Are children today less respectful (to their parents, or in general) than in previous generations? If so, what do you think is the cause of this phenomena?
I do think today's children/young adults are less respectful largely due to TV exposure with shows like "Friends", etc. who reminds young people that their "friends" can be their "family", they don't need their birth family for love and reassurance and praise. It makes it much easier to become estranged - if you don't like what someone says to you, i.e. parent, sibling, just dump them and go to your friends for family support. I'm not sure why society has changed.
How can you expect children to respect adults when they are constantly being reminded to fear adults? We are walking a fine line in society in how we are teaching our children.
Excellent question Silver!
I think that many kids are less respectful today to their parents, others, authority and so on.I don't want to start an up roar because of stating this so please people don't make this about this one point. First and foremost I believe it is because we follow God's simple rules less than we did in the past. .....That is my moral compass and many kids don't have a moral compass outside of themselves...having said that I will move on but I think every other reason is tied to that.
Parents have had their authority taken away form them. From being able to physically discipline their kids to being able to be notified if their under age daughter was having an abortion.
Some parents have never gotten past the "me" stage in their own lives and grown up themselves. Their are not willing to make sacrifices for their children. They may not want to give up party habits that they had in their youth which can breed addiction and kids with no one watching over them. The house is empty.
I think that this generation of kids is growing up without the absolutes that we had as kids. There are few things in this generation that are absolutely wrong or absolutely right. Most things are presented to young people now with the attitude that if you want it you can have it and you can have it now. If you want to behave a certain way it is called "expressing yourself" and too many times the phase is also attached of "I'm not hurting anyone so I can just do it" without really thinking about the long term effects of the action.
Too many kids don't have to work for what they have. People think that just because it's the newest thing out there everybody should have it. It is owed to you, you do not earn it.
I think the further away from God we get as a people the further away from the basic principals of life we get. No respect for others, property, life, money, the people who raised you. That is not to say that those who don't believe in God can't be wonderful people. Please don't think that I mean that. I think that even if you don't believe you may very well be living your life very close to the basic ideas of the Bible.
All that being said there are wonderful kids out there that haven't subscribed to the selfishness that is so tempting at any age. Sometimes they just turn out wonderfully by the grace of God and against all odds. I do think there has been a great shift in this generation compared to mine. I would never have shown the disrespect to my elders that I see kids doing now. Nor would I have been allowed out of the house dressed the way so many of these kids are. Just look at whats on TV these days and how much that has changed in the last 5 to 10 years. I can't stand to watch a lot of the commercials.....Oh my....I'm running off at the mouth again. Sorry.....I'll stop now....:0)
I agree with you believer. It is not just a 'kids' problem it is a cultural disconnect on a large scale.
the issue of children not respecting their parents is as old as time itself. if one simply looks at the bible or more specifically, at the ten commandments, they will find that nine of the commandments are simply stated as facts (ie. thou shall not steal or thou shall not kill etc.) however there is only one commandment that is written with an extra incentive and that promises a reward if followed and that commandment is the one that says to honor thy mother and father. one must ask oneself why would this commandment require extra incentives for it being followed. isn't it sufficent enough that g-d asks you to do so like all the other commandments. the anwser of course is it is not. my personal theory about this is that children, even as adults, have a difficult time taking personal responsibility for their lives and it's too easy for them to simply blame their parents. of course you might also note that many adult children who enstrange their parent are also aetheist...how convienient.
Not just young people but society in general. Everyone wants to be first in line, personally or even in the car. Excuse me and thank you seem to be becoming archaic phrases. Being courteous many times brings a frown instead of a thank you.
I think it is more commonplace that it's all about me, me, me rather than we. We as a family. Everyone in such a hurry going separate ways. Simple things like sitting down for a meal together, discussing each one's day.
I remember having family reunions and relatives coming from all over for the once a year gathering. Now people are too busy to even spend holidays together, family or friends.
