... what's happening to this country? When I went to high school, '74 thru '78, I just don't remember things being like this. Everyone seemed to get along; it was so laid back. But having worked recently in the public schools, I can tell you the kids today are wild and angry. Where's it coming from? - BBBR Resistance Fighter
I am no expert, but I think we have a real problem with people believing "parent" is the default setting in life, and then having children whether they are up to the job or not. Many people feel they "should" have kids, whether or not they really want to be parents. That is a catastrophic mistake. Parenting is a huge responsibility that demands a serious, sober commitment. It's not a decision to be entered into lightly. It's not a hobby.
I also believe that in any society which has become as driven by financial success as ours has (especially since the 80's), things like civility and social responsibility occupy the back burners. Children watch their parents chase the dollar sign, and maybe even see their parents break a few rules, or act unethically, to get ahead. That makes an impression. The clearest way to let someone know where you priorities lie is by your actions. Talk is cheap. Many parents preach a good sermon, but live a life of accumulation at all costs. Kids love their parents, and often want to be just like them.
There is also a great deal of hostility generated in young people by being scapegoated for every social ill, and thus denied their civil rights. Juvenile justice measures that seek to try 11 year-olds as adults, that tell perfectly innocent children that they cannot dress in their own clothes to go to school because someone who DOESN'T follow the rules might not like it... Can you imagine the government outlawing Honda Civics because they are often stolen? Saying you can't own a Lexus because someone might get jealous and take it -- or kill you? Imagine what it must be like to be a child, bursting with energy, DYING to express your individuality, only to be shoved into a one-size-fits-all box of claustrophobic conformity. I don't know about you, but I couldn't take it -- I'm an adult, and I can't even take it NOW.
Then there is the news media, which loves the titillation of reporting on misbehaving kids. That's bad enough, but they even go a step further: Instead of just reporting the facts of an event like Columbine, they have to run awful headlines, like "WHAT'S WRONG WITH CHILDREN TODAY?!"
When an elderly person commits murder, we don't say,
"WHAT'S WRONG WITH OLD PEOPLE TODAY?!"
When a man reads the bible, then burns his children alive, we don't say,
"WHAT'S WRONG WITH BELIEVERS TODAY?!"
When a wealthy person murders their spouse, the headlines don't scream,
"WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE RICH TODAY?!"
No, the media usually reserves their awful language of generalization for children. Children who are powerless to fight back, and sadly believe what they read. Children who are made to feel like a lost generation. Children who feel if they are going to "do the time," then they might as well "do the crime," since they are going to be blamed for everything, anyway. NEXT: MISUNDERESTIMATING RAGE
You cannot constantly, almost exclusively, focus on what is wrong with a group of people without having it affect their psychology. The media's endless negative stories about American youth set them up for self-fulfilling prophecies of misbehavior and alienation. You are seeing the fallout, is all.
Children have no confidence in themselves, because we have no confidence in them, and we (as a society) let them know it all the time.
As for me, I think most kids are still alright. -The Diva