No respect: the sense of entitlement of the youth 83



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We see the attempts by the social do-gooders to raise the drinking to 21. It would of course never be done, because of the power of the liquor industry, the pubs and clubs and effect on government revenue.

When I first moved to Queensland in 1973 the drinking age was 21 and I found it unthinkable that I was stopped and asked for ID to enter a hotel (I was over 21 anyway).

You see, I came from a small country town in NSW and I had left school at 15 and started work, towards the end of the first year of work I was 16.
I would go with the others, from work to the pub an Friday afternoon and sit at the bar in my overalls and have a beer with everyone.
I would look out through the window into the street and see my school friends who were smart enough to stay at school, in their school uniform walking down the street.

I would then see others my age, not even 17 come into the bar covered in dust and dirt after a hard day’s work on their father’s property, and have a beer with the other workers.

We never caused any harm; we never got into fights, or carried on like idiots. We knew it was part of growing up, we were treated like grown-ups and we acted accordingly.

Hence the idea I have always fostered; “If you act like one, I’ll treat you like one”.

I have met 20 year olds, that act like 10 year olds and I treat them as such. I have met 13-year-olds that act like 18-year-olds and I treat them that way.

It seems in the bar today, that if you are not violent, loud and abusive, then it is not any fun. If you cannot speak without swearing, then you have nothing to say, especially the young ladies, whose language is atrocious.

Is it that they feel inadequate, or not to be taken seriously, if they do not talk this way? Or is it just the social scourge of the television that makes them imagine, that they have to speak and behave this way, I don’t know. They have to have learnt somewhere. Was it in their home, at school or shopping mall?

I am not a ‘generation’ basher, however it seems that some children have far too much spare time on their hands. I see some kids working after school, sometimes two jobs and that’s great.
I see kids with their hands shaking as they hover over the keyboard at the supermarket checkout, trying to work out if it is a tomato or a potato that you have in the clear plastic bag.

I think it’s great. These kids deserve all the help, praise and encouragement that we can give them.

However when I see a group of badly dressed, foul mouthed 13-year-olds swearing at the top of their voice, wandering aimlessly in the shopping mall I wonder how many of them made their beds, swept the floor, washed up and cleaned their rooms before they left the house this morning, as we had to do.

So these are the ones that do-gooders want to ban from drinking until they are 21 and they are mature enough.

I think maturity is in the mind, if it is not taught at a young age then banning them from drinking will not achieve anything.

I believe that it needs a social change of attitude by all involved. Not just the children whose mind is a sponge, and has the capacity to absorb amazing amounts of information. It just needs to be the right information.

It needs the adults to have standards. Not adults whose morals, manners and attitudes have slipped down, like trousers with broken braces.

It is not the kid’s fault, if they have been let run wild as a child. It is not their faults that they swear, they have to have heard it somewhere.

Sure we can’t stop the swearing, violence, and crime, that appears on the TV all of the time. But we can explain that it is unacceptable to us, the way that they swear and behave. We can explain, just because it is done on tv with flair, does not mean that it is acceptable everywhere.

I am not prude, far from it, I swear with the best of them (or is it the worst of them?) but it has its place, not to be rammed down the neck of those whom are offended by it.

Look back at the morals, manners and standards of your parents, grandparents, and then look forward at your children and grandchildren.

What do you see? What would you like to see? How do we change what we see?


Do you think the drinking age should be changed? What should be done about unruly youths? Tell us below.

David Perrott

David like many others of the time left school at 15 to get a job, to live, he was never very good at school anyway. After a struggle, his diverse career took him to many places, from Melbourne to Mt Isa, from Triabunna in Tasmania to Townsville, and many places in between. He is an internationally published author, but now he finds himself over 60, and contending with some hugely changed and challenging circumstances, that were inconceivable 5 years ago. He has recently published a coffee table book filled with stories and photos which can be purchased via his website

  1. Modern technology is to blame for the way most of our kids are today

    3 REPLY
    • I don’t agree. Parents who allow their kids to do as they please with no discipline or consequences have much more to answer for.