Too much value put on material things where people just have to have this or that to be a part of the in group.
I've noticed less and less of smiles returned but a frown or dirty look is returned like you're weird or some kind of nut.
When did this all seem to worsen? In my opinion it was when too many noses got in the pot. No prayer in school, no pledging allegience to the flag, no disipline allowed in the schools. Act out all you want because if your parents or someone in authority calls your hand, well they are abusing you, just call 911.
I believe this county should be as our forefathers set out for it to be. You don't like God being a part of it, well there's other countries you might be happier with. Don't tell me we have to change everything because it infringes on your rights and you sue.
Love of country, family, people and showing respect is basic. The basics seem to be what have gone to the wayside. How sad.
Lynn in Alabama
Oh boy Lynn..
so well said...
No value on family any more..
I keep thinking that if family isn't any more valuable than just people you know.. then why would people even want to have children. It's an awful lot of trouble, time and sacrifice if in the end we are going to behave like animals.. we just have a "litter" and they grow up and leave.. no further relationship with them.
I keep wondering .. what will it take to make people focus on the fact that we seem to be going in the wrong direction.. how do we insitute a cultural change ..
God 1st, family 2nd, job 3rd. Love your neighbor as yourself. ......Those things are great rules to live by and to pass onto your kids. Whether or not they accept them is not up to you. Didn't prayer in school stop in 1968? It was one woman in California. That was all it took. Many Christian's see that as the turning point.
Following the golden rule....it all comes from the Bible for me. I think that is the moral compass that is missing in many of the youth today. I also think that they don't view the future the same way that we did as kids. I don't think they feel as hopeful about life as we did. When you look at the world you can't really blame them. There again it's a Christ issue I think.
Of course things have changed, that's life. Good changes and bad changes happen concurrently, nothing new about that. I do think that today's youth have different priorities and values than their parents and grandparents.
When my grandparents were young, it was normal for a person to be judged by his/her race, nationality or religion. Despite the fixation young people have with material things and appearance (which is actually normal for their developmental age), they are not as likely to discriminate as their parents or grandparents. They are more likely than any older generation to accept diversity of race, nationality, religion, or physical/mental abilities.
I have four kids, ages 6, 9, 12 and 15. I see a lot of their peers in our daily activities. I also work in our public school almost every day, from elementary to high school. Honestly, 99.9% of the time, I am treated respectfully. They do say please and thank you, excuse me and even I'm sorry to me and to each other. They are still young, they are impulsive, and it is developmentally appropriate that they have not yet learned to fully empathize with others. But they do a darn good job.
When I experience rudeness, selfishness, or lack of compassion, it is as likely (if not more so) to come from an adult (even those more mature than myself) as from a young person.
The young women of this generation are more likely to graduate from college than their mother/grandmothers. The young men are more likely to change diapers than their fathers/grandfathers.
Today's youth know more about the environment by the time they are 10 than their parents or grandparents ever heard of. Sadly, they do have access to more violent, inappropriate media. At the same time, the world is at their fingertips. Forget snail mail penpals, they can chat with people from all over the world instantly.
Change is good and bad. Today's youth are pretty tough, considering the odds some of them face. No generation is better or worse than another. They all have strengths and weaknesses. It's good to work together, and not assume the worst of each other.
I think it's a matter of perspective. The glass is half empty, or half full. Sure, there are some negative influences and resulting effects. But there is a lot of good in the changes, too. Then, there are some things that never change. ;o) I can watch the kids around me and smile b/c there are still some typical teen stuff that could have been me or right out of a 1950s movie. LOL.
I like today's youth. I think they have a lot of potential. I think they have the power to make some great changes in the future.
Stephanie, your resident optimist ;o)
I don't think Christians in particular have cornered the market on moral compasses. And there are plenty of people out there who would describe themselves as Christian, yet who are totally amoral. So.
