“Saw it. Wanted it. Threw a tantrum. Got it.” Am I the only one noticing little children being doted on and getting manicures from full-grown adults these days? Then again, are you aware that children have become increasingly ill-mannered, insolent, and impolite, too? Kids are encouraged to express all their feelings, no matter how disrespectful and discourteous they are.

No. No. No. Please stop treating your kids like mini-adults. Children do not always deserve reasons for what you ask of them. Of course, we will teach them to question authority when it’s appropriate. And indeed, it is true that behind every young child who believes in himself is a parent who believed in him first. But bear in mind, please, that children and parents are not equals, and should not be treated as such.

Do you find yourself saying “good job” every time your child does what is actually expected of him? Trust me, they will be confronted with the shocking realization later in life that they are not quite as outstanding as you led them to believe, simply for listening to their boss.

“Yes, I’m spoiled. So, what’s your point?” Sheesh. While positive feedback is crucial, discipline and teaching your child responsible behavior is paramount. No doubt you have all witnessed the self-entitlement of some of those little tikes who demand instant gratification and throw a nuclear tantrum upon not receiving it. Please do not sign on to the new parenting culture, my friends.

You know what they say: A good way to prepare yourself for parenthood is to talk to rocks, because they have similar listening habits. Children may need a lot of attention, but they require a lot of boundaries, as well.  Be careful whom you spoil, because after a while, they’ll become rotten. Remember, when you finish with your children, the rest of the world has to live with them. And why is it that when children want to show you something, they try to place it directly in your cornea? Hmmm.

So many parents are tyrannized by their own three-year-old who openly defies them at every turn. Children do not get the final word, and need not be paid to do household chores in the home they live in. Do not be afraid to instill good old-fashioned obedience. I know it’s hip to use the word “consequences” instead of punishment when your little one is sarcastic or disrespectful. Punishment is not a dirty word, my friends.

Children will incessantly test limits to make sure that you, the big parent, are truly in charge. My kids wanted to know what it’s like to be a mom. So, I woke them up at 2 a.m. to let them know my sock came off. I see all these moms who can do everything, and I think: I should have them do stuff for me.  But truly, children should not and cannot make adult decisions.

When you took away some of her privileges, she learned not to speak sarcastically next time. When you refused to tolerate his outburst, he worked on his impulse control, instead of randomly hitting his baby brother. While you insisted that he wait his turn, he mastered frustration tolerance and cultivated patience. Listen, before I had children, I was so selfish. I actually showered every day.

You say this is too old-school for you? Children are not more worldly-wise than previous generations. Youngsters are naturally self-centered and are simply not small adults. They need to be taught how to deal with disappointment and stress in a healthy way.

Some parents sing the “Clean Up” song. I just yell: “I’m getting garbage bags, and you better hope you can pick up your toys faster than I can.” Imagine being five minutes from the end of the longest movie ever, and it starts over because it forgot something. That’s my kid telling a story.

But seriously, dole out those hugs and attention. It’s crucial for your kiddies’ psychological well-being. But expect responsibility from them. It will make them feel powerful and give them a sense of belonging in your family. Yes, they can wash dishes and occasionally sweep the floor.

Stop asking questions and start making statements. And do not say “Okay?” after every command. “We are going to the park, not: We are going to the park, okay?” Your little ones need structure and authority. Yes, you can be a caring, compassionate, and kind authority figure.

It is perfectly developmentally normal for children to be egocentric. But please do not treat your little one like he is the center of the universe.

Remind them that they are members of a family, and of an entire universe. Others’ needs, wants, and feelings do matter. Enforce your rules. Insist on good manners. When they break rules, reprimand them. Get comfortable saying, “No.” “No” is a complete sentence. It does not require justification or explanation.  Stand firm and do not give in.

If I ever talked to my parents the way kids do today, I wouldn’t be here to write this. Parents who are afraid to put their foot down usually have children who step on their toes. You want to leave a better planet for the children? Try leaving better children to the planet.

The thing about kids is that they are the reason we lose it – and the reason we hold it together.

Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens.  She works with individuals, couples, and families.  Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends.  She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at facebook.com/pages/Safe-Haven-Healing.