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Children and teens don’t see adults as authority figures anymore

(13 Posts)
Notcontent Fri 28-Aug-20 17:35:27

This is just prompted by the other thread where the OP was called a cunt by a 10 year old. I had a similarly disturbing experience a few days ago. I was in my local park, running with my 14 year old DD. We passed some teenage boys (14 or 15 year old?) and they shouted out some abusive things at my DD. They were perfect strangers and there was no reason for it, except they were probably bored and my DD attracted attention as she is tall, slender and was wearing bright exercise clothes, so stood out. What surprised both of us is that they did this even though it was clear that I was with her - an adult. I actually stopped and called them out on it and got told to fuck off.

I just think that when I was that age, there was less of this in the presence of adults or directed at adults. I wonder why this is.

OP’s posts: |
CalicoTheCat Fri 28-Aug-20 17:41:40

It's awful isn't it. I (mid 30s female) got a load of abuse from a group of young teenage boys and girls whilst out running solo recently and it really shook me up.

PoxyPixie Fri 28-Aug-20 17:44:01

I don’t know. I was the type of child and teenager that very much saw adults as authority figures and wouldn’t have dared act like this (I’m early 30s now). But I also wouldn’t have acted like this to my peers either. And I think that the teenagers that I knew that were happy to be abusive to one another were also the type to not care if that was also directed at/said in front of adults. However my friendship group were similar to me so I would probably have noticed the other type of teenagers less then than I would now as an adult I think so I find it difficult to judge whether there has been any change or not.

Notcontent Fri 28-Aug-20 17:55:08

You are probably right PoxyPixie. Maybe I’ve had a sheltered life - but I was really disturbed by this incident.

OP’s posts: |
Decentsalnotime Fri 28-Aug-20 17:59:30

Um... not around where I live. Really. Lovely town in SE.
Not encountered anything like this and nor, as far as I know, have friends or family.

DCIRozHuntley Fri 28-Aug-20 18:01:16

I had a similar incident at a park when two girls of about 11 or 12 was being really spiteful to my DDs (all in lower primary school, under 8). I called them out on it, politely but firmly, but they continued to eyeball me aggressively while being mean to my children. I felt sick and totally helpless. They were armed with phones and talking about taking photos of me. We left.

There ais absolutely no way I or any of the other kids I knew would have dared.

I guess this is what a generation of poor discipline and "Papa Bears" / "Tiger mamas" always being uncritically on their kids' side gets us. Poor teachers.

GuyFawkesDay Fri 28-Aug-20 18:04:01

Try teaching them hmm

I mean 95% of the kids I teach are lovely. There's always been arseholes in society, and it will ever be thus.

But yes, the level of entitlement and untouchable kids is causing problems. No responsibility, too many rights?

isabellerossignol Fri 28-Aug-20 18:08:08

I think I agree with PoxyPixie. I think the kids who would behave like this to each other have no concerns about doing it in front of adults.

I remember being verbally abused by a load of children when I was a young adult, they called me all sorts of sexual insults (some of which I had never heard before!) and I was an adult and they were primary aged kids. I also remember seeing a middle aged lady being verbally abused by two primary age boys, when I was a teenager myself. And when I was in my 20s, I was groped and shoved about by three teenage boys when I was walking through town with my father. He was quite elderly (to their eyes) and obviously it was a double point scoring for them, because they knew that he was powerless to protect me. I think it upset him even more than it upset me. All these incidents happened over 20 years ago.

You'd think to read this that I lived somewhere really deprived, but they all actually happened in what would be classed as a nice prosperous town.

BanditsBum Fri 28-Aug-20 18:11:00

TBH whilst I expect my children to be respectful and kind to everyone I don't teach them, and will not teach them that every random adult is an "authority figure" who they must listen to.

If their teacher tells them what to do, or the lady who works in the shop tells them not to touch etc then yeah but some woman in the park that they don't know? Don't think so.

Kids like the ones you describe are usually not even taught the basics though.

Elieza Fri 28-Aug-20 18:11:25

Yup. They are cheeky little shits round here too. Some of them. Not all.

But it would be nobody back in my day as either your parents or a neighbour would chin you if you misbehaved. And if it was the neighbour and your parents found out you’d get chinned again!!

iklboo Fri 28-Aug-20 18:18:39

DS & his friends certainly still do, so do most of the most of the children and teens around here too. It may depend on the area.

CantSleepClownsWillEatMe Fri 28-Aug-20 18:28:08

I agree it’s becoming more common unfortunately but then should we really be terribly surprised? These days a lot of children don’t experience any consequences for bad behaviour because seemingly sitting them down for a gentle chat while assuring them of how much you love them is the proper course of action hmm. I know the more authoritarian approach I grew up with wasn’t ok either but it seems to me, from observations both in RL and on MN, that many people have gone to the other extreme.

You see plenty of threads on MN where people are willing to make excuses for really shitty behaviour, often telling an OP they’re being too harsh. One where OPs teen was caught shoplifting springs to mind - lots of posters telling OP that being caught (which made her cry) was punishment enough...

How often do you hear parents wittering about “kind hands, gentle hands” while little Timmy is bashing little Jack with his helicopter instead of physically removing Timmy and firmly telling him off?

Teachers can’t do right for doing wrong judging by the “losing my shit/storming to the school” posts often seen here so children get the message that if their parents don’t care or are happy to excuse any and all crap behaviour, nobody else can do anything about it either.

I know for sure that some of my friends and family think DH and I are too strict in certain areas but I believe that good manners and treating people with consideration and respect are important and children don’t just wake up at 12 knowing that.

DCIRozHuntley Fri 28-Aug-20 19:14:22

some woman in the park that they don't know

Which I why I left! I know exactly what you mean. To them I was a stranger, absolutely.

I suppose I was just shocked that an 11 year old called my 7 year old an "ugly little freak", made my 5 year old cry and told my 4 year old to "get stuffed", all while I was stood right there.

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