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"Kids are growing up so fast these days"


YPestis

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I've heard this quote again just recently and it irks me to no end. Now, I'm not a parent and so a parent may disagree. However, I feel when people complain how kids are so much more cynical/mature/sexually aggressive as compared to days gone by, it's in the same vein as complaining about working women and how life was better when women were home to knit dollies and have tea time.

Let's look at life for the young teenager today's modern society. Most attend school full time. A big chunk engage in extracurricular activities like band and Spanish club. Then there's bullies and sex ed and school shootings to contend with. From that, I've heard parents and conservatives complain how horrible kids have it now, with sex and violence and child predators floating everywhere.

However, was life so much better for kids in the past? I mean, teenagers knew about sex because many were married in their teens. Child labor was expected and, in many cases, abusive. Kids were exposed to daily violence and abuse from parents, school, bosses. We laugh at fundies who pretend that every women lived like a lady of the manor. However, aren't we looking through the same rose tinted lenses when we complain how kids used to be so innocent and carefree? Like the lady of the manor myths, we mix up how the upper classes lived with how society actually existed. Just as most women worked and scrapped by, most kids worked and scrapped by. They were exposed to violence at home, in school and at work. Many were married young, in their teens. My father's mother married at 16, had her first child at 18. A contemporary of her village was already a mother at age 13. It was not that unusual among the lower classes in China. Even today, marriage amongst teens in poor parts of the world is not abnormal. Mass education for children is a recent invention. Prior to that, only wealthy families could afford to pay tutors and give up the labor of their children. When conservatives wax nostalgia of kids who lived innocently and sheltered from the horrors of sex and violence, that only applied to a certain class of children.

I guess I see the same thinking going on with kids as with women. Conservatives who decry modern childhood forget that as bad as the school shootings and teenager pregnancies are, they were far worse a century ago. In fact, never in human history have such a large class of adolescents NOT worked. Never have we had so many children engaged in fulltime schooling. Not only are children more educated, but they are better cared for. Parents have fewer children and are able to devote far more energy to each child than in the past. A disabled child could receive attention at home and at school even if they are not wealthy. So, what's so bad about modern childhood? My own grandmother grew up faster than most teenage girls. She was a wife by 16, mother by 18 and had three kids in quick succession thereafter. Plus, she never stepped a foot inside of a school. She was the norm in her village. How many teenage girls have to undergo that these days?

I believe kids have it better now than ever before. And that is despite all the problems we still have. The fact is, only a small group of children were ever sheltered in the manner that conservatives wax nostalgia for. Today, the vast majority of children do not have to work to support families or take up adult responsibilities as teens. I think people who decry the cynicism of our children should study history and see how human society treated children in the past. It was shocking how little regard we held for a child's life prior to modern times.

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Childhood in the way we see it is a very recent thing, it really only appeared with the victorian middle class. Because there was a larger group of people who could afford to keep their child in school & send them to work or university at a reasonable age in our eyes. Also I think its more of an idealised pious upper middle class stereotype than the actual upper class. Because a lot of my family were 'upper class' & it seems they spent more time partying & socialising than making doilies. My grandpas cousin says he thought his dad had parties & played golf for a living. :lol:

TBH is think the history of the middle class & upper class in the victorian era is a bit boring. Everybody knows about it. I find the way poor people lived much more interesting.

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I personally think it's the exact opposite, at least if we leave out the kids who are growing up in abject poverty, and those who live in Hollywood. I hate to say the phrase "Kids today" but... "Kids today" seem to be staying young and/or immature longer. I blame helicopter parenting, and I blame helicopter parenting on how fast we get information, propaganda, and well, just a general culture shift, I suppose.

For example - I live in what most people would consider a pretty nice neighborhood. Sure, we don't have sidewalks, and our street isn't always the first one plowed. But we are in a "good" school district, homes around around 250K - 450K, depending on lot size and age of the home. I have a view (for 1 month) of the Inlet, and there is very little traffic. We are within 5 miles of the entrance to one of the best parks, we are .3 miles from another park, and when my bird escaped, the fire department had very nice men at my house, standing around a tree within 5 minutes.

