Parents are facing increasing violence and abuse from their children who do not get their own way, a leading psychologist has warned.
The “little emperors” of this “spoilt generation” not only have violent outbursts at home but also at school, and even nursery.
Experts blame a lack of clear parental boundaries and the rise of children’s rights for the decline in respect for authorities.
Government figures released last week revealed that major assaults on teachers by unruly pupils had reached a five-year high.
Dr Aric Sigman, a fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, said the age at which children were violent and disrespectful towards their teachers “is coming down to nursery level”.
He added: “They’re swearing and throwing chairs at their teachers at younger and younger ages. It isn’t surprising this is happening in a domestic setting.
“Parent abuse and parent battery appear to be on the rise and what seems to underlie this is to do with parenting, the lack of boundaries and the reversal of authority.
“It’s the extreme end of the spoilt generation where they actually lash out at parents, almost exclusively their mothers. There’s a lack of impulse control, demands for instant gratification and not accepting deferred gratification.”
Dr Sigman, author of The Spoilt Generation, analysed academic studies, psychologists’ observations and police reports in Britain, America and New Zealand to update his book.
Recent Government figures show that 15 children aged between four and six are being excluded from school each day for attacking teachers in England.
Dr William Shanahan, executive medical director at the Capio Nightingale Hospital in London puts the rise of violence down to “a generation of children who are not getting simple ground rules”.
He said: “There’s definitely a fall-off of respect and a loosening of boundaries with a view that no discipline is acceptable. It’s got to the point where people aren’t correcting their children any more.”
Justine Roberts, co-founder of the Mumsnet website, said: “This generation of parents has moved on from the ‘because I said so’ style of parenting of our own parents into more of a praise model.
“Many probably agree our generation has gone a bit too far and that we should reclaim our lost authority. Sometimes you just have to lay down the law.”