    • Bad parenting & not taking responsiblility for your kids is why we have a problem! you cant blame super mario for this one!

    • Modern parenting seems to have a bit to answer for. Solid, caring and respectful homes seem to get lost in the morass of modern life and some younger folk miss out on the best society has to offer. We were all a bit naughty in some way when younger but those of us with solid home foundations seemed to hit the ground running when the time came.

  2. With the legal age of 18 for becoming an “adult” and being able to vote etc etc it would be ridiculous to go back to 21 as a legal drinking age. It would be interesting to know the statistics on how many drunken brawls involve those under 21 as opposed to those over that magical age. You could start drinking at 35 and be an inexperienced and anti-social drinker. Age is no barrier!

    2 REPLY
    • Most of the brawlersmost of the brawlers are under 21 with a sprinkling of the older drinker in there as well

    • I would like to see actual statistics on those age groups. There seems to be a lot of over 21s that hit the news in this area. Even drunk driving doesn’t seem to be particularly confined to teenagers.

  3. Recent statistics, show that a larger percentage of 18 to 25 yr olds are working or full time students currently than at any time in last 20yrs.
    The number of this group on welfare is also lowest in that time.
    It would seem most of them are doing fine.

    3 REPLY
    • Well the stataticians arent walking the local shopping centres and parks they are obviously not plagued by drunken young teenage brats running up and down the street shouting and swaering and vomitting everywhere at 1.00am in the morning they obviously havent been pushed and shived at the bus stop or train station by a group of delinquent teenagers. Statistuc can be arranged to say whatever you want them to say.

    • Don’t judge all teenagers by the ones you see. There’s many decent ones out there if you look. There have always been delinquents.

  4. My youngest is 24. When he was 14 he got his first job after school and weekends. However, he told me he wasn’t working while he was at school. I had different ideas though. He says he doesn’t regret it. To this day he and his friends would prefer to stay at home and have a few drinks and play board games etc. There is often six or eight of them, male and female gathered at his home. However, they all went through the stage of going out, drinking too much and still do the swearing thing at times when I wish they didn’t. They are good kids though and all have jobs. We can’t control what happens, we can only instill values into them and hope it turns out OK. I spent my teen years in Alice Springs, I remember it being the same back then. Maybe it just wasn’t as obvious. It is a dilemma….

  5. They need to be taught respect and most of there parents !

    5 REPLY
  6. Young kids roaming the streets causing trouble are the fault of lazy disinterested parenting. Their the ones most likely drinking and neglecting their children who of course will get in trouble. Not much of a start in life

  7. The reason young people have a sense of entitlement is that we as parents and grandparents have allowed it to happen! On top of that is a rapacious rampant media that is constantly brainwashing them into believing they cannot exist without stuff! Also there is some evidence that an overdose of fast foods and sugar contribute to lack respect etc..
    Having said that I have great faith in young people , despite the above I believe they are more up front and honest than we give them credit for!

    Sadly with seven billion of us on the planet their prospects for the future in terms of work are bleak. Unless we all work together with tolerance and a passion to change our greedy habits, that is unlikely to change!

    1 REPLY
    • Well said, about time we start taking some of the blame instead of just complaining about the young all the time…they are what we made them.

  8. Too true Giovanna . An example is that ridiculous Nimble ad that loans money to the parents so they can pay for the extravagant birthday party for their babies 1st birthday. Everything nowadays is to the excess.

    1 REPLY
    • Mike here-nimble your phone acct, nimble tgat nice little gift for the missus, but remember that cute little rabbit doesn’t stay too cute for too long when it comes time to pay them back.

  9. The shopping malls have become places to congregate, because the homes are not places of welcome anymore. Our kids always brought friends home and they likewise gravitated to others homes. Now the MacMansions stand empty all day while mum and dad work their butts off to pay the mortgage,but most kids are left to their own devices, and unfortunately this is when a lot can go wrong.

    1 REPLY

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