Social Question

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

What is really going on with our children lately?

Asked by ANef_is_Enuf (26834points) November 17th, 2010

Maybe it is just my perspective, but I swear it seems like most of the people I know have a child with a “behavioral disorder.” I might be imagining it, but kids are so bad anymore! I don’t know anyone my age or older that would have behaved the way that most of the young children that I know behave now.

I’m not discrediting anyone’s claim that there is a cause behind their child’s behavior, but is this really just about being able to diagnose more efficiently than in the past? Have we always be plagued by so many disorders? Or is something causing a rise in mental, emotional and neurological issues in our young?

Honestly, I’d have to say more than 50% of the young children I have met in the last 10 years have some kind of behavioral issue. If not more. In fact, at this point, it makes me afraid to have my own children… where is it coming from? Is it just my imagination?

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81 Answers

Summum's avatar

It is a sign of the times and I would say that Dr Spook ruined our nation that way. The idea that we don’t discipline our children is destroying any respect the children used to have. It is awful to see and I agree with you there is little or no respect anymore.

zenvelo's avatar

hmmm. my kids an most of their friends are pretty damn good kids. They do community service, they respect their elders, and they are active in their schools.

By the way, Dr Spock was all about kids born in the 50s and 60s, and his material is considered dated. I think a lot more people use the “What to expect ..” series than Dr Spock.

erichw1504's avatar

Here’s the problem:

People are getting stupider.
They end up having more children.
These children grow up stupid and also end up having more children.

Increasing the, stupid, population two-fold.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@zenvelo so you don’t believe there is a rise in behavioral disorders among children? I also think I have a younger group of kids in mind than you do. It seems very recent to me, in the last 5–10 years or less. Though, I’m relatively young to remember back further than that.. I do know that people even in my own age group raise an eyebrow. Most of us would have been terrified to misbehave like many kids do now.

YoBob's avatar

Well, politically incorrect as it is, I think the bottom line is that parents are afraid that somebody is going to call out child protective services if they discipline their kids. Additionally, other authority figures like school teachers are even more constrained when it comes to maintaining discipline among their charges.

Please understand, I am not an advocate of beating kids into submission (in fact with my kids I quickly learned that corporal punishment was simply ineffective for them and I get much better results from alternate forms of retribution for misbehavior). However, what I am trying to say is this general fear of disciplining children has led to a whole generation of kids who simply do not “get it” when it comes to authority roles. When raised in such an environment the statement “Don’t do that” is little more than a vague suggestion with nothing to back it up whereas during the “good old days” it meant if you don’t stop that right now I’m going to take you behind the wood shed and beat you with a leather strap.

Blueroses's avatar

@erichw1504 The Idiocracy theory?

Really, I started to notice it more in my acquaintances in the 90s. It seemed the empty-house symptom contributed to the problem. Parent(s) had to put more and more time into earning enough to support the family and compensated for lack of time in several detrimental ways (in my opinion):
1) Turning entertainment and stimulation over to machines resulting in restless and unimaginative children.
2) Convenience foods full of preservatives, sugar and empty calories replaced healthy and home cooked meals.
3) Guilt on the parent’s part for not spending time with the child made them placate and reward whiny behavior with “things” rather than discipline or teach better habits.

So basically, we started seeing generations of fat, nervous, over-sugared brats with an outsized sense of entitlement. Rather than correct the causes, let’s name it a disorder and pass some meds along with the Froot Loops.
I don’t think this is true for all cases by any means, but you asked why the increase in diagnoses, didn’t you?

wundayatta's avatar

It probably has more to do with parenting practices than an explosion of behavioral disorders, although there is an issue with behavioral disorders. ADD is way over-diagnosed and that is a result of a systematic form of discrimination against boys. It leads to parents believing boys have mental health or behavioral issues when they are really just being boys.

This notion of discipline is probably bullshit, too. There are plenty of means of discipline that aren’t seen. There is absolutely no need to touch a child and still have him or her behave well.

I think it’s a lack of parental training. Families are smaller and break up so quickly that kids never see a sibling getting parenting. There are no parents courses. There is a lot of information and misinformation out there. About as much as there is about sex.

But never fear. You do not have to be a parent who doesn’t know how to set expectations and boundaries for your children. Just because other parents can’t or won’t discipline their kids, doesn’t mean you can’t. And don’t forget, good discipline is not about saying no to the wrong things. It is about saying yes to the right things.

