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Kids Today

It may not be the popular opinion, but I don't share the belief that kids today are any worse than the kids of my day.

The other day I decided to count how many times I heard the dreaded phrase, “kids today” in conversations. My day began at the supermarket where I heard it as two younger moms passed. It was uttered as I waited on line at the library and again when I was pumping gas. I decided to stop counting since it wasn't even noon. It’s not really my belief that kids today are any worse than the kids of yesterday. Do today's teens really have the lock on rudeness, cursing, and typical teenage experimentation?

Most kids I see today are genuinely good kids living in a tough world. The day after my 16th birthday I went to the Sunrise Mall and was hired at the first place I applied. Was it that I was so much better than the kids today or was it that the economy hadn't tanked and we weren't pouring billions of dollars into two wars?      

When I was 13, I was babysitting. My daughter took a babysitting course at the local library. Does anyone really call up their 13 year old neighbor anymore when they need a night out? No way! Most babysitters now are nannies who come through an agency or a ridiculous amount of referrals or let's not forget the nearby grandparents. I am guilty myself of admitting the horror I felt when considering leaving my kids with anyone short of Mary Poppins. A 13-year-old girl?! Never!  

My kids bring home friends and while there have been a few who rubbed me the wrong way, most have been courteous, respectful and polite. I rarely have a kid get out of my car without thanking me for the ride. Yes, they love the gangsta look and I don't relish seeing what color boxers they're wearing that day, but is it any worse than the feather earrings I wore with my big hair or fluorescent eye shadow with the Flash Dance style shirts with the sleeve falling off and holes? And while I teach my kids that prospective employers look at piercings and tattoos and may think twice, I also teach them that there is a whole big world out there and that sometimes it’s the nerds and freaks that find real success.

Kids today like to do the same things that I remember doing growing up in Massapequa. Without condoning underage drinking or drug use, I will be honest enough to say that it was a part of my teenage experience and I was one of the so-called good kids coming from a respectable family. When did we go from warning of the dangers we're aware of to labeling every child who is curious as a juvenile delinquent?  

Recently I received a call from a dad apologizing to me for going out one night. Apparently he never considered that his teenage son would invite some friends over and raid the liquor cabinet. This man felt he owed me an explanation for leaving his home to enjoy a night out with his wife. My son was not there that night but would believing he would have chosen to abstain be wishful thinking or would it mean I was viewing my parenting skills in a superior way to those who had a teen there or those with a teen who has experimented? This father was so appreciative that I didn't think he was the worst father in the world for having an unlocked bottle of liquor in his home that it made me wonder what the reaction was from the other parents.  

 I don't forget the parties I had as a teen when my parents enjoyed a night out. Those parties started out with just a few friends and ended up with most of Berner High squeezed into my house. The major difference being that my parents didn't have to worry about being arrested or sued because I tried to sneak something past them. And yes, I was one of the good kids.  

Finally, I would like to say that kids today, seem to me, to be more active when it comes to volunteering and belonging to clubs. Kids today seem to have more of a social conscience than I remember having as a kid. Kids today live in a world that has 24 hour news, 24 hour videos, and 24 hour messages of sex and violence. Those are messages coming from the adult world. So is it really the kids today or just the world we're showing them? After all, parents have been complaining about choices in music, hair, as well as drugs and alcohol for generations. Let’s not forget that there was a time that we were, “these kids today.”

