What sort of generation are we bringing up?

DESPAIR about 'the youth of today' is nothing new. Even Socrates complained about their 'bad manners, contempt for authority, how they contradicted their parents and tyrannized their teachers'.

This said however, throughout history children have been mistreated, scolded, beaten, or worse. This treatment is now, quite rightly, considered unacceptable in most civilzed societies.

Although I can't help but wonder if perhaps the pendulum has finally swung too far.

A few years ago I had a class of 14 and 15 year olds and couldn't identify which of the little darlings had been banging the wall and annoying the Latin teacher in the classroom next door.

The logical response for both me and said Latin teacher was to keep the row of students sitting next to the adjoining wall inside during the break as a punishment. And hopefully the culprit would own up under peer pressure.

We were soon told this was not allowed due to 'Rights of students number bla bla bla, section bla.'

How things have changed.......I remember some 20-odd years ago my whole class being kept in after school for detention until the owner of a watch that had beeped during geography class came forward. We were all suitably annoyed, but it didn't do us any harm. In fact it taught us that sometimes in life we just have to put up with things. We learnt other skills like patience, respect, knowing when to keep quiet.

But today, the instant gratification generation, who are used to finding out what they want to know in just a few seconds, having all their needs met immediately, who have no idea what 'hard graft' means, would complain insistantly and most vociferously against any such punishment.

But let's not be too hasty to point the finger at the children or teenagers themselves. Surely some of the blame, must be placed at the feet of the parents and society for allowing them to behave this way. Every time we give in to their demands we make them a little bit less self reliant, every time a punishment from school is not supported at home we chip away at the teachers' authority.

And I'm not saying all teenagers are badly behaved, simply that the numbers of those who are seems to be getting larger.

In Spain many of today's parents went to school in the early post-Franco period where discipline was still fairly strict. Could it be that some of these parents are somewhat more lenient with their own children? Also, I think it is fair to say that education legislation in the post-Franco era has tended towards more liberal ideas and a less severe attitude when it comes to discipline. But is this really helping the youngsters? I'm not advocating a return to the cane and corporal punishment but some sort of return to better values, respect and discipline wouldn't go amiss.

How badly behaved do they have to become before we see a backlash in society?


teenager respect behaviour

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published 1 year 6 months ago

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