Joybird's avatar

@erichw1504 You watched that movie “Idiocrasy” too huh? The commentary that movie makes on our current lifestyles isn’t all that far off the mark although it is a parody. But I also think there are a long list of contributing factors. We are forced to work longer hours and there is no longer any labor union strong hold in this country to prevent that. We are two income families and that means there are hours that youth are left to their own devices. Youth spend an exorbinant amount of time being entertained by technology and as a result they are developing autistic like traits as well as personality disordered traits. Their ability to self entertain is nearing zilch and so they haven’t the ability to sustain energy learning and so the general population is becoming stupider….and stupid breeds more stupid and many more of it.

rooeytoo's avatar

@Blueroses – seems so to me as well, plus check out this question and answers, not so much about whether the child should be sued or not but the parents who deny responsibility for the behavior of their children. When that is the attitude of parents, how can you expect the children to be different, no respect, no accountability, etc.

josie's avatar

Public schools.

ucme's avatar

Lazy, inadequate irresponsible parenting. At least in some cases.

Zyx's avatar

There’s nothing wrong with the kids, old people have been grumpy about progress for thousands of years at least. The age of information is here, bow before the hivemind.

That’s all.

DominicX's avatar

I think this explosion of mental disorders in children is more a result of our overmedicating overdiagnosing society than it is of any actual increase in mental disorders. As @wundayatta said, ADD is overdiagnosed, especially in boys where it’s really just a result of their natural behavior, not a mental disorder that they need pills for. Being drugged up to your eyeballs as a kid also seems to me to be an American phenomenon, but I can’t exactly go speaking for other countries.

Discipline is definitely a factor, but I’m not about to go jump on the “if we could hit our children, everything would be love and teacups” because I for one believe that’s bullshit. How was it that my parents were able to raise four kids who are excelling academically (if I do say so myself) and have not been diagnosed with any behavioral disorders without the use of corporal punishment? It’s not that we need corporal punishment for all kids, it’s that we need better and more discipline in general.

One could also look at the rate of divorce. Divorce can be very damaging to a child and divorce is all too common these days (isn’t it that over 50% of marriages end in divorce?) I’m not singling out anything to blame for that, but I do believe that divorce can have negative effect on a child’s behavior. Along with divorce, you have parents who both work, which also seems to be on the rise. Absence of parents often results in behavior problems.

tl;dr version: You can’t just blame one thing. There isn’t “one cause” of this. It’s multi-faceted and much more complicated that you think.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

This is just my opinion, and I won’t be sucked into an argument over it, but I firmly believe most of the kids’ behavioral issues and allergies can be attributed to the toxins injected into their bodies by vaccination, and the toxins injected into almost all our foods these days. Who wouldn’t be affected by hazardous chemicals roaming the bloodstream?

And I’ll leave it at that.

crisw's avatar


I really hate it when antivaccination trumpeters blame it for everything from ADD to hangnails but utterly refuse to present any facts to back up their claims.

erichw1504's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate Getting closer to that zombie apocalypse.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I don’t disagree with most of points brought up. I do think that the lack of hands on parenting… and excess of “electronic babysitting” aka, sitting our kids in front of a TV or computer all day is a huge factor. Kids don’t get much of a chance to be kids.. and just go outside and wreak havoc and run around like a bunch of maniacs until the sun goes down.
I don’t disagree that toxins are an issue. I don’t know how I feel about vaccines, but definitely from food and other chemical exposures – particularly food marketed for children.
Lack of discipline is another thing that I agree with. Not necessarily spankings, but just consistent rules and consequences for disobeying those rules, seems to be obsolete sometimes.
The change in family dynamics, the rising divorce rates. Sure, I can see how all of this can contribute to a child acting out or misbehaving… but the only suggestion that seems to account for the rise in disorders is possibly toxins?

