Monday, March 31, 2008

International Embarrassment


The most recent issue of the international edition of Time Magazine has a depressing and very embarrassing cover story: the youths of Britain.
More specifically; their out-of-control behaviour.
I don’t regularly read Time, because I find most American-led news journalism to focus on sensationalism rather than the facts, much like British tabloids which I also avoid like the plague.
On this occasion, however, they’re spot on, which makes it doubly painful to read.
The situation can be compared to a scene in an up-class restaurant, with the nations of the world wining, dining and engaging in civilised conversation….and then Britain turns up with its feral children, who proceed to scream, throw food at the serving staff and use the decorative table candles to set fire to the napkins before drinking too much and vomiting all over the dessert trolley.
The “tutting” from the surrounding tables should make all in fair Blighty cringe.
“What the hell happened?” people ask “Britain was the land of good manners!”
Yes. It was.
Why? Because we used to beat said manners into kids from an early age. If you did something wrong, you’d get a clip ‘round the ear, which is fair incentive not to do said wrong again.
These days, kids are given something more dangerous than a loaded gun; too much freedom.
They are out of control because we let them do what the hell they please. There is no discipline because the powers-that-be say that this is unfair on the children. They have to be shown leniency and given a choice whenever possible.
Madness.
A child will always test their boundaries and see how far they can push things to get what they want. If there are no repercussions for their behaviour, do you honestly think that they will stop by choice? Or will they grow into the vermin that Time has made a feature of?
The Government is proposing typically limp-wristed responses to this growing problem in the form of new parks and youth clubs.
What utter bollocks.
A child must be taught right and wrong at an early age by any means necessary. They must be encouraged to think as an individual and to think creatively, thus keeping occupied and expanding on what they hear and see through music, film and video games rather than letting those influences rule them. Lastly; they must be made to understand that there will always be a harsh consequence for wrong action, and not just a slap on the wrist.
A couple of swings and a slide isn’t going to do that.
Tough discipline will.

26 comments:

Withingall said...

I agree with your take on how manners have vanished from all the freedom pampering of children, who are now youths causing trouble in Britain. This is sadly, not a limited, or exotic problem.

I've studied childcare here in Sweden for three years, listened to how people reason about childrens' rights, so I can say with confidence that yes, children needs boundaries and someone to stop them when they do things you don't like.

While the slap or the slipper isn't the "best" answer, I wish that those who raise children have the right to do something other than just a raised voice and a accusing finger to swing at them.

What stops us from doing that? The "new" laws that are designed to stop the badly inappropriate parents that use their kids as punching bags- since a slapping a kid is suddenly equal to life long abuse. Solution? No clue, other than possibly reinforcing the notion that you are allowed to limit your kids without it causing permanent damage on them, and that moderation in discipline is the only damn answer.

As you can see, I have my thoughts on that, too. I'll stop before this turns into a longer rant than it already is.

I thank you for your time, good sir.

Sam said...

Well said, friend. Well said.

I reside in the U.S., so I realize that what I say will likely be taken with the proverbial grain of salt, but I feel that this phenomenon is slowly progressing worldwide.

Also, much like you, I feel this stems from a lack of discipline from parents. Within the past 20 to 30 years or so, I think we've seen a steady progression towards lazy parenting.

Many parents just simply don't want to take the time necessary to actually teach their children how to behave properly. The world has switched over to such a "Me" orientation, that many people don't seem to understand that you need to step out of your own head, and put someone else first.

With parents, this is their children.

I have no children of my own, but I have 4 siblings, each of whom has at least 2 children. I watch and observe them with their kids, and I see the values that my parents instilled in us being passed on to my nieces and nephews. Yes, they're not perfect, but neither are my parents. Neither are anyone else's parents.

However, just because a person knows he or she isn't perfect, does not give them permission to just slack off when their children need them to step up, and teach them right from wrong.

Okay, stepping off my soapbox before I get carried away again.

Dalaih said...

Firstly this is not a Britain only issue, it's the same in most western european countries. People think they have to give their children all the freedom they want so they can evolve to their true characters ...

Sadly a humans true character is a monster.

I totally agree with what you wrote, was pretty spot on. But it happens everywhere where Supernanny or the likes are on TV.

Jill said...

Funny that Time should focus on the youth of the UK, since the same thing is going on here as well. It's very, very scary. We are verging on becoming a nation of sociopaths.

