How Children of Today Live Differently Then I Did When I Was a Child

Chicago gangs

Kids Living Today

Most children today are living with one parent, go hungry and can't play outside without the fear of getting shot or kidnapped.

They live to play video games and are computer junkies. They are obese and do not know what its like to paly cowboys and Indians.

They smoke cigarettes and do drugs and if they live until they are 18, might work at McDonalds.

Most can't read or do simple math equations.

They are the new ME generation, the kids who have been coddled and spoiled by parents, given trophies for just showing up, and repeatedly told that they are special just the way they are. They question authority, expect rapid promotions, and think they deserve a lot for doing very little. Paradoxically, they also feel that they have a right to stay dependent on aging parents well into their twenties. Right? Wrong. This generation is as diverse as those that came before.

They walk around with half their butts hanging out, sell drugs for money instead of working and want hand outs because the world owes them something.

Raking leaves? Are you kidding me. If its not a video game of car theft and robbing prostitutes then its not a fun.

Their baby sitter is a computer, they know nothing of the importance of getting good grades in school and bullying is acceptable because nothing will be done to them. Today's kids are up against pressures and influences never felt by previous generations.

More than 16 million children in the United States – 22% of all children – live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level – $23,550 a year for a family of four. Research shows that, on average, families need an income of about twice that level to cover basic expenses. Using this standard, 45% of children live in low-income families.

Most of these children have parents who work, but low wages and unstable employment leave their families struggling to make ends meet. Poverty can impede children’s ability to learn and contribute to social, emotional, and behavioral problems. Poverty also can contribute to poor health and mental health. Risks are greatest for children who experience poverty when they are young and/or experience deep and persistent poverty.

Prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance has been removed from schools because it might offend someone. If children had prayers like we had prayers, they would not have to worry about getting shot in public. Instead of bring books to school they bring weapons. School doors have to be locked to protect the children inside.

Kids can't play outside or be left unattended for 3 seconds outside without the fear of someone taking them.

They are having sex at 10 years old and know nothing about the risks of that behavior. Teenage pregnancy is the least fear compared to having HIV or STD's that have no cure.

Children of today do not have the chances we had of graduating high school let alone going to college. The drop out rate of kids over 16 has increased 100%.

Gang violence is becoming an increasingly prevalent problem in the United States today, affecting many of our nation's children. Whether they are innocently caught in the crossfire of a skirmish, or members of gangs themselves, they are all influenced by the gang wars within this country.

Gang wars have been raging on for over twenty-two years. A war without terms. A war fought by any means necessary, with anything at their disposal. This conflict has lasted nine years longer than the Vietnam. Though the setting is not jungle per se, its atmosphere is as dangerous and mysterious as any jungle in the world (Shakur xi, xii).

Ideal children who fall victim to a gang are those living in poverty within large cities. Most children who choose to escape to a gang are, sadly, the victims of child abuse or neglect. They may come from a single-parent home and have a number of brothers and sisters. The child is simply overlooked and in need of attention and activities to occupy himself.

Let's not forget about human trafficking also. It is estimated that over 200,00 children a year will be sold into slavery either for prostitution or to work as slaves.

There is a big difference how children have to live today.


Being Born in the Sixties

Looking back on my childhood, I see how differently we baby boomers lived then the children of today. What was so cool about living in the 60's era.

We were up at the crack of dawn ready for the day. In the summer we would eat breakfast then head outside to find our friends and play all day. No one had cell phones or pagers and you could hear your mother calling you even if you were 10 blocks from home. We played hop scotch, jacks and borrowed each others skates because skating was done in the street not in a rink.

We had lead based painted window sills, did not wear helmets to ride our bikes, and hitch hiked anywhere we wanted to go without fear of being kidnapped.

We were one of the first kids in my neighborhood to have a swing set that included a teeter totter (do you know what that is). We visited every house of our friends, ate peoples food and drank their sodas without fear of being punished.

We rode our bikes almost 10 miles one way to Fort Mott State Park and played in the old war forts they had, coming home full of ticks. But it was okay we had a blast.