@wundayatta not that I necessarily disagree, but human beings never needed parenting classes before.

ragingloli's avatar

Human children have always been that way.
Children today are hardly worse than the ones from a generation ago.
Adults just like to romanticise their own childhood and deny/forget the fact that they have been just as bad as children. In fact, humans like to forget the bad parts of their own past in general. How else could there be this “good old times” crap that the old like to spew out, when in fact the past was quite a lot worse than the present.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@crisw People like me refuse to get sucked into debates and arguments because every time we try to show evidence of our claims, drug addicted sheeple claim that the reports are biased or skewed, when the findings of the drug companies could be just as biased and skewed. Oh but heaven forbid anyone say the drug companies are a bunch of greedy liars. Except for my own personal doctor, and several other MDs that I’ve visited. They agree that vaccines are hazardous, and they inform all their patients about the state vaccination waiver.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@ragingloli well, maybe… but the rise in disorders like autism and ADHD are pretty difficult to deny. 1 in 10 children have ADHD, and up to 1 in 150 have autism – these numbers are considered to be an increase just in the last decade. So you believe we have always had such a high rate of these disorders, and similar disorders, and are only now coming to a point where we can accurately diagnose them?

Blueroses's avatar

@TheOnlyNeffie Or a higher rate of misdiagnoses because there are so many lovely pharmaceuticals to handle behaviors? Honestly, when I was in school, the teachers and counselors would have diagnosed every single child with some disorder. The nurse had a literal cabinet to contain the necessary medications for all the hyperactive children.
If we all had a “disorder”, what in the heck is the “normal” we were being compared to?

ragingloli's avatar

It is my position that this is due to the same reason people think there are more natural desasters/crimes/violence now than in the past: It is reported more often.
Due to global high speed communication, events in other parts of the country and world are more easily spread to one’s location, increasing the amount of events that you know about, without actually increasing the amount of events that actually occur.
In the same way, advances in medical technology as well as availability of medical services in the western world has increased the amount of times certain diseases and disorders are diagnosed/discovered, without necessarily increasing the number of actual occurences of the respective disease.

Winters's avatar

I personally say that society today doesn’t let children be as free spirited as before, its hard for boys to be boys (sorry, I don’t know about girls as I’m from a family filled with boys).

I remember from kindergarten through 6th grade, teachers constantly told my parents that I had to be ADHD and/or needed special education because I was too wild, playful, talkative, and just a “bad” boy all around. Fortunately, my parents didn’t buy what they said – nor the school psychologists – and it turned out that I qualified for the GATE program and am now attending West Point. Upon reflection as a teenager, I believe that an increasing amount of parents refuse to put up with their child’s behavior and instead just get them some bullshit diagnosis and throw them onto some sort of medication to get them to calm down, shut up, and lose that precious adventurous and playful aspect of childhood (I also blame video games at times for that).

YARNLADY's avatar

Overpopulation, women in the work force, and pollution are entirely at fault.

MissAusten's avatar

In order to really know if kids are “worse” these days, you’d have to have a much larger sample than just the kids you know/have seen around. That is just anecdotal evidence and not proof of anything.

For example, my own experience is quite different. As the mother of three young children, I see a lot of kids regularly. In classrooms, at soccer practice or Girl Scouts, while I volunteer at the library, at birthday parties, and all kinds of other places. In each large group there might be one or two kids at most who seem like they could benefit from stricter parenting. My daughter’s Girl Scout troop does all of their activities with another troop, and total there are about 15 girls. There are two or three that I think are nasty little brats out to live up to the stereotype of middle school evil.

Then, I try to think back honestly on my own childhood. I watched a lot more TV than my kids do, and what I watched was much less censored. In each of my classes, there were always those two or three girls that were mean to everyone. There were those two or three boys that everyone simultaneously looked up to and kind of hated. You know, the boys who put the nerdy kid headfirst into the trash can and rolled it down the hall. Or did that only happen in my middle school? Even with the neighborhood kids, there were the two spoiled boys down the street as well as the two bratty girls next door. There was the teen boy down the street who one day we got to watch run from the cops before being tackled and handcuffed. None of the kids I knew were much different from the kids my kids know now. Some are great, some I can’t stand.

There have always been and always will be “bad” parents and “good” parents. Most are probably in the middle with their own strengths and weaknesses. Personally, I don’t think kids or parents have changed that much, but I do think peoples’ tolerance and attitudes about parents and children have changed. When something bad happens to a child and it’s all over the news, read the comments people write after the articles. They are horrible, immediately blaming the parents and saying nasty things about them even if there is nothing to indicate the parents were negligent. Whatever a kid does is the parents’ fault (which is good to know, actually, so I can now blame all of the stupid things I did on my parents), and if a kid dares to act like a kid in public people are quick to glare, criticize, and judge no matter how you respond.

The only parenting experts in the world are people who don’t have kids. :P

crisw's avatar


“I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on
the frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless
beyond words.