Withingall said...

Jill: you're right. My take on an agreeable solution that could work if democracy did is simply to see what's wrong, and see what someone else views as the problem, at least with today's generation.

Next generation: what we've mentioned so far in this "thread".

Well, that's how I view it. Suggestions to improve it?

kawaiihiyoukaiwithhiei said...

sociopaths, thats pretty extreme. i partially disagree because older generations historically garble on about the distressing state of youth. any youth that agrees is 'maturing'. doubt if anyone gets what im saying, im terrible at relating my thoughts. oh well

jack have my children?

sheber said...

They're Grups! BoNk! BOnK!

Bentos said...

and in other news:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/mar/30/children.communities

"Just to blow away a few myths: teenagers are less likely to commit crimes now than they were in the early 1990s; they are half as likely to become parents as they were in 1970; they are twice as likely to stay at school after 16 than they were 35 years ago; they are more likely than their European counterparts to leave with the equivalent of five good GCSEs. Looking at it from that angle, it doesn't seem quite so grim."

rali said...

I blame it on cable TV, cell phones, and the internet. Without boundaries we have seemed to loose focus and have become easily distracted by an influx of to much information.

Withingall said...

To that, I'd like to say "never before have been this connected, but never before have we been this isolated".

Tony said...

Mm. I went to an England forum administrated mostly by children, and of course, the place was full of losers from 4chan and some attention-seeking little blights who didn't know any right from wrong.

Children get very out-of-hand a lot of times, but I am glad to announce that I am confident in my routine behavior. I make straight A's (generally 94~100%, this six week period come around, I made a full-blown 99~100% range. My mother was shocked out of her wits!) and I can clearly say that I am well aware of the choices I make and my actions with the people I interact with. I was never truly beaten for any crap I dealt to anyone when I was a child, but I definitely got some "discipline" from bullies in my schools, so you may actually have some sort of a point on the whole thing. Texas here has almost NO RESTRICTIONS on how much you can kick your child's ass as long as you don't send him to the ER or kill him, or anything irrational. Many parents don't excersize this, enough. I would take FULL advantage of it. If nothing else, sometimes, I'd like to smack around the backsassing, pig-mugged, obnoxious, fat-and-spoiled little mother%@$^ers who can't control the most primitive of actions without spoiling a mood or anyone's appreciation for them, myself!

Jack, you always provide some great insight, and this is possibly your most deeply-thought-out blog, yet. The children growing up these days are more than paranoid and spoiled, they're rude and rediculously disrespectful. To be honest, our Grandparents probably had the best idea, and they definitely felt secure about kicking ass. I grew up and never told my dad to "shut up." I complained to my coach about playing a game for only 5 seconds, but I never told people he was ordering around to "ignore him." Kids like these make me sick to my stomach enough to really ruin a perfect day.

Kenneth Raymond said...

Unfortunately, there's also little inspiration to listen to adults, at least after a certain point of awareness. My generation's and this generation's (which may be the same generations, but anyway) parents grew up in a time that, on the whole, saw mostly increasing prosperity and greater trends towards peace. Yes, the Cold War ran through my parents' life up until it ended, but each successive leader of the USSR also generally got more sane than his predecessors, and aside from a few blips the Western world's economies were in good shape and generally growing.

I came to my worldly consciousness through the 1990s, when -- at least here in the States -- the economy seemed to be, on the whole, booming, and there was no more large-scale looming fear of nuclear war... I was hopeful, I thought I had a future, so I was willing to play along. But I came of age just as the "bubble" of the 90s burst, the world got visibly less secure, and our own governments got more paranoid and draconian. Job security is a thing of the past, unemployment is on the rise, and the latest development -- the housing bubble popping in the US, with repercussions that could stretch worldwide if the idiots at the helms keep steering the lot of us into the ice -- just hammers in the insecurity of things.

In other words, to those who've developed their consciousness and come of age in this time, the adult world has proven to be a very ugly load of crap about to spill over everything. I'm not surprised those of my generation and younger are disrespectful, troublesome assholes -- I would be, too, if I was a bolder person.

Let me not mince words: the world looks like shit, and it only looks like it's going to get worse. And it's not my fault because I was never in a position to create this world, nor were any of my peers. The world-as-it-is was created by the people that came before us, is still being created by them. And it is so depressing, alienating, and disaffecting that the only reason I seek to take part at all is because it's the only game in town. Yes, there have been horrible times before, but never has so much information flown worldwide so fast to make it so easy to learn precisely how shitty everything is.

