Are kids (and even adults) too "soft" these days?

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Are kids (and even adults) too "soft" these days?

Mwar Mwar
Disposition and character comes from a lot of things, but some main factors are: environment, family, and genetics.

That being said, do you think kids, and in some cases adults, are too "soft?" By soft I mean: are they able to stand up for themselves? Are they able to fall, scrape the dirt off their knee and get back up? Are they able to strive to be independent at the correct time? And do they let crap roll off their backs? Has this changed among the generations or over time?

Or, am I just a hard ass and had hard ass parents? I'm curious. Also, do you think your degree of hardness or softness comes from where you grew up?
Answers (private voting - your screen name will NOT appear in the results):
I think kids are just fine
13
I think kids are too soft
31
I think kids are too "hard"
4
I think it's changed over time
27
I think it's stayed the same
5
I think your environment affects this
15
I think your family affects this
17
I think many things affect this
30
I think being "soft" is:
9
Detrimental to a child's independence
18
Makes a child more empathetic
11
Makes a child more prepared for the real world
5
Takes away a child's innocence too soon
2
Makes a child more likely to be bullied
21
Makes a child less likely to be bullied
2
You're just a hardass
7
Other, I'll explain in the comments
5
Total votes: 222 (52 voters)
Poll is closed
09/05/2012
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MK434 MK434
Quote:
Originally posted by Mwar
Disposition and character comes from a lot of things, but some main factors are: environment, family, and genetics.

That being said, do you think kids, and in some cases adults, are too "soft?" By soft I mean: are they able to stand ...
I totaly agree with you kids and most adults now days are way too soft. I am happy to say that I don't have that problem in my house!
09/05/2012
ellieprobable ellieprobable
I think that every generation has had these complaints.
09/05/2012
Jimenko Jimenko
A lot of kids and adults are too soft. There are two women at work where I can't give a word of correction, even with the utmost kindness and sugarcoating, without them bursting into tears.
09/05/2012
Intrepid Niddering Intrepid Niddering
I think people have gotten way too soft. Kids have become so sheltered these days from everything. You can't do this because that will happen, you can't go here because this will happen. People like to say that there are so many more issues and bad things happening today than in yesteryear, so we need to be so protective. Honestly, though, I don't believe anything going on is necessarily new. I believe a lot of bad things that happen these days have always happened, it's just that technology has advanced so much that we hear about -everything- that happens within minutes. We have so much more access to the information of what goes on that it's caused this heightened state of paranoia that has led to an increase in coddling which has led to an overall softening of society.
09/05/2012
gsfanatic gsfanatic
To some extent people have gotten softer, but that's a good thing. Between the overcrowding and decrease in number of jobs that are primarily physical, a more empathetic and friendly population would be good. That said, there is definitely going too far, and hopefully the age of being PC is fading
09/05/2012
deltalima deltalima
Quote:
Originally posted by Mwar
Disposition and character comes from a lot of things, but some main factors are: environment, family, and genetics.

That being said, do you think kids, and in some cases adults, are too "soft?" By soft I mean: are they able to stand ...
I think lately I've seen kids that can't stand up for themselves.
09/05/2012
Taylor Taylor
I don't think you can lump a whole generation that way. Also if it is a whole generation of kids that are soft, then blaming the kids is probably not helpful, as it would be more of a product of culture and how kids are raised than the kids themselves. In my personal opinion I think in every generation some people are "soft" and some are not. I feel like so many people are quick to point out what's "wrong" with the youth instead of encouraging them and helping them.

I'm also not so convinced that being a "hard ass" is better than being "soft". Empathy and sensitivity ARE important, people that are hard can lose sight of that.
09/06/2012
sXeVegan90 sXeVegan90
To an extent, yes, kids and parents have gotten soft, and in ways this effects the child's ability to go out on their own and do their own things. I wouldn't say it's poor parenting, but it definitely has an effect.
09/06/2012
Upyourreviews Upyourreviews
Quote:
Originally posted by Mwar
Disposition and character comes from a lot of things, but some main factors are: environment, family, and genetics.

That being said, do you think kids, and in some cases adults, are too "soft?" By soft I mean: are they able to stand ...
Definitely. People need to be able to take more, from a scraped need to a joke.
09/06/2012
LavenderSkies LavenderSkies
Quote:
Originally posted by Mwar
Disposition and character comes from a lot of things, but some main factors are: environment, family, and genetics.

