NPR

Why Children Aren't Behaving, And What You Can Do About It

A new book argues that children are less disciplined than ever. Author Katherine Reynolds Lewis identifies several culprits, and says there are several things parents, teachers and caregivers can do.
Source: Michelle Kondrich for NPR

Childhood — and parenting — have radically changed in the past few decades, to the point where far more children today struggle to manage their behavior.

That's the argument Katherine Reynolds Lewis makes in her new parenting book, The Good News About Bad Behavior.

"We face a crisis of self-regulation," Lewis writes. And by "we," she means parents and teachers, who struggle daily with difficult behavior from the children in their lives.

Lewis, a journalist, certified parent educator and mother of three, asks why so many kids today are having trouble managing their behavior and emotions.

Three factors, she says, have contributed mightily to this crisis.

First: where, how and how much kids are allowed to play has changed. Second, their access to technology and social media has exploded.

Finally, Lewis suggests, children today are too "unemployed." She doesn't simply mean the occasional summer job for a high school teen. It's a big tent — "unemployed" — and she uses it to include household jobs that can help even toddlers build confidence and a sense of community.

"They're not asked to do anything to contribute to

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