Yet, there is only one house on the street where I've ever seen children play outside. Parents wait, with their high school children, in cars, at the bus stop. I don't think it's any more dangerous than it was back when we were growing up, but people insist that the world is. It's annoying, and it has to be detrimental to kids. I knew a parent of an 11 year old, who would leave work so she could pick him up and drive him home. He lived a block from school. I knew the parents of an 18 year old woman who would drive her to college, pick her up, take her to work, pick her up, drop her off at her boyfriend's house because they "didn't want her taking public transportation" and "didn't think she was ready for the driving test." Contrast this with me, and my friends. At 8, I stayed home for short periods by myself. At 12, I watched the neighbors 6 & 8 year old alone, at night. My parents were a phone call away (and on a landline!). If I wanted to go outside and play, I went outside and played. We waited at the bus stop unsupervised. Once, a creepy guy asked "for directions" we ran away, and told our bus driver and our teacher. They wrote a letter to our parents and we all knew to report him if we saw him again. When I was in high school, I rode the city bus (in a much bigger city) to and from school. I walked to the bus stop. When I was 18, I took the bus to city college, and I borrowed a vehicle to drive to work a few days a week.

When I was 19, I moved 400 miles away from home. My parents dropped me off and then I was left to figure out another city's transportation, map, how to cook and clean, where to buy food, how to communicate with strangers, etc. And I figured it out, because when I called home to ask things like "how do I boil an egg," i was laughed at and told two separate methods (one parents prefers one way, the other prefers a different way. Alton Brown prefers baking them.)

It just seems to me that so many kids today lack independence, and a lack of interest in becoming independent. Of course, this is just in general, basic Free Range vs Helicopter stuff.

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I personally think it's the exact opposite, at least if we leave out the kids who are growing up in abject poverty, and those who live in Hollywood. I hate to say the phrase "Kids today" but... "Kids today" seem to be staying young and/or immature longer. I blame helicopter parenting, and I blame helicopter parenting on how fast we get information, propaganda, and well, just a general culture shift, I suppose.

For example - I live in what most people would consider a pretty nice neighborhood. Sure, we don't have sidewalks, and our street isn't always the first one plowed. But we are in a "good" school district, homes around around 250K - 450K, depending on lot size and age of the home. I have a view (for 1 month) of the Inlet, and there is very little traffic. We are within 5 miles of the entrance to one of the best parks, we are .3 miles from another park, and when my bird escaped, the fire department had very nice men at my house, standing around a tree within 5 minutes.

Yet, there is only one house on the street where I've ever seen children play outside. Parents wait, with their high school children, in cars, at the bus stop. I don't think it's any more dangerous than it was back when we were growing up, but people insist that the world is. It's annoying, and it has to be detrimental to kids. I knew a parent of an 11 year old, who would leave work so she could pick him up and drive him home. He lived a block from school. I knew the parents of an 18 year old woman who would drive her to college, pick her up, take her to work, pick her up, drop her off at her boyfriend's house because they "didn't want her taking public transportation" and "didn't think she was ready for the driving test." Contrast this with me, and my friends. At 8, I stayed home for short periods by myself. At 12, I watched the neighbors 6 & 8 year old alone, at night. My parents were a phone call away (and on a landline!). If I wanted to go outside and play, I went outside and played. We waited at the bus stop unsupervised. Once, a creepy guy asked "for directions" we ran away, and told our bus driver and our teacher. They wrote a letter to our parents and we all knew to report him if we saw him again. When I was in high school, I rode the city bus (in a much bigger city) to and from school. I walked to the bus stop. When I was 18, I took the bus to city college, and I borrowed a vehicle to drive to work a few days a week.