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Lorraine Trovato August 10, 2011 at 05:12 PM
More people should remember some of the things they did as kids. They remember it as their hey day and think kids today should be different or better than they were. it's a harder world for kids today and that isn't their fault. Kids can't get jobs without experience. Look at Dicks website. They want two years college to work as a cashier. People should remember that. More parents should sit-down and talk to their kids and do more do as I do and not do what I say while we do the opposite.
Kristen Ferrari August 11, 2011 at 04:05 PM
I agree, Lorraine. People talk about simpler times and the things we did as kids. Our kids don't have the same simpler times and that's not their fault. It is the world we are handing down to them.
Andrew B. Herzman August 13, 2011 at 06:39 PM
Wow I can write a book on this topic, but let me start out with the rudenes and cursing. When I was a kid, cursing was not tolerated. I didn't say the "F" word until I was 19 and that was in response to finding out that my mother had cancer. Respect for elders doesn't exist anymore. A child will be happy to call 911 and lie about being abused, because they don't like that a parent took away their internet privileges as a punishment. I have had many kids vicously blurt out that I'm a "pedophile" because they know they can have the upper hand with adults just by using false accusations. So without proper adult guidance, they do whatever they feel like. Yes, the world is different, but why? Because, now there is a demand for media, that wasn't tolerated by adults in the past. I'm talking about gangster rap, pop music with sexual descriptions and curses, violent video games and movies, etc. Also, this notion that teens need to experiment is just nonsense. No wonder why the USA has the highest teenaged pregnancy rate in the industrialized world. I never tried drugs or even a cigarette (yes, both my parents did smoke), because I was told about them. You don't need to learn the hard way when you have adults explaining the truth about things.
Kristen Ferrari August 13, 2011 at 08:00 PM
I'm sorry you've had such a negative experience with kids. I would never diminish your experience but its not one I've shared. Drugs, sex, and rock and roll are not the invention of kids today nor is the use of cursing.Because you didn't do something does not mean it was not being done. I'm not condoning bad behavior just pointing out that most things adults complain about today was going on in their day and before their day maybe on a different scale. I look at many of the kids in the neighborhood and see a lot of activism for different causes. I see kids who care about their fellow man and want to make the world a better place. Just looking at the clubs in the local schools I see a difference as far as volunteering and activism goes. I have three teens and have never been threatened with CPS over a rule or punishment nor do I have any friends who've experienced that. I'm not saying its never happened but I don't think its as widespread a problem as you seem to believe. I am sorry for whatever experience you've had that has led you to believe kids today are the worst generation though I don't share your belief. I do thank you for your comments and for being part of this dialogue.
Andrew B. Herzman August 14, 2011 at 02:54 AM
Statistics show that this generation has the biggest sense of entitlement ever recorded. I really believe that the new way of parenting is spoiling our children. Time out's don't work. Parents need to be parents, not best friends. There is so much worry about a child's confidence that now they have become overconfident. Everybody gets a trophy. If you try to debate something with facts to a kid, all you get back is name calling and cursing. God forbid you correct them on spelling or grammar. "It must be nice to be perfect", is probably what you'll get back instead of a "thank you". If I could be brought up not to experiment with drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and sex, and respect adults, then I know it's not impossible. As an experiment, go into a random online chatroom and just say "hi". 9 times out of 10 a young person will call you "stalker" or "pedophile". Where are the parents when they are online? Read the things they write on youtube. The "N" word, "gay", "fag", and anything they can think of sexually that's offensive is there over and over again. They get away with everything and adults just say "oh well". When you say different scale, you aren't kidding. In just 40 years we went from the Marie Osmond to Katy Perry with fireworks shooting from her bra.
Kristen Ferrari August 14, 2011 at 03:12 AM
I'm curious as to what statistics could scientifically prove that this generation has the biggest sense of entitlement. And again, Andrew, I'm not going to dispute that there are some spoiled children out there, but I am going to state again, that for generations, there have been complaints about "the kids today." Its not anything new. I've gotten thank you's from many kids and I have never been cursed at by a kid or called a name and would love to know where you are running into all of these kids who are cursing at you or calling you names. Experimentation with drugs, sex, and alcohol has been a typical teen behavior for generations. If you look to movies and literature, you would see that while the culture has changed, the behaviors have not. At one time, Elvis was considered scandalous. The Rolling Stones and The Doors were told they'd have to change lyrics to perform on television, and The Beatles were considered bad influences because of their long hair. When I was a kid, I think racism was a lot more prevalent among kids. I don't see that now with the kids I know. Most kids I know were supportive of gay marriage becoming legal and couldn't understand why it was even an issue. I genuinely hope you don't mistake my point. I am not condoning bad behavior. I'm just saying bad behavior was not invented by this generation. At least not in my eyes.
Andrew B. Herzman August 14, 2011 at 04:41 PM