That being said, do you think kids, and in some cases adults, are too "soft?" By soft I mean: are they able to stand ...
I think they're a bit of both. Too comfortable with the luxuries of modern day technology but too hard in the sense of growing up so quickly.
09/06/2012
Supervixen Supervixen
Quote:
Originally posted by Taylor
I don't think you can lump a whole generation that way. Also if it is a whole generation of kids that are soft, then blaming the kids is probably not helpful, as it would be more of a product of culture and how kids are raised than the kids ...
I don't think that being a hard ass means that you lack empathy and sensitivity; I think it means (in this case) that you have the ability to stand your ground, to not be a push over, to recognize when you are being taken advantage of, and having a thick skin and a strong will. The world is a harsh place, full of disappointments, heartache and downright rotten people; developing these skills makes adjusting to and functioning within the world much easier. People need some sort of armor against those harsh things, and it's totally possible to be a hard ass and still be a decent, empathetic person. On the flipside, being soft can lead to weak-willed people who easily get hurt or taken advantage of. Or they become spoiled brats who grow into self-righteous jerks with a sense of entitlement; that happens when you learn that there are no consequences to your behavior, and you can not only always get what you want, but you always DESERVE what you want, too.

That said, I appreciate the times that my parents were "hard" on me. They pushed me to reach my potential, taught me to be persistent in my ambitions, to not waste too much time licking my wounds when I get knocked over, and essentially, to be able to stand on my own two feet. They also instilled a sense of discipline in me that has been invaluable. I've known so many parents who coddle their kids, keep them sheltered, spoil them, and treat them like they can do no wrong. I remember those kids growing up, too; I was from a lower working class family who went to an elementary school full of rich kids (middle school and high school was in a different town and the demographic totally changed). So many of those kids were treated like they were precious little angels, and their parents could never say no to them. I remember going to birthday parties and just being in awe of the way my classmates interacted with their parents--they could get whatever they wanted! And they didn't even have to use their nice words! My parents were by no means militant, but they wouldn't coddle my sister and I like that--not a chance. I remember one time, when I was complaining to my mother that we never had dessert after dinner like we did when we visited grandma, she told me, "Well, that's grandma; grandmas are supposed to spoil their grandkids--I'm your mom, and someone's got to be the bad guy and make sure you get your vegetables."

I think a mix of an overtly PC culture and the fact that we can sue for anything under the sun these days, has been steadily breeding softies, and it's unfortunate. If I ever have kids, I'm going to follow my parents example and let them skin their knees once in a while, get dirty when they play, tell them no when it's appropriate, and teach them how to stand on their own two feet without whining about when things inevitably get rough at times.
09/06/2012
Gunsmoke Gunsmoke
All you use to hear about was how to increase a child's 'self-esteem' now the problem is the kids have too much self-esteem. They're shocked when you question their lies (because apparently their parents don't dare challenge them) and have a huge self-worth in spite of the fact that they have accomplished little or nothing up to this point in their lives.

Soft parents make for soft kids. Discipline can be hard to do right. I feel bad for today's parents - because they were not parented and therefore have no examples to work from. The kids think the whole world revolves around them - this just makes teacher's jobs more difficult and opens them up to huge disappointment when they finally learn that they are for the most part simply average citizens in an often hostile world.
09/06/2012
Zandrock Zandrock
I think kids are fine
09/06/2012
Mwar Mwar
Quote:
Originally posted by Taylor
I don't think you can lump a whole generation that way. Also if it is a whole generation of kids that are soft, then blaming the kids is probably not helpful, as it would be more of a product of culture and how kids are raised than the kids ...
I agree with you on. I'm not trying to generalize for a whole group, more wondering if this is more recent or prominent now as opposed to in other times.

While I do see benefits for both "hard" and "soft" kids, I feel like most need a happy balance (or hit a sweet spot in the spectrum) for the best advantages and chances of success in life. Empathy is important to relate to others and feel out a situation. Standing up for yourself is important so the person doesn't lose themselves to someone else.

