How do illegitimate children feel and behave

As a mother of four children, a doctor, psychotherapist and youth psychologist, Martina Leibovici-Mühlberger from Vienna has a lot to do with the younger generation. In her new book "When the Tyrant Children Grow Up - Why We Can't Count on the Next Generation" (edition a), the author paints a dramatic picture: Today's children are not in a position as adults to solve the global problems to come. Because parents, for narcissistic reasons, prefer to grow up with them rather than set boundaries, the children only turned around themselves - and would become narcissists themselves. In the interview, the psychologist explains why she is so worried.

SZ: Your book sounds like a cry for help.

Martina Leibovici-Mühlberger: That's what it is meant to be. As a cry for help from the children, which I pass on to the adults. All these behavioral problems, the tyrannical demeanor that many children display today - they are actually requests for better conditions while growing up for a successful life: we should become a high-performing generation, then make us one too. And not one who just consumes.

Why do children notice this faster than their parents?

Because children are closer to their nature and are even more directly involved in their experience. Many parents develop complex parenting concepts that they can justify logically for themselves. But the children are literally disturbed in their development.

Many today believe that they have to offer their children everything. You feel under a lot of pressure. And free development of the individual also sounds very charming. You just have to deal with it and be able to set limits where they are necessary. If children do not know any limits, concentration cannot develop properly, they cannot control their impulses and they cannot persist in one thing. They can't cope with it when they have to limit themselves or postpone their needs. You can hardly develop healthy relationships and find your way around a community. But they need these skills in school and at work, because tough competition awaits them. That's why I call the whole thing an upbringing lie.

Aren't you dramatizing a little?

I don't want to pathologize everyone. Not all children are psychiatric and mentally ill. That is ten to 20 percent, and this value has been relatively stable for a long time. But the number of children with developmental disorders is increasing dramatically. There is little awareness of this and many things are misinterpreted. The tyrannical child is often seen as a creative child - as long as I don't have to deal with him.

Are there any current figures?

Educators tell me: 30 years ago I had classes with maybe three or four conspicuous children. Today you have to be happy when three or four are not conspicuous in a class and there are no major problems in the family background. What I am concerned about are the consequences for the children and for society as a whole.

According to her book, one of them is that as adults, children turn away from their parents. Aren't young adults more likely to be employed these days?

That's the problem. Parents give everything for their children until they can no longer. When they then retire and tell their 23-year-old son, now you have to stand on your own two feet, he falls into the abyss. He really feels that as meanness to his parents.

Because you never showed him any limits before?

Yes, but now that he's grown up, suddenly they do. He never learned that and can't handle it. Psychologists also speak of yo-yo adults who are only partially adult. You are independent and self-governing when it comes to freedom. But when it comes to structure and self-preservation, they are still dependent on their parents. Because it is no longer chilled, but exhausting. When parents then set limits, massive frustration can set in because the Disneyland world in which the children grew up collides with reality. Then many turn away from their parents, offended.

So that they are no longer available to care for their parents and our health system implodes.

We are now aware that this method of education does not work. My generation was the last in which it was a matter of course that one took care of one's parents. Today's 35-year-olds no longer have that. You experience that as an imposition.

On the other hand, there are also many more children of divorce. In 1962 the divorce rate was still around ten percent, which was a marginal phenomenon. In 2005 we had a divorce rate of 50 percent. Today, 34 percent of children are born out of wedlock. Logically this leads to new circumstances. When I experience my father as a comet hurrying by, whom I have only seen every few years since I was five, I have little desire to look after the old man. Or just to visit the old people's home.