I repect your opinion, Ms. Ferrari. If you want to know about where I got the idea that this generation has the biggest sense of entitlement, just google "entitlement generation". Here's an example: http://www.boston.com/news/globe/magazine/articles/2007/09/30/the_new_me_generation/ I agree that teens want to experiment, but why should adults just throw their hands up and say "OK it's normal, so do it" The parents now are actully buying alcohol for their kid's parties! The schools are giving out free condoms to children. It seems adults have just given up on any form of dicipline! The teens now use the word "gay" for anything they don't like. Those shoes are gay, that movie is gay, etc. Many gay teens end up killing themselves over what their peers say about them. Also, how can you compare long hair with fireworks shootong out of bras? They even have songs about S&M now. You don't see the difference? Almost every song now has to have a "clean" version for radio. If you go to youtube, you'll find a video where Sue Simons accidently says the "F" word on TV. I'm shocked at what the kids say about it. Some even say they would watch the news more if they said the "F" word during the news! Yikes! Maybe you are biased because you brought up 3 good children? I don't know how we can live in the same place and time and see things so different.
Kristen Ferrari August 14, 2011 at 08:00 PM
Andrew, you stated there were statistics proving your point about this generation, not other articles based on opinion, an opinion you are entitled to, just one I do not share. If you don't like rap music, don't buy the CD. Turn the radio dial. Don't diminish the experience of someone who grew up in drug infested projects and feels that he is creating his own musical expression. It may not be my experience or yours but it is experience that many others have shared. If it impacts on someone's life why not accept that as their experience instead of rejecting it because it is not your experience or your taste. Its a big world out there with many different perspectives and perceptions. You make a claim that today's kids use the word "gay" for anything they don't like. As a kid I remember that word being used very freely in a derogatory way towards kids who were weaker and more sensitive. It is only with this generation that I am seeing a tolerance towards the LGBT community, a tolerance that older generations lacked. I don't claim kids today are saints or that they do nothing wrong and its not my wish to battle you but you speak with very broad generalizations and seem to feel because you didn't do something or because you don't like something that nobody else could have a different experience.
Joseph V Bellavia August 14, 2011 at 08:36 PM
I find that although I can understand some of what's being said about kids today, I agree with Ms. Ferrari in regard to, kids have been pains in the asses through the ages. As much as I hate to admit it, and even doubt it, I was probably a bastard at times also. It might not be getting worse in later generations, but maybe we're finding it more annoying as adults. Just as the older "crotchety" people did to us when we were young.
Andrew B. Herzman August 15, 2011 at 02:18 AM
After giving it more thought, I admit that I may be the one with bias. I guess I should try to look at the more positive things. Still, I don't recall high schools having metal detectors when I was a teen. I guess it's just me.
Kristen Ferrari August 15, 2011 at 02:44 AM
Andrew, in 1968 a student was murdered in the bathroom of Massapequa High School by a fellow student. When I went to Berner in the early 80's a student was stabbed. Friends of mine went to North Babylon High School during what could be described as race riots in the early 80's. Kids today have not invented crime, bad behavior, or poor choices. I wish you would try to see some good in the kids today. Believe it or not, it is there.
Andrew B. Herzman August 15, 2011 at 03:14 AM
I never said they invented it, but I think they just about perfected it.
Kristen Ferrari August 15, 2011 at 03:22 AM
Obviously you're stuck in your belief that all of the kids today are evil and I'm sorry for that. I'm sure I could give you many examples of good kids doing good things but you cling to broad generalizations and back them up with a Google search that based nothing in fact. I don't know that anything I could say could budge you at all from your negative view so I'll stop trying. Thank you for reading my blog and for your comments.
Andrew B. Herzman August 16, 2011 at 02:47 PM
I never say all, but an a majority are. I said you should do your own google search. There are way too many links about the topic that I can post here.
Kristen Ferrari August 16, 2011 at 03:13 PM
Andrew, you are welcome to have a different point of view than me on this and on any other subject. What I see and experience is quite different from what you see and experience. To quibble over google searches, which by the way is not proof of anything, is pointless. I thank you again for reading and sharing your view.
Andrew B. Herzman August 16, 2011 at 09:43 PM
A murder and a stabbing? Now they have real MASSACRES!
Yankee Man August 17, 2011 at 03:05 AM
Kristen Nice article. I have read some of Andrews post from other pieces and I believe he does not have kids. I have 5, from grown 23 to 7. I also am heavily involved in our youth sports programs. I have some opinions on this issues, as I feel more educsted on the subject than most. Ok here we go 1. Love the kids. They are smarter than us under more pressure then we were 2. Hate the parents. example.... " When I was a kid we walked everywhere!"..really then why are you driving him to middle school in that 20,000 pound SUV,,,,its a 1/2 mile..let him walk. didnt make the team....coaches fault.......bad grade...teachers fault The parentsd today are to blame for any of the shortcoming these kids have. after all they raised them
Kristen Ferrari August 17, 2011 at 03:41 AM
Thanks Dan. That's some age range you have there! Thanks to you for being involved in the youth sports programs. My kids played sports when they were younger and the dedication of the coaches in guiding the kids was inspiring. Its wonderful when there are people who volunteer their time to give kids an outlet.
Andrew B. Herzman September 03, 2011 at 01:54 AM
Lay off me Dan. Don't speculate in public about my personal life. If I have kids or not is none of your business and unless you know something for sure, as fact, you can be quiet about that issue or risk defamtion of character lawsuits.
