Is it Really “Kids These Days” or Have Kids Always Been This Out of Control?

BY: - 23 Jan '13 | Parenting

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Photo Credit: zalouk webdesign via Flickr

Photo Credit: zalouk webdesign via Flickr

After having a recent discussion amongst some girlfriends, it really got me thinking: is it a generational thing or a rite of teenage passage that has kids acting like they’re downright crazy? When I was a teenager, I admit I did a lot of stupid things I wasn’t supposed to do. Sometimes I got caught and sometimes I didn’t. But I was deathly afraid of my parents, so there was no way I was going to outright disrespect them to their faces. But I had friends and acquaintances that I would witness talking back to their parents, disregarding their authority, and just being downright nasty towards them. I never had a taste of alcohol until I was almost a junior in college, and never smoked as much of a cigarette in my entire life. But I knew of friends, and friends of friends, who did those things. When I think about kids/teens doing any of these things today, I think back to when I was their age, and remember people doing some of the same things. So is it really just “kids these days,” or have kids always been out of control? Let me paint the picture for you, and then you can tell me if you think I’m wrong…

One of my girlfriends brought up a situation with a friend’s son who got left out in the cold (literally) for coming home past curfew. Curfew was 11:00 p.m., and he decided to show his face at 12:20 a.m. at which time he rang the bell, knocked on the door, and nobody let him in. It’s winter, so it’s definitely cold outside. However, before he left, the mother said something to the extent of, “When you come home past curfew, don’t even bother knocking on the door because you will not be allowed back in.” So this reinforces my belief that not following the rules is a common occurrence for this young man. Apparently, he thought his mother was bluffing when he decided to stroll on back to the house at 12:20 a.m. He kept blowing up everyone’s cell phones in the house, and leaving messages explaining how cold it was outside (he wasn’t dressed appropriately for the weather), and how he was sorry and should’ve gotten home on time (uh…ya think?!).

Now, if this had been my first time hearing of this type of behavior exhibited by this person, I probably would’ve had some sympathy for him. But it wasn’t. This is the same kid who up and left last summer to spend a week at the beach with his friends after his mom told him he could not go. This is the same kid who decided to throw an underage drinking party in the rec room of his uncle’s condo building (unbeknownst to the uncle). This is also the same kid who swore up and down he would do better, behave, change, and prove everyone wrong once he started college. However, his mom received notice that he’s in jeopardy of losing his scholarship and failing his freshman year. So my response to this situation was in agreement with the mom choosing to let him stay outside…all.night.long. When she left for work the next morning, he was still sitting on the porch (you can judge if you want, but I laughed…yup, I sure did).

So in this debate discussion I had with my girlfriends, it was insinuated that the mom was wrong for leaving him out in the cold. That maybe after a couple of hours, he should’ve learned his lesson and have been let back in the house. We also discussed the fact that kids don’t understand things like curfew until they get older and become a parent themselves. I have so many questions. Why didn’t he call his friend to come back and get him? Why didn’t he walk to the metro and either camp out there, or take it to a friend’s house? My thing is this: when you have young men like Trayvon Martin getting shot at for just being a young black man that “looks suspicious”, you have really got to do better. You can’t continue to act as if you can roam the streets all hours of the night, and not have the potential for serious consequences. Thankfully, nothing serious happened in this case, but that is the reality of the world we are living in.

BMWK — Do you think this situation is specific to kids being raised in this generation? Was the mother right for leaving her son out in the cold until morning, or should she have let him inside the house?

 

About the author

Christine St. Vil wrote 97 articles on this blog.

Christine St.Vil is co-author of the Whose Shoes Are Your Wearing: 12 Steps to Uncovering the Woman You Really Want to Be. A happy wife to an amazing hubby of 8 years, and homeschooling mother of three, she teaches moms how to FLY (First Love Yourself). She uses her corporate background to work with women who are ready to start a new business, accelerate their career growth & design a life they love. She's on a mission to help moms to battle the mom guilt epidemic, so they can begin to put themselves first on their never-ending list of priorities.

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14 WordPress comments on “Is it Really “Kids These Days” or Have Kids Always Been This Out of Control?

  1. nylse

    This boy clearly wants to learn things the hard way. His mother was right for standing her ground. This situation described here is not generational.
    Where’s the boy’s dad? Seems like he needs some male insight right about now lest he ends up someplace he never wants to be in.

