Have you heard the term "strawberry generation"? It’s what the older generation has decided to call young people. The strawberry generation traces its origins to the Chinese-language neologism for Taiwanese people born after 1982. They are the young individuals of today, which the West likes to call "snowflakes".
Lately, the term has turned into an insult of sorts and is associated with people who are needy, fragile, entitled and lethargic. These are people who think the world and its inhabitants owe them something.
While the strawberry generation argues that it’s a stereotype forced upon them by the boomer generation (a stereotype referring to older people), it’s hard to ignore certain qualities. Such folks come from a certain sense of entitlement, which allows them to think that way.
Sometimes, the strawberry generation may not even recognise the privilege they have.
Which is why, as a parent, you need to realise that your upbringing plays a crucial role in how you shape your child’s future. They could either go on to become a part of the strawberry generation out of their sheer sense of entitlement or contribute more effectively to society.
So, ask yourself, are you doing any of these with your child to contribute to the strawberry generation?
Here’s how you may be raising the strawberry generation
1. Buying kids whatever they want
A healthy upbringing will see a child understand and accept the word "no". While parents were known to be strict in the olden days, new-age parents often choose to give in to their kids’ demands and buy them whatever they want.
Disposable incomes have made this even easier, and the child grows up with no real sense of gratitude. Such people believe in the same ideas after growing up and have a hard time handling rejection.
2. Compensating time with money
In today’s busy world where careers are as important as raising a family, parents can often compensate for spending time with their children by spoiling them.
It’s the oldest trick in the book and the one that’s proven to fail every time.
There’s no compensation for actually spending time with your child. And your money is only as good as creating a sense of entitlement. It creates the notion that money can be a redeeming factor, no matter the mistake. Not the precedent you want to set for your child.
3. Never punishing your kids
Parents need to be critical of their child’s actions. You are their first school, their first teacher and their first friend. If you do not punish them for doing something wrong, you are just enabling the wrong behaviour. It doesn’t take long for the mistake to turn into a habit.
Your child will believe that there are no consequences for his actions. This is not to say that you need to severely punish your child.
Taking to the cane like the olden times is a strict no-no, but so is ignoring grave mistakes. As a parent, be critical when necessary and take control when your child shows signs of veering from the right path.
4. Helping kids beyond what they need
It might seem like a good idea at the time, but parents going out of their way to help children with the smallest tasks can have an adverse effect.
Children look for dependency in other relationships as well, and often lack problem-solving skills. As a parent, push for your child to be independent, and more often, that would mean letting them face hardships on their own.
5. Setting unrealistic expectations
Your child is the apple of your eye. It’s not necessary the world looks at him the same way. Pampering your little one too much can often set unrealistic standards for children when they step out in the real world.
The strawberry generation expects to be treated in a certain way. When that does not pan out, they tend to throw tantrums. The “little prince or princess” attitude that parents establish at home can be blamed for this.
As much as we all want to give the best to our children at home and in the world, your child will have to learn and grow in an environment that will make him a likeable person.
The strawberry generation consists of people who are dominating, whiny and generally irritable to be around.
While they may have their way on select occasions, the number of people dropping them from their radar just increases with every incident. Do we want to raise more of the strawberry generations? Probably not.
This article was first published in theAsianparent.