I think a lot of it starts when parents want to be their children's friends, rather than their parents. So, instead of teaching them personal responsibility, and saying "no" when it needs to be said, they cave in every time junior frowns in a bid to keep him smiling. They allow their households to be run as a democracy, when the younger participants don't have the experience or knowledge to make good decisions. I'm not advocating a totalitarian regime, but children do need to be brought up to know that while their input is valued, they don't have the ultimate vote. They get that when they move out and form their own household.
colleenoz....."I don't think Christians in particular have cornered the market on moral compasses. And there are plenty of people out there who would describe themselves as Christian, yet who are totally amoral."
I agree with you and stated in my first post on this subject, basically, that I was not saying that some non Christians didn't also have a strong moral compass.
I feel the Bible is an excellent rule book to follow for raising decent human beings. If more people took the concepts of daily living from that book I believe people would be better off and children would have a clearer understanding of what a human being should behave like.
In every group of people you will find those that work outside of the box to an ill effect. Christians are no different. It would be nice if there were more of them that truly honored the beliefs set before them in the Bible. Just because there are those that don't doesn't make the entire group wrong or at fault. It makes the entire group, however, and easy target for criticism.
I second this opinion! Even my daughter notices this.
khandi...............If the adults are acting that way can you imagine what the behavior of children in their family must be like. Yikes!!!!!! I agree that their are a lot of rude adults out there as well. :o)
It is the change in parenting standards, I think, is one of the causes of the phenomenon.
My parents were authoritarian, so ruled by fear. I behaved myself because if I didn't I would be in trouble.
Me, as a parent, I prefer to "rule" by praise and encouragement. Perhaps the backlash to this is that I have created children who have a "me" mentality. But generally I think my children are respectful, but can be quite self centered.
The media has helped in creating this "me" generation.
Silversword, this is a really interesting topic, thanks for bringing it up.
IF kids are less respectful, it is because they have not been properly taught by adults HOW to be respectful.
I have never been disrespected by a kid... but I have been by many older adults.
I really like the youth of today... they have a lot going for them!
(BTW - I am 53)
I don't know that having parents or a parent perhaps defined as authoritarian causes the children to react out of fear. I knew very well I better do what momma told me to do. I wasn't afraid of her. I just didn't want the consequence. I knew I was to do as I was told and to act the way I was taught to be the right way or it was restriction or a butt warming.
I see it on a regular basis where a parent tells the child to not do something or to stop doing something or the child 1.) will get a spanking 2.) will not get a toy 3.) won't get to do something 4.) whatever else they come up with.
I see the child continue to act out and pith a fit on top of it to get what they want. They get what they want with none of the consequences the parent said would happen, happening. Good lesson that all you have to do is be a total pain and you achieve what you intended. The result is that behavior is now not only at home but in school, church, and everywhere else. Just so pleasant.
I really am concerned about people in general. It's a very materialistic world with people wanting their own way. Look at the wars - my way or no way, we'll just blow you up. At work, people expecting to automatically get the management positions as they had a degree. Having a degree does not make you proficient in an occcupation.
I think some qualities that are becoming less and less seen in society are, compassion, understanding, mutual respect, and that of just helping each other. Again the me, me, me syndrome.
Sometimes, I just shake my head. Sure would be nice to see some of the old ways back.
IMO, respect has to be taught at an early age!
These two scenarios are so different...
1) a neighbour friend has no respect for anybody! Therefore, his children have no respect whatsoever. The oldest is a bully. The youngest is so rude! How can a parent teach respect to their kids if they have no respect themselves?
2) my BIL's 5 kids are VERY respectful. Always have been since they were kids (most are young adults now). The BIL, however, can be respectful but is verbally abusive most of the time. Thinks he can do no wrong, is always right, and likes to "put down" people...seems to get a kick out of this, which makes him disrespectful. He's like this with his kids too, but they (the kids) remain respectful. He is, however, VERY respectful to elderly people. The problem with him is that he disrespects his kids but demands respect from them. He doesn't understand that respect is EARNED, not demanded.