When I was a boy, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of
elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise and impatient of
—- Hesiod, Eighth Century B.C.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@MissAusten I’m definitely aware that it might just be my personal experiences, that’s why part of the question was in regards to whether or not it was my imagination. Maybe I really am exposed to a lot more misbehaved kids than most.
Maybe it really is our attitude.

zenvelo's avatar

@TheOnlyNeffie my daughter is only 12, so I don’t think I’m out of touch with younger kids. I do agree there are a lot of over medicated kids, and much of it is from under funded over crowded schools who are quick to diagnose a rambunctious kids as disruptive. And I agree it reflects the level of parental involvement and discipline. But I don’t think there is an increase in kids with behavioral problems.

With the huge increase in communication media in the last ten years, I think you just hear about it a lot more. 30 years ago if a kid acted up at school, a few kids knew. Now the whole town knows before the kd gets home from school.

Blondesjon's avatar

Parents don’t want to raise their children anymore.

They want the schools to babysit and raise them.
They want cable tv/the internet/video games to babysit and raise them.
They want pharmaceuticals to babysit and raise them.

The biggest problem isn’t whether or not you spank your child. The biggest problem is that parents don’t want to be parents. They want to be their kids’ buddies. They want to be the “cool” mom or the “cool” dad. They are still so wrapped up in their own narcissistic upbringing that they are unable to comprehend that being a parent is more than just providing a roof, 3 meals a day, and some nice shit at Christmastime for your children.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@zenvelo that’s an interesting theory, with the communication technology thrown in there. Definitely seems possible.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I’ve photographed thousands of children over the past thirty years. Nearly 500 this year alone. I love children, and enjoy spending most of my time with them.

One of my side businesses has been little league team sports photography. My parents did this too so I’m speaking from nearly half a century of experience here. I send out crews to take pictures of 30–60 teams in one day.

This past Monday, I told my clients that I was not going to work for them any longer. I quit. It’s just not worth dealing with the rampage of dysfunctional parents and their out of control children any longer. The people are rude, aggressive, way too competitive, and altogether attempting to live vicariously through their perceived blue chip athlete children who are rude, obnoxious, and completely out of control.

They literally cannot hold still long enough to take a simple photograph. It’s extremely rare to have a team picture with half the kids even looking at the camera. Not all of them mind you, but without a doubt, the majority of younger kids have a terrible problem with paying attention and following simple instructions. The parents are the same way.

My staff can’t deal with it and I’m not going to make them. This was a big decision for me because it effectively removes around $60K from my yearly income. It doesn’t matter. I’m out!

I’ve also noticed a difference in my private portraiture. It’s not nearly as bad because I work with the child one on one without the distractions of soccer balls and peer goofiness. And not only are the children having a problem with attention, they are also becoming much much fatter as the years go by. The most common form of bribery that a parent uses to coax a child into cooperating is to say, “If you behave I’ll take you to McDonalds”.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

“human beings never needed parenting classes before”

There are a great deal more children born to unwed parents than ever before. There’s a lot of accidental babies out there. In many cases, there was never a family unit that planned for children to begin with. It just happened. And without a plan, or at least a cohesive relationship between separated parents (and their SO’s) then it’s just mayhem. Who is left to raise our children? These guys are giving it a go. Fucking horrific. This image has haunted me for years.

To think the devil will look you right in the eye and say “I’m going to eat your children”, fully warning us out in the open, and we still allow it to happen… We’re sick and lost beyond description.

rooeytoo's avatar

If children are no different today, and boys will be boys (but girls are to be perfect little ladies??? wtf) and it is simply the high speed media making us more aware, then why are the same folks who make this claim screaming about the abomination of bullying and something must be done about it???

There is a lack of respect for everything as well as a sense of entitlement prevalent today that certainly was not there when I was young.

@Blondesjon – ga to you and your lucky kids.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies I agree. The family dynamic and changes in our society likely attribute to what I perceive as a change in behavior in our children, but that creates a need for parenting classes.
Up until this point, we seemed to be getting along just fine without them. Now I hear them suggested all the time.

Zyx's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Seriously though? Are you for real?
I don’t think religious people have any more reason to believe in a devil than atheists anyway, because the devil and hell were invented to extort people that didn’t know how to read the bible before it was translated. And I honestly just think that “commercial” is funny. Have you never seen actual horror? It’s all just fiction and people need to chill out.

