Where has our era of politeness and caring gone? 315



View Profile

Where is all the rudeness and lack of caring coming from today? Have you noticed people are not as polite as 40 years ago? Nobody seems to care much the way they use to. Do you push past people without excusing yourself, not open doors for others, fail to stand up for the elderly, have a general lack of respect, neglect to thank someone, or swear at anything and everything? Have you noticed others doing these things? Is this all part of our increasingly complex world or just a new excuse for freedom and non conformance from the young? Is it actually coming from the younger generation or are some of the oldies starting to retaliate by doing the same?

We drive down the street and are greeted on the corner by two fingers from an angry driver, or we receive abuse out the window of a car from someone who did not agree with our decision. When we line up for a taxi, we find someone is rudely blowing smoke in our face, or becoming aggressive because the taxis are busy. Nobody seems to care about the old man struggling to get across the road or the one on the bus trying to get home. The new generation seems to argue and fight and misbehave so much so that we are now putting security on our transport. So where did all this rudeness and lack of caring come from?

In my day, it was considered polite to give up our seats on the bus or train for the elderly, and there were standards of behaviour expected when out in public. The drunk and disorderly were arrested, the abuse did not exist at these levels, and we were reported by neighbours to parents if we drove fast down our street, or if we were seen in a protest or demonstration in the city. We actually dressed well to go to town or church, and were encouraged to care for others who were not as fortunate.

As I was growing up we were all taught to say “please” and “thank you”, and excuse ourselves before leaving the table. I was taught the correct way to hold a knife and fork and how to set a table and cook meals. Mother made sure we had knowledge of cooking and sewing and Dad made us work in the yard, mowing and clearing lantana. We had to make sure we showed full respect for our elders and not interrupt a person when they were speaking. We wrote thank you notes after every occasion, and covered our mouths whenever we coughed.

By the time I reached school I was expected to stand every time a teacher came in the room; I was not allowed to swear; I was expected to do what my parents said, and offer to help without grumbling. In fact I was given a list of duties to carry out at home and as time went on nobody needed to ask for help it was just “jobs done”. I would check on my parents regularly to make sure they were alright, especially after a storm. We would help neighbours if they were struggling with getting something done. When my parents became elderly, my children stepped in and mowed lawns and helped them where I could no longer manage. 

So what has happened to the people of today? Is it a failure of families to teach their younger members how to act in public, how to care, and generally how to be polite? Is it the mixing of different cultures and a failure to understand other cultures? Is it ignorance, alcohol, or drugs contributing to these problems? I spent Saturday night at work this week and a young lad who was rather drunk took great delight in calling me names in passing and generally throwing obscene language and comments at me, just because I was an older person working. I regularly see girls trying to say something disgusting to the workers, just for a follow on effect. 

Why are they all so angry and rude? It does not take much to thank, or offer help, or just generally be pleasant. Why is the world becoming so busy that nobody cares any longer? Are we not teaching our children the manners, or are they just not wanting to conform to society? Why do they think that great achievements can be made without the help of others and that they no longer need to bother to be nice. What could be done to improve the situation? If only we could all take 5 minutes out of the day to do something special for someone, it would be a start.

Do you agree with Gill? Why do you think that people are more rude nowadays? Share your thoughts with us below.

Gill Johnston

  1. …I could give you just as many examples of people behaving well.i work with children in care and almost without exception they have good manners.(and not due to carers,their parents have set this in place).i asked two ipod listening teens to help with a heavy item,they did it with a smile and further offers of help.I could go on.
    Of course all young people aren’t constantly perfect, but neither are any age.

  2. I think that people now days do not know the meaning of the word respect I taught my kids that and I hope they have passed it down.

  3. Could not agree more with this article. I even find people are surprised when you Thank them – obviously happens less and less

  4. Blame lies squarely on modern technology. Drivers are disturbed from reading text messages take out their frustrations on any slow motorist or anyone cutting in front of them, leading to roadrage. Even pedestrians if accidently bumped have no time to be courteous but let fly a swear word. In public transport decency is out the door as people speak at a heightened level on their mobiles.

    1 REPLY
    • Technology is not responsible for bad manners, people are. You cannot blame the phone if a driver has an accident texting and driving can you. The driver is responsible not the technology. If a person has no manners how is that technology’s fault.

