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Thoughts For Thursday: Are Kids Getting Bolder?

February 24, 2011 · 25 comments

in Thoughts For Thursday

I was talking to someone the other day about how when I was a kid, I gave total respect to anyone that appeared to be 18 or older.   (Except maybe a couple of teachers…)   I was actually kind of afraid of adults when I was younger.  I was always taught to respect authority, and I guess anyone that was old enough to serve in the military was ‘authority’ enough for me.

I am now the ‘authority’, and I don’t think I get the same amount of respect that I gave my elders!  (Yikes, am I an elder??)

For example, the other day, my daughter and I were practicing basketball at the local fitness center.  There are four courts, and the gym can get pretty crowded.  I was trying to work on some basketball plays with my daughter when this little kid that looked about nine walked up to my daughter and started talking to her.  I didn’t know what was going on, so I then asked the boy what he wanted. He then said  “Me and my friend are going to play 1:1 on this basketball court”.  (Implication:  I am taking over your court, it is time for you and your daughter to leave.)

I was somewhat shocked.  The nerve of this little kid!  We were there first and we were obviously using the court.  Did he really think I was just going to pack up my stuff and leave?  I  told him that since he obviously wasn’t 12 years old (which is the age required to be unsupervised in the gym), he really shouldn’t even be playing basketball in the gym.  I then asked if a parent was around who was watching over him and he said they were upstairs working out.  At that point, he walked away to play on a different basket, and just kept staring at us the rest of the time.

In a way, I felt bad for the kid because the parents obviously left this child to his own devices while they went and exercised.  I can’t blame the kid for wanting to play basketball.  However, we had previously been sharing the net with him and he was shooting around with us.  But apparently that was not good enough, he wanted us to vacate the court.

Another example happens to me almost every day in the summer in my neighborhood.  It seems whenever I am driving to my house and have to interrupt a roller hockey game, each child has to stare me down like I committed a felony.  I didn’t realize that local pre-teens paid taxes and owned all the city streets.  The kids don’t wave as you drive by, they just stare at you as they slowly saunter to the side of the road.    Again, back when I was younger, we picked up our ball or whatever we were playing with and ran to the sidewalk.

I recognize some of you may think I am just making the past out to be better than it was.  However, I absolutely know that I treated adults way better than how I see kids treating their elders today.  I am not saying that all kids are bad, there are a lot of great kids out there.  But I do think that many parents could have done a better job of teaching their kids to be respectful.

What do you think?   Are kids much nicer where you live and I just reside in a disrespectful part of the country?  Am I just getting crabby because this winter is endless?

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Nicole February 24, 2011 at 6:35 am

Nah, there have always been obnoxious kids like that. You weren’t one of them, and you probably didn’t hang around with too many of them either.

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Money Reasons February 24, 2011 at 7:25 am

It’s not just kids!

As I drove home a few months ago two adults in my neighborhood were walking their dogs down the street (at this time there was no snow on the ground either), and I mean the dead center of the street! As I drove by, the one lady (at least 50), gave me the nastiest of looks, which I gladly gave back…

I blame a lot of the rudeness on TV where the kids today learn that adults are mentally deficient and to be tricked or taken advantage of. Unfortunately, so adults are puppets and allow themselves to be puppets (perhaps they have done too many drugs as young adults?).

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101 Centavos February 24, 2011 at 7:36 am

Kris, when our boys used to be in Cub Scouts, Mrs. 101 and I were the manners police at the pack meetings. Incredible the way some kids would be totally disruptive. This, with the oblivious parents in attendance! Call me a nostalgic old fogey, but I don’t think this type of rude behavior was as common in previous generations.

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Moneycone February 24, 2011 at 7:55 am

They are the same everywhere! Stare them down, their sense of false entitlement needs to be kept in check.

I don’t approve of obnoxious kids (or their parents).

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Roshawn @ Watson Inc February 24, 2011 at 8:02 am

Yes, people are rude. It’s quite sad. I definitely know it is not everyone, but it certainly seems way more predominant. I feel sorry for such people, as they don’t realize or don’t care about why they are so offensive. I deliberately limit my interaction with such people.

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Deidre February 24, 2011 at 9:51 am

It all comes back to parenting, parenting, parenting. The kid obviously did not have any supervision, as evidenced by the parents leaving him to his own devices. Kris, looks like you were the ‘manners police’ that day as 101 alluded to in his comment 🙂 I realize that kids do try and push the boundaries – especially if the parents are nowhere to be found. However, once they get away with the behaviour they will do it again and again as we all know. It seems clear that this is typical behaviour for this kid. Very sad.

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First Gen American February 24, 2011 at 10:04 am

On the one hand, I admire the kid for his assertiveness. I would have been too shy to even throw the ball with you let alone to ask you to vacate the court. This kid won’t get pushed around as an adult.

On the other hand, he could have done it differently. He could have nicely asked how much longer you were going to be using the court because he wanted to play a game with his friend. This would have let you know his intentions without trying to bully you off the court. Way to go for standing up for yourself.

Rude neighborhood kids have always been around though.

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Jacq @ Single Mom Rich Mom February 24, 2011 at 10:48 am

Eek! Kids are pretty nice in my ‘hood. I think about the same?

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Vicky February 24, 2011 at 11:31 am

I was driving through a shopping center looking for a parking space last week. Some kids, walking from their car to the door, thought they would walk right smack dab in the middle of the road. Meanwhile, I am driving 1mph behind them AND THEY KNEW IT. I wanted to lay on my horn but they looked a little vicious.

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The Biz of Life February 24, 2011 at 11:53 am

Is bolder a euphemism for less respectful?

