Observing 4 teenagers this past weekend....

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by timer lady, Jul 6, 2010.

  1. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    I sat back over the 4th weekend & watched kt & her gal pal & the 2 teen boys that came along with my good friend.

    There was a lot of flirtation & goofiness going on - the norm. kt & her friend C, struggled at times with appropriate behaviors but my friend G told me it was typical teen. For kt & C typical teen turns ugly many times. I let is slide & cont'd to watch.

    As I sat back & watched I noted this generation of children who have been told all their lives how special they are, have been rewarded in school for doing what is expected & have been told that they do anything they want, have very little self direction in their lives. A remarkable inability to amuse themselves with-o spending huges amounts of money or becoming semi destructive. Have very little self respect & respect for others.
    A great deal of dishonesty. (The boys along weren't difficult children - just a couple of goofy teenage boys.) kt & C, of course, have a more "sordid" life, for lack of a better term. The girls held it together as did the guys.

    Goofy camp games of truth & dare; parents intervening with cell phone pictures. However, the more I watched the more I realized that while we've raised our kids with lots of positive reinforcement & "good jobs", they greatly struggle with sense of self & low self esteem. With that low self esteem came very egotistical attitudes.

    In the same rite, all 4 of the little wonders had a huge sense of entitlement. It almost became a competition to see who could outdo each other when trying to get us harried mom's or each other to fall for their manipulations.

    One young man burnt his thumb setting off firecrackers - mom insisted on doing his round of dishes. I was a bit stunned; more so when this same young man was laughing & bragging to the others that his thumb didn't hurt.

    The most disturbing tho, was the amount of ghetto or trash talk going on...every word was f this or gdmf that..... When I stepped in & asked my girls to take a break & come back to redo that, the other parent just elbowed me & told me it was typical teen. The kids are just expressing themselves.

    So......are we raising an entire generation of trash talking ego maniacs, with low self esteem & entitlement issues. I can treat you how I want because I'm me & I deserve it because I'm special. You told me that all my life.

    I want a better, more truthful, less trashy way of life for my kt & wm. I didn't raise my children to talk or treat themselves or others this way ~ even in humor.

    Maybe I'm just too old for this stuff.
  2. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Ummm... Linda? If you're too old, so am I.

    The whole idea of doing whatever they want seems to be ubiquitous - and I agree, it's because we weren't allowed to "hurt" their poor little egos. Trophies all round, let's not use a red pen... (in my opinion, an "F" in purple still is bad, and an "A" in red never hurt anyone's feelings.)

    I used to think up my own games. Entertained by the TV? Only on special occasions. If the weather was rotten, I'd make a table fort and play. Or read.

    It's sad.
  3. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    Well, I guess you can throw me into the "too old" camp, too.

    My kids knew to NEVER mutter the phrase "That's not fair" to me. They learned early on my response would be "Neither is life, get used to it."
    My kids were "given" cars. Well, ok, the oldest got a 1979 pick up truck (that he totally redid the exterior and rebuilt the engine of). I paid his insurance as long as he kept his good student discount until he went in the Navy. The youngest got a 1996 Contour that had been wrecked, but was still drivable. Since he didn't get his license until after age 18, I never paid his insurance.
    Both did loads of volunteering, and both have had paying jobs since they were 14 years old.
    I do pay for their cell phones - but only because we have a heck of a family plan and they could never get this same deal today. However, they have basic cell phones and text - no Blackberry or Iphone.
    We never owned a gaming system past an Atari. And yes, it still works.
    We never went to Disney World. We only went to the local amusement park when we had free tickets (my work does a day a year).

    They have both on different occasions stated to me that if "they" had done something like someone else they've seen, I would have whomped them to next Sunday. I really never was physical with them, but they knew I had expectations and they darn well better live up to those, or find their own way.
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    In many ways you have hit the nail on the head of EXACTLY what disturbs me about teens and kids right now. I wish I had answers to help these kids. So many things contribute to the problem, and turning it around is going to be very very hard. Sadly, we are going to have generations who simply do not function properly because the entire family conspires with the rest of society to give kids these messages.