All parenting is is learning to compromise again. Not that hard. Common sense should be a prequisite for being around the opposite sex though…

@TheOnlyNeffie I was diagnosed with autism btw but I really don’t feel all that autistic. And to shed some light on the subject: the subject matter at school was below my level so I got bored and stopped working. So after a while and bad grades they asked me what was up and I told them. And they told me my grades didn’t reflect my claims at which point I was laughing maniacally in my head.

Then they sent me to get diagnosed when I stopped being cooperative. Sent straight from school to the “centre for autism”. Where they diagnosed me by seeing how many percent of a checklist I matched.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Classes? That should come when applying for a procreation license.

I need a license to drive my car. I need a license to burn my trash. I need a license to hunt. I need a license to fly. I need a license to sell food and alcohol. Which one of these tasks is more difficult than raising children? Which one is more important?

Good for you to find that commercial funny @Zyx. Perhaps you mistook my metaphorical devil as an invitation to debate theology. Twas not my intention, I assure you.

“Common sense should be a prequisite for…”

Common sense is becoming quite uncommon.

Zyx's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Yeah we should just start saying scarce sense to illustrate our own inability. People won’t let you tell them whether or not they can have babies though. The fact the government stays out of that is the first line of defense against anarchism.

TexasDude's avatar

I know it’s not PC or whatever, but I think most kids these days don’t have behavioral disorders or whatever and their neurotic behaviors are a result of shitty, coddling helicopter parenting and a modern school environment that discourages having any fun.

Paradox's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies I definitely agree with you about the accident kids and unwed parents. Sex is so open today as well. We have “dating experts” and dating books/magazines that encourage men/boys to be players. All of this seems synonymous with each other.

Another overlooked factor is the parent/s themselves. Just work inside of most factories and watch what these so-called adults actually do to their fellow co-workers (yes very bad things) and then it hits you like “wow and these people actually have kids”.

MissAusten's avatar

@rooeytoo I don’t think children are different today, but the technology they have access to is different. What makes bullying so much worse in some cases today is that it is nonstop and has an enormous audience. The victim has no way to escape it, turn it off, or prevent literally thousands of other people from seeing it.

Above I referenced an incident when I was in middle school where these two boys in my class (they were the “bad boys,” yet also the cute, popular boys) took the smallest, nerdiest boy in the class and dumped him headfirst into a large garbage can with wheels. Then they shoved it down the hall where it rolled until it hit a wall. I’m sure he was mortified and embarrassed to have that witnessed by most of his 7th grade classmates. However, if one of us had a cell phone, made a video of it, and posted it on youtube or sent it to everyone else in the school, the entire world could have seen it, commented on it, and basically kept the moment alive in peoples’ minds for much longer.

So no, I don’t think kids are meaner, or worse, today than they used to be. They just have access to technology that allows them to be as awful as they can be, all the time, even their target or victim isn’t anywhere near them. :(

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

It’s all throughout society… beyond the schools and the parents.

I recently complained at a Walgreens for having a Cosmopolitan magazine on display at the checkout counter. Doesn’t seem so bad right? What could possibly be wrong with that?

The lead article in big bold black letters against a blood red background read, “How to touch a naked Man”… So what? What’s the big deal? This could be valuable information to the right person… right?

Well it just so happened that it was right when school let out, and a ton of young girls were in the store buying candy bars and sodas. Each one of them had to spend time with that headline staring them in the face. 11–14 year old girls should not have that headline branded into their minds every single day just because they stop in at the Walgreens. And so the conversation whispers started amongst them, giggling and baiting one another “Do you know how to touch a naked man?” giggles, “Oh of course I do… let me show you”… giggles and squeals…

All in fun girls… right? Wrong! They should have that magazine back on the rack with the rest of them. It is in very poor taste to have that sort of headline in the face of youth. Not a word about safe sex or the benefits of abstinence.

I complained to the manager. It was removed. It was back the next day, I complained again, and it was removed. It was back the next day. I complained again and the manager told me there was nothing he could do about it and that I didn’t have to shop there if I found it offensive. He’s right. I don’t.

Society, on the surface encourages safe and informed sexuality for our youth. It’s nothing more than political posturing. But in reality, the underlying foundation of society is being attacked from all angles. Just look at the dirty laundry adhoc headlines that poison our minds with the most vulgar atrocities every time we go to buy groceries. They glamorize cheating and scandal. What kind of society do we expect to develop from this lack of standards.

