The nature of childhood has dramatically changed in the last few generations. Young people spend time in front of the television, a passive activity that robs them of playtime and imagination. Hours are also spent in front of computers. These types of activities—relying on technology—are often lone activities in that people generally engage in them by themselves. As a result, learning about personal relationship skills and developing social intelligences are largely ignored. In contrast to former generations, young people today are more independent, more anxious, more impulsive, more disruptive, and more disobedient. To many parents, youth today seem like a real pain.
Although the young today are different, they aren’t worse.
Current generations are not like any other in history. “New features” such as multi-tasking (really multi-switching); technology savvy skills; and “social networking” without in-person, face-to-face communications are not what former generations experienced. Young people today believe that their role is just as important as anyone else’s role—that they are equal to anyone. And they have the presumption that things should be explained or justified to them. Especially with teenagers, if they feel that they have to do something, they don’t want to do it. Recent generations are more apt to cut and run if there is no challenge or satisfaction from an activity.
Realize that we cannot make our children experience what we have experienced in our own younger years. However, we still need to promote those basic values we cherish—such as responsibility, integrity, and perseverance—in ways that they understand and that fit with their nature, their environments, and their experiences.
It should be apparent that as much as we may desire it, society will never revert to the past. It should also be clear that traditional approaches of coercion, force, and domination are ineffective with many young people today. The Raise Responsibility System offers a new approach that makes sense for today’s times.