When I was 19, I moved 400 miles away from home. My parents dropped me off and then I was left to figure out another city's transportation, map, how to cook and clean, where to buy food, how to communicate with strangers, etc. And I figured it out, because when I called home to ask things like "how do I boil an egg," i was laughed at and told two separate methods (one parents prefers one way, the other prefers a different way. Alton Brown prefers baking them.)

It just seems to me that so many kids today lack independence, and a lack of interest in becoming independent. Of course, this is just in general, basic Free Range vs Helicopter stuff.

Completely agree with all of that. Independence and self-sufficiency wise I think kids now are about 5 years behind where children/teens/young adults were when I was growing up. I definitely think the 24/7 news cycle and the internet is the primary factor. People are scared of everything now.

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I feel like people think I am a crummy Mom because I expect my kids to be self sufficient! My 14 year old son is less capable than I was at 11. I expect 70% more of him than his peers. It is mind boggling.

I grew up with a rule that I passed on to my kids. You can live with me if you are in school (college) if you want to. If you choose not to go to college you will get your own place or pay us rent until you find an apt. It is not punishment, it is real life. We can afford to keep them and I really miss them, but they need to get their acts together.

My oldest (very smart?) kid flunked out of college. I kept my promise, I love you, you are now on your own. No more financial help. He worked full time for a year and hated it. (thank god he didn't live at home)

100% on his own he reapplied to college, got in and is kicking ass and loves it. He is in control, I think he needed that. He is independent however we provide health insurance.

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I'm in my early twenties, and I think my generation has grown up more slowly than my grandparents' generation, but in a good way. My grandparents had to leave school at 14 to work full-time, but my friends and I all got to stay until we finished high school, if not university. We had the opportunity to spend our teenage years developing mentally and emotionally. Obviously this doesn't apply to all teenagers, but I would argue that teens who don't get a proper adolescence have been deprived of something valuable, and it's unfair of parents to do so.

That said, there seems to be an increase in helicopter parenting in the past decade or so. Things my parents wouldn't have thought twice about when I was a kid, like letting me walk to school or play outside, seem to be much rarer. There's a balance between allowing children to be children and teens to be teens and not allowing them to grow up.

I'm reminded of a documentary I watched a while ago entitled "Cotton Wool Kids", about how parents are more cautious about their children. One thing that stuck out to me was that there was a prevailing attitude amongst the parents that the world is more dangerous for children than it was when they were young, but in fact all the research shows that the opposite is the case.

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One thing about the "cotton wool" parents - a lot of us were little kids in the '70s and early '80s which was a terrible time for parenting. Women had gotten access to better other options in terms of work and school, men hadn't really gotten into the whole parenting thing generally, but the default was still to have kids and have them pretty early, plus daycare was often just "some lady in the neighborhood lets us leave kids there." So there were a lot of us raising ourselves - "latchkey child" was pretty much the norm in a lot of areas, especially during the various recessions. My husband and his brother were latchkey kids at 7 and 8, and the only other girl my age on my street in elementary was in charge of her younger siblings after school every day when we were 8 or 9 years old, with no adults in the house.

Child abuse was dragged out into the open starting about then, and there were huge news stories about abductions all the sudden. The thing is, the only thing people really DID about those dangers was make kids scared. We got lectures about stranger danger and bad touch but not more supervision - like, a kid was abducted from my suburb, and we all got fingerprinted and had to pick a buddy to walk home from school with, but the adults didn't do anything concrete like actually walk *with* us.

So I do think we should, culturally, back off quite a bit, but the parents of today grew up with all these fears and legitimate dangers (seriously, my husband cut his arm with a knife when they were home alone and still has the scar. We had neighbors who left a 14 year old home in charge of her 5 younger siblings for a 3 day weekend, and their house caught on fire.) and often not a lot of help from the adults around them who had a kind of "kids grow up fine, we're busy" attitude.