This disaffection and alienation isn't part of the majority of teens yet, I think, but it's going to just get worse. I know right from wrong, and most of my peers -- and younger -- that I know also understand it. But there's also a certain sort of defeatist sense that it doesn't matter what's right and wrong because ethics and morals are not truly part of how the world functions. Look at world events and you'll see almost the exact same behaviors and kinds of behaviors amongst many, many adults, especially our leaders, to the point that the only distinction these days between teens and adults is that the adults usually have to dress nicer when they're acting like raging assholes.

sheber said...

Baloney. Its a wonder how the human race

survived for millennia, with mentality like

that.

Truth of the matter is, prosperity and well

being are cyclical. Live long enough and you'll

see that. Things turn south and we adapt. You

can't blame it on any preceding generation

without accepting some responsibility for it

yourself.

The problem stems from not one but two

generations of young adults parenting now who

aren't qualified. They've been desensitized

through mass media, teh intarnets, and life-like

video gaming and aren't emotionally equipped to

handle real crisis. I know because I am

parenting right alongside them.

I romanticized war growing up and staged pretend

battles with the neighbors, but I'll be damned

if I ever saw what it was like to blow someone's

face off, let alone actually shoot anyone. 10

year olds are now being exposed to that. Not by

you of course. "That stuff isn't permitted in

my household" he/she says. But a friend of a

friend's older brother has it and it gets

played. They say some soldiers return home from

war changed...adult minds with solid training

and they have trouble grasping the events that

surround them. Imagine how a developing mind

copes...

So then we turn around and remove spanking from

our vocabulary in a pathetic attempt to over

compensate.

What I want to know is this: At point were our

lives so devalued that it has come to this? A

time when civilities and commonsense are the

exception and not the rule?

Daddy said...

I have no Idea if you know what a Tobacco Stick is, it is used in barning tobacco, but it is about a 4 foot 1 inch x 1 inch thick stick that is very rough, not smooth edges to it at all.

Where I grew up in North Carolina, you did something like that, you got your ass handed to you with one of those things.

and let me tell you, after getting disciplined with one, you had to go dig the splinters out of your back end, with out any help.

If a bit more forcible discipline was used today, then none of the places in the world would have that problem, but the world has gotten so damned Politically Correct about stuff it is not wrong for a parent to even yell at a child that deserves it.

To damn many people are sticking there noses in other people's affairs, and that is also a reason for why kids and teens act like miscreants and hooligans.

To often kids see people doing "cool" bad things, and they imitate it. Take Gangster Rap. These "artists" talk of slapping ho's and shooting people, and on top of it they dress in a very "look at me and i kill you" way, and on top of it they do ll of this for the wrong type of attention on purpose.

Tobacco Sticks, people. You know, like "Speak softly and carry a big stick"

Withingall said...

Well, Pops. I agree with you- physical punishment should be available, when a kid comes out of control; I've been slapped a couple of times, too.

But a moderatly effective solution (in my mind) is speaking with your kids, and helping them process what they have experienced whenever something has happened. Call it crystal waving hippietry, but it's actually very basic therapy.

Nazu Tonse said...

Interesting.. but my take is tough discipline - YES, but cruelty and violence - NO. I don't believe violence - verbal or physical or emotional is ever justified. Children are not monsters, even if they seem that way sometimes. Anyone who has to resort to a slap or a threat of a slap, is taking the easy way out. It's a pity creating children isn't as difficult to do as raising them.

Withingall said...

Well, Nazu. If my mother hadn't slapped me, I would not be here. My life would have been ended at the bumper of some car- simply because I couldn't be spoken with.

A little TMI used as a tool to defend my own belief, I know.

David Mc Mahon said...

