Home ยป When Did (my) Kids Become So Useless?

When Did (my) Kids Become So Useless?

Ok, be warned this might get a little bit sweary but please take it in the satirical way it is intended!

When did modern day kids become so fucking useless? I mean this in a very loving, motherly way – as in, why the hell can’t my kids seem to do anything for themselves? It doesn’t seem to matter how many times I encourage them to go it alone or use some common sense, they don’t seem to grasp the baffling concept of just trying things for themselves or getting on with it. So much so, when I suggested one of them “use their initiative” the retort was: “I would if I knew what initiative was!” Fair point, but Google it, or heaven forbid, use a bloody dictionary! I don’t want to set my little birds free from the nest, when they one day head off into the big wide world (the day will come right?), for them to trip over the first man-hole cover in the drive because they didn’t think to look where they were going.

My little rant observation, comes after a week during which…

  • I’ve had to hand hold a 7 and 8 year old through their homework. There was no way one of them could have gathered 10 number plates from moving traffic on his own, tempting though it was after this morning’s hissy-fits; and I’m struggling to see how the 7 year old, who still can’t grasp the concept of flushing the toilet was supposed to make a pinata by himself?!
  • I observed a 13 year old stare at the microwave wondering which button would kick start the magic machine – he was kindly told – “that’d be START!”
  • I repeatedly witnessed children (yes, my own)  leaving their plates, cups, cutlery etc in the exact location they last used them without the slightest thought of how they might get to the dishwasher!
  • I’m asked at least 20 times a day – “Mummy, watch me XXX”.  When X = kicking a ball, jumping on a scooter, kicking a ball, compiling a FIFA 16 team, kicking a ball or even nose picking.
  • I was woken at 2am, not by the 6 month old, but by a 7/8 yr old requesting to go to the toilet! Note: he’s had to walk past 2 toilets to get to me and at no point in my childrens’ lives have I ever instilled the need to request parental permission to piss.
  • I’m constantly asked “where are my school shoes?” before they’ve even started looking for them.

Now, is it just me but when I was a kid (OMG, did I just say that like an actual adult?!) I had to do my homework by myself,or on my head be it; this was before the days of the internet and I still had to find the answers for myself. I get that schools are trying to engage parents in the learning process, but I don’t see that my education was in any way hindered due to the lack of parental input when it came to homework. In fact, I can only see that it taught me to look for the solution to the problem myself, thoroughly. Perhaps if this was still the case, we wouldn’t be faced with a teenager bemused by the microwave or, quite often, which spoon is best to eat a yogurt with (yes, we are regularly asked this conundrum with every Muller corner!)

Similarly, whilst my mother was very attentive when I was a child (actually, she’s still pretty good now!) I had to have achieved something pretty spectacular prior to requesting acknowledgement with a “Hey mum, watch me cartwheel on my head whilst juggling fire!” (slight exaggeration perhaps!).

I’m really doing my absolute best to raise self sufficient and helpful boys, but I’m starting to wonder – is their impatient desire to get things achieved quicker than their tiny minds can work-out stemming from their uber technological world, as opposed to the wonderful 80s and 90s:

  • Want to watch the film again? Blindly rewind the VHS to the exact point of the film starting, to avoid the “coming soon” ads.
  • Want to check your emails? Wait for someone to get off the phone, then painfully wait for the dial-up connection to go through its paces.
  • Want to watch kids TV? Wait for 3:30 – 6pm daily and only have the choice of 2 channels.
  • Might be out when your favourite TV show is on? Either tough luck, or, rely on the very exciting invention of “Video Plus” which only took 45 minutes to work out and didn’t work 90% of the time. Plus run the risk of taping over something you hadn’t yet watched on the video tape.
  • Want to find out about a specific period of history for your school project? Jump on a bus, go to the library, proceed to spend copious amounts of time photocopying info.
  • Want to find out where someone is or when they’ll be home? Nope, you’ll just have to wait for them to get home to answer the landline.
  • Want to get the latest pop tunes? Either wait until your mum takes you into town or the nearest Virgin Record Store or hold down play/record on a Sunday afternoon to tape the chart show.

I can only imagine, these and so many more valuable lessons I learnt in the 90s (like to never pair lime green and orange) taught me to not only appreciate the true wonder of my iPhone, Netflix and online shopping, but patience, the ability to think about solutions to the problems and to just get off my arse!

I love my children dearly and equally adore seeing them master new skills (or repeat the old ones, again and again), but I worry for their future selves and for my frustration levels as I repeat to them “When I was your age…..” . So this week, when asked to pass an iPad which is closer to the child, get a glass of water when the child is standing next to the tap or questioned as to the location of the remote when it’s under the child’s bum – I’m going to remind my sons that they are very capable human beings, they are clever, great, wonderful, mind-blowingly marvellous and just gently mutter to myself “Do it your f’ing self!”.

Nah, who am I kidding – I’ll gladly skip over and grant their every desire! Cue, repeat useless cycle!

Rant Over x


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  1. October, 2015 / 12:09 am

    Love this post and I don’t have kids but definitely relate to all the 80s and 90s references. Especially recording the chart show. Seems a lifetime ago! Thanks for the trip down memory lane ๐Ÿ™‚

    • October, 2015 / 10:07 am

      Morning Raphael – wowI could wax lyrical all day about the fab ol’ 80s and 90s, I actually kinda miss those slightly hard work things – like don’t move when listening to your Discman cos you’ll jump 3 songs! Music on the go has become far too easy!! The planning that went into an outfit as you had to actually go to the limited shops in your home town to find the items – no such thing as googling “off the shoulder stripy top” as I did last night! Have a super day and thanks for the read x

  2. Liss
    December, 2015 / 9:07 am

    I’ve been thinking the same thing recently except more of a 70/80s feel ? I adore my boys but they are clueless and for my eldest its my fault as he has aspergers and I wraped him in cotton wool but he’s 16 now so it time to unwrap ? My 11 year old is horrendous daily uniform is spread across the lounge with cups plate and wrappers. After an hour long argument over homework he then talks to Google for answers because its easier and there so why not use it! God forbid I suggest using those things called books! Henbroke his hand recently and asked the teacher for an extension over the weekend to which the reply was fine take an extra week as most people didn’t do it! Can you imagine our teachers saying that? It’s be detention no school trip and a phone call home! I do think it’s a boy thing though too s my sister wos the same ages cooks cleans and helps albeit wile muttering under her breath how its unfair?

  3. February, 2018 / 10:03 am

    Found this post when I googled ‘why is my 10 year old so useless’ . LOL. Argh – we are at fault, us devoted mums, for sure, I do way too much for mine and HAVE TO STOP as I am shooting myself in the foot. But you’re right about the immediacy of our modern culture and society, too.

    Thanks for helping me know I’m not the only one struggling here…