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Gregg Easterbrook wrote a book called "The Progress Paradox: How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse," which discusses how life has improved in just about every measurable way -- longer, healthier lives, better education, no child labor, cleaner environment, less crime, etc. -- yet we live in more fear and pessimism than ever before.

I wish I could tell you more about the book but it's been on my "Read This Next" shelf for about three years now, unopened. I'm too busy watching Faux News and then hunkering down with my guns to have time to read any more.

:violence-rambo:

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That's terribly sad, Rosa. I knew children of past generations had more freedom, but I didn't realise it was bordering on neglect.

I think the reason often cited for why parents believe the world to be less safe now is the internet and things like social networking, because it so easily places all the statistically-unlikely threats at the forefront of everyone's minds. Reading your post makes me appreciate more how absolutely terrifying that must be for parents who grew up in that kind of culture, because if the perception is that it's worse now than it was then, and they remember the fear then, it's no wonder some people want to implant GPS trackers in their children's arms.

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Kids are growing up so fast these days" = Kids being less sheltered by religious bigots because of exposure to different people at public schools and the kids being innocent untill they're past their teen years being disproven. Basically, it's patriarchal myths being exposed.

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I do think things are a lot better now in most ways, but that partly is that I really think the 70s were the nadir of how much value our culture put on parenting. Kids had a lot of freedom in the '50s and '60s too, and there were dangers, but the work of parenting was recognized and got cultural support, even if we make fun of that Leave it To Beaver media now.

I actually have a lot of sympathy for the "things are going to hell in a handbasket" fundies - they're 30 years out of date, but there really was a time when divorce suddenly hit a lot of families all at once, when divorced dads often just disappeared. I know a lot of people who experienced daycare as "sitting in the basement of a neighborhood house watching TV because my dad lost his job and mom had to start working all the sudden."(A lot of them have little kids now and have been pleasantly surprised at the existence of fun, caring, toy-and-light-filled professional childcare centers.) They're missing a lot of other important factors that made things a lot better than in the farther-back past for most kids, of course. And their remedy (less feminism! more stifling!) is ass backwards.

So anyway, i think the current emphasis on "intensive parenting", while it has its drawbacks, is a cultural corrective to the idea that kids will just raise themselves while you do more important things.

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I do think things are a lot better now in most ways, but that partly is that I really think the 70s were the nadir of how much value our culture put on parenting.

I noticed this in the '70s, too. I often accompanied my mother to parents' night at my younger sisters' schools, and was appalled at how few parents showed up. Around this time, I substitute taught at the middle school all three of us sisters attended, and got an earful in the teachers' lounge about how few parents were involved in their kids' education, or were actually hostile when teachers called kids out for bad behavior.

I live in what most people would consider a pretty nice neighborhood....Yet, there is only one house on the street where I've ever seen children play outside. Parents wait, with their high school children, in cars, at the bus stop. I don't think it's any more dangerous than it was back when we were growing up, but people insist that the world is. It's annoying, and it has to be detrimental to kids. I knew a parent of an 11 year old, who would leave work so she could pick him up and drive him home. He lived a block from school. I knew the parents of an 18 year old woman who would drive her to college, pick her up, take her to work, pick her up, drop her off at her boyfriend's house because they "didn't want her taking public transportation" and "didn't think she was ready for the driving test." Contrast this with me, and my friends. At 8, I stayed home for short periods by myself. At 12, I watched the neighbors 6 & 8 year old alone, at night. My parents were a phone call away (and on a landline!). If I wanted to go outside and play, I went outside and played. We waited at the bus stop unsupervised. Once, a creepy guy asked "for directions" we ran away, and told our bus driver and our teacher. They wrote a letter to our parents and we all knew to report him if we saw him again. When I was in high school, I rode the city bus (in a much bigger city) to and from school. I walked to the bus stop....It just seems to me that so many kids today lack independence, and a lack of interest in becoming independent. Of course, this is just in general, basic Free Range vs. Helicopter stuff.