    Reply
  2. Joyce Waterman

    As a whole, I don’t think the children’s behavior is worse than that of past generations. What is worse, is the fact that nothing seems to be sacred. I’m no longer shocked by what we’re exposed to, the current mores and seeming lack of any “decent” moral compasses. That is not the fault of any child. I believe it to be the lack of parental vigilance. When a child is conceived, that is usually the end of the individual couples’ life as they knew it. I told all my children that when I learned they were expecting a baby. No one can explain it in a way that it will be understood on a visceral level, but, not explaining that parenting means major changes is naive and I believe, dishonest.

    As a parent trying to raise decent human beings, I did use corporal punishment as well as well considered scare tactics to solidify my intent. I continue doing so with my grandchildren. My husband and I completely rejected the idea that governmental agencies had a say in how we raised our children. If a rule was broken, we reserved the right to respond to that breech in whatever manner we believed would be effective.

    When children are exposed to as much indecent behavior, allowed to believe there’s no difference between their peers and their parents and are given no limits, as are the youngsters of today, we can not honestly expect them to make decent choices.

    When a child is born, they have instincts, but, no experience in making those instincts work for them. Newborns have to be taught to nurse. What is more basic than the need for nourishment? The whole person needs to be taught. Pussyfooting around the truth never works. The truth, as I see it is…”I ain’t one of your lil friends!” My daughters understood the entire meaning of that one statement. Children unafraid of their parents equals children unable to respond to authority.

    Part of a child’s experience has to be trial and error. All of a parent’s job is to consistently deter them from going too far. Our job entails protecting them, if protecting them from themselves is needed, it’s our job to do so. Be that through tough love, an occasional butt cut, or being left outside to think about working toward regaining trust, it is what it is. Too many parents consistently fail and that failure can doom their children. What good will $150 sneakers do a misguided youngster sitting behind bars?

    Soapbox is now stowed away!

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    CHRISTINE…I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU LAUGHED AT THE BOY…LOL…BUT ON A SERIOUS NOTE, WAS THERE ANOTHER REPEAT-OFFENSE? I HIGHLY DOUBT IT & IF THERE WAS/IS, THERE MAY BE ADDITIONAL MEASURES OF INTERVENTION THAT MAY BE NECESSARY! AS YOU SAID, SIS, WE WERE RAISED IN A DIFFERENT ERA & ENVIRONMENT, BUT REGARDLESS OF THAT HUMANS AREN’T PERFECT, BUT AT A CERTAIN AGE WE HAVE TO MAKE OUR OWN DECISIONS…EITHER GO AGAINST THE GRAIN…”MY FRIENDS ARE ALL DOING IT WHY DOESN’T MY MOM/DAD ALLOW ME TO DO THE SAME?” OR CHOOSE THE LATTER, MORE RATIONAL DECISION…”HOW WILL MY DECISION IMPACT MY LIFE?” WE’RE NOT PERFECT BUT AS YOU SAID IF “TOUGH LOVE” …PROVING TO THE CHILD THAT YOU MEAN BUSINESS…ISN’T EXPERIENCED WHO’S GOING TO BE BLAMED? THE PARENT/S OR SOCIETY???

    Reply
  4. Maria

    Please excuse any grammatical errors.

    Cultivate firm ground, plant good seeds, self reflect as an individual first before looking at any younger generations. Many of us adults were very wild, promiscuous, and often deceitful youngsters who either continue to be this way as adults regardless of parental guidance or grew up and changed. Are you a wise elder? We think because we have lived that we are mature, balanced individuals, however we all know that is not the case for many people we know and if we reflect hard enough our own self. We must be the change we wish to see (Ghandi). Baby’s don’t change their own diapers and feed themselves. I say that meaning, much of the things we wish to see in our younger counterparts we never have or recently just do not exhibit ourselves. We need to be brutally honest with ourselves if we want to have any chance of helping the next generation be better. Honesty is more then just being the person you have become, it’s sharing the person you use to be so that people close to you can learn. I would never excuse a child’s misconduct and furthermore place complete blame on their parents or environment, however for one we need to connect though common ground by sharing our experiences and two, it’s the little things we say we have no control over, or we feel are pointless that lead to the major disruptions later. I see a lot of children who’s parents let stuff slide and then turn around and are the first ones to talk about somebodies else’s child’s behavior. We use to live in a community of accountability. Where people were not sensitive to criticism, constructive or otherwise. We hide a lot of who we are through fillers like, t.v., music, shopping, etc.. out of fear of being judged. Lets be real, we’ve all been there. We’ve all felt misunderstood, wanted too or have rebelled, made bad judgements etc.. Remembering this should always stay in the forefront of the mind to help us guide our youth.