Where has the meaning of tastefulness run off to?

wundayatta's avatar

@TheOnlyNeffie I could hardly disagree with you more that parents never needed parenting classes before. You don’t just become a parenting expert because you get knocked up. Parents have been screwing up for centuries. Everyone assumes it is natural, but it isn’t. Usually it is modeled by parents, but when your parents only have two kids, you hardly get a chance to see parenting in action at a time you are old enough to understand.

In fact, I doubt if I could offer you better evidence that parents need training than all the complaints we see here about how bad children are. Becoming a parent is not as easy as becoming pregnant is. It requires a lot of thought. Most of us learn by trial and error. Most of us would be better off if we had a little training.

The first time you have a baby in your arms that came out of your body, and that baby does something you weren’t expecting, you’re going to freak. For some, that is something as simple as changing a diaper. For others it’s when they get the croup. Every little thing seems like imminent death, the first time around. The second time, you are totally blase. Yeah. Training would be real nice.

Berserker's avatar

Cultures change but their pillar is as ancient as time itself, things are discovered, others are forgotten. 300 years ago, kids were sent to a priest for exorcism, today they’re sent to a shrink.

Despite progress, especially of the medical, societal and psychological genre, I don’t think anything really changes. (Leeches for a headache yesterday, bullshit medication for the populace that’s just sugar if it isn’t a mass experiment today.)
The only thing true about people getting stupider is that we learn nothing, and dismiss and bash what we disapprove of, and ignore the entire problems to begin with. Parenting is one of them. But I don’t mean in the traditional YOU PARENTS AINT DOIN DAY JAWBZ more than I mean raising girls 300 years ago to be a slave to a husband as we raise them today to express themselves through slutty clothing.
Boys fought with swords, now they use guns. Where’s the difference? Should we bring back corporal punishment or something?

Plucky's avatar

I agree with the opinions about lack of good parenting, over-medicating and utter laziness. One of the biggest reasons is the food. Toxins such as MSG, which is in so many food types, are hurting our children. The stuff we are putting into our kids’ are making them “dumber” ..poisoning them from the brain down.
Pretty much any behavioural problem in children can be traced back to their parents and/or diet.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

LOL, so many definitive claims have been put forth above that have no actual evidence (um, yeah pollution and women in the work force is the cause of all evil, yeah). I agree mostly with @DominicX – obsession with medicating isn’t specific to children, our entire society has this problem because big pharma rules these days and few see a pattern – the issue with behavior and discipline – let’s just say every generation whines about their young this way, it’s so obvious. There were always bad parents and there were always good parents – I, for one, am completely glad that we’re not living in an age where it was okay to ‘have children be seen not heard’ and have them ‘man your farm’ and spank them to ‘instill character’.

Judi's avatar

I haven’t read all the answers yet, but I wonder if the dramatic increase in hormone infused junk food, and the increase in the use of plastics has poisoned our mothers and children causing neurological changes.

iamthemob's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir – are you, god forbid, claiming that there is no such thing as “the good ole days”? ;-)

Berserker's avatar

@iamthemob I claim that, too.

iamthemob's avatar

Then that’s perhaps the one definitive claim I can agree with. ;-)

Plucky's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir ..I was under the impression that many people still “spank” their children (and many do much more than spank). They also still have kids to “man the farm” ..We haven’t progressed as much as people like to think :P
I agree that most of the “causes” people are bringing up in this topic are not exclusive to children. It’s just that children are much more prone to being permanently damaged by these things.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@PluckyDog I know, I just hate to admit and it is not how I parent – that’s all I can do.

rooeytoo's avatar

All you young folk get back to me when you’re 65 and see what your story is then!!! :-)

(Yeah I know, I said the same thing when I was young, heheheh!)

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

So @Simone_De_Beauvoir, @PluckyDog and @iamthemob your stance on the increase in behavioral problems in our children is…. that they don’t exist any more than they did before?
Just asking for clarification.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@TheOnlyNeffie I don’t know if I buy into the idea that there is such a huge increase – I do believe we know more about certain conditions and are able to conceptualize them and offer help (and I do know that since older parents are having kids, there are higher chances to get certain ‘problems’) but there is really no way to know (for certain) whether whatever you mean by behavioral problems (because that can be anything from ADD to ‘apparent’ lack of discipline, if you look at this thread) has increased in number. In addition, I have two kids and I know tons of kids and none of them have been diagnosed with anything so I don’t know why what you see is so common – then again, I have a different relationship to what mental health is – it’s all subjective and what others think is a problem, I don’t.