Everyone hopefully finds a balance that works for them, but I do find the possible change in culture interesting (the scientist in me, I suppose).
09/06/2012
Ansley Ansley
Quote:
Originally posted by Gunsmoke
All you use to hear about was how to increase a child's 'self-esteem' now the problem is the kids have too much self-esteem. They're shocked when you question their lies (because apparently their parents don't dare challenge them) ...
This! I had a healthy mix of discipline and over-indulgence as a child, largely due to the guilt my mother felt about me not having a father-figure in my life. I was able to get away with a lot, but life also dealt me a lot and her slinging me out into the world on my own - as cruel as it looked on the outside - was the best thing my mother could have done for me.
09/06/2012
P'Gell P'Gell
Quote:
Originally posted by Taylor
I don't think you can lump a whole generation that way. Also if it is a whole generation of kids that are soft, then blaming the kids is probably not helpful, as it would be more of a product of culture and how kids are raised than the kids ...
I agree with Taylor completely.

People have been complaining about the problems with Youth since Socrates. (That was more than 2,000 years ago.) The past always looks rosy, and adults usually think kids "today" have it better than they did.

I see no more or less "softness" than I saw when I was a child (and I'm older than quite a few on Eden) I also think there is nothing wrong with being empathetic. I see NO issues with kids being "able to stand up for themselves" and as I have college age kids and a middle school age child, I think I'd be more likely to see it than a childless person.

Of course children should learn assertiveness, but then people complain that kids are "rude" and "act tough." Kids can't win with some adults and never will be able to.

It's easy to look back on one's own childhood with the muted focus of time and compare it to today's children, but rarely are those comparisons accurate.

I see no benefit to raising a generation of hardass kids who have no empathy for others... we will have more problems with a generation of thoughtless, selfish people than a generation of people who care about others.

And, of course, "parents" always get blamed, especially by those who have no children and no nothing about child rearing, add that to an inaccurate accounting of one's own childhood and you have a bad case of "things were better back when....." It's silly and not supported by fact.
09/06/2012
RedKyuubi RedKyuubi
Fine
09/06/2012
P'Gell P'Gell
Quote:
Originally posted by P'Gell
I agree with Taylor completely.

People have been complaining about the problems with Youth since Socrates. (That was more than 2,000 years ago.) The past always looks rosy, and adults usually think kids "today" have it better than ...
Sorry, I misspelled, the sentence should have read: know nothing about child rearing NOT "no nothing."
09/06/2012
Bethy Cassatt Bethy Cassatt
What is soft?? And what is wrong with that? I was a strange child. I alone made it difficult to make friends and ostrasized myself because I liked myself more than I could believe I could be comfortable with other people. Maybe I was wrong, but while it was hard on me, being "soft" and strange made my life so unique and comfortable to me I wouldn't trade it for the world. I am me because I was and am soft. I don't hate people, I don't pick fights, and I very rarely complain about anyone. I get annoyed at objects, but the only person I hold accountable for years of softness is myself. I am strong because I'm a cuddly little lamb in person clothes. I'm okay with this.
09/06/2012
PropertyOfPotter PropertyOfPotter
It seems to me that too many people aren't letting children be children any longer. They're expected to grow up fast, handle things like a grown up and are not allowed to express their emotions. There's a fine line between allowing a child to be taught and disciplined, forced to grow up and only be punished, and allowed to act however they would like and get away with everything.

I don't think this is a topic that everyone will agree on. I teach my children. They aren't punished, they are disciplined so that they learn from their actions. Everything is explained out to them so that they understand what they did wrong and are more likely to not do it again because they understand the reason.

They are given the chance to explain their feelings and tell me why they are upset for whatever reason. Children have feelings and sometimes it's hard for them to understand how to deal with them. They have the right to feel and should be given the chance to express their feelings. Trying to make a child 'tough' often results in a person who has a difficult time with their emotions and can become depressed and angry. This isn't the case for everyone, but allowing a child to express their feelings gives them more of an opportunity to learn from them and deal with their emotions better later in life.

I have three daughters, they each are their own person and it's my job to help them to develop into beautiful women who know how to handle themselves in a mature and respectable manner. That starts now. Giving them room to be who they are while still instructing them to understand the difference between right and wrong is going to help them learn how to deal with anything that life throws their way.

