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How To Outwit Your Teenager

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Hapless Or Strict? Do You Need A Parenting Makeover?

August 1st, 2009 · No Comments

Channel Seven’s new show, World’s Strictest Parents, is the teenager’s version of Ladettes To Lady. It’s a makeover your attitude show focusing on uncontrollable kids. The basic principle is: take a couple of bad eggs, ship them to another country to spend a week with a family who has no emotional attachment to them and hope they’ll return better people.

In this week’s episode, the two teenagers were sent to South Africa where they were taken to an orphanage to hang out with a bunch of younger children. The experience seemed to be just the ticket required for them to do a drastic about-face, from self-centred teens to young people who could finally appreciate their better life in Australia.

As I watched this show, I wondered if we shouldn’t make it mandatory for all 16-year-olds to spend a week with the less fortunate. We don’t need to send them to another country to find kids worse off than the spoilt brats from comfortable homes. But what about the pubescents from broken homes, or those already residing in orphanages? Where do we send them for a bit of perspective?

I introduced my boys to the reality of homeless people when they were very young. They have even covered the odd homeless person with a picnic rug from the back of our car in the depths of winter. They are acutely aware of them in the street. My youngest used to aspire to be rich so that he could build a “humungous home for them to live in”.

Perhaps we should stop watching other people’s children behaving badly and take back control of our kids before they start nominating their parents to be sent to South Africa for some lessons in parental guidance and structure.

Tags: Education · Motivation · Parental Bonding · Puberty · Rules

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