21st Century vs 20th Century Teenagers

Yesterday, my friend Doron told me, “12-year-olds today are like 18-year-olds when we were young.” Were they – I had to think?

1. 21st Century Mutant Ninja Teenagers like to dress up. So did we in the old days. But now Teens are influenced by Rap Stars and the Kardashian sisters who dress ‘older’ and more risqué: boys’ jeans fall below their underwear and their tops display edgy messages about sex and drugs and prominently display foul language, while girls dress like the famous three sisters who appear to have little talent or intellect, but have media exposure 24-7 and are decked out in expensive designer clothing, made up by artists and fully adorned with jewels and designer handbags.

Male Fashion

Nowadays, my MN Teen’s Peers have very expensive European designer clothes bought for them. I wonder what these girls have to look forward to in life? All of this seriously ups the anti when it comes to what my MN Teens want to buy and wear – but none of this means that 21st Century MN Teenagers are more mature – just more entitled!

Female Fashion

2. 21st Century MN Teenagers are pretty lazy. We have allowed them to be this way! Back in the last Century, we walked to our friends’ houses, we rode our bikes to the Boulevard to buy a bagel and we took a bus if we wanted to go to the beach (in some cases 3 buses). Now we chauffeur our teenagers everywhere with the ‘right’ music playing, an iPhone in hand and a bottle of mineral water in the other. The world may be different, but my MN Teenagers can still safely walk with friends from the Boulevard to our home; and yet to them, this is great inconvenience. When I was a MN Teenager, I thought it was great freedom and showed great maturity.

3. 21st Century MN Teenagers do not know anyone’s phone number. They have everything in their iPhone’s memory, they have speed dial, they text, and they live out their social lives on iChat, Twitter, FaceBook and FormSpring. They have the internet which is unlimited information at their finger tips: They know how to quickly google something, ‘cut, copy and paste’ and transfer information at great speed. But they miss the process – going to a library, spending hours looking through books and magazines and really reading articles. They are missing the detail, the patience and the thought that we had no choice but to engage in. Back in the 20th Century, I thought I developed strong skills and independence at an early age.

4. 21st Century MN Teens can lead their social lives from their bedroom; they do not have to discuss difficult issues face-to-face; they can send provocative e-mails to friends and strangers; and they can post photos and videos on Facebook exposing and expressing too much. So much of what teenagers have always partaken in, is now advertised for millions to see and once ‘it is out there’, it cannot be taken back! Back in the Dark Ages, we engaged in many of the same activities, but we did not live it on everyone’s screens like a 24-7 reality show that held a permanent record. I thought we were honest and mature.

5. 21st Century MN Teens expect their parents’ kitchen to be a full service restaurant. In the last Century we ate what our parents served us. (I remember not liking lima beans and having to sit at the at the table and finish them before dessert was served.) We also knew how to prepare something to eat on our own. Today, MN Teens ask what is for dinner and if they do not like what is offered, they roll their eyes and pout, they try and request their own items or worse, they expect to order ‘their dinner’ on line from LA BItes. I see nothing more advanced about this, just great entitlement.

Yes, we all live in a faster paced world in the 21st Century. I think MN Teens are plenty sophisticated and have many wonderful opportunities, but they are also more entitled. Back when the dinosaurs roamed the lands…..we were less sophisticated and we may have had less opportunities, but we were more empowered.

Ninja Mom





3 thoughts on “21st Century vs 20th Century Teenagers

  1. If our parents did drive us it was scheduled around their availability not ours and you didn’t complain to them. We also thanked our parents and apologized for talking back.

    Unfortunately we cannot really complain about our kids’ “entitlement” attitude without accepting some blame…Our parents were able to say “no.” Somehow that word has both lost it’s impact (because we don’t stick to our decisions) and is underused (because we don’t really mind indulging our kids).

  2. I mostly agree. the other day, my MN teen called me on my cell (I was in the kitchen and she was holed up in her bedroom) to ask me to make and bring her a very specific panini (when I say “specific”, I mean peppered turkey, brie and fig spread on olive bread!! not a simple PB and J). BTW, i was NOT making panini’s at that moment. On another note, cute and fashionable clothing is available at all price points and i do not buy my kids designer clothes. In the rare case that I do, they are hugely appreciative and that item is truly “special” to them. They now know that when they are making their own livings some day (PLEASE let this happen!!) they can spend their money on what they choose.

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