The Edmond Sun

Features

May 17, 2013

Rude teens an example of emotional narcissism

McClatchy — Q: I went into my 17-year-old’s bedroom to wake him this morning. After some urging, he eventually got up and then told me he hated me. What is the appropriate consequence for this sort of disrespect?

A: Actually, I don’t consider that a form of disrespect. Strictly speaking, your son simply informed you of how he feels about you, or felt about you at that moment. His tone of voice may have been disrespectful, but the statement “I hate you” is not. It is about him, his feelings. It’s not about you.

It would have been a different story had your son said, “You’re stupid” or “You’re ugly.” Statements of those sorts, because they’d have disparaged you, would be examples of disrespect.

Today’s teens tend, unfortunately, to be emotionally dramatic. The very stupid fad known as “cutting” is an example of this new emotional narcissism. Contrary to popular myth, immaturity of this sort in teenagers is historically recent. It began in the late 1960s, when a new wave of parenting “experts” claimed that children should be allowed to express their feelings freely. Up until then, parents had understood the need to teach children to control the expression of their feelings as well as their behavior.

Let’s face it, a person who expresses his or her feelings freely is obnoxious, tyrannical, even sociopathic. Since the 1960s, all too many American parents have been intimidated by their children’s emotions. Consequently, they have not disciplined them properly. Therefore, many teens feel they have license to express any old emotion they choose, in whatever context, toward whomever. It’s a form of narcissism, really, and it’s truly unfortunate because in the final analysis, the person most harmed is the teen in question. This unattractive characteristic does not make for successful relationships. Nor does it make for a positive sense of one’s worth. As adults, these teens are likely to be very unhappy individuals.

So, what should you have done when your son told you he hated you? You should have either ignored it or said nothing more than something along the lines of “that’s most unfortunate” and walked away. That sort of nonchalant parental response is an example of what was once called “letting a child stew in his own juices.”

But I have a question for you: Why on earth are you taking responsibility for getting a 17-year-old out of bed in the morning? So he won’t be late for school? If that’s the case, then the question becomes, “Why are you taking responsibility for seeing to it that he’s not late for school?” And so on. If that sort of enabling is characteristic of your parenting style, then it’s no wonder that your son is emotionally immature. A child’s maturity depends to great degree on parents who force him to accept full responsibility for the choices he makes. In this case, your son gets to school late, he misses a class or two, his grades suffer, he has to go to summer school in order to graduate on time, he makes less money over the summer, he can’t see his friends as often and so on.

Start letting your son “own” his problems. It’s high time. Oh, and let him hate you all he wants. That’s his problem too.

FAMILY PSYCHOLOGIST John Rosemond answers parents’ questions on his website at www.rosemond.com.

1
Text Only
Features
  • Cats outsmart the researchers

    I knew a lot had been written about dogs, and I assumed there must be at least a handful of studies on cats. But after weeks of scouring the scientific world for someone - anyone - who studied how cats think, all I was left with was this statement, laughed over the phone to me by one of the world's top animal cognition experts, a Hungarian scientist named Ádám Miklósi.

    April 23, 2014

  • clock edit.jpg Antique clock collection on display at Edmond Library

    In a world that’s often hurried and brief, the Sooner Time Collectors have nothing but time. Oklahoma chapter members of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors have provided antique pieces from personal collections to display at the Edmond Library until the end of April.
    Since the 1950s, Sooner Time Collectors have gathered to learn about the inner workings of clocks and to admire one-of-a-kind finds. Of interest to the community is their involvement with repairs for the Cowboy Hall of Fame clock and the UCO tower. They now have 35 members who meet monthly as a chapter of the 16,000-member NAWCC community across America and the world.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Be on the lookout for termites

    Warming temperatures and spring rainfall means swarming conditions for the homeowners’ nemesis in Oklahoma — the termite.
    Termites are Mother Nature’s way of recycling dead wood, as well as aerating the soil and increasing its fertility and water percolation. They are an important food source for other insects, spiders, reptiles, amphibians and birds within the food web, and they are essential for the wellbeing of the environment.

    April 23, 2014

  • McCain 1 House Republicans are more active on Twitter than Democrats

    Your representative in the House is almost certainly on Twitter. Your senator definitely is. But how are they using the social network? Are Democrats more active than Republicans, or vice versa? Who has the most followers on the Hill?

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Do your genes make you procrastinate?

    Procrastinators, in my experience, like nothing better than explaining away their procrastination: General busyness, fear of failure, and simple laziness are just a handful of the excuses and theories often tossed around. Now researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder have added another option to the list: genetics.

    April 22, 2014

  • VIDEO: Moose charges snowmobile, flees after warning shot

    While snowmobiling in New England, Bob and Janis Powell of Maine were charged by a moose and caught the entire attack on camera.

    April 22, 2014

  • 6th annual run event in Guthrie to benefit Free to Live

    The sixth annual “The See Spot Run” will take place at 9 a.m. May 10 in downtown Guthrie. This 5K, 10K and 1-mile run/walk event benefits Free to Live, a nonprofit animal sanctuary located Logan County. In the past five years of this event “The See Spot Run” has welcomed more than 3,000 runners and raised $30,000 for the Free to Live Animal Sanctuary.
    “The See Spot Run” will offer all participants the opportunity to compete in either the 5K or 10K event in addition to a 1-mile “Fun Run.” Walkers and runners (both two- and four-legged) are welcome and can register directly at www.theseespotrun.com. Visit www.freetoliveok.com. Donations also can be sent to “The See Spot Run,” P.O. Box 292, Guthrie, 73044.
     

    April 21, 2014

  • Touch-A-Truck event draws families to UCO

    Edmond Electric and Edmond Vehicle Maintenance are co-hosting the Edmond Touch-A-Truck from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 17 in the UCO parking lot off Second Street. Touch-A-Truck is a fundraising event that provides children of all ages with the opportunity to experience life-size vehicles and interact with community support leaders like police officers, firemen, construction workers and many more. Families will have the opportunity for a hands-on exploration of many vehicles such as Edmond’s own fire trucks and police cars, an Edmond Electric bucket truck and even a solid waste truck.
    Admission for the Touch-A-Truck event is a suggested $2 donation with the proceeds going to the Edmond HOPE Center. For more information, contact Edmond Electric at 216-7671 or email michelle.gumaer@edmondok.com.

    April 21, 2014

  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 20, 2014

  • Screen shot 2014-04-18 at 4.44.15 PM.png Paint, doodle and sketch: 3 apps for art lovers

    In the absence of a palette of watercolors and a sketchpad, these three apps can fill in as your art supplies of choice.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo