Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Boundaries

(This post may become ranty. Don't say I didn't warn you.)

I am continually amazed on a daily basis at the upcoming generations. The oblivious natures, the sense of entitlement, the unwillingness/inability to "do it yourself", the distancing from/refusal to take on responsibility, the appalingly poor impulse control and the utter lack of boundaries in their little lives.

I notice in my job more and more children who, when they want/need something they just waltz over and take it. It doesn't matter what it is, where it is, whether it belongs to them or not. They want it, RIGHT NOW. They don't ask permission, they don't consider right or wrong, they just act. Granted, a two-year old child doesn't yet possess higher reasoning. However, a two-year old can be taught to ask, to wait, and to keep their hands to home.

I have had pre-school children walk behind our work desk (it doesn't have a gate or anything, unfortunately) and start rifling through papers, taking anything from sharp pencils to stuffed animals, yanking items down from displays, climbing on counters, banging on keyboards... and their parents just smile and shrug and say, "He/she doesn't know any better." Or they'll look at you like you're Medusa when you remove their precious darling from playing with the power strip under the desk.

This is apparent in school age kids as well. They think because they say "excuse me" that it is okay to interrupt. This drives me batshit. And they'll walk up to the service desk, reach over and behind the barrier wall and take pencils, scrap paper... No, I'm not kidding. I (nicely) reprimanded a kid one day, telling him it would be better if he asked first and he looked at me like I was from Mars. Like, "I need it NOW. I don't have time for that manners crap!"

Worse at times are parents. My supervisor was setting up a reception for a very small group that was meeting in a 9/11 memorial area in our department. She put out the punch bowl (which was covered with saran wrap, btw), stepped into another room for a cookie tray, came out and discovered a mother ladling punch into cups for her kids. Seriously, she was gone for maybe 30 seconds.

Parental supervision and control seems to have gone the way of the dinosaur. "No" now seems to mean "Yes as long as I don't see what you're doing and since I'm talking with my play-group girlfriends about breastfeeding and nannies with my back turned I probably wouldn't notice if a stranger ran off with you". Manners seem to be headed down the same path as well: "Oh, you're such a special, gifted, genius child that the rules couldn't possibly apply to you." And actual discipline, being a hard-ass when warranted, is gone because parents think they're supposed to be buddies with their kids or something.

I so don't get this. And I dread seeing these little darlings as adults: will their sense of entitlement land them a job? are they going to throw hissy fits when they don't get raises? will their lack of respect for boundaries land them in jail?

Okay, rant off.

3 Comments:

Bernita said...

You've written what I've often thought.

Robyn said...

Absolutely. Adults have heard too many experts tell them not to discipline or insist on good manners. Of course, the parents have to model them first. :)

Oh, and you know what an expert is, right? X= unknown quality. Spurt= drip under pressure. Expert= unknown drip under pressure.

spyscribbler said...

I feel your rant, I swear to God I do!