If someone in the neighborhood yelled at you, your mother knew it and you were going to get a spanking when you got home and the neighbor had already spanked you also.

We spent 3 days a week in church, had youth group, a version of boy scouts and girl scouts were royal rangers and missionettes. We went to church if you were sick or not because our parents wanted us to know about God.

Our fun outside was making forts out of the clothes line and a blanket. When the street lights came on you better be in the house or you were chopped liver.

We lived for Mr. Softy and running behind the mosquito fog truck, which really did nothing at killing mosquitos because we still came inside at night all bit up by mosquito bites.

We licked green stamps for our mothers who would turn them in for dishes or other things.

Everything we bought was from local businesses. Today they are all closed up and the town I grew up in is almost a ghost town of abandoned buildings and drug dealers on every corner.

The only drugs we knew about was orange chewable aspirin and castor oil.

Kool aide and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were lunch every day. Once in a while we would get some potato chips to go with it but we were happy with that. My mother also made pop sickles out of cool aid in Tupper Wear pop sickle makers out of sugar filled Kool aide. We lived.

When we were sick with a fever, we got onions tied on our wrist and ankles to draw the sickness out of us.

In school we behaved, wore boys gym clothes and didn't have to worry about some nut coming to school to shoot us. We had war drills that we lined up in the hall way and one person was over top of us to shield us. That was kind of sick thinking that the kid on top would die if there ever was a war.

Keys were left in cars and doors were left unlocked at night. We never had to worry about someone breaking in.

Catching fire flies and cooties was one of the coolest things next to home made apple crisp.

We spun around until we were dizzy, nothing was sealed for your protection and we could go trick or treating without the fear of someone poisoning us. Mr. Krick God rest his soul stood on his porch on Halloween and gave us pennies. This was not an exact excitement for us and yes we talked badly about him.

Being sent to the principals office was nothing compared to what you were going to get at home. Yes I was spanked, we all got spanked and lived. Basically we were in fear for our lives, but it wasn't because of drive-by shootings, drugs, gangs, etc. Our parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat! But we survived because their love was greater than the threat.

I could go on forever with my childhood but with all our progress, don't you just wish, just once, you could slip back in time and savor the slower pace, and share it with the children of today.


How Can We Help Them?

Children need structure and guidance from their parents. Women need to stop sleeping around and producing children that the father never wanted. People need to make a joint effort in parenting their children.

Most will say I will never treat my children like I was treated. Well that is why they act the way they do today. Children need to be punished for their wrong doings and that doesn't mean being sent to their room with their computer, video games and TV's.

They need God in their life or at least go to church and be involved in church groups instead of being left to run the streets till all hours of the morning.

Parents need to help their children with home work and make sure they are doing what they need to do to graduate from high school.

The average child graduating from high school is either illiterate or can barely read but is pushed through school because they are too old to keep them back.

From an early age children need to know what no means and parents need to give them structure not let them choose their own destiny at five years old.

I don't understand how any parent can be scared of a five year old. To me that just makes no sense.

A spanking never hurt any of us, but parents now live with the fear if they touch their child it will be considered child abuse. Well I would rather spank my children and go to jail then them end up in jail.

The most important thing you can do for your children is talk to them, have a relationship with them and by that I don't mean be their best friend.

Take control of your children and teach them the proper way to go.

Gang Violence

There are approximately 27,900 gangs, with 774,000 members, impacting towns, cities, and communities across the United States. Gangs conduct criminal activity in all 50 states and U.S. territories. Although most gang activity is concentrated in major urban areas, gangs also are proliferating in rural and suburban areas of the country as gang members flee increasing law enforcement pressure in urban areas or seek more lucrative drug markets. This proliferation in non-urban areas increasingly is accompanied by violence and is threatening society in general.( Do something.org.)

These children do not know any other way except that being in a gang is meaningful. Graduating from college is meaningful not being a slave to a gang.

