of their childhood and the rosy picture they remember. I do remember reading about volunteering in America (sorry The USA) and that the teenagers of the nineties were more likely to be involved in volunteering than those of the "golden sixties" which of course that generation couldn`t believe as today`s youth are lazy etc.


Mon Jun 18, 2007 4:12 pm
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Post lacking discipline
i also feel that single kids are more spoilt than kids who have brothers and sisters. these kids are used to getting everything their own way and do throw tantrums if they dont get what they want and often lack social skills.....but i dont know if its different from 10-15 years ago.

i think the one thing that has changed from 15 years ago is discipline. i often see the parents of my students laughing when their kids do something naughty. if kids arent disciplined by their own parents, there is little hope for me to enforce discipline in the classroom if i dont have the backing of the parents.

i have had kids punch, kick and spit at me in class while their parents are watching and when i throw their child out of the classroom for a 5 minute cool down and hopefully some parent support, the parents complain that they are not paying money for their child to be thrown out of my class. the parents completely ignore the fact that their child has done something wrong and they dont even tell the kid off, nor do i even get an apology! Do the parents of today not even know what is good and bad behaviour?

i dont think kids are more spoilt, but i think due to weak parenting, some kids lack the discipline of 15 - 20 years ago.

also japan is the land of workaholics, so many children dont have a fatherly influence, since alot of dads leave the house before the child wakes and returns home after the child has gone to sleep. in australia, my father and mother shared the disciplinary roles.....but i think in japan, it is mostly left up to the mothers. i have seen some of my students just smack around their mother until they get their own way. should a parent be allowed to give a smack to these kids in this situation??? .....an issue of some controversary, but due to all the laws pertaining to the treatment of kids (which I dont think were around 15-20 years ago), parents are too scared/weak to do anything.

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Mon Jun 18, 2007 6:40 pm
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Post 
I also think it's a matter of weak parenting these days. Parents spend more time at work (not only fathers but mothers too) and want to compensate for that in many ways like buying many toys or being too lenient. Even the most expensive toy won't replace spending time with the child. It's about doing things together not giving things. Some children often misbehave only to get their parents' attention.


Mon Jun 18, 2007 6:58 pm
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Post 15 years ago in Japan
I remember when I was in Japan last time (15 years ago) having discussions with parents including a friend who is the head of a pre-school. They said that the children don't get disciplined until they are about 11 years old, but that it could then be quite severe and there were high expectations for the children to conform to more adult norms of behaviour. I don't see things today as much different to the way they were then, but I am now a lot more country than then, so that may explain this.

Visiting my old supervisor a few months ago he commented about the way my wife was disciplining our children, 12, 8 and 6. These were just normal comments to the children asking them to respect others and be 'polite'. He thought it was great to hear and wished Japanese parents would do the same. I suspect it doesn't happen because it has never been needed before here and so the parents really just don't know how to do it. It is hard to break from the mould that you were nurtured in.


Mon Jun 18, 2007 9:24 pm
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Post Re: lacking discipline
Azza wrote:
i have seen some of my students just smack around their mother until they get their own way.

I've had a few children like that and I deal with them all the same way, all but one with positive effects. Taht boy stands out though. I had to stop his class. In Japanese, I told the boy (2-3 years old) that he was not allowed to hit his mother. I asked him if his mother was nice to him, did she do things for him, and why he would want to hurt her. I told him that this is a safe classroom. You are not allowed to hit anyone and no one is allowed to hit you.

End result, I stopped the kid from hitting his mother (even at home) but took away his stress reliever. The kid didn't like me anymore and didn't want to come to class. Bad result as far as leaving my school and maybe having a negative image of English but I'd do the same thing again. Luckily I'm the owner and can make that decision :wink:

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Mon Jun 18, 2007 9:41 pm
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Post Discipline in class
Someone mentioned that there are many child discipline laws. Are you saying in Japan or are you confused with U.S. or, are they similar? Ive seen children easily disciplined in my school (Okinawan Elementary School). Okinawans are different from mainland, but the teachers (myself included) discipline if necessary. Most the children (while at school) are pretty good kids. However, I do agree that the parenting discipline lacks.


Fri Jun 22, 2007 11:16 am
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i did mention that the laws pertaining to the discipline of children...or should i say treatment of children... has become more stringent than 15 years ago. this wasnt just directed at japan, but various countries.

in australia, it is frowned upon to smack your child as a form of discilpine. a childrens hotline has been set up for many years now for children to ring and complain about mistreatment from their parents. admittedly, japan (and some other asian countries) dont have this same support system, but it is only recently in the japan that the term "child abuse" has started to be recognised.

my japanese inlaws and my japanese colleagues put this new awareness of child abuse to the growing rate of people who divorce at a young age. the mom then finds a new boyfriend or remarries and the child from her previous relationship gets in the way of her new life. this then leads to a 2 year old boy being put into the helmet case of a motorbike while his mom and her new boyfriend play pachinko...when they came out, the child was dead, so they just threw the dead boy away... or a case where a man killed his step son so that he could receive insurance money.

so yes, western countries do have more stringent laws when it comes to smacking kids, but the japanese society is starting to recognise that the ill treatment of kids is growing and steps are now being slowly taken to improve this situation.

the company i work for has a sign on the wall that states that the smacking of children by parents, other kids or teachers is strictly prohibited. although this is not a law, it is a rule that is now being enforced. i totally do not approve of teachers smacking children......but whether a parent is allowed to is the point of controversy.

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Fri Jun 29, 2007 9:54 am
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Post anti - smacking law
In New Zealand a law has been passed that makes it illegal to smack a child. Parents could be arrested for doing so, even though the bills supporters say this is not so. The bill was drafted after a parent was found not guilty of child abuse for using a riding crop to discipline a child. The successful arguement said this was not unreasonable force!!!!

I agree that there seems to be a relationship between an increase in child abuse and the change in family structures, but I also think that it is more likely to be sen and reported now. I know in New Zealand teachers are more vigilant about their students and prepared to report and ask questions than they were even 15 years ago.

When you delve into kids backgrounds there are some eye opening things that kids have been through that make me realise how lucky I was to have a loving stable home.

Most interesting question a student asked me was "Is it illegal for someone to chase you with a machete?" He genuinely wasn`t sure as it seemed normal in his house!!


Fri Jun 29, 2007 11:46 am
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