  5. It all started when the Govt. paid kids to leave home and you weren’t allowed to smack them, they were told they could ” divorce ” their parents if they didn’t like them, the school teachers were not much older than the students, drugs were easy to get, that’s just a couple of contributing factors I believe it’s only going to get worse.

    8 REPLY
    • I think it started long before then …. at least 15yrs before. We must have spoiled those kids rotten to have such an undisciplined attitude to their home life & ppl in general

    • You are so right Jean, the do gooders of this world have a lot to answer for. There are too many so called psychologists coming out of university with stupid ideas about what is right and wrong. We were brought up knowing what was right or wrong by our parents. They thought nothing of giving us a good whacking if we stepped out of line, nowadays they would be hauled off to court for brutality.

  6. Because almost 30 years ago a letter went out to schools. This letter was to be handed to students as young as prep. Know this because my youngest daughter had started school that very year. She hadn’t even begun to go for a full day at the time she received the letter. The preps were still doing half days.

    The letter was to be taken home and given to parents. That letter outlined all of her rights. None of her responsibilities mind you, just her rights. For example, the teacher is not allowed to smack you. That one sticks with me because as this 5 year old handed me that letter, she told me about that. The teachers had instructions to read the letters to their students. That letter began the destruction of families. The beginning of the rudest, most self absorbed, entitled generation in history. You could not say wait a minute to them, let alone no. The theory was we were to raise them in a world that was all good for them, well good in as much they had all the rights, no responsibilities, and they were to be refused nothing, so that they developed a healthy sense of self, of self esteem and confidence. LOL. The experts ruined every child from that generation onwards.

    Sure their theory worked these kids got a sense of self. But because no age appropriate responsibilities were placed upon the child, that sense of self became out of control. Instead of a healthy sense of self esteem, they got an over inflated opinion of themselves. They had no controls placed on them, no one, not parents, not teachers could discipline them. No more standing them out the front of the class, that was humiliating for them. Never mind that they had just humiliated a classmate or a teacher, nope, that was fine. Just don’t humiliate them. The only discipline in schools became suspension. Great idea. You have just thrown another child through the window, here, have a few days off as a reward. They were given everything except the opportunity to learn and practice SELF CONTROL. In removing the rights of parents and teachers, no one could help these kids to learn their place in society, to learn manners, respect. If a child did not want to give up their seat on public transport then why should they, they were allowed to say no to adults, adults were not allowed to say no to them.

    10 years after that letter those kids were leaving home in droves. Centrelink was paying them money good money. School counsellors were far from being the person who could guide them on the right path, they were just an adult that knew the ropes and could guide them on all the options they had for leaving home and getting government money. Hell, they would help them fill out the forms.

    Do we have the rudest, most self absorbed, over indulged, arrogant generation of spoilt little immature adults ever, yes we do, because in the early eighties governments took away their parents and their teachers, they left these kids with no adult supervision and they were forced to just work it out. The end result. It’s all about me and if you don’t do as I say, give me what I want, I will hit you, punch you, rob you, stab you,,whatever, because I do not have the ability to control myself.

    People are so quick to blame parents, and sure there are some pretty bad parents out there. But you know what. There always have been. But entire generations world wide weren’t created from a few or even a lot of bad parents. We have what we have now, not because of bad parenting but because since the early eighties governments have not allowed parents to parent. Or teachers to discipline.

    We used to have some good parents and some bad parents. Some good teachers and some bad teachers. Children saw that, they got some discipline, some balance. Once the eighties hit, children for all intents and purposes had no parents, no teachers, no discipline, no boundaries, no control. Children need boundaries.

    If they are out of control now, blame the experts and the governments who let them run amuck with the welfare of our kids. Who didn’t allow parents to parent. These kids were damaged by that lack of parenting and they have not learnt how to parent properly, they did not have a good example to follow as they were raised by parents who were afraid to say no n case their children were removed or left home at a young age to live on government money. As a consequence they themselves are raising mini me’s. Another generation of spoilt brats with no boundaries.

    25 REPLY
    • And now their children are being taken from them and put in foster homes and raised by people who use it as a job and they use what ever forces they need to.. No love compassion or family unit.

    • Well if parents are putting themselves, their needs, their wants first that’s bound to happen. If they have been raised to believe it was all about them, that they could have it all, that they were more important than everyone else then it’s no surprise they are incapable of raising a child. They never grew up themselves. I agree Dianne, foster care is far from ideal. But neither is living with self absorbed parents, perhaps parents who leave you home alone as a toddler because they need to go out and score. Sometimes the foster parents are better than the parents for a child.

