Saturday, January 10, 2009

What is it with kids these days?

So, do you ever ask yourself this question?  I do.  All the time.  I teach grade 2 so I don't suppose it is that surprising.  There isn't a day that goes by right now that it doesn't come into my head at least once.  I am not talking about the "what's with the kids with the pants hanging around their knees?" kind of wondering, either.  I am seriously wondering what is wrong with children these days.  I wonder whether this is just a natural feature of nearing middle age but somehow, I don't think so.

I just went back to work after two weeks off. Take a peek into my classroom.  This week, a new student started in my class.  He was in a different class until December, when he attacked his teacher and hurt her so badly that she was off for a week and wouldn't have him back in her classroom.  He is actually a very sweet, interested, curious child who is a joy to work with, most of the time.  He has an anxiety disorder and whenever he feels even the littlest big unsure, he goes crazy and runs away or attacks.  It's pretty scary for all of us.  

I have 21 students in the class and rather than it being a case of the one or two with a problem, it's a case of the one or two who are pretty stable.  How did we come to this?  I honestly want to know.  I knew it was bad when I was on yard duty yesterday and found myself pondering whether it might be better to homeschool my daughter.  Don't worry, I am not seriously considering it - I can't get her to allow me to put a shirt on her right now without a battle - the last thing I want to do is try to teach her all day, every day.  That would not do our relationship any good at all.  On the other hand, I, who used to think that homeschooling or even a Christian school, was for people who belonged to bizarre militias and stockpiled weapons or who were on their way up the mountain to wait for the end of the world, is thinking that it isn't so crazy after all.  Now, I am looking at the environment my daughter would be entering and I am filled with fear.  I believe in public education but I don't believe in the damage that is being done to our children.

I used to teach in the inner-city and I mean truly inner-city.  It doesn't get much worse than where I worked.  It was hard but on the other hand, things made sense.  People who don't know any better and who had no examples of parenting make mistakes and they make big ones.  That is logical.  Drugs make people do stupid things, poverty makes people do stupid things and that environment makes people do stupid things.  It hurt but I understood it all.

Now I work in a suburb 45 minutes outside of a big city.  The houses are worth much more than mine, the yards are big and while the fences aren't white picket, you get the idea.  These kids are as disturbed as the ones in the city for the most part.  They have seen too much and been damaged by it.  I have issues that I have never dealt with before and kids who are hardened at age 7.  They can tell you EVERYTHING about the latest violent video game, they eat crap all the time and they know more about sex at 7 than I did at 19.  When you talk to their parents, you get comments like, "Well, he won't eat anything else, what I am going to do?" or, "No, I don't think that the fact that he has an X-Box in his room and plays violent video games from 4 until bedtime every night is causing him to beat people daily."  The kids are running things, the adults have checked out and it's all about getting the pretty pictures for the scrapbook.  

Not everyone is like that and, thankfully, I have friends who have stable children and there are some wonderfully stable kids at the school, too.  I also am not saying that it's all about poor parenting, either.  Many of these kids are seriously messed up and it's DSM messed up, not just kids with a few problems.  Soon, they will be putting ritalin in the water and anti-depressants in the air vents.  How did we come to this?

I'm not going to be this negative all the time but I really do get overwhelmed by this sometimes.  What is the cause of this?  How do we find a way for our children to have a childhood in the environment they are growing up in?  How do I let my daughter live in the world without being horrible damaged by things she isn't ready for?  


  1. Hello, and welcome to the blogosphere! I'm here via kittenpie. You can see where I was at when my daughter was 16 months in my November 2006 archive. Cheers, Julie

  2. I was watching an episode of Nanny 911 - a show that I rarely watch - and the parents admitted (somewhat grudgingly) that the video game system was their babysitter. They had a very young child - about the same age as my son, who is 3 and a half - who BROKE DOWN when he couldn't find his gun during the video game he was playing.

    It was quite jarring, that episode. The parents clued in at the end, but I sat there for a few minutes after the credits rolled, feeling a little stunned.

    My son had surgery on Tuesday and both kids on either side of us had portable dvd players. I don't have a problem with them, I think they're a great idea, but I don't have them for my kids and I really don't plan on it. I brought crayons, paper, books and a blanket for my son to keep him entertained. I had my iTouch with me, and I let him play a few games on that, but the most fun we had was with the blanket. We played for a LONG time with just the blanket. At one point, the boy beside us had his dvd player up so loud I asked the nurse to have his mother turn it down.

    ANYWAY. It's early and I've had a really crappy sleep and I'm not through my first cuppa yet so this comment probably doesn't make much sense. Which is what you get from me most of the time. ;)

    My name is mamatulip - I haven't gone through my archives like Kittenpie requested. Apologies. But - welcome to the 'sphere. Glad you're here!

  3. Welcome! KP sent me, and I'm glad she did. She asked that we point you to archives of when our kid was 16 months old, but I figure, I now have 2 (3 1/2 and 13 months), and I go fairly berzerk on a daily basis, so any of the posts you read at my place should make you feel more on top of it as a parent ;)

    I'm pretty crunchy as well, so feel free to stop by for a cup of fair trade coffee and some organic carrot sticks or something for the kids.

  4. Hello and welcome to the blogosphere. Sounds about right. Your friend kittenpie is a lovely and generous -- thoughtful -- commenter I will try to repay a couple years I owe here in this little white box tonight.

    2 things dear pippasmum -- from my window on 16 months this is what I have. A three year anniversary post on the kp post to you.

    And just because this was fun I'm throwing this in too.

    But reading this one I want to give you the 'years hence view'. I love what your saying, I know it well And I'll, add, it is just what our little blogourhood of the Interweb seems to do well.

    Welcome, once again. See you.

  5. Welcome, welcome! Kittenpie sent me. I started my blog when Big C was about 18 months, so I don't really have a record for him earlier. BUT, Little G is 14 months, and perhaps they might find something in common?

    Anywho, it's nice to have you here.

  6. I used to teach second grade and often asked myself the same question. I often felt so sad at the thought of my daughter going to school with the kids I taught. I've since decided to homeschool her. If, for some reason, that doesn't work out, I hope to send her to a christian school. I wonder when the shift happened- when troubled kids became the majority. Such a sad situation- I wanted to rescue so many of my kiddos that I taught- it just broke my heart.

  7. I agree. I am not ready to think about homeschooling (I don't have the money and I do think that there are social benefits to going to a public school) but I am with you, I see so much damage and children who are just so lost. I would really like my daughter to grow up in a world that is safe for childhood and right now, that's not how the world looks to me. Let's just hope that we can give our children that solid start and that our children can go out as examples to the other students. Maybe they can be the positive influence on the others and give the other students a vision of what life might be. Maybe I am too optimistic but for now, that's my prayer.