    I’ll leave with these quotes:
    The bible says:

    Job 32: 7-9 NLT
    I thought, ‘Those who are older should speak, for wisdom comes with age.’ But there is a spirit within people, the breath of the Almighty within them, that makes them intelligent. Sometimes the elders are not wise. Sometimes the aged do not understand justice.

    Proverbs 22:6 NLT
    Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.

    Proverbs 13:24 NLT
    Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.

    Mark 4: 3-9, 14-20 NLT
    3 “Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seed. 4 As he scattered it across his field, some of the seed fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate it. 5 Other seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seed sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. 6 But the plant soon wilted under the hot sun, and since it didn’t have deep roots, it died. 7 Other seed fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants so they produced no grain. 8 Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they sprouted, grew, and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” 9 Then he said, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”
    14 The farmer plants seed by taking God’s word to others. 15 The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message, only to have Satan come at once and take it away. 16 The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. 17 But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. 18 The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word, 19 but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced. 20 And the seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”

    Reply
    1. Christine St. Vil Post author

      Hi Maria, thanks so much for taking the time to share your comments/thoughts. I definitely agree about first taking a look at ourselves and knowing that we were not perfect growing up. I think the difference in this situation is that there is a lot more blatant disrespect amongst a lot of youth these days. And like Joyce mentioned above, a lot of them don’t know the meaning of,”I ain’t one of your lil friends!” I overheard a young lady in a store the other day literally yelling at her dad over the phone (she called him dad) telling him she needed more money because whatever he gave her wasn’t enough. *blank stare* I was disgusted and it wasn’t even my child. LOL

      Reply
  5. Pingback: Is it Really “Kids These Days” or Have Kids Always Been This Out of Control? | Moms 'N Charge

  6. Zenzi

    This happened to my nephew when he was about 13 because he left home without permission. It was a first time offense and he was home by 9. His dad left him outside, in November, and he had to sleep in an abandoned apartment in their complex, as his did did not answer any calls. While I believe that he needed to be punished, I disagreed with the method, because of his age and the safety issue, as well as other parenting issues. That aside, I see this situation to be different. If I read correctly, this child is in college, right? Why is he living at home? It is clear that he cannot live by the rules of the house and believes that he is a grown man, so then he should live accordingly. Don’t want to be treated like a child, then stop acting like one. Don’t wan you parents telling you what to do? Get out of their house. Period.

    Reply
    1. Gertrude

      Zenzi, great response & I agree 130%! However, the situation with the 13 yr old, it was a little extreme because as you said, he’s a minor. Thank God the parents didn’t face any legal consequences. As with the 18 yr old, I’m assuming he was probably accustomed to “repeat” offenses & didn’t take the parents seriously. Hopefully, it was a learning experience!

      Reply
  7. Rani

    Wow. I love all of these responses. I’m going to go ahead and say that I was the friend that “freaked out” about this young man (18) sleeping outside. Unlike most 18 year olds I know, this one, has NO COMMON SENSE. No matter how many times some things were said, he was/is always inconsistent.
    However, that’s no longer “here or there.” I have since this situation happened, changed my mind. I think the fact that it was 30 degrees or less that night, got me more distracted and upset than the disobedience. And it probably has a lot to do with the way I was raised. If my father just looked at me wrong, I’d straighten up. Although my mother didn’t have the same effect on me, I knew my limits with her. And never, did they have to go to such an extreme with me.
    This young man, unfortunately, doesn’t have his father around to whip his behind into shape. And his mother has done the best she knew how. So now it’s time:. All of you are right, for a HARD KNOCKS lesson. And if that includes sleeping outside today, so that tomorrow he’s not sleeping in jail, then SO BE IT! *drops mic*

    Reply
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