My children get scratches and bumps and bruises. They might cry for a second because it hurts, but they also know that all they have to do, is brush themselves off and get a hug and kiss from Mommy and it's all better. They know that they can depend on me whenever they need, but they also have the ability to move forward. They understand that words can hurt, and fighting back will only result in negative things. I'm teaching my daughters that people aren't always going to be nice to them, but it doesn't give them a reason to seek revenge. That might seem like they're soft, but I think it makes them understand the way life works much more. People aren't always going to be nice, we can't control what others do. We are only responsible for ourselves and our own actions and it's our job to be respectful people, no matter how others treat us.

It's not always a matter of being 'soft', a lot of times it's a matter of understanding and expression. My children will probably be picked on, most kids are. But they are equipped with the tools that help them understand that they can be confident in themselves despite what others might say.

I'm not a perfect parent, but my children are highly praised from strangers and family alike for their respect, manners, attitudes, and helpfulness. They are confident children who are genuinely 'good'. They know right from wrong, and though they aren't perfect and make mistakes, they have been given the tools to learn from it.

My children know that they can come to me and talk to me about anything. Sometimes there will be a consequence for their behavior, but more times than not, it's easily resolved by discussing the issue and figuring out a way to resolve it. Punishment doesn't teach anything other than fear of authorities; but discipline teaches that there's a positive and negative way to handle things, and the outcome will either be positive or negative based on the way they've handled themselves.

Adults, I see it far too often. Parents aren't teaching their children anything because it's easier to give in than to instruct them on how to handle an issue. It makes me sad because in the long run, their children are going to be negatively effected as a result of that behavior. It's the parent's job to effectively teach their child how to deal with life, not to allow them to do and act however they want because it's easier. To me, it's not so much about the parent being 'soft' as it is the parent being 'lazy'.

These are just my thoughts and how I do things. I'm not saying that I get everything right, this is just my experience.
09/06/2012
Mwar Mwar
Quote:
Originally posted by P'Gell
I agree with Taylor completely.

People have been complaining about the problems with Youth since Socrates. (That was more than 2,000 years ago.) The past always looks rosy, and adults usually think kids "today" have it better than ...
I agree that people say it about the new generation of children. Perhaps I should have rephrased my question.

I think a more accurate way to measure this could be with language. The English language is getting flooded with more politically correct and soft language. And shown by many researchers, how our language is structured affects out thoughts. Shell shock has become "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder" and being poor is being "economically disadvantaged."

There are hosts of other examples, but do you think this use of euphemisms is influencing our thoughts and behavior? Is the language itself becoming softer? Or is there a better word for it?

The world is not all daffodils and daisies. No one wants their kid to be the one that gets bullied. But with some values and morals (the golden rule) kids won't default to being the bully either. There's a line, I guess. And the answer is quite complex.

Thanks for the response! This is a great discussion everyone!
09/06/2012
G&L G&L
I teach high school, and I get kids who can't read past a 2nd or 3rd grade level. They've gotten to high school that way because they aren't allowed to be retained more than once or studies claim it will hurt their self esteem. I think not being able to read hurts a kids self esteem. Some kids are soft. Some aren't. I think when society decides that they all are it hurts the population as a whole. At the same time, however, the word soft could probably use a bit of defining. There are plenty of things that make some kids I teach "hard" that I wouldn't wish on anyone.
09/06/2012
Allstars316 Allstars316
I think they are fine right now. It depends on what is going on around them.
09/07/2012
K101 K101
Quote:
Originally posted by Mwar
Disposition and character comes from a lot of things, but some main factors are: environment, family, and genetics.

That being said, do you think kids, and in some cases adults, are too "soft?" By soft I mean: are they able to stand ...
Tough, but good questions! I personally grew up with a good middle between hard ass and soft. I can't say my parents were ever really soft. We tell each other we love each other daily and always have, but when it came to crying or being sympathetic, we did not get that. My parents quickly let us know that they "don't feel sorry for you." LOL. Not in a bad way though, but I feel like on some occasions, a little more empathy would've been appreciated. It did not effect me much, I'm pretty sensitive and kind-hearted all around. I'm the most kind hearted in my family, besides one of my grandmothers (my dad's mom). Everyone else in my family have way harder hearts than me.

I wouldn't say I'm without backbone, I'm a pretty good middle though. I am extremely empathetic towards others and am a soft heart, but I wouldn't say I'm "soft" to the point of not being able to take care of myself properly or allow others to hurt me. I can stand my ground, but you're usually going to see the really nice, understanding, kind hearted side of me.