So these 2 stories makes you question whether kids are disrespectful because of their parent(s)'s disrespect. I guess it's not necessarily true because it depends on the kid's personality. But I imagine that the parent's role is a big contribution.
Maybe, but....... my oldest daughter got married three weeks ago, so there were lots of 20 and 30 somethings there, and my son and his girlfriend had an election night party, again lots of 20 somethings. They were the nicest, most polite, best mannered people I've met in a long time. I was very impressed. Certainly, they are self-involved at that age (as we were, so many years ago), but they all had good manners and were respectful, and it was heartening.
My job brings me in contact with young people in their late 20's and 30's who are doing wonderful work, for little or no money, or doing volunteer work along with their jobs. They seem to have a sense that their good fortune comes with some responsibilities to those who are less fortunate.
These young people will be the leaders soon, and I'm not worried.
Children today are tyrants. They contradict their parents, gobble their food, and tyrannize their teachers.
In our culture today, it takes intentional parenting to rear children who are not disrespectful, because disrespect is so idolized in our culture! Virtually every TV show (even today's cartoons), movie, music video, etc, glorifies kids and teens sassing adults. It's a rare media product these days in which you see genuine respect even expected by parents, much less demanded (by example and appropriate consequences, not speaking of hatefulness which is not a good example).
Ellen Goodman wrote a powerful column illustrating this point a few years ago in the Boston Globe. She pointed out the fact that our culture does not support parents anymore, but rather tears down the positive and healthy things they try to teach to their children.
It's not impossible to instill these things in children, but parents must intentionally make a major effort in order for it to happen.
Socrates just thought it was bad in his day. ;-)
In my view nothing much has changed. I mean really how much is there that can change in the human psyche? It is just a much bigger world now, easier to go far away and start anew. Back in day of Aristotle you could hop on your donkey and if you lived, after a month be what? ten miles down the road? Where they would likely have swiped your donkey and cudgelled you to death.
I have read a lot on this subject due to my job and there are distinct differences in different generations (though there is always exception to the rule). For instance you have "The Traditionalist" who were brought up to respect everything especially this country. Why so many enlisted in the service - they in turn raised the "Baby Boomers" who rebelled in everyway possible. Yet, they started working at a time when jobs were scarce and they had to fight for everything - especially if you were a minority or woman. They all had a dream and felt with hard work and education you can achieve that goal. They raised the "Gen X" whom for the most part had to raise themselves while their parents worked. They saw their parents live to work and achieve the dream only to see coompanies shut down and their parents loose everything. There have been more suicides in this generation than any. Late Boomers and early Xers are raising the "Gen Y or Why" generation that questions everything. They are the first generation to have lived their entire lives with technology. They have also had the benefit/curse of helicopter and snowploy parents. Those parents that are determined that their children have every opportunity to be more successful then they were and will do whatever is necessary. They have been given more money, material, and time than any other generation and then we wonder why they feel entitled. They are definately bright, skilled, and experienced but don't understand what it means to be at work on time. They hate being told what to do but crave attention and support. They have no loyalty to "company" and they most often quit from boredom or lack of "meaningful" work. They work to live and live to enjoy life.
All of that to say we are all products of our environment and most of the trouble comes in the different generations excepting that their way is not the only way.
All of this is just my opinion and yes I believe this latest generation lacks respect but somewhere along the line my generation turned respect from being something that is earned to something that is bought and raised this generation accordingly.
I have 3 sons the oldest always tried to reason with and the other 2 were just told yes and no without explanation. My oldest doesn't speak to me and my other 2 sons are the most respectful caring self-reliant young men a mom could ever hope for. Coincedence?
You know I tried to explain everything to my children like you did your oldest. I thought that was a way I could show them respect by understanding the reasons for my responses. But you have a good point, often that teaches our children that they have the option of questioning our decisions as opposed to respecting our decisions. I had not thought about that until I read your post. It seems that sometimes we just try too hard.