It’s Tougher for Kids Today?

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We say it’s tougher for kids today than it’s ever been. But are we not just a tidgey widgey bit wrapped up in our own time when we say that? In the 1800’s if they survived childbirth they could look forward to working in a mine, a mill, on the farm, in a ship yard, up a chimney, or even in prostitution to name but a few. In 1914 and 1945 they were expected to fight for King and country when they were eighteen (where most of them were slaughtered). In Vietnam the average age of a US soldier was nineteen (according to Paul Hardcastle). As for the 60’s and 70’s, oh yes the good old days.

In the 60’s and 70’s we left school at fifteen and worked a forty hour week.

The Society for the prevention of cruelty to animals was created in 1824. Which was 67 years before the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, which was created in 1891. – Thomas Agnew SPCC.

Today, ‘they have so much pressure put on them.’ Do they? I spend all my working week with 16-18 year old’s. Two thirds of them have problems with numeracy and literacy, so what were they doing for the eleven years at school? But what about the advertising someone cries? Oh dear, I forgot, they are bombarded with advertising, so many choices. Apparently this is the main cause of worry for young people, choices. Personally I would rather be assaulted with advertising and choices than have to work for 12 hours a day, 6 days a week in a mill where, if I survived I would probably be dead by the time I was 40 years old.

Of course you have to understand I am generalising here, I am talking about the vast majority. There are some kids out there who have serious problems which are a bi-product of our society and they do need our help. Society will have and always has had problems and there have always been choices to make  Elizabeth Bennet for example, marriage or poverty, phew!

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About charliecountryboy

Carpenter and Carpentry Lecturer. Writer, musician. Curious about life and all those wonderful people in it. Follow on Twitter:- Chas_countryboy
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16 Responses to It’s Tougher for Kids Today?

  1. Heather says:

    I don’t know who says it’s tougher for kids today, not me. I know I’m a little jealous, sometimes, of what kids have today and I’m only 39.

    • Thanks for the read and the comment, I hear it all the time at work, also get it on the media, but as you say i’m also jealous. Maybe life is so much easier they are looking for hardship (anywhere) 😉

  2. Sheila says:

    A great article! Learning to make good decisions is a skill and learning that skill should begin early and at home, as with so many other things. But, apparently parents haven’t acquired the skill either. It’s easier to bombard kids with an armload of things (don’t want them to feel left out) than to teach them life is about priorities.

  3. I agree. Definitely so, in the broader landscape of our times. And then it’s a personal struggle which as a parent I keep circling back to: on the one hand, I (a product of immigrant determination) worked hard to reach a place where my son wouldn’t have to sweat so much. On the other, he is so comfortable I worry about the implications on his character. We’re raising him with strong values but there is just something about the hard knocks that forge strength. Well, guess who’s working in a soup kitchen in a few yrs.

    • I hear soup kitchens aren’t so bad 😉 thank you for your input. I hear many parents say they don’t want their children to make the same mistakes they did, but sometimes that is the only way to learn. Maybe it’s tougher for patents than its ever been?

      • It’s probably narcissistic (of those who say it) to assert that it’s the toughest time ever to be a parent. Modern conveniences alone free us to spend more time w/ our kids…if we choose not to fill it up with toys of our own.

      • Interesting, as you say modern conveniences free up time. When I was a kid the weekly shop took about 3 hours. Online shopping alone gives you those 3 hours free. But when I was on holiday last year I saw a parent stick their iPad on a high chair to keep their child occupied throughout a whole meal 😉

      • That parent…makes me want to cry.

  4. I’m always suspicious when people say it was better back then. It hardly ever was, or only in the sense of ‘swings and roundabouts’. I wish my children had gone out to play in the afternoons like I did instead of being glued to their computers – but then, their sophistication so far exceeds mine at that age, and that’s a good thing. There was so much I didn’t know as a 12 year old or 18 year old for that matter, which it would have been good for me to have known – and they know it.

  5. thefeatheredsleep says:

    Few people consider this and it is so worthy of consideration and opens up such a wider dialogue so thank you for bringing this up so well. Like But I’m Beautiful said, I agree and am suspicious when people say it was ‘better back then’ because I hear this a lot. I have a friend who is a lot older than me, nearly 60 and she is forever saying how today is the end of times and the past was so perfect. I continually remind her this is absolutely not the case. Children were virtual prisoners of the class system, women were invisible slaves, men were quietly desperate and trapped, and a few had money (okay so the last bit is still true and the middle-class isn’t quite as happy as it was a few decades ago but still – not the same thing!). Yes it is possible to look at some things today and say they are awful and weren’t present in the past, not as many people got cancer for example, but that was because they DIED! I think it’s not relative it’s realistic to admit the past was not easier, and those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it. I get upset that people know so little of history, I myself am no expert but I do try to learn, and now it seems in vogue not to want to learn but to follow empty headed celebrities. Again however I think of how it was in the past and people didn’t learn then because they didn’t even have the OPTION so we are better off today IF we make the right choices. It is worth mentioning there is still high rates of illiteracy and childhood hunger in many places throughout the world, as well as whole countries that are worse off than we were 100 years ago, but as far as ourselves, we do progress, but like human nature, we progress and we also lose things and the art of learning is to not give up those things that you need for the journey. Thank you for this post it was very interesting and I really enjoyed reading it and the comments afterward.

  6. Thank you so much for that input. Your point about those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat is particularly relevant to our leaders. I find that they are always preaching change but every 20 to 30 years we seem to go back to the original system, particularly in education. As for what we have lost; literature is high upon the agenda, primarily young males. “No one reads anymore” is a common statement I hear from my male students. I can spark interest with history but I’m afraid it’s always Agincourt, Trafalgar etc. I sometimes wish I could get them when they were younger but Construction Theory isn’t taught to 11-13 yr olds. As you say at least children aren’t totally incarcerated in their class and women are not invisible anymore, thankfully, you contribute so much to society. Incidentally finally got Jar for the Jarring a few months ago it is wonderful. The others are on my Amazon wish list, a book is much more special when it’s a present. With all the comments I have had I may re write this and quote your erudite views, with acknowledgements of course x

  7. Thanks for putting it in perspective. I’ll share this with our girls.

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