Have you heard of the new generation of youngsters in Singapore (not so affectionately) dubbed the “Durian Generation”?
This label refers to kids who are obnoxious, self-entitled, yet soft on the inside and unable to fend for themselves, so rely on their sharp and thorny exterior – their parents – to protect them.
The old-fashioned term for this is simply to call the children brats who are spoiled rotten by their overprotective parents.
But what makes this Durian Generation different from your garden variety brat? And how do you as a parent avoid raising your child to become one?
The Durian Generation of youngsters are obnoxious and soft on the inside with their overprotective parents serving as thorny exteriors.
Spoiled and Entitled
It is a part of a young child’s development to assert their independence by saying “no”, and it is also normal for them to whine or grumble sometimes – because adults do it too!
Toddlers (between the age of one and three years old) are also prone to temper tantrums, which is all part of normal development.
But if your child is constantly whining to get what he wants, is rude to you and other adults, actsbossy, or has a horrible outburst when you won’t give him that new toy he’s been eyeing, then you may have a spoiled child on your hands.
Another warning sign that your child might be a brat is if he is way past the toddler years yet continues to act like one by kicking, screaming, biting other children and not using age-appropriate ways of communicating his thoughts or feelings.
Parents of the Durian Generation will often treat their children as if they are much younger than they actually are. They will be quick to come to their rescue instead of allowing them to resolve problems on their own.
They might even think that their child’s negative behaviour – such as being rude to adults, being aggressive towards other children, acting bossy and demanding – is actually “cute”. And they will just sit back and smile as their little one continues with his unpleasant display.
How to Stop Spoiling Your Child
If parents don’t set age-appropriate boundaries for their children – even as toddlers – they will never learn what their limits are.
Here’s what you can do as a parent to nip the problem in the bud:
Set Age-Appropriate Boundaries
Depending on your child’s age, there should be some rules established so that he will know when not to cross the line.
For toddlers, it is better to stick to three or four non-negotiable rules such as no hitting, no biting other people, clean up your toys after you play, etc. It might be overwhelming if there are too many rules.
The current durian generation age is too old to change their ways. Because of this, we encourage new parents to use this generation as an example to prevent spoiling their kids.
Image Source: iStock
If your child is old enough to understand, it’s a good idea to sit them down and talk openly about their behaviour. If they did something you did not approve of, you should pull them aside and tell them immediately.
It also helps to let them know beforehand what is expected of them, for example, if you are bringing them to the library, you should gently remind them to be quiet, not to run around or play catch, and not to tear out pages of the books there.
Remember to Validate Their Emotions
When raising kids from strawberry generation vs durian generation, validating their emotions remains important. This also applies to raising children of the following generations to come.
These generations received flak for being weak or spoiled. They received this reputation because adults brushed aside their concerns over their feelings.
As our children grow, we sometimes tend to pass down our mental issues to them. Most parents do this unintentionally because of the problems brought upon them by their respective generations.
Furthermore, our kids end up developing bad behaviour when we refuse to acknowledge their feelings. This also happens when we keep buying what they want or making them feel bad for expressing their emotions.
There is no point in setting rules if you are not consistently applying them. Remember to inform your child about the consequences of their negative behaviour.
Furthermore, you need to stop allowing them from getting away with their bad actions. They won’t learn anything if you don’t take your warnings seriously.
On the other hand, you need to take note of the consistency of their actions. If they keep repeating their bad behaviour, we suggest you talk to them to learn about a possible underlying reason for their actions.
Let Them Make Mistakes and Face Disappointment
If parents are quick to swoop in and rescue their children from making any mistakes, then it may just set them up for failure later on in life.
You might think that coddling your child is helping his self-esteem. But by shielding him from disappointments in life and over-praising him for every tiny achievement, you will reduce his desire to put in any effort. It also affects his ability to self-regulate because he won’t be given the chance to challenge himself.
Strawberry Generation vs Durian Generation
A lot of parents end up confused about the differences between strawberry generation vs durian generation. We understand the confusion because their age range is relatively close.
Kids from the strawberry generation came into the world during the 1980s. Meanwhile, children born from the 1990s onwards count as babies of the durian generation.