Plucky's avatar

No, my stance is that they exist more than they did before a sense. But, there is also an abundance of mis/over-diagnosing. So, some of these kids that have “whatever disorder” ..are really quite normal but have not learned to behave properly or deal with certain stresses. The reasons they have not learned how? As many said above.. it is from lack of good parenting (whether it’s bad parenting or just non-existent parenting), spoiled, toxins/chemicals in the food… etc. I also believe kids have too much freedom now ..they are many times treated like adults and shouldn’t be (it really depends on the child).

In essence, our children are the byproduct of our messed up society. So, yeah.. there are going to be a lot of messed up kids.
In saying that…of course I know that not ALL kids are suffering from “stupid” and that not all parents are bad or lazy ..I’m generalizing about the behavioural issues and possible causes of the suggested “increase” that was in the question.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir that’s true, this discussion did sort of run the gamut as far as behaviors and potential causes go.

Maybe I really am just exposed to a lot of obnoxious kids, I don’t know. I love kids, I always have. I love spirited kids. I may not have biological children, but I have raised children, and I know that kids will be kids… and I love that too. However,I know kids who swear at their parents, and a kid that would roll around in the lawn kicking and screaming because they aren’t allowed to keep their neighbor’s pet. Kids that kick my dog in the face, and then have their mother scream at me after I’ve taken a toy away from them as punishment for such an act.

I don’t know, maybe I’m old fashioned.. maybe I’d be a snob of a mother. I do know that if I behaved that way at their age, I’d have gotten my butt kicked for it. Not that I’m advocating hitting your kids, just saying… I wouldn’t have dreamed of acting that way. Just because I had manners.

BarnacleBill's avatar

I think there used to be more acceptance of average and below average with respect to kids, and kids used to do all sorts of things that would get you into trouble with your parents. These days, the parents usually don’t do much in the way of effective disciplining, and people call the law on kids. Parents seem to think theirs is the Second Coming these days.

Blueroses's avatar

@TheOnlyNeffie This thread heightened my awareness of a trend that has really been nagging at me. Tonight, watching tv, it became clear.
There is a marketing trend of using smart-assed, disrespectful children to sell products. The one that really irritated me tonight was for the Toyota Highlander where the little snot says parents are lame unless they drive a cool car that won’t embarrass the kids.
It just underlined that whole “you owe me” mentality.

I don’t normally pay much attention to advertisements, but todays discussion kind of put this front-of-mind.
/end rant>
carry on :-)

Plucky's avatar

@BarnacleBill I laughed at “Parents seem to think theirs is the Second Coming these days.” I am baffled by how many parents think their kid is some unique genius.

…Seriously ..if I had an iphone, ipod, ipad, ieverything when I was 5…I would have appeared to be a genius as well. Your kid knowing how to use the pc doesn’t make them brilliant :P
I know there are some smart little kids out there but not every kid can be a super brainiac.

iamthemob's avatar

@rooeytoo – The grass is always greener. ;-) I’m old enough myself to remember when things were different. But I see adults now who were teens then and people were asking “what’s with kids today?” and they’re now asking about the kids today “what’s with the kids today?”

I don’t remember a time when “the kids were all right.” In the twenties they were in the speakeasies. In the thirties they were in Hooverville. In the forties they were fighting a war overseas. In the fifties their parents were horrified by rock and roll. In the sixties their parents were horrified by free love. In the seventies their parents were horrified by disco and the recession. In the eighties we taught them to be consumers. In the nineties we reacted against that and wore flannels – and then we taught them to be consumers again.

@TheOnlyNeffie – I think that we all have those moments where we’re wondering whether kids are particularly obnoxious today. But that always seems to be the complaint. It’s the whole “in my day” mentality. What we always seem to forget is how obnoxious we were when we were kids – when we didn’t know any better. And manners change as the society does – todays generation really has very little concept of privacy, because everything they do is tweeted, four-squared, facebooked, and txtd.

I think that you’re reaction is totally understandable, but I don’t think the assessment is valid. Each era has its own obnoxious BS quirks. But even if they are particularly rude, I’d rather be concerned that we focus on educating them rather than teaching them to behave.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@iamthemob oh, I wouldn’t argue with that. Maybe it is the behavior itself, more than the number of kids doing it. It’s highly likely. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to want to do something about it, though. If this is the path we’re headed down, I hate to think what’s next.

