kids these days

My mom got a card for Russ for his birthday that is CLASSIC.  It’s one of those musical cards..the lyrics go like this:

discover wringles here and there
look forward to your first gray hair
come home at 10:00 instead of dawn
tell children to get off your lawn
put away your underoos
and buy some orthopedic shoes
lose the beer and switch to wine
and say that you’re still 29

It fit Russ perfectly!   He switched to wine a few years ago (will still drink beer of course, but prefers wine)…he would totally tell kids to get off his lawn (he is an ornery old guy)…and he just bought some orthopedic shoes (but that was a necessity because he’s on his feet 12 + hours a day at the hospital now).

AAANNNNYYYYWAY…I don’t know if it’s because I’m approaching 30 and becoming a grouchy old lady or if it’s really a problem, but I find myself thinking (and sometimes saying) “What is UP with kids these days?!”  I am fortunate to work with some pretty fantastic youth.  Sure, they drive me crazy some times, but for the most part, they are respectful, helpful, polite, caring teenagers.  I attribute this to their stellar parents and awesome church.

But I think these teenagers are in the minority, especially when I hear stories from my mom about her 8th grade students – about how disrespectful they are – talking back to teachers, not turning in assignments (and not caring), complaining about assignments so much that the teacher gives up and cancels it, etc, etc.

And recently there have been two stories in the news in which adults have gotten in trouble for not putting up with the disrespect and laziness and entitlement running rampant among today’s teenagers.

The first is a teacher who got in trouble for talking about her “lazy whiner” students on her blog.  I see how she could get in trouble with her job by saying what she said even though she did not name the school or identify the students in any way…didn’t even use her last name.  BUT I certainly get what she’s saying.  A few quotations from her blog and subsequent interviews:

“My students are out of control.  They are rude, disengaged, lazy whiners. They curse, discuss drugs, talk back, argue for grades, complain about everything, fancy themselves entitled to whatever they desire, and are just generally annoying.”

“They get angry when you ask them to think or be creative.  The students are not being held accountable.”

The second is a local story about a woman who hit four middle school students with her car because they were blocking the road.  While I certainly don’t condone hitting people with your car, I certainly understand her frustration.  She honked her horn, and they refused to move.  And she didn’t hit them to hurt them, she just bumped them to make her point.   I wonder what I would have done.  Called the cops perhaps…scare them a little without getting myself into trouble?

So what is it that makes kids act this way?  Maybe I was just a complete dork in middle and high school, but I cannot imagine talking back to a teacher or not turning in a project or not moving when a car honked at me.  I had a healthy fear of/respect for authority.  Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t perfect.  But I broke minor rules like the no gum chewing  rule (got my first detention for chewing gum in 7th grade) and the dress code (I never got in trouble, but I did run from a teacher once who questioned me from across the hall on the length of my shorts).

Is it the parents?

Is it what they see in the media?

Is it peer pressure?

How do I make sure my kids grow up having appropriate respect for authority?  Taylor is certainly pushing the boundaries these days.  Laughing when we put her in time out or ignoring our instructions all together, as if to say – I don’t care what you do to me, I’m going to do what I want anyway.  She was particularly challenging two weeks ago when I came home from the hospital – perhaps she sensed weakness.  But we have laid down the law .  We took most of her toys away and are letting her earn them back slowly.  We are sticking to the methods in 1-2-3 Magic and are seeing definite results.  She has been awesome at home the last week.

But she’s only three, I imagine it’s only going to get harder to establish and enforce boundaries as she gets older.

This parenting thing is tough work.  It still amazes me that there is no prerequisite class to birthin’ babies.

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2 Responses

  1. Many parents use school as day care and don’t reinforce what is going on in the classroom. They allow their children to come home, watch TV, eat JUNK for dinner, play video games and stay up until they decided to go to bed (which according to my 5th graders is at midnight). They allow this at home because they expect that the teachers at school are able to teach their children everything they need to know (ex. many 4/5 year olds have never heard a book read to them when they come to school). Teachers can’t possibly teach children everything they need to know when they come to school hyped up from Mountain Dew for breakfast, there are 30 students in a classroom, a limited number of hours for instruction between lunch, recess, bathroom breaks, etc., and 45 minutes to “plan” how you are going to shape the minds of the future.

    • That being said, there are still some wonderful parents out there who do help their children at home, set boundaries, and have high expectations of their children. The children who come from loving homes with supportive parents are able to be successful even when it seems the world is completely changing around them.

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