The Spoilt Generation caused a media frenzy on first publication owing to its hard hitting address of the growing phenomenon of 'spoilt children' in today's society. At the end of 2010, the book received high praise from Mr Justice Coleridge in the speech he gave at the the Association of Lawyers for Children 21st Annual Conference:
I recently spoke at the annual conference given by a respected organisation called the Family Education Trust. It does excellent work supporting many aspects of families and family life. There are many similar organisations in Britain. One of the speakers was Dr Aric Sigman, an American doctor, fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine and of the British Psychological Society. He calls himself amongst other things, a street anthropologist and he has made a study of the way children are reared nowadays both in the UK (including his own four children) but as importantly all over the world and in particular the Far East (places like North Korea, Borneo, Laos, Cambodia and Sumatra amongst many others). He has written a fascinating book comparing child rearing in these places with western countries. It is called The Spoilt Generation and I cannot recommend it too highly.
His conclusions both in the book, and in the lecture I attended, are clear, unhesitating and I would say obvious and, more importantly, obviously right. His thesis is simple. Parents nowadays are far too inclined to abandon an authoritative style of parenting in favour of one where the child’s own views and wishes uncritically rule the day. He maintains that parenting is now done by reference to experts and not by reference to the individual’s experience.
. . . Dr Sigman identifies other areas where we have gone terribly wrong in our modern methods of child rearing; excessive exposure to TV and the internet and the forming of cyber relationships in place of real relationships through social networking sites. And of course he emphases the terrible effects of family breakdown and the lack of full time joint parental input, more often of course, a lack of a father.
But it is, he maintains, the almost cowardly failure to assert parental authority which is the umbrella under which these problems are collected. And he extrapolates from this, the lack of respect shown to parents, to others in authority especially teachers, the police and the courts of all kinds.
To read the rest of this inspirational speech, visit: http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/Resources/JCO/Documents/Speeches/speech-coleridge-j-assoc-lawyers-for-children.pdf
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