Kids today. It’s something we think and hear often, isn’t it? “Back in my day…” Nearly every day, I log onto a social media platform, and I see a cacophony of opinions, ranging from complaints about crying babies in restaurants and children “running wild” in stores, to poignant, breathless memories about days gone by, in which children were sent to cut their own switch, and rode bikes without helmets, all the while their parents having no idea where they were.
Ah, the good old days. Proof that our experiences were not as grand as we think they were. My opinion is likely not a popular one, but I have the opposite perception when I go out in public. I see parents who are overly harsh, yelling and spanking their children over simple things, like needing to go to the bathroom. I recently watched a woman slap her 2-year-old’s arm until it was red, the child, obviously exhausted and not understanding, simply reaching up for her mother, and not understanding why she was being struck for it. Yet, open a social media page, and you’ll see comment after comment from people who claim no one “disciplines” their children anymore. They’re all brats, you see, and no one is striking them enough, according to the masses.
Well, they’re right about one thing. Many children today aren’t being disciplined. They’re being punished, often merely for being children. There is a distinct lack of compassion in our society for those who are unable to protect themselves, and these days, animals have more rights against injustice than children.
But, you say, children are angry and vicious now? We’ve bred a generation of bullies? I don’t think so. You see, the vast majority of bullies are victims of bullying in their own home. The majority of violent criminals filling our prisons are not “spoiled brats who were never spanked”, they are people who were, according to every study conducted, either spanked or abused outright in childhood. Please understand that I am not saying spankings caused them to become violent criminals, rather that a lack of spanking is not what is sending children and adults to prison. An estimated 93% of parents spank currently. That’s a large number, considering how many of us believe the world’s problems are based on a lack of spanking. Still, every time I see a heart warming story about a child or teenager doing something good, a diatribe begins, with “about time some raised their kid right”, or “I’m glad there are still a FEW good kids out there.”
In my experience, and I’m from the south, a typical outting entails adults who speed, don’t use blinkers, flip others “the bird” in traffic for daring to drive the speed limit, and then there are the stores….glaring, refusing to say “excuse me” while walking directly in the path of others, staring down my special needs child because he “looks different”, and even blatantly demanding to know what’s “wrong” with him. I dare say the problem isn’t with the children today, but with the parents. Our generation. The ones who survived all those helmetless knocks on the head, and “spankings” that left bruises and welts, that us southerners seem to be so proud of. We’re the problem, because we set a horrible example. We’re rude, impolite, noisy, selfish, conceited, aggressive, and entitled. We have to work on us, before we can expect a future for them. Don’t blame children. Blame the source. Love, discipline, and a good example. I believe we can do it.