    • That’s why I took my children out of public schools and went without to send my children to Christian schools where old fashion bible based values are still appreciated. My kids are well balanced and successful in life and think of others as well as themselves

    • That’s what we did Nancy. The public school system was hand tied and a frustrating environment to work in.

    • I took my children out of the state system, and put them in a private church school.
      What a bloody disaster. I found out later that the headmistress and the priest in charge had a lot less than desirable morals. And the attitudes engendered from the “top” inevitably trickled down.
      There are narcissists everywhere, and what we are seeing is a great rise in that self absorption and self entitlement, that I agree has arisen from a very unbalanced approach to discipline and values.

    • I’m a state school teacher, as was my husband, and was for more than 30 years. I can tell you that these values come from home and can only be reinforced by the school. I could try my hardest every day in the classroom to inculcate the values and expectations that you are discussing here but if a child walked out the school gate to a home where these expectations were not also being enforced I had very little hope of a carry over from school. Every year I would tell the parents this at the beginning of the year. Stop bashing the state system. It does a mighty job under trying conditions as all chn must be accepted. Corporal punishment does nothing for children either at home or school and teachers are often thwarted in their attempts to discipline by parents coming up to the school to threaten or to say that they don’t believe their child would do such a thing!!!! Our own three went thru this system and are all university educated and great adults!! I
      But we gave them the grounding which was followed by the school!

    • Very well said. I am so glad my 2 children ignored these directives and disciplined their children. Consequently they have respect, manners and accept no (sometimes!), and still -on very rare occasions get a smack on the bum. Don’t get me wrong the younger ones still back answer etc but they get told don’t speak to me like that, don’t bully your brother, don’t hit your sister, you never ever hit girls EVER…… They are kids we are proud of and I’m their Nanna and I have permission to discipline them too but I don’t smack their bums!!

    • Oh how right you are Margaret Peluso. Each successive generation will only get worse and those who do not get their own way will retaliate, who in turn will be retaliated against by another self centred brat. It will become a vicious circle where the law (which by the way I add to parents and teachers who were nobbled by the idiots that be) cannot do anything. It is a sad world my grandchildren and their children are going to have to live in.

    • Standing and applauding and like a few others I chose a wonderful Christian school for my daughter’s education. As a single mum it meant we did without many many things. Including holidays but I have never regretted that decision. The teachers were brilliant, the school ethics fabulous and out of a student body of over 1000 only two kids were expelled. I worked there myself in the office and only ever heard wonderful praise from parents for the staff and curriculum. Best decision and gave my daughter fabulous grounding in how to live in this world with a caring attitude and great character traits.

    • Couldn’t agree more. My son in a teacher, one of the few males in primary. Was called by another teacher to bring a swearing, spitting child into class. As he got near, the boy threw himself on the ground screaming ” he hit me, he hit me’. Guess who got disciplined? Yes, my son. Should have just left the boy there. Teacher’s have no rights & all responsibility.

    • This is all true Margaret except for the fact that ” parents were not allowed” my husband and I did not let ignorant authorities rule our home and I never encountered a Docs worker. We live in fear of the wrong authorities in our lives. My daughters have grown up to be responsible adults who are raising soon to be responsible adults. One of my children tried the rebellion road, telling us we had no authority it was a painful few years for her and us. We always loved her but didn’t join her in her rebellion requiring more of her and she came round. I still work as an Educator if very young children and I still teach the word ” sorry” even though many ( young) colleagues tell me I can’t ????? Really? I do! Children feel safe with boundaries it gives them security. 🙂

    • Margaret Peluso, I have often enjoyed reading your comments – on various topics – and think you make a lot of sense here.

      My youngest (of three) came home from Grade 2 in school, 29 years ago, at age 7-1/2, and, while I was busy preparing something at the sink for tea, started pestering me, over and over. Despite being told “No” each time, he became a bit more defiant and naughty than usual, so I told him that if he didn’t behave himself, he’d get a good smack.

      Well, he stood there, looked a bit smug, and announced that Mr. _____, (his teacher) had told the class ALL ABOUT CHILDREN’S RIGHTS that day and that I wasn’t allowed to smack him!

      Now, this beautiful son of mine is extremely intelligent, and I had to think quickly on my feet, or I’d lose my parental ‘standing’ – in his eyes. (Being widowed, especially important!)