    Has anyone seen the VH1 show, "You're Cut Off"? A group of very pampered young women who depend on others to fund lavish and excessive lifestyles are suddenly cut off financially. They work with a life coach to try to change. It is amusing on one level. But it is also truly sad. The woman I think is the saddest case and is the sickest is named Gia. She is married with a baby. A nanny and the daddy raise the child. Before the show her husband slept in another room, woke her up by bringing her a goblet of juice and breakfast in bed. Thank you never comes out of her mouth. Neither does please or any other polite word. In the first half of the show she refused over and over to comply with any of the requests. She half heartedly does one, and then whines because she doesn't get the reward she "deserves".

    The lifestyle is not totally the fault of these women. Their families created this mess. But it is the women who will suffer from it. I try to remember things like this when my kids start to whine about stuff, or fairness, or about things being hard. It helps me to stay on track and to not give in. I cannot help feeling sorry for the women because their own families taught them to be selfish and greedy and oblivious to the real world. So oblivious that one lady BRAGGED that her dad said it took half a million dollars a YEAR to keep her in the style she is used to.

    When did so many people abandon common sense?

    I generally do NOT refer to our kids here. I know our difficult children have these issues but we have been working very hard to not give them reasons to further teir beliefs. We work hard to get them help so they CAN function in the real world. I DO speak of the many many kids who learned early that the parents felt guilty for working long hours or being divorced or whatever. The parents gave in to so many many things because their guilt or refusal to see reality or whatever and the end result is a rather scary group of young adults who I PRAY will grow up some before they start being in charge of our country.
  5. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    I think I'm also too old.

    I see this with difficult child's and Little PCs peers, and even to an extent with Step-D and her crowd.

    I fear for this generation when they hit the real world. You know that old folk tale about the cows that were set in a field with electric fencing, and then one day the fence was replaced with string? Since the cows were already used to getting shocked by the fence, they never tried to roam again.

    Well, the society that has coddled and done everything for this generation has taught them to be helpless. And worse, despair is the flip-side of entitlement. If everything you want is given to you, what's the point of working hard or trying?

    Sad. Very sad.
  6. Doddlin

    Doddlin Guest

    Oh my... this is exactly what I was trying to put my finger on with my post today about easy child (Resentment and Envy over easy child). She has this idea that she is a gift to everyone and that our only role in her life is to continue to fill her full of herself. ick. She is never thankful. She calls or comes by when she has something wonderful to show us or tell us about herself. What happened to two-way "mutually" beneficial relationships? Do we really derive great joy from feeding our children's egos? Is that what they are for?

    For example, she is in town this week. She came by for the big party we had to throw in her honor. (This was mother in law's request so she would feel a "part of the family". Seems we have to make sure she does since since she was estranged from the family several years ago.) No thank you for bringing the whole extended family together in her "honor" so they could brag her up and tell her just how stunning she is. Not even a thank you. Can you imagine? Then, last night she calls husband. "I am driving up your street. I wanted to come by and show you my new car." She gets all disappointed because we just didn't happen to be sitting at home waiting for her. We were out doing our own thing. Do you think she ever asks about others, how is our life, work, kids, etc.??? She has been so pumped full of herself that she expects everyone to continue it. I have such a hard time after her calls or visits. I just don't seem to get joy out of filling her more full of herself time and time again.

    I think that too many people are living vicariously through their children. They brag about how they pay for this and pay for that so that the listener will think, "Wow, you are rich, you are really something, you're a great parent, your kids turned out so great, etc." These kids have no concept of giving, being thoughtful, grateful, etc. They just think they came to earth for adults to spoil... as if that is what brings us great joy. Funny, for some people it really does too.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, I read once that 80% of all teens never cause their parents any grief, and I believe it.

    While we are here because we have problem children (who attract other problem children), NOT all teens are like that AT ALL. My daughter is fourteen and she and her friends are WONDERFUL young people with goals and self-restraint and good manners and they're just a lot of fun kids. Of course, they flirt some and act typical teen, but there is none of the flightiness seen with difficult children. I don't think our difficult child's are representative of most teenagers, either now or ever. Insecure, troubled kids band together...birds of a feather, so to speak...
  8. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Linda, I think you've got it! And I agree with you 100%!

    My kids are grown now, 29 and 34, and I really think they did better overall because we never had the money to pamper them when they were growing up! They couldn't afford to have a 'sense of entitlement' and it wouldn't have done them any good if they did! We could keep them fed and clothed, but if they wanted that $150 dollar pair of athletic shoes, they bought it themselves. And when they thought about how many hours they had to work to pay for that $150 pair of shoes, many times they changed their minds. My daughter worked afternoons and weekends in our local nursing home and was able to buy her own car and all the extras she wanted. My son paid for his own vehicle too by working in a convenience store and the summer between his Junior and Senior years in high school, he was actually working three jobs - one full time and two part time! But as a result, they are both very reliable and responsible and both have a terrifc work ethic, not afraid of hard work.

    I'll never forget my sons snide comments about one of his friends whose parents bought him a nice car (the kid was pretty much useless!), just because they thought he was so "special"! He wrecked that car and they bought him another one, even nicer! When he wrecked the second car, they bought him a third one! My son said that his friend didn't appreciate any of it because it had been given to him, and that if he had worked for it and paid for it himself, he would feel a lot differently about it!
  9. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You are spot on. by the way, I think I'm too old for this stuff too. I do have to say (and I know this isn't teens) but in my class this year I had a lot of parents who really make their kids tow the line. Of course, there were some that didn't.
  10. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    ..."Helicopter Parent", anyone? Do for the kids, get in the way of the teachers, and generally let society entertain their little darlings because they cannot be bothered? I find it odd that so many parents who let their children run wild are then always on the kids' side when they get in trouble. I dated a guy like this once. As of now, he is incarcerated with no chance of getting out, seeing his child (or the poor little one getting to have a father)... I thought his parents doing everything for him was wrong then, and I still do.

    I did get upset when one of Onyxx's teachers told me, "I have NEVER had a child refuse to do what I told them to." I also cut the conference short when the other looked Onyxx in the eye and said, "You will NEVER do anything worthwhile and you will FAIL." THAT, to me, was wrong. But I didn't tell them that in front of her - I just ended the conference. Later, when she bit the teacher (last school year), I listened to all sides and decided that, while maybe the teacher went a bit overboard in restraining her, Onyxx needed to learn her lesson. So I let it go to court, let her plead down the felony (though it should have stayed at one in my opinion). LET HER REAP THE CONSEQUENCES OF HER OWN ACTIONS.

    My parent love me - I am an only child - but they love me enough that I have heard "NO" a lot. A LOT.
  11. Tezzie

    Tezzie Member

    This phenomenon has actually been documented & there is a very good (& very depressing) book call "The Narcissism Epidemic: The Age of Entitlement" that goes into more detail than you even want to know about this. The sad thing is, once again the US is leading the way, it is truly behaving like an epidemic & the things spreading it are things like Facebook, MySpace, advertising, "reality" TV shows & anything else that allows a person to say, "look at me, I'm so special, I deserve it all."

    The best we can do is continue to work to change one person, our kids, at a time & show them how to respect others & themselves.

