New Survey Says We're Raising a Generation of Rude Slobs

Rant 20

rude toddler tableUgh, here we go again: It appears grandparents do not approve of the job parents are doing these days. In a survey of 100 grandparents on the website Grannynet (really, only 100 respondents?), today's kids are rude and our lazy parenting is to blame. Well I never! In my day ...

Children are not asking to be excused before leaving the table. They're putting their elbows on the table. Half of the time they're not even eating at a table at all! No one writes thank-you notes anymore. Things were SO different when you were young, right Grandma?

If you ask this group of grandparents, YES, yes they were. According to their recollection, 92 percent of those grandparents ate dinner around the table with their families; 89 percent of them asked to leave the table before leaving; 86 percent of these elderly were writing thank-you notes; and 86 percent said "excuse me" before interrupting. 

Okay. There's no question that our idea of what's polite has changed over the years. I don't think anyone gets that bent out of shape over leaving elbows on the table. But what's at the core of polite behavior? Making other people feel valued and respected. And I think this is still a value for parents today. We just show it differently.

Maybe kids aren't always writing thank-you notes, but they're thanking people via phone call, text message, or email. From what I can tell, parents are still teaching kids to say "please" and "thank you." We're teaching our kids to listen to everyone (not just elders) with respect.

My mom raised us kids to say "yes, ma'am" and "no, ma'am." Guess where that got us? When my sister accidentally said "yes, ma'am" to her second-grade teacher, she was sent to the principal's office for being sarcastic. Some forms of politeness can actually backfire.

If anything, we're going deeper. It's not about following rules of etiquette, it's about treating people with kindness and consideration. Nowadays you don't say "excuse me" before interrupting -- you just shut up and listen while someone finishes talking and then you have your say. So yeah, do we care about being "polite"? Not as much as we care about being thoughtful.

As for eating around the table, it is sad that this tradition is struggling. But I just don't buy that it's about lazy parenting. It's about the pace of our lives -- both parents working, kids with loads of extracurricular activities. It's gotten harder! But I think most of us still see eating dinner together around the table is still an ideal we try to make happen at least once a week.

So lighten up, grandparents! As Billy Joel (your generation?) once said, "The good old days weren't always good and tomorrow ain't bad as it seems." I don't buy that you were so danged polite in your day. And anyway, who raised these "lazy" parents to be so "lazy" in the first place? Harrumph!

Do you think parents are lazier and kids are ruder than they were two generations ago?


Image via Podknox/Flickr

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Flori... Floridamom96

I totally agree with the grandparents. Children are far more rude and disrespectful today thanks to very lax parenting.

fave82 fave82

I agree with the Grandparents.

hello... hellokd87

I agree with the grandparents as well. My step kids just barge in on "adult" conversations and they want what they want right then and there and if they don't get it they throw a fit. I've seen kids running around the stores acting like crazed lunatics. I see kids talking about to parents and ironically it's the "ghetto" ones that keep their kids in line. Granted some of those "ghetto" kids are the worse behaved but they'er also some of the more polite ones that I've seen. Their parents aren't afriad to tell them to "act right" in front of other people and I actually respect that.

IKnow... IKnow0101

What is "ghetto"?

Gypsy... Gypsyqueen4life

I completely agree with grandparents! There is such a lack of manners, respect & general etiquette in kids & the parent don't seem to be teaching them.

nonmember avatar Sully

Parents today are going "deeper" than in past generations? How could that paragraph been written without laughing. Children aren't text messaging or mass emailing others to thank them for birthday presents, esp. when they are younger, they're simply not saying thanks. You can believe there is is some tyoe of evolution of politeness into thoughfulness until the next time someone closes a door in your face, or cuts you off while texting, or grabs your kids' toy, or doesn't say excuse me before interjecting into a conversation. Manners are not being taught as rigorously as in past generations and our children suffer for it.

ruby_... ruby_jewel_04

I completely agree. I was raised by my Grandma and Great Gram as my dad had left and my mom was working 2 jobs to support me and my sister. and I have WAY more manners than most people my age I know. And those manners are being passed on to my kids. They say please, thank you, and excuse me if they have to interupt. They call their elders Miss and Mr. Thats the way it SHOULD be. 

Reali... RealityCheckNow

Dear Ms. Velez,


I appreciate your sharing your thoughts about politeness vs. thoughtfulness.  I had always thought they went hand in hand.  Now, I get to see that 1impoliteness and unthoughtfulness (if that is a word) also go hand in hand.  Perhaps it would have been a more effective message if your comments could have been framed in the context  and tone of thoughtfulness.  Phrases like "I'm not buying it"  and  telling grandparents to "lighten up" even as you hold yourself out as a paragon of thoughtfulness and listening to everyone "(not just elders - emphasis mine)"  diminish what you are attempting to do.


I wish you much good will and enjoy the season.



-Reality Check Now

jhslove jhslove

I completely agree with the grandparents here. I used to teach elementary school, and if I had a nickel for every kid I had who somehow got to first or second grade without learning to say "please" or "thank you", I'd have a whole lotta nickels. They did say it to me, because they learned that in my classroom, asking rudely for something was going to get them zilch. But yes, in general, I think that kids are absolutely ruder, more spoiled and way more self-centered than they used to be.

Maias... MaiasMommy619

I totally believe this generation of kids are rude beyond belief!

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