Now here is a rant I have no problem with // And I am in full agreement with what should be done // Hell it worked in the past (ie: on us) so it stands to reason it still going to work nowadays

If A Kid knows that are goin to get a 'clip around the ear' on doin something bad they are goin to thing twice about doin it (or maybe three times) and sooner of later they brains are goin to go 'ah . . . No, wont be doin that' // But its up to the parents to do this and not listen to the Government when it says how to raise they kids

If my kid misbehaves (that is if I ever have kids) he/she is gettin a clip and then I will tell them not to do it again // The old ways can sometimes be the best

But I have notices this // Kids nowadays are alot more . . . unruling, and that the nicest word I could come up with // They think they can do anything, say anything, act what ever way it please then, just because they can and my brain goes 'Kids these day, what they hell happened' well it says a very other thing but all of them I am unable to post as it is not language suited for the internet

But in all fairness unless parents does something themselves nothing is goin to change // In face it will only get worse because them these kids grow up(and I use the term loosely) and when they have kids, their kids will be just as bad, or even worse, because the parents wont know now to control them since they where not 'shown by example' when they where younger

That is all

-M

David Mc Mahon said...

Now here is a rant I have no problem with // And I am in full agreement with what should be done // Hell it worked in the past (ie: on us) so it stands to reason it still going to work nowadays

If A Kid knows that are goin to get a 'clip around the ear' on doin something bad they are goin to thing twice about doin it (or maybe three times) and sooner of later they brains are goin to go 'ah . . . No, wont be doin that' // But its up to the parents to do this and not listen to the Government when it says how to raise they kids

If my kid misbehaves (that is if I ever have kids) he/she is gettin a clip and then I will tell them not to do it again // The old ways can sometimes be the best

But I have notices this // Kids nowadays are alot more . . . unruling, and that the nicest word I could come up with // They think they can do anything, say anything, act what ever way it please then, just because they can and my brain goes 'Kids these day, what they hell happened' well it says a very other thing but all of them I am unable to post as it is not language suited for the internet

But in all fairness unless parents does something themselves nothing is goin to change // In face it will only get worse because them these kids grow up(and I use the term loosely) and when they have kids, their kids will be just as bad, or even worse, because the parents wont know now to control them since they where not 'shown by example' when they where younger

That is all

-M

RedFoxFive said...

Ah, so the answer to out-of-control youths is physical violence? I never knew that was a good idea. Each generation blames the previous one for the problems in the world; once, Elvis was corrupting the youth. Everyone forgets their own childhood. Beating the crap out of someone does not solve problems, it creates them. I was never beaten, and was actually given loads of freedom. Today, I'm functional and haven't murdered any hookers or set nuns on fire. I think everything will be OK.

@ nazu: spot on
@ rali: blaming modern technology for society's problems has been common for years. However, that's not usually correct.
@ tony: what is wrong with you? Do you have some problem with children, or are you the violent sociopath you claim that they are?

Figlesiase said...

...Yeah, old, I know, I just feel the obligation to comment.

See, I'm MEXICAN. Have family genes from here. So, naturally, like any other, I'd be short tempered and a screamer; Yet, I'm not.
Thing is, I've been the disciplined kid since I was born, educated the very way you have mentioned in this entry.

...I'm still young (not TOO young, though), so I can still call myself of this last (or before last's) generation. And I turned out just fine.

Seems I either came out right, or all artisticly gifted people are like that.
;P

KittenGoddess said...

Here here!
I grew up knowing that if I misbehaved I would get punished and it wouldn't be a sit on the stairs and think about what I'd done kind of punishment.
My parents grew up fearing the words "just you wait until your father gets home from work" now what do kids fear? "Thats it I won't let you play games until three a.m but will still spoil you rotton this weekend when we go shopping"
I moved from a fairly quiet out of the way town in Lancashire to a town about nine miles out of Manchester city centre and was shocked to see how different the kids are. My boyfriends sister at 14 used language I was shocked to hear and eventually did what I thought was impossible, she dropped out of high school. She's 16 and has pretty much no future because her parents hand her twenty quid whenever she asks and don't punish her when she misbehaves...heck if she does piss them off enough she just sods off to a friends house until they've forgotten why they're punishing her.

Despite reports that children are going to college and university...have you met these little cretins? I have, I'm 22 and a first year, the so called children of the future are ill mannered, conceited little idiots. When I went back to college I was surrounded by 16 year olds who behaved like 13 year olds. They may be going to university but that is not an indicator that they are behaving any better.

I, at one time, wanted to teach primary school but seeing the children I'd be teaching I can't stomach the idea because I know I'd have no way of punishing them and would have to put up with foul language and abuse from a child and do nothing!
Instead I'm going to transfer my course to Ancient History...sure the kids are over 3000 years old but at least their well behaved...

ocean_girl2018 said...