You know, we have to get them to pay attention before we can educate them. ;)

wundayatta's avatar

Is any of this going to matter when the zombies show up?

iamthemob's avatar

@TheOnlyNeffie – I agree. But I do think (not accusing you of this, of course, ;-)) that people complain about it more than they try to address it.

Berserker's avatar

@wundayatta Yeah man, because those few of us who survive must rebuild mankind…we must teach them, Sarah! Teach them, to never come down here and dig those records out!!

…your name isn’t Sarah, is it…? Sorry…’‘crawls back in hole’’

(Day of the Dead reference lol.)

TexasDude's avatar

@Symbeline, I think I lurve you.

wundayatta's avatar

@Symbeline If you offer me enough incentive, my name could be Sarah. [Evil laugh].

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@iamthemob do you think it is unnecessary to find the cause before the solution?

CaptainHarley's avatar

It’s because parents don’t want to discipline the little monsters anymore.

Berserker's avatar

@wundayatta You’ll have all the incentive you need when compared to walking dead people, I’m the only one around that doesn’t smell like a diseased hobo’s entrails. :D

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard I was totally hoping you’d see that. :) I aim to please. :D

@CaptainHarley Kids aren’t monsters.

iamthemob's avatar

@TheOnlyNeffie – I think that’s a good point. I do think it’s important to look at the causes, but I don’t really think that it’s possible to nail it down to one or the other simply because human psychology is shaped by so many subjective in addition to objective forces. However, I think it’s more productive to focus on working with attempted solutions as a way to figure out the causes.

This week’s episode of Glee, for instance, is a good example. They talked about the recognition of the “me” culture brought about through social networking (among other technological advances). Gwyneth Paltrow played a substitute who asked the lead character what he did when one of his students did something well. He said, “I praise them.” She said, “I tweet it to them…right then and there.”

You don’t really need to know why they’re being obnoxious to do this. In fact, in a way, you’re using their obnoxious habits against them to get their attention, and indicate to them that you understand where they’re coming from.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I am slowly coming to realise that I just have to start watching Glee, because anyone and everyone is constantly bringing it up… and I’m lost. Blah.

@iamthemob can’t argue with you. I like action and investigation all wrapped up into one plan. I agree with you, and those above, that it is multi-faceted. I believe I already knew that, I just wanted to hear some theories.

iamthemob's avatar


(1) Yes… you must watch Glee. ;-)

(2) Ironically, I think that we all want to believe that kids or people really are more messed up today than they used to be, or ruder today, etc. It’s more comforting to think that we only recently went wrong – or even if we didn’t, someone at some point pretty much had the “right” way to raise a generation. It’s harder to come to terms with the fact that we pretty much always tend to the negative as much as the positive…and that all we can do is attempt to adapt to the world as it is and find better and better ways to counteract or contain those natural tendencies.

CaptainHarley's avatar


Of course they are. Have you ever had kids? I helped raise five, and I love them all dearly, but there were times when I had to come down on them like a ton of bricks to keep them from killing each other, or destroying the house, etc. To me, at those times, they were monsters! LOL!

OpryLeigh's avatar

Personally I think that it has a lot to do with the fact that people are too scared to discipline kids that are misbehaving. There was a time when it wasn’t just the parents that took the responsibility of disciplining kids but also teachers, police and even neighbours/general public. Now, I’m not saying that every Tom, Dick and Harry should be allowed to yell at or, worse, hit any child that they think is up to no good but I do think that there should be some middle ground between the attitudes towards discipline and what is/isn’t acceptable of back then and now. I certainly don’t think that a teacher (or even a parent) should be worried every time they raise their voice to a child/young person that they are going to be sued for causing offence.

Please note, by discipline, I don’t necessarily mean hitting.

CaptainHarley's avatar


Great answer. I agree!

rooeytoo's avatar

@Leanne1986 – ga, somehow discipline and abuse have become confused.

CaptainHarley's avatar


Exactly. And they are NOT the same, not at all. A parent who does not discipline their child to train them, in my opinion, doesn’t truly love them.

mattbrowne's avatar

The widening education gap also leads to a widening bad vs. good parenting gap.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@rooeytoo Exactly, discipline in my opinion is necessary to teach children manners, abuse is more likely to have a chain reaction.

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