What’s Right With Kids Today?

June 22, 2011 at 10:10 pm Leave a comment

It’s on the news every day: kids today are fatter, lazier, dumber, meaner.  They’re less respectful, less active.  They are constantly bullying, texting, sexting.

And adults everywhere are wondering, what’s wrong with kids today?

Of course, when we were kids, the adults were wondering the same thing.  It seems adults have always found fault with what kids were learning, or doing, or just being.

And kids have always been, well, kids (at least since childhood became a separate life stage from adulthood.)  Kids have always been loud, annoying, disrespectful, and mean. (They’ve also been independent, inquisitive, funny, and kind, but rarely do you see a newspaper headline about that.)

So if kids are the same, what’s changed? Maybe it’s the world around them.  Others have documented how kids are both pushed and coddled, how they are given fewer freedoms with more restrictions.  School is a major player in kids lives, and the place where their freedoms have been most eroded.

Harmless fun that used to be a rite of passage has become criminalized.  Schools that used to deal with discipline problems internally now call the cops, who sometimes resort to extreme measures like pepper spraying second graders
or handcuffing 5-year-olds. 

Of course schools need to enforce rules, but charging kids with crimes for actions that cause no injury or damage is a new and troubling phenomenon.

Remember the classic TV food fight , where the school cafeteria gets trashed and everyone ends up covered in pie?  Today’s kids, instead of getting a stern talking to by the principal, end up handcuffed and arrested.

Remember in The Brady Bunch when Greg stole his rival’s mascot goat, and his punishment was to write 5,000 words on the evils of mascot stealing?  Today’s kids will face more than essay-writing if they do the same.  Just ask the students from Clifton-Fine Central School in Star Lake, NY, who let a rooster loose on school property, hung a t-shirt from the flagpole, and did some other silly stuff.  No injuries or damage to property, but the police were called and the students were arrested.  Especially troubling was how the newspaper had no qualms about releasing the minors’ full names on their website.

Did your parents ever tell you how they played Mumblety-Peg as kids?  It was a popular game where a child would throw a pocket knife at his foot.  Let me repeat that.  Children were allowed to carry pocket knives, which they would purposely throw at themselves.   Kids today now get arrested for accidentally taking knives to school.  Sometimes even butter knives.

More than one kid has gotten in trouble for farting in school. One was even arrested!

Another student was arrested for texting.  Talk about something that never would have happened when we were kids.  Okay, so texting wasn’t invented yet.  But did you ever know a bubblegummer who was arrested for talking on the CB radio at school?  I didn’t think so,  Driver.

The examples go on and on.  Say what you will about kids today, but earlier generations never had to worry about getting arrested for a food fight or a kitchen knife or, and I’ve saved the strangest for last, casting a spell on a teacher.

Maybe criminalizing every little behavior at school has just a teensy bit of a negative effect on kids?

So next time you’re about to put down kids today, just think back to your own childhood, and all of the things that would get you arrested today.

Image: photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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