This is pretty much the same way my sisters and I (now 48, 55, and 60) lived. When I was 10 or so, a half-dozen of us neighborhood kids would walk two miles to the city park in the summer to spend the day swimming. I was pretty much a "free range" parent (my daughter is now 34): she went out into the neighborhood and played, and she and her friends would walk to the local strip mall together.

I took her to a college she was considering. One of the parents, at a Q&A session, wanted to know what the college would be doing to "shepherd and guide" (in a non-religious sense) the kids. My daughter and I looked at each other: Huh? Your "child" is an adult now! And that's pretty much what the moderator said.

When I was teaching community college about ten years ago, I actually had a parent show up (at a meeting consisting of me, my department head, the student, and his other daughter, a former student of mine who had aced my class [in the capacity of translator]) to complain about his daughter's failing grade. And this family were recent Kosovar Albanian immigrants.

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I noticed this in the '70s, too. I often accompanied my mother to parents' night at my younger sisters' schools, and was appalled at how few parents attended. Around this time, I substitute taught at the middle school all three of us sisters attended, and got an earful in the teachers' lounge about how few parents were involved in their kids' education, or were actually hostile when teachers called kids out for bad behavior.

Parents like that still exist. I am currently a middle school teacher and I have gotten everything from being told that I had ruined a child's life and future chances at taking advanced math courses because I gave a child in Grade 8 a B on a report card, to being ignored as I begged and pleaded with a parent to work with me in ensuring her child come for extra help and get his work done, to being called on the carpet as a bad teacher by a parent for not allowing a student to verbally abuse me or the other students in the class. Now, I'm not saying that fair and balanced parents - those parents who advocate for their children when they feel they need to, yet teach their children how to advocate for themselves - don't exist. They do. I've seen plenty of them. I just think that there are significantly more helicopter parents now than there used to be.

A secretary at my old school had a son who went to our high school. In his senior year, he was applying for scholarships and needed letters of recommendation. The secretary was in the staff room one day and asked one of his teachers if he would write a letter for her son. The teacher told her to have her son come and talk to him about it. The secretary was quite put out and stated that she was asking this teacher FOR her son. She honestly could not understand why this teacher would not write a letter of recommendation for her son without her son coming to speak to him about it himself.

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bluelady, my daughter had a rough 6th grade year (in part because we had my very difficult stepson, who was her age, living with us at the time). At the beginning of her 7th grade year, I called a meeting with her guidance counselor and instructional team (math, science, history, and English teachers) to see what I could do to turn things around. I said, "I have a smart kid who'll coast if we let her. Tell me what I can do to help her and support you." They all looked at each other in amazement and one of them said, "Could you give lessons to the other parents?"

I did notice, though, that many more parents showed up for parents' night (this was the same school my sisters and I attended) circa 1990 than in the '70s.

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I don't think it's any more dangerous than it was back when we were growing up, but people insist that the world is. It's annoying, and it has to be detrimental to kids.

That, and like someone said above: they didn't do anything about the dangers except make people more scared. Nowadays, too, everyone wants to play the blame game.

That being said, I do have that momentary panic when I turn around in a crowded area and my child is not immediately visible.

I don't let her play unsupervised outside my yard because I remember all the trouble we got into.

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I grew up in the 90s, and I was pretty much free to roam the neighborhood. If I was going to be out of calling distance, however, I had to tell my mother where I was going. I also couldn't go into people's houses until my parents met the resident adults.

I feel like they were balanced in that, however, they never really stood up to my teachers. One teacher in 6th grade made fun of me for my disability, and another teacher in 8th grade was constantly throwing the book at me for the littles things (I said the word "bitch" once, and all hell broke loose, including the school board, and I got suspended for the day, and forbidden to use the computer, because I typed the word "bitch" on the computer in an email.) This other girl was constantly calling me a dumbo, but when I called her that, the teacher got pissed. The teacher also would go through my papers at school and tell my parents about what I found. (She was convinced I was suicidal because I had computer printouts about why on earth someone would commit suicide --you know, from those health websites that seek to explain such things to confused children. Again, she only found these things by going through my papers without my knowledge.) She also had a son and daughter in the school with her, and there was heavy favoritism shown toward them, and lots of spoiling.