Because of their close age range, the argument between strawberry generation vs durian generation cuts between babies dubbed as millennials. In truth, modern media calls those born between 1981–1996 or 1980-2000 as millennials.
How Parents Spoil Their Kids
Parents have to learn to say “no” to their children and not give in to their every demand.
There is a difference between showing your affection to your child and overindulging them by giving in to their every whim.
You might be spoiling your child if you:
- Don’t set age-appropriate boundaries
- Easily give in and let him have his way instead of enforcing limits
- Let him regularly interrupt and take over adult conversations
- Constantly buy toys and other treats just to pacify him and avoid tantrums
- Allow him to set the rules
- Do not correct him when he is rude or aggressive towards others
- Make excuses for his misbehaving and blame others instead
Of course, some parents think that their child can do no wrong and feel defensive if someone points out their flaws. But it is not healthy nor is it helpful if a child’s parents constantly shield him from the real world and allow him to get his way all the time.
A spoiled child has never had the chance to handle disappointment at an early age. Lessons that they should learn as toddlers, such as delaying gratification and acting within limits, are behaviours they will carry into adulthood.
Are You a Durian Generation Parent?
So what exactly is the difference between raising a spoiled child and raising a brat from the Durian Generation?
Parents who act as their children’s “thorny husks” are so protective of their children to the point of molly-coddling them, allowing them to get away with atrocious behaviour towards others, or deflecting responsibility for their poor choices.
Your child needs to learn to admit his mistakes and face the consequences of his actions.
One example is a case of a 10-year-old boy who was admitted to the hospital after some dry ice exploded in his hands. He purchased it from a local ice cream seller and used it for an experiment.
Although it was an unfortunate incident, some netizens disagreed with the statement of the boy’s father when he said he was not angry with his son and his friends for their mischievous behaviour. Instead, he blamed the ice cream vendor for selling the dry ice to a child in the first place.
Some may feel that the ice cream vendor was partly to blame. But is it right for the father of the boy not to see that his son also played a part in this accident? What will the child learn from this incident? That the reason he was injured was due to the fault of someone else and not his own poor judgement?
Parents of the Durian Generation are quick to defend their children and blame others for everything. Instead of allowing the child to accept responsibility for his own actions, they face the consequences themselves.
Parents might overcompensate for their absence so allow their kids to get away with bad behaviour.
Why Do Parents Spoil Their Kids?
In a recent poll conducted among 250 Singaporean parents, 95% of them regret spending too much time working during their children’s early years.
So it is possible that some parents may feel the need to compensate for their absence by overindulging their children. When they do get to spend some time together, they allow him to get away with anything, so as to avoid “ruining” what little time they have together.
Some parents also might make the mistake of offering their child too much help. They are quick to jump in to fix his problems instead of encouraging him to do things for himself. This spoils the child because he will rely on his parents for everything and be unable to do things on his own.
There are also parents who want to give their children everything they never had growing up. So they somehow end up replacing quality time, physical contact, and bonding activities with materialist things instead. Or they don’t want their child to feel “left out” if they don’t have the latest toy or gadget that everyone else does.
Then there are those who always brush off their child’s misbehaviour with the excuse that, “He is just a child.” That is fine for a two-year-old who is asserting his own independence, but not so for a 10-year-old who should know better.
Parents need to set age-appropriate boundaries for their children.
Importance of Learning About the Durian Generation
There is nothing wrong with coming to your child’s defence or showering him with gifts. But you will actually be doing more harm than good if you hand him the world on a silver platter.
Let’s turn the Durian Generation into sweet and respectful children on the inside, who are strong and tough enough on the outside to face challenges, and fend for themselves. They will realise that sometimes life just isn’t fair, but that’s ok.
What Comes After?
Not a lot of people know what is after durian generation. This is due to the fact that kids from the following generation are still growing.
On a global scale, babies born after 1996 or the 2000s are called Generation Z. Children born in the early 2010s also fall under the age range of this generation. Additionally, most of the kids from what is after durian generation come from millennial parents.
As of writing, not a lot of people associated Gen Z with fruit like the durian or the strawberry generations. However, Asian parents and adults adapted to using Generation Z to describe children nowadays.
This article was updated by Kaira De la Rosa.