When I was being raised-What? seems to be the popular way to start-I got punished whenever did something wrong.

Be it a smack, spanking, toy taken away-Permanently, much more effective than giving it back.- or time out I knew I was going to get punished when my parents told me not to do something.

Still, I pushed my boundaries but, never more than once or twice.
Cause every time I did something they followed through on whatever they said.

When they said, "If you do that one more time..." they meant it. There was never another "one more time" after that. If for some reason I hadn't learned the first few times not to do something they didn't even bother with a warning. Say something I wasn't supposed to? Slap! Disobeyed? Spanking! Not gonna put my toys away? Toy taken away.

It may seem cruel but, it's not. Kids are quick studies and as long as long as the punishments are consistent they won't try and get away with things.

But you get parents who let themselves get walked all over. They bother to discuss with the kid "why" he or she would be good. I never got that. If I asked why it was always, "Because I said so." Sometimes, when they felt like it, they took me aside later and explained to me why I shouldn't do something but, most of the time I already knew why.

To me there are two problems with how people punish their kids.
A) They don't.
B) They keep saying they will but, put it off.
Either lead the kids to push the boundaries WAY past their limits.

I'm 18 years old. I've heard plenty of people talk back to the teacher. If the teacher bothers to ask, "You wouldn't act this way if I told your parents," you know what some of my fellow classmates answer.
"Go ahead, they don't care."
Cause the parents gave up controlling their kid a long time ago. When they let their kid push the limits they ended up with bratty teens. They come to school with me and the teachers don't do anything cause they don't care either. Why care if the parents don't?

so, I'm not an older person complaining about the younger. I am the younger. I can say with confidence that the people I go to school with...will be lucky to graduate.

And to the man who pointed out that more people are graduating, I simply say look at how many need remedial courses in college and don't read on grade level. Look at how much businesses are spending trying to teach people how to do their jobs. Trust me, more people graduating does not equal more success.

Brittany Pritchard

Boelke said...

Well, i total agree with your statements jack, and living here in the united states with both of my parents as teachers, i hear a lot about how horrible the kids can be.
It seems that the schools also have a direct effect in this. Our wonderful US government has decided that every other organization in America is more important then the schools. so they pull funding and cut corners at every chance that they get.
Another thing that I see a lot is the drug use of parents. Parents will be making meth in the house while the kids are home, causing every kid to be a meth addict before they even have a chance to refuse or know that it is bad.

Ben Boelke

arthurfallz said...

I totally agree with the main blog post.

I am a father, of two, and while my boys are... decent... most of the time (I only have them part time), I can tell you why (for all those trying to blame the parents) this is going nowhere.

I grabbed my unruly child while he was attempting to walk into traffic, on purpose, because he was being told off. Funny enough, I got a call from Children's Aid a week later because my children claimed I was "strangling them".

I recall being a child. I would do and say anything I thought I would get away with to get out of trouble, and I was well behaved enough that I my parents were complimented at restaurants for our behavior. I lied, cheated and tried all I could to avoid punishment, and felt little guilt over it. Guilt and knowledge of consequences grew in me.

I don't think children are evil, base, or malicious. I think they don't understand our society and the loose social fabric it needs to keep it running. They learn these things from their family, their peers and their tutors. I think physical punishment is often needed because debate doesn't have consequences enough of the time. Grounding the child just deprives them of social activity. Sure, physical punishment shouldn't be the first and only option. But there are things that pain corrects a lot more sincerely than words.

Want proof? When's the last time you believed the crap your motivational speaker at work spouted; you know, the same BS that every company tries to tell you about being happy, productive and co-operative. We tune it out. So do kids. When's the last time you had to stand up to a bully who would punch you right in the face, and not be punished for it.

We live in a different world than kids. We need to show kids that joining the adult world isn't about pain, or endless compromise; it's about learning the rules, acting the part, and trying to build a better life for their own unruly children.

For all of our talk, we seem to have a generation out of control. But I do agree that we can not inspire children to want to join society when there's no point. I for one realised that I was headed for a life of low-paying, frustrating jobs pretty early. It's out turn, our generation at the helm, and we have to start speaking louder, more succinctly and talking about the real issues. We have to show our kids that we are willing to make sure the naughty adults get spanked too.

Manetoys said...

Well, it's nice to see it's not just American kids turning into assholes... I guess ^^;