Kids Run the Show

A newer trend in America that I've noticed is that kids seem to have a lot more power than they used to.  Both in relation to their parents and at school.  I'm only 31 and I've noticed a big change in my short life-time.  I'm not one of those old men saying "kids these days...sheeesh".  I was a substitute teacher part-time in 2005 and got a taste first-hand of how kids are different.  They talk back to adults like I've never heard before.  Kids didn't talk to teachers disrespectfully when I was in school...You'd go straight to the principal.  A good friend of mine had an altercation with a student and they both went to the principals office to discuss it.  The child was allowed to speak first and when my friend tried to chime in, he was told to be quiet until the kid finished.  He was asked to defend his actions after the kid finished.  This is in reverse order of the way things used to be.  A teacher would have always had the first say when I was in school.  A lot of these issues come from home.  Many parents today come home and do their thing while the kids get on the computer or video games.  There is little contact and parents guilt over this leads to them allowing the child to do whatever they wish.  Children are very smart and pick up on the slightest things.  When I was a substitute, I learned quickly that you have to be strong and strict at first and then nice later.  I tried being the nice sweet teacher at first but the kids will run all over you that way.   I learned to come in with an iron fist showing them you mean business and then once they comply then you can show your nice and friendly side.  Kids do have unprecedented power these days and I think it's a complicated set of social forces/changes that are driving this.  This is not just my opinion, I've talked to a lot of people who've noticed this trend. 

ReformedAutomaton ReformedAutomaton
41-45, M
12 Responses Jun 18, 2007

hey, i'm from texas too. i wasnt some dumb kid the school system cranked out. i think the main reason kids in school have little respect for their teachers, principles, and counselors is because the students have no say in anything, and duh, that angers them. it makes them some what jealous of the people they see as 'authority' figures. i know when i was in school i always thought that we as a student body should have been given the right to vote or atleast give valid arguements to rules that affected us, i.e. the dress code, tests, and all around teacher performance.<br />
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kids should have more rights than they do in regards to their school system. i'm not saying they should decide the curriculum or anything drastic. but they should be able to have their say in what teaching methods work bests for them and what clothing they are more comfortable in. <br />
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also, if a students school environment angers them they are likely to bring that anger home with them, which would likely result in an overall disrespect at home. and if they feel they are still not being heard, this could be the very reason why they are disrespectful in society. if we continue to treat kids this way, they will continue reaching out for attention whether it be good or bad.

Thanks smebro, I guess you are from New Zealand? I'm not sure how your schools are there but here in Texas in the USA the public schools have been subpar compared to other states for years in terms of performance. And the US has something like the 200th ranked education system in the world. We're crankin' out some pretty dumb kids here in Texas relative to the rest of the developed world. It's really sad because with our economy we could have the best education in the world (not to mention healthcare).

I agree, especially enforced by media. I get sick of watching news stories where the present an interesting scientific development as if it were the latest 'wow' thing (when really it's just a newsworthy peice of cr*p). The more we make information marketable, the less informative it becomes. <br />
Unfortunately New Zealand News networks are imitating Americas more subjective networks now (Like Fox), so I am weary of that particular element of American culture.<br />
I make a habit of backing up any 'facts' I have from multiple sources, just to be sure I'm getting a well rounded view. Have a look at my story in 'I am pro-life' to see an example of this research, and an example of an 'adult' that will not back up accepted facts with research (Because the origonal facts appear to back them up).<br />
Wikipedia is certainly a blessing a curse, I take wikipedia with a grain of salt whenever I visit, and always check the references. <br />
I think the majority of adults are also unaware of the volumes of material written on different subject matters.<br />
Just the other night my flat-mate was watching a UTube documentary about an Alien tape, he swallowed it whole and believed everything from the faux sceptic (Who had of course changed his mind by the end) to the charming director (Whose story was so far fetched you could not help but smile). I pleaded for him to do some personal research on the topic... begged that he not tell people about this video until he had a more rounded view. He did not, two nights later my best friend comes over and my flat-mate begins on about this amazing tape he watched. He accepted it at face value. Bad, very bad... I pity his friends that will sit with wide eyes and gullible minds as he tells the story again. Why didn’t he understand was telling him to do this so he didn’t appear stupid, but chances are no-one else is going to question it…so he might believe this tape forever.<br />
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I have some strong views about information, news, and how schools should properly educate (Including introducing healthy scepticism)... <br />
All I can say is...Good Luck with those little sh*ts

I think you make some important points but I say again that availability of information doesn't make someone smart. Reading short snippets of information, a page or two on Wikipedua, is just that. Very little detail. People today are getting used to bits and bytes of information. They are forgetting that volumes have been written in the past on what now is given a 2 page explanation. <br />
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People, children and teens in particular, are getting used to this information that is being cut up into bits and pieces and yet presented as a whole. Details are very important and also developing ideas which takes time and many written words. I'm afraid that attention to detail is being left behind in favor of variety of information.