And then in 3rd grade I had a teacher sit there and verbally bash me about doing my homework until I cried.

So, yeah, I wish more parents stood up to teachers, honestly. I believe teachers do get parents who don't work with them, but I feel like the opposite extreme is also incredibly damaging.

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I think when people use this phrase, they are referring to specific areas of life in which kids seem more mature than they did in the past. And by "the past" I think most people are thinking of the Western world from around 1950-1980. Not pre WWII stuff.

In general, it seems that people are referring 1. to the earlier sexualization of kids (I agree that teens have been having sex since forever but now there is a lot more "adult" clothing aimed at tween girls. Also children are reaching puberty earlier, and so engaging in sexual activities at a younger age. And of course more of this is talked about now than in the past, so it seems like it's more prevalent.) and 2. More exposure to certain types of violence (schoolyard fights have always happened, and kids in the past had to deal with threats of nuclear war, but "mass shooter" drills are new).

I agree though that in a lot of ways, children are more infantilized now. And certainly all children in the Victorian era and earlier (including upper class children) grew up a lot faster than kids today.

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I am in my early 20s and know a lot of people my age who are afraid of being independent as Maggie Mae described. I can't judge whether that has increased over time or not, but it's definitely a thing *now*. I think it definitely ties into the helicopter parent thing. My parents do help me out with some things because I am still in school but I could manage without their support if they were unable to do so. One of the best "life experiences" I had was studying abroad in a country I had never even visited before. I've always been pretty stubborn and independent but I definitely became more self-sufficient and confident in myself after that.

I also agree with rhianna though. Your shooter drill example is a good point, we never had those when I was growing up (90s).

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Its strange to me that at my age (24) my mum and dad were married, with a house and they had me and my sister was on the way! No way am i ready for that yet.

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kids may DRESS sexier now but the reported median age of intercourse is only a year or two younger than the median age of marriage in the '50s so I don't think they're actually having sex any younger.

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There is anecdata here to support either side of the 'kid's grow up faster' vs 'kids are inept at life' arguement. My kid is 20, somewhat indulged, and somewhat independent, and I could tell you stories that support either side. She played outside a lot - still does. She was extremely adept at public transport in high school. I bought her a car, after first year university. She made some bad choices earlier this school year and now I am paying her rent, rather than require her to drop out of school and/or sell her car. At her age, I would never have asked my parents for money.

Either of these positions, in my opinion, are kind of like saying 'kids these days are SO entitled'. Some are, some aren't. Just like any other era.

A lot of things have changed in the world, but a lot is the same. There are precocious kids and kids that will only move independantly if you light a fire under them. There are parents who encourage both types.

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Some people I know are horrified that I expect my daughter, at 10, to be able to dress her self in the morning, fix a simple breakfast (cereal, peel boiled eggs, or whatever grab thing we may have...I even let her use the microwave! * horrors!!!*), feed the cats and then watch TV quietly till I get up. I then give her her meds, make her lunch, brush/fix her hair and get her out the door for the bus.

Evidently, this is BAD! I should get up with her at ass crack of dawn and 'be a parent.' :roll:

I was getting up at ass crack myself when I was much, much younger and remember many a sat mornings, sitting in front of the TV while eating a bowl of cereal and arguing with my little sister over who got the toy. No one blinked at such a thing, then! But now? People are horrified! :penguin-no:

Of course, people will then compliment the kid on how independent she is, how she 'is a good thinker' and expresses herself well. :doh:

Ps....shhhhhh, don't tell, but we live across the street from her after school / summer program. I let her walk over all by her self during the summer and non school days. I do, however, peek out the window and watch. :shhh:

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As the century comes to an end, many observers fear for the future of America's families. Our divorce rate is the highest in the world, and the percentage of unmarried women is significantly higher than in 1960. Educated women are having fewer babies, while immigrant children flood the schools, demanding to be taught in their native language. Harvard University reports that only 4 percent of its applicants can write a proper sentence. There's an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases among men. Many streets in urban neighborhoods are littered with cocaine vials. Youths call heroin "happy dust". Even in small towns, people have easy access to addictive drugs, and drug abuse by middle class wives is skyrocketing. Police see 16-year-old killers, 12-year-old prostitutes, and gang members as young as 11. America at the end of the 1990s? No, America at the end of the 1890s.

That is from Stephanie Coontz

http://www.stephaniecoontz.com/articles/article10.htm

I think people always feel kids "these days" are growing up too quickly or lazy or many other negative attributes. I think for all of time the previous generation has shook their heads in dismay at the younger one.

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Honestly, I wouln't be surprised if they found graffiti on a wall in Pompeii that said, "Damn kids these days!"

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If anything, I'd say young people in general are more mollycoddled these days. (I'm 26, so still a young person myself). We have a stereotype in the UK of young women getting pregnant on purpose to get council accommodation (thanks Tories!*sarcasm*), and I remember when I found a houseshare in Nottingham at 16 (out of choice), I told my mum I was moving out after GCSEs were over, she said - not sounding shocked at all - "Who's the dad then?" I said "No Mum, I'm not pregnant, it's just that I'm leaving school now and I've decided to move to a bigger city to look for work". She was more aghast at that - eg, but you don't know anyone there, you'll have to buy your own food, won't you miss your mates, people will think I've kicked you out! She didn't get it at all. And when I got to Nottingham, it only took me three weeks to find a job, but I noticed that many agencies either didn't sign up under 18s, or if they did would expect you to go and get a letter from Connexions, stating that you had been given careers advice. Yeah, because anyone under 18 who isn't studying must be too confused and stupid to know what they want! That really pissed me off.

The thing is, I'm not really all that "ambitious" by a lot of people's standards, and to me, a job is just a job to pay the bills, not a career. I've put "ambitious" in inverted commas, because I do have ambitions - just not very conventional ones. I'm a guitarist, and I can also sing and write lyrics. I've been in a couple of bands - in Notts and also in the West Midlands, where I'm living now. When I've saved up enough, I want to move to London to give myself a chance of breaking into the music scene properly. I don't expect mainstream fame and fortune - I know I'm too gothy and weird - but if me/my future bandmates work hard enough at it, there's no reason why we shouldn't get some paid gigs and maybe even get signed to an indie label. In the meantime, I've spent the last ten years working in offices and call centres because the money's all right, it's bearable and it's funding what I actually want to do eventually. But again, extremes - I see so many of the career woman/housewife dichtomy thrown at me, it's unbelievable. No middle ground between the two. So many of us don't want to be either.

Which brings me back to the original topic. A couple of years ago, I did some temp work at this particular office. It was a very small place, and predominantly female. All of us women there were in our 20s. On my first day, a couple of the friendlier ones were asking me about myself, what I'd done before, where I lived; and they were really surprised that I lived on my own in a flat! She wasn't being horrible, just genuinely baffled, and she said she couldn't imagine moving out of her parents' place unless it was to move in with her boyfriend. All the women in that office either lived with parents or with partners. Admittedly, this particular girl was only 20, and many people under 25 do choose to live at home out of economic necessity. I've got a close friend who still lives with her mum at 31 because she's engaged and wants to save literally every spare penny she earns for the wedding. Which is fine, it's her choice. But I wish there was more support for people who do choose independence/work over studying, as per my Nottingham story. I think the British government needs to set more consistency over whether 16 year-olds are adults or children.

(This turned into quite the essay, so thanks to anyone who's stayed with me so far).

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