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Sandy @ yesiamcheap February 24, 2011 at 12:18 pm

I wish I had balls that size when I was growing up. No way. These little beasts these days have absolutely nooooo manners. It’s not surprising since half of their parents don’t either and they are bring raised by the television and violent video games. When I was a kid all the TV shows were sitcoms with life lessons. Now? It’s all realty shows of people with loose morals. With role models like these…

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krantcents February 24, 2011 at 12:20 pm

As a teacher, too many of my students never learned how to act around adults. The use foul language almost automatically, lack social skills and disrespect adults. In my classroom, they must follow my rules, but other teachers are more lax. The parents have failed to teach them what they should do, perhaps it is thanks to the pressure of both parents working. I don’t think so. That would be an excuse!

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Squirrelers February 24, 2011 at 1:15 pm

I can’t stand kids who have no manners. Maybe it’s because I’m 40 now, but my patience for such kids has diminished greatly of late.

The scene you described in the street, when driving, is one I recall from my own experience. These kids were playing baseball in a neighborhood street, and I was driving to my home (some years ago). All I did was simply drive on the road to my home, that’s it. The kids stared at me after slowly and reluctantly moving. I noticed one of them mouthing some nasty words.

I stopped, reversed my car back, rolled down my window, and told him “I’m sorry, you were trying to say something to me. What was that you wanted to say?”

The kid said nothing. These were 14-year olds.

Then, I suggested that they go to a nearby park to play, as I’ll be driving back and forth on the street and so might others. They didn’t say anything. And they never left. In the future, they kept playing on the street, but I never got the stare down from them.

If their parents came up to me upset, I would have gladly told them in a nice way how obnoxious their kids were. It never came to that. I’m a really calm guy, actually, so clearly I was more than just a bit annoyed to take this sort of stance.

Also, since when has it become ok for kids to call adults by their first name? I always addressed other people’s parents as Mr. or Mrs, not by their first name.

Maybe I’m old school in terms of manners, but I like that you didn’t give in at all to the overly agressive little kid. Good for you to be a good example in that case.

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Squirrelers February 24, 2011 at 1:18 pm

To add to my prior comment, I try to encourage my daughter to show the same manners and respect to adults, while also being smart and careful with strangers, and understanding what they can and can’t say to you. So far, so good. Teachers love her behavior and most people remark how well behaved and mature she is for her age, so clearly manners make a difference. Not that I’m biased or anything 🙂

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retirebyforty February 24, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Kids are just overly entitled these day. I guess generation Z will be even worse than generation Y… You should head over to Yes, I’m cheap today to read about kids who had it tough.

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Crystal @ BFS February 24, 2011 at 3:49 pm

I have no idea if there has always been kids like this but there seem to be a bunch now! I get crabby with them – they make me clinch my teeth and wish I could slap ’em…I would have been yelled out until I cried if I ever spoke to adults the way they speak to my husband or me…

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Brandy February 24, 2011 at 5:12 pm

People in general have become ruder. I cant stand it. I went to Walmart on Christmas Eve and a young man was standing mid aisle leaning in a car in the aisle talking knowing I needed by in my car. I tapped the horn and then laid on it when the car nor him moved and he showed me his naked butt. lovely on Christmas Eve.

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Jeff February 24, 2011 at 6:10 pm

Seems like this was a popular article haha. I’d agree with Deidre, it really does all come down to parenting. I do believe that with the invention of the tv, parents believed that they no longer had to entertain their kids. In this way, kids have become more self-sufficient and neither rely on elders nor view them as people they must respect. Instead kids view elders as equals.

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Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter February 25, 2011 at 10:34 am

I think the state of our North American society is just getting worse from year to year. Divorce rates are rising, health is getting worse as a whole, and children are raising themselves. I think we are now living in a society that is only concerned with bigger and better and in turn acts very selfishly. Many kids now aren’t taught to be respectful, to work hard, etc. Instead, they are just given what they want because parents can’t be bothered to take the time to raise them because they are too busy working to make themselves happy. Our media teaches people to indulge in themselves, buy this, get that, you can be this, that kids end up living their lives according to this. It scares me how I am going to protect my kids from this influence when we finally have a family.

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karen ho fatt March 1, 2011 at 1:31 am

Agreed not just kids but adults too. Unfortunatley as an immigrant to North America I have noticed there is quite a difference in the English stlyle vs. North american style of respecting authority. Kids would come to the house, not a word to anyone, pass you by as if you did not exist, no hello or good afternoon. Astounded we were because we would not dare do that back home as children – a smack or two would set us straight way back when.

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William July 17, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Ok, so I’ve noticed this a lot myself, and i really am quite upset about it, because I’m a fourteen year old sitting here trying to find ways to help prevent my own family from going down the same hole that is being described here. anyone got an idea on what i should do?

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Shara August 18, 2011 at 2:17 pm

I could not agree more! When I was a child nobody ever questioned authority the way kids do nowadays. I think children should be taught that they are not entitled to anything and they need to respect authority. If they want to question something they should do it in a polite and courteous manner. Parents need to stop being afraid to say no, let their children fail once in a while and teach them that life is not always fair but they have the ability to change their circumstances if they just think for themselves.

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Kris August 18, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Parents are so much more concerned about being friends now days. It is amazing how parents wont take things away because the kid will drive them crazy. Well too bad. Nobody said parenting would be easy and you wouldnt have to sometimes do things you dont want to do!

I totally agree with everything you said.

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Invest It Wisely September 10, 2011 at 12:46 pm

It’s really sad when some parents let their kids behave like animals, and worse, spoil them rotten! That is what we are at birth, and the process of becoming civilized needs to be taught.

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Kris September 12, 2011 at 4:24 pm

I think some parents just give up on parenting before they even really start. It is just so much easier to say yes than to say no and put up with anger from your child. Yikes, I can’t imagine what my 3 would be like if I just let them have whatever they wanted.

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