Respect is earned, and some kids obviously think they've earned it already.<br />
Cse2009 is on the button (I think). As a youngan myself (recently coming out of 'kid' status) <br />
The respect thing was always important to me; I had information available that told me I did not have to listen without question. I had the right to question and so I did. In the end I started a mini-revolt in my school which campaigned against group punishment on the grounds of the Geneva Convention, and I set in process the beginning stages of a school charter. We were told that the reason the school could group punish us was because they were substitute parents. That did not float.<br />
At one point a tutor punished my whole form because of two boys that had been talking loudly after the set-bedtime. I argued this with him and he stormed up the stairs with fists and red-face, and he yelled at me (Later on others would confirm that he looked like he was ready to hit me)…because he knew he was wrong; and he expected undue respect. <br />
Kids in general are smarter these days and it is because of the availability of information, perhaps they are not 'wise' according to personal definitions, but they have more knowledge to draw from then ever before...and this trend can only increase. <br />
Knowledge can be a weapon for the young, watch out.

Yeah that is really terrible. Unfortunately I think there is a lot of mental illness in the world and most of it is caused by living in conditions like you have described. Living with parents who are manipulative, self-centered, controlling, and are often drug addicts/alcoholics. Mental illnesses are personal and are experienced internally but they have primarily external/social causes as far as I can tell. There is some genetic basis for mental illness but the living environment is a much greater factor.

haha, that's okay meggers...I edited my comment so maybe that's why it got reversed. ]<br />
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Stupafly a lot of parents use the excuse of mental illness to cover up for bad parenting so that thing certainly goes both ways.

I certainly disagree with the notion that our youth today are more intelligent. People today are confusing intelligence with information availability. Just because you can look up a brief description of just about anything on Wikipedia does not make you smart. <br />
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Yes all teens are rebellious, that is nothing new. But their ability to be overtly disrespectful of adults who have traditionally served as authorities is something new. <br />
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And quite frankly most of these kids are dumber today. They are numbed by video games, lack of exercise, disinterested parents who would rather them play their video games than talk to them. And as I said earlier they relate learning and education to authority and thus shun it. <br />
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People have more information available to them today than at any time before. But what are they doing with it? The internet certainly hasn't turned out a new generation of Einsteins I'll say that much.

its in every teenagers nature to rebel. there is no stopping that. but nowadays kids are so well educated. just the other day i spoke to a guy who couldnt be more than 16 yrs old and he knew more about politics than i did. and he was angry with the system and how those in authority were handling their power so poorly. just imagine what kind of chaos can come from intelligent rebellious teens<br />
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of course, i myself, have never been opposed to chaos.

This is really interesting to me that ya'll started commenting on this story that I wrote months ago. <br />
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Since then I've started substitute teaching again and I'm back to experiencing the overt disrespect that kids have for adults today. It is pervasive and is having a serious impact on our already sub-par public school systems. They carry this idea of defiance around with them. Unfortunately kids are viewing getting educated and learning as being something that they should avoid b/c that is what the "authorities" want. I find it very unnerving that the things that I say the most day in day out are "be quiet" and "stay in line" or "stay in your seat". Education has become almost entirely about teaching conformity and submission to authority. <br />
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So I really wonder if maybe these kids reaction to their parents apathy and powerlessness isn't actually a good thing. Maybe this generation is reacting in the best way to what we have given them. Maybe having a generation of people who refuse to listen to authority will turn out to be a great thing. God I hope so!

the school system itself is a bit fu--ed up when it caters to the children. my sister is a 5th grade teacher. one of her students, who obviously didnt like her, threatened to kill her and even brought a small razor to school. when this was brought to the principals attention the kid was barely punished, because, as the principal put it, 'it wasnt a big enough knife to cause alarm'. they didn't even move the boy from my sisters class. she ended up moving to another school thats a little better but she says even the school system there is corrupt as well.<br />
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some parents do play a part in the behavior of their children, but those that dont have to deal with the school system catering to those unruly kids and their parents, which ends up setting a bad example for everyone.<br />
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i also do agree with cse, kids are much smarter know, we need a better approach than the good old saying, 'because i said so.'

Thanks for the input...I'm not a parent so I don't have as much interaction with kids and parents...I'd really like to understand more about this trend b/c it seems to be a nationwide kind of thing. I really wonder what the force is behind this...not just weak parenting but what is causing these parents to be so weak when it comes to their children.