Kids dropping out of school at alarming rates

Three million young Americans drop out of high school every year, over 8,000 per day. The class of 2012 marks the first time that all schools are actually calculating data on children who drop out of high school with uniformity. Now in America, if you enter 9th grade and don’t leave 12th grade with a diploma or its equivalent, you are formally considered a high school dropout.

A range of factors have been shown to increase a student’s risk of dropping out, including high rates of absenteeism, low levels of school engagement, low parental education, work or family responsibilities, problematic or deviant behavior, moving to a new school in the ninth grade, and attending a school with lower achievement scores.

We need to start taking charge of children's lives so that they can be successful adults.


Children on drugs

It’s an all too familiar story. A young teen who was once loveable, happy, a reasonably successful student and all around good kid has become surly, disrespectful and defiant. He is wearing the uniform of the druggies, sweatshirt hood drawn up over his face, pants hanging low. He spends hours in his room, uncommunicative. He spends even more hours out of the house, places unknown. He is often sleepy and red-eyed when he finally does come home. Any request for information is met with hostility. When you’ve searched his room, you have found drug-related paraphernalia and cryptic notes that are alarming. Old friends don’t call any more. The kids he is bringing around have reputations for finding trouble. Now your kid has found them. (psyche central)

Kids are learning at an early age about drugs because they want to fit in, they can't cope with life, they are self medicating because it makes them feel good. A good attention getter could end them in a grave.

If you suspect your child is doing drugs, get them help before it's too late. No parent that has living children could ever imagine the despair of losing a child. We need to help them not hinder them.

Do our children have to live like this

Teenage drug abuse has doubled in the last ten years. Help them to stop ruining their life.

Signs of drug abuse:

Look for drastic changes in appearance. This is one of the first cries for attention if that is what they are seeking.

Look for falling grades. Teens who use drugs sometimes are less likely to value academic performance, so this is a telltale sign. Search for drastic drops, not just little dips. This could be due to anything.

Note your child's altered eating and sleeping habits, like poor appetite and insomnia. Sudden desires for sweets as well as weight loss indicate addictive swings typical of drug use.

Change in interest. Take seriously any mysterious rejection of interests that were once important to your child, like sports and hobbies.

See who they hang out with. Their friends may be more rebellious than usual, and/or they might bring home new friends, or neglect their old ones.

Be aware if they are always asking for money. They might be spending their money on drugs. If they ask for money, ask them what they need it for. (Wiki How)

Look for signs they are always there.

Children with drug addiction

In the end it's up to you

In closing I just want to add that children do not have to live like this. Parents need to start parenting instead of leaving it up to a non talking computer or video game. Seeing your child in a coffin should not be happening.

Children of today are very different then children of yesterday. We must love them, embrace them and choose a good life for them. Even if you are the only parent, your children do not have to suffer from it. Help them become the adults that we did by giving them guidance.

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7 comments

cygnetbrown profile image

cygnetbrown 2 years ago from Alton, Missouri

when I look at the difference between what my life was like compared to my children's lives, I would have to agree that it is far more dangerous. If I had my way I would have protected them by homeschooling them, but they were all too socially oriented for that. The important thing is that I have always had good communication with my children.


cygnetbrown profile image

cygnetbrown 2 years ago from Alton, Missouri

when I look at the difference between what my life was like compared to my children's lives, I would have to agree that it is far more dangerous. If I had my way I would have protected them by homeschooling them, but they were all too socially oriented for that. The important thing is that I have always had good communication with my children.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago

Parents now days have to much to protect their children against in this world. Great message on how to watch for signs of change in children.


Author Cheryl profile image

Author Cheryl 2 years ago Author

Thank you all for stopping by.


Stephanie 2 years ago

This is an excellant work of writing. If i could vote it up one thousand times I would. Great work.


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

The first part of your article took me back to my glory days, and what fun it was!! I'm not sure if we can ever put Pandora back in her box, but somethings need to change. The statistics for children dropping out of school is staggering, the future is looking pretty bleak. An excellent write.


Gwen 2 years ago

Bravo Author Cheryl another master piece. Love to read your post.

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