James M. September 07, 2011 at 05:29 PM
Andrew, RELAX. Maybe the problem with kids and adults nowadays is they all think they know the law. We are on overly litigious society in NY. Half the time in school is telling kids that nobody can tell you what to do and be an individual and the other half is spent making sure the walk in lock step with the kid next to them. Maybe if there were more outlets for our children. Now this may sound silly, but what about turning the abandoned Jewish Center into a Community center. A place where local kids can go for sports and arts. It can be supported by local businesses through advertising. An afternoon art class or yoga or history club or a myriad of other clubs for the local kids to get interested in and have a safe secure place for them to go after school. One reason most experiment and act out is they are bored to death. Once you've played one shoot'em up game you've played them all. It could offer tutoring, sports, clubs, fund raising dinners. If we keep children engaged they learn respect from doing things not just by being told or punished into a false respect that makes clueless adults happy.
Kristen Ferrari September 07, 2011 at 06:09 PM
J. Marshall, you make great points and I happen to agree about all the mixed messages kids get and about engaging them.. A kid who is bored and unattended too often is a kid getting into trouble.
Andrew B. Herzman September 08, 2011 at 03:43 AM
J. Marshall: I spent 4 years living in a German town that had a population of 20,000 when I was a teen. They didn't have a movie theatre, bowling alley, Adventureland, Splish-Splash or stadiums to see sports or concerts. They had 3 TV channels that were on from 4pm untl midnight. I didn't have the internet, video games, cell phone or any other electronic device besides a radio. I can honestly say, I was never bored! Kids are so spoiled, now. I used to pick blueberries in the forrest, ice skate on frozen ponds, ride my bike, even invent my own board games! And no, i didn't get into trouble.
Yankee Man September 09, 2011 at 01:49 AM
Andrew. Glad you had a great tie picking the blueberries. Todays kids hav eore toys then we had and they are under twice as much pressure as we had. These kids are not picking blueberries but are playing sports and studying for the SAT instead. yes some of them are assholes!!>..some of them will always be assholes regardless of the generation. Some of them will never adjust and will grow up to be middle ages men who cant work get laid or see the beauty in children. My kids are great. They have a great future and I know many teenagers that are equal to my kids. I feel condfident that this generation is just fine. You can find many of them risking their lifes on foregn battlefields .
Kristen Ferrari September 09, 2011 at 03:04 AM
Dan, thank you for getting it. The world has changed so much and that isn't the fault of the kids. There were nasty people and nasty teens when we were growing up. There were fist fights and bullying. On a social media site I belong to many of the people my age reminisce about things I'm sure they wouldn't want their kids to read. I was a pretty tame kid but can still remember a few things I would not be happy to know my kids did although I'm sure their time will come too. And I agree completely about knowing many great teens. My kids have brought home a few that have rubbed me the wrong way but the great majority have been wonderful kids that are always welcome in my home.
Andrew B. Herzman September 09, 2011 at 03:33 AM
Like I didn't have pressure play sports or study for SATs. Excuses. That all they are. What is your obsession with getting laid? You need to see a shrink about your sex addiction. No disrespect for our soldier, but the military is mostly a last resort for those who need work. It's not what many educated people with career goals would choose to do.
Andrew B. Herzman September 09, 2011 at 03:35 AM
Dan is too interested about my personal life. It's getting creepy. I wouldn't be surprised to find him in my yard hiding in some bushes...if he already isn't there.
Kristen Ferrari September 09, 2011 at 03:47 AM
Andrew, your comment regarding the military is ridiculous. A very good friend of mine graduated from CW Post and went into the Army as an officer. He was very interested in international studies and felt the Army had the most to offer him career-wise. Another friend of mine who lost his life in Afghanistan was highly educated before joining the Reserves. It is insulting to him and his memory that you would classify the military as a dumping ground for people with no career goals or aspirations.
Andrew B. Herzman September 09, 2011 at 01:59 PM
Do you understand wha the word " mostly " means? Since the military has become volunteer, many people who are educated and have other options, tend to opt out. That's not to say all of them do. Of course, the military has a lot to offer. I meant no disrespect, like I already said. But you have to admit, the military is also a last resort for many poor people who have no other options.
Andrew B. Herzman September 10, 2011 at 03:03 AM
Back on topic: If you hear the phrase, “kids today” so often....did you bother to think that maybe all those people who say it, have a reason to say it? If so many people are saying it, maybe, just maybe, it's beacuse of the fact that they not only agree with me, but have personal experiences to validate why they think that? I really don't think people go around saying something on such a large scale unless there really is a problem.
Kristen Ferrari September 10, 2011 at 04:24 AM
Back on topic, Andrew. If you read my blog you will know my answers to your questions. Its wonderful that you never did anything wrong in your life, ever, but the rest of us humans can look back and remember making similar mistakes and learning from them. You can continue to judge if that works for you but if all of your experiences are so horrible and across the board no matter what the topic, you seem to experience the worst of humanity, maybe the problem isn't everyone else. You've managed to insult other commenters, kids, cops, drivers, and even the military. I will never share your perspective and feel sorry for you that you seem to see nothing good in this world.


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