  12. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    I see this everyday---especially in the last 10 years. I look at my oldest, and although he and his friends weren't perfect, and got into trouble occasionally, they were typical teen. Most of them have gone to do great things with their lives. Their younger siblings who are difficult child's and pcdaughter's ages have not. Yet these were kids born in the same town, raised by the same set of parents, educated in the same school system. Somewhere along the way, things went really wrong. Maybe it was the fact that for the first time ever, while this generation of kids were young and impressionable, a President's personal life (Bill and Monica) was put on public display. The media frenzy surrounding that and the other scandals that have happened with public figures escalated to the point that those things became the national news---sex and drugs became front page news while politics, policies, and world events took a back seat. The kids now---the ones I've taught in the past 4 years are even worse than my younger children's peers. The answer? I remember while in high school easy child 1 wrote a satire on what was wrong with America. He blamed it all on Howard Stern. He talked about the fact that families were no longer eating together, that school's no longer allowed prayer, that society had developed a fast food mentality. I see him---I see his friends. They are working hard on raising their children with dignity and respect. Hopefully we will see a swing back before too long.
  13. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    While I truly HATE this trend in society, I am somewhat relieved that I am not the only one who perceives it. For a long time I have been told by certain people that this is not so much a societal trend but a misperception on my part. That every generation is seen this way by the generations before it. I don't believe that is true. It sure seems to be fairly widespread that teens act this way and are given plenty of reinforcement to continue. Heck, I think lingerie for kids is totally out of whack, but many of the mall stores carry what I think is kiddy lingerie. I was always thankful that Jess has a body type that stores like Limited too does not fit. She was able to avoid that trend easily, which was a blessing because her dad and I would have had a cow if she insisted on kiddy lingerie.

    I DO recognize that not all kids fit this trend, but it is more widespread than at any time before. WHY do so many people think that if something is okay for adults then kids should be able to have it too? When I was little there were tv shows, foods, activities, movies, even words that were for adults only. MANY of my children's friends are allowed to have however much of those things as they want, and they make fun of my kids because mine have to wait to grow up to have them. Why bother to grow up if you can get all the privileges and none of the responsibilities as a teen or younger child?
  14. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Maybe what we're seeing is the flip-side of people not wanting to grow up?

    I know that I see my fair share of mutton-dressed-up-as-lamb moms dressing like teenagers in my neck of the woods. Perhaps if the adults in question are blurring the boundaries in an attempt to feel younger, then they also let their teens blur the boundaries in an attempt to feel older...and they all meet in the middle in a big, tangled, entitled boundary-less mess.

    People trying too hard to be friends rather than parents to their children? Unwilling to do the hard work of parenting, because it's easier and more fun to give in and let them do what they want? Still "sticking it to the man", even though they're all grown up and have become "the man"?

    I don't really know what the answers are. I do know that it wasn't like that when I was little, and I'm trying my gosh-darn best not to let my kids slip under with so many of their peers.
  15. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    LOL - that's me, Trinity.

    But that's because I don't FIT in adult clothing. Body shape and size = juniors.

    But I do try not to look like Onyxx's age at least!
  16. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Step, I don't fit into the adult sizes either. Sometimes I can find things to fit me in the junior section, sometimes I have to resort to the children's department (and Little easy child is giving me his hand-me-down t-shirts as he outgrows them).
    However, I'm careful about what I choose from those sections so that I still look like a grownup.

    What I'm talking about are those moms that you see wearing those wretched cut-off-the-sides shirts with a tube-top underneath (the ones we were all deploring in another recent thread), walking through the mall with her daughter, who is wearing an identical cut-off-the-sides t-shirt and tube top. And those parents who try to use current teenage slang, and listen to the latest music, not because they like the latest music, but to fit in with their children.

    Buying clothes that fit you does not equal mutton-dressed-up-as-lamb. Trying to look like a teeny-bopper when you're old enough to know better...now that's another story.
  17. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member


    Gosh. Did I really just say "teeny-bopper"?!!

    I'm older than I thought.
  18. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Guess I am too... I used "teeny-bopper" the other day.

    No, strangely enough, I've had Onyxx's friends refuse to believe I'm old enough to be her mom, and it worries us both when I like her clothes and vice-versa...
  19. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    And I thought wearing a john deere layered look tshirt with a little bling horseshoe was "too young" for me....

    I'm gonna play devil's advocate here just a bit...I agree with everyone else, we've seen a disturbing trend, and a lot of parents give in to their kids when they need to stand up to them, but I wonder, how much does the nature of our society fit into this? How much of this attitude from parents comes from a coporate world where hours in the office is more important than raising the next generation?

    2 incomes = 2 tired parents at the end of the day, and perhaps some of them take the easy road out out of sheer exhaustion. Not excusing it...just saying.
  20. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    You won't get any argument from me about this point. I think there are a lot of factors contributing to the situation, and this is certainly one of them.