I don't know though, I think an extreme of either side (soft or hard) will effect a kid. A good middle more than likely won't, but there are definitely other contributing factors to how a child will grow up. It would also depend on how they've been treated and personal experience along the way, but I honestly think God creates how emapthetic and soft hearted a person is. They're few and far between and special, in my opinion. Not soft people who can't get through, take care of themselves or adapt, but soft-hearted people.

Then there are parts of me that are sort of intolerable and that is genetics, I think. The things I absolutely won't tolerate, the things that get me raging and all, those are totally from my family. We all are so alike in that area. But my family can really cut you down with words. I'm not like that yet and hope I never will be. They're also generous and kind too though.

I'm the kind of person who doesn't get upset easily over what others do or say to me, but there's a limit. For me in that area, when it rains it pours. Lol.

So I'd have to say your "hardness" level totally depends on how, who, where, etc. How you've had to live to get by. How you were/have been treated, what kind of experiences you've had with people/realtionships in general and genetics. I think it all has a role. But I also think you can change SOME things. Things like how you treat others due to your hard or softness. Those can be worked on.
09/07/2012
K101 K101
Quote:
Originally posted by G&L
I teach high school, and I get kids who can't read past a 2nd or 3rd grade level. They've gotten to high school that way because they aren't allowed to be retained more than once or studies claim it will hurt their self esteem. I think ...
OK this, I can understand cases like this being too "soft" for a person to really be able to adapt to real-life.
09/07/2012
P'Gell P'Gell
Quote:
Originally posted by Mwar
I agree that people say it about the new generation of children. Perhaps I should have rephrased my question.

I think a more accurate way to measure this could be with language. The English language is getting flooded with more politically ...
I don't understand. QUOTE: The English language is getting flooded with more politically correct and soft language END QUOTE

Uh, I don't understand what "politically correct" means. To politically conservative people, it usually means, "Shit I don't agree with, don't like or don't understand." Using more descriptive and specific language is an issue for you?

There is a happy medium between not being able to tolerate any stress and simply not giving a shit about other people and their feelings. Some of that may be due to parenting, but we know more about temperament now, even in infants, and temperament is not something that is changeable.

No. I don't think people are "softer" now than the used to be. More educated (some of us) more tolerant (some of us) more understanding (some of us) but not softer. This country used to embrace slavery, it used to embrace only allowing male land owning whites to vote, it used to embrace Jim Crowe laws and blame women for being raped and TOLERANCE has changed that. Is that the country becoming soft? No, it's a country (at least some of us) becoming more tolerant. And growing and becoming better.

I only see these changes as good.
09/07/2012
Mwar Mwar
Quote:
Originally posted by P'Gell
I don't understand. QUOTE: The English language is getting flooded with more politically correct and soft language END QUOTE

Uh, I don't understand what "politically correct" means. To politically conservative people, it ...
Language is a fluid thing. While it has its rules and structure, the english language has changed over time. The english we speak now is different from how it was spoken a hundred years ago.

Our language also affects how we think (studies by Whorf, for example, but there are plenty of others). In terms of "soft" language, I could direct you to George Carlin's skit on soft language I know he was a comedian, but he does talk of changes in the language. He also studied language, so while he wasn't and expert, he was in no way a layman in language either.

Maybe this question stays a bit from the orignal question, but the nerd in me likes this kind of psych and social stuff.

I think tolerance/hate/bigotry and hardness/softness are independent from each other. Sure, a lot of bigots and be hard and cruel, but you can have soft bigots and tolerant hard folks as well. They might cross paths, per say, but I think they're different entities.

Or perhaps it's more geographical in nature. Or how you present yourself initially to people. You don't want to look soft in a bad neighborhood, but you don't want to be hard at a funeral.

I guess it's a huge question. Thanks for the input!
09/07/2012
Leather & Lace Leather & Lace
Too soft
09/07/2012
shySEXXaddict shySEXXaddict
Quote:
Originally posted by Mwar
Disposition and character comes from a lot of things, but some main factors are: environment, family, and genetics.

That being said, do you think kids, and in some cases adults, are too "soft?" By soft I mean: are they able to stand ...
I am what you would call soft and always have been..I was picked on alot in school and now as an adult am just learning to say no to my family especially.My kids are slightly soft..and sensitive but definitely stand up for themselves
09/07/2012
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