      “You’re quite right, children DO have rights” I said. He stood there, looking smug and extremely self-satisfied, until I added “Did Mr. ______ also tell you about PARENTS’ RIGHTS?”

      Well, his cocky look faltered a fraction. I held his gaze steadily, not unkindly, but he started to look confused and uncertain. (Obviously this was news to him!)

      “Oh, yes, parents have rights, too! The right to expect their children to behave, to show respect, to be obedient and good – and, if their children keep being naughty, to punish them. SO, stop being naughty, or you WILL get a smack!” He accepted this explanation, but I suspect that his teacher was never regarded as being infallible, in his eyes, thereafter.

      He NEVER, EVER mentioned Children’s Rights again, as I had now given him the BALANCE of PARENTS’ RIGHTS!

      Several years later, the same teacher left that profession to work with computers. He was a nice enough chap, but I have since (maybe incorrectly) pondered whether upcoming unruly children
      were instrumental in his decision to change careers!

    • Agree totally Gienda. I myself was a single parent. I didn’t allow my children to threaten me with child services. In fact the youngest one who copped the full brunt of this system decided to give me a nice serve in font of her principal one day. I had no idea he was behind me, but she did. When she was finished. I opened my purse, gave her 40 cents and said, here. Give child services a call and get them to pick you up because you don’t run my home I do. At that point she smirked over my shoulder and that’s when I turned and saw the principal. He just smiled at me said Good morning and walked away. She never did call child services. I raised a school teacher, a son who runs his own cabinet making and joinery business and the youngest is in HR. But it took strong parents to parent back then. We had to feel the fear and for the sake of our kids push past it and do it the right way. Not everybody had that strength, and I understand that a lot of people really were terrified of losing their kids.

    • Very sad but as each generation passes the standards of human behavior seems to be lowered and then that becomes the norm. I think it is because we are selfish and think our rights are more important than anyone else’s.

    • I always say ‘I had no rights when I was a child, and no rights when I was a mother, but as a grandmother, I am enforcing my rights……it’s MY time!’

    • Oh,so true. As well, I think that it happened in Western societies because this era has ” never had it so good”. And I think that humans need challenges,real stress so they have a better grasp on real life out there in Natural world. I wonder what the manners are in ,say, Asian lands which have not yet received the ‘benefits’ of Western culture ?

  7. Couldn’t agree more Margaret I remember that letter cause I went to sons school an tore it up in front of the teachers ….

  8. I definitely have, in fact it makes me very angry, just ask my 13 year old granddaughter. I no longer let people in or leave a gap if someone is waiting coming from a side street, I got sick to death of not even a wave or smile, they can all get …………..maybe it’s my age 60 and I expect more.

  9. You nailed it Margaret. Add to that the fact that kids are not taught respect. Apparently we have to earn their respect. Kids don’t know what respect is unless they are taught to practise it when they are young. They are also taught to report their parents if they are physically disciplined in any way. I worked in Education and know this to be true. They are told they are the most important people in the world. And, sadly, we now have the highest suicide rate among teenagers ever. I am sure the lack of boundaries in their lives has caused this. I shudder at what the next generation will become.

  10. In fact the one exception was a young bloke I let in from a left hand street in busy traffic. Then I changed to the next right hand lane, then further down the road he had his window open and when he got along side he yelled out, thanks so much for that mam. Restored some of my faith in the human race. I thought about that for days.

    3 REPLY
  11. We must maintain a sense of humour lest it begin to affect us. One of the most ridiculous situations was while my wife was in a wheelchair. I had to push it in such a way as to watch out for other pedestrians. Despite this, and always because someone was in a rush and failed to take due care and attention, there could be an occasional minor collision… always, by then, with the wheelchair at a full stop because I was alert to what was about to happen! There would be glowers and sometimes words of anger (frustration?) but I’d always return them with a slight (if condescending) smile.

    2 REPLY
    • I feel for you and understand how you feel, at the moment I have a full length leg brace on & my husband a sling( having torn the muscles off the bone & internal bleeding) but people continue to crash into us both with no apologies & the look that says you should have gotten out of our way, but we too now come to a dead stop & refuse to go around them sometimes it works & others they come straight at you not caring if they injure you more. Thankfully our own daughters & grandson are well mannered & even they complain how people are so rude these days, well rant over.

    • Stop in front of them & slightly bow your head, it will hurt them like hell when they come nosecfirst into your head.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *