A Brief History of ‘Kids Today Are Too Soft

University of Calgary researcher and teacher Paul Fairie likes to dig through old newspapers to find articles related to what we complain about today. His most recent find is called “A Brief History of ‘Kids Today Are Too Soft’”.

You know how everyone over 40 thinks kids today are too soft? He found newspaper clippings going back to 1921 where people complained about the same thing.

1921 — There is no question that the youngsters of 1921 are setting too fast a pace. It is bad for their health and dangerous to their morals when children who can hardly “toddle” are doing it six nights out of seven. There are too many high powered cars parked around the high schools. The kids have it “too soft” for their own good.

1931 — Condemning the modern generation of school children as “too soft” and “to fresh,” Dr. Frederic Woellner of Los Angeles made a plea for more disciplinary power and more prerogative for school teachers.

1942 — Modern School Kids Are Too Soft [as] Spend Too Much Time Smoking And Dancing In Juke Joints

1955 — (Victoria Times) Are our children becoming too soft. Johnny is not allowed to climb trees — a natural and strengthening exercise — because he might hurt himself. Softball and baseball, which are fun but not particularly good in developing all-round muscular condition, are encouraged. But the lad goes to the school ground in a bus or his parents’ car; he spends long hours just sitting, watching movies or TV when he could be hiking or engaged in rough and tumble.

1961 — Are our children too soft to face the adult world? This question came up at a gathering of three couples recently … One mother underlined the uneasiness of the group by stating, “We have done our children irreparable wrong. From before conception we planned only how to make life easy for them. Now as they approach adulthood we are still cushioning them from reality.

1977 — There’s no discipline in the home. They run wild and pay no attention to what they’re told. But after they’re here awhile and they learn to ride the unicycle, it does something for their discipline.

1989 — The kids are too soft now. They’re into skateboards and roller skates.

1994 — They’re wrapped up in Nintendo and skateboards. When was the last time we had a high school 4-minute miler? Kids are driven to Little League. Kids ride school buses. I had to walk five miles in raging blizzards to get to school. Kids are too soft, a bunch of marshmallows.

2008 — We asked: “Are kids today too soft?” Yes 72.7%. Same as always 13.2%. No, they’re tougher 14.0%.