Wow. Seventy-five percent of the parents I surveyed believe that kids today are less polite than when the parents themselves were growing up. Not surprisingly, 74% of the parents also say that today’s ADULTS are less polite than were adults a generation ago.
Could there be a correlation between today’s ruder adults and ruder children? According to the parents I surveyed—absolutely! Here’s what they said when I asked, “Why do you think today’s children are less polite?”
“Children mimic what they observe.”
“Parents on cell phones = kids texting at the table.”
“Parents have become lazy in teaching their children appropriate behavior.”
“Manners are not stressed in the home or reinforced in school.”
“A lot of parents would rather be their child’s friend than their parent. Consequently, kids get mixed signals about how they are supposed to behave with adults.”
“Kids are not being taught by parents what is polite or not. Parents seem to think someone else will teach their kids everything they need to know.”
“We have lost many formalities that we used to have, which morphs into a less polite and respectful environment. For example, children call their teachers and friends' parents by their first names, rather than Mr., Mrs., Ms., or Miss, which leads to a more familiar feeling with all adults, even those they don't know.”
Many parents who believe children are less polite today blamed the media.
“TV glorifies sarcasm and does not show children in respectful relationships with adults.”
“Dramatic increase in disrespectful and "snarky" behavior on TV shows, whether sitcom, drama, reality TV, etc.”
“Children today see so many public figures, such as sports stars, actors, and politicians behaving rudely that they think bad manners are fashionable.”
“Children seem to feel entitled to express themselves without regard to others. Free country, true, but not to where others are inconvenienced or are made to feel afraid.”
Parents also blamed technology and social media.
“We have had a breakdown in face-to-face communication. We only correspond in short slang and abbreviated messages. Not many people take the time to write handwritten, heartfelt messages anymore.”
“Parents are not paying attention to their children. They are on their tech gadgets when they should be in the moment with their children. Children are following their parents’ example.”
“Sometimes kids don't even acknowledge adults when they are spoken to. Technology has buffered their reality. When playing games, talking, or texting on their personal devices, they don't seem to exist in the universe.”
And finally, this parent explains how everything is responsible for the decline in children’s manners.
“We have spoiled kids with access to material things, especially things which do not require them to use their imaginations. We don't give them enough responsibility, we make too many decisions for them, and we do not communicate high enough expectations. Their diets have too much sugar and food with little nutritional value. Media and advertising have all but destroyed the possibility of a childhood without seeing aggressive behavior, sex and violence; and have also created a culture of consumerism.”
I also asked teachers: "Do you think STUDENTS today are more polite, less polite, or the same as when you were growing up?" I'll tell you what they said in the next episode of "The How Rude! Surveys."