Iba na ang Kabataan Ngayon: Why It’s Time to Change Our Perspective

As a teacher and a parent, I’ve heard the statement “Iba na ang kabataan ngayon” one too many times, often used in a negative way.

This remark usually comes out in the context of how school-aged kids way back used to be more well-mannered and more disciplined compared with the kids nowadays.

What’s worse is that this remark is often associated with demeaning labels told within kids’ earshot.

Let me share with you three points why I believe it’s critical for us adults to change our perspective from “Iba na ang kabataan ngayon” to “Iba na ang panahon ngayon.”

Iba na ang Kabataan Ngayon: Why It's Time to Change Our Perspective

It takes the burden off the kids.

Kids take the full blame for being “lazy,” “rowdy,” “unruly,” or “rule-breaking” when we say, “Iba na ang kabataan ngayon.” But have we ever bravely faced what might have caused these behaviors we are so fond of nitpicking?

Let me take you back to the 90s when the only screen in our home was a single television in our living room. It was very easy for our parents and guardians to control our screen time. Also, we had a wealth of off-screen activities then: playing with neighbors in the streets, reading books and comics, and playing with actual toys – sari-sari store and mall-bought combined.

Nowadays, the number of adults living under one roof corresponds to the minimum number of screens in the home. This is because one adult may have at least two gadgets for personal use, work, or leisure. Add to this the televisions situated in more than one room at home.

So, now, let’s ask ourselves: do we contribute to the kids’ indulgence in too much play and not much work and responsibility?

We must expect people to change in a manner that goes with the changes in their environment. Kids nowadays are called to adapt to and move in a world we adults are also still trying to understand.

It calls us to be more accountable adults.

But this is not to say we should tolerate the untoward behaviors we consistently notice with our kids. This is just a loud call for all of us to not passively attribute any unacceptable behavior to “Iba na ang kabataan ngayon.”

The shift in perspective demands us to be proactive in the search for the root of the behavior so we can address it accordingly.

Raising kids is a lifelong journey. I understood this first as a classroom teacher. I understood it more deeply when I became a mom.

I had my fair share of exhaustion and burnout as a teacher before that led me to conclude I can’t do anything about the kids’ behavior anymore. To be a teacher in this age is doubly challenging, but I stand that teachers and parents alike are in the best position to plant seeds among the kids that will lead them to be more responsible for themselves, their family, and their community in due time.

Let’s not dismiss what our little efforts now can do in the long run.

Patience and accountability among us adults are keys.

It challenges us to set them up for success in this “new” world.

We can’t raise our children exactly the way we were raised. To shape them using the rules, methods, and standards from a world that no longer exists may be unsound and unfair.

There used to be a limited source of information way back – teachers, print materials, television, and radio. I remember asking my mother how the word “cholera” was pronounced upon encountering it in a local comic book. Now, kids won’t have to ask that since they are capable of finding every piece of information online without help.

However, because of the accessibility of information, kids nowadays are exposed to misinformation and disinformation too – content which are not filtered to their age and worse, misleading and erroneous. As a result, they may mistake opinion as fact, and they may not feel the need for a face-to-face discourse because they think their online participation already compensates.

Despite these advances in technology our kids are adept at, they still need our old-school tender loving care.

We need to be present so we can listen to them and help them process things they are exposed to.

We need to be present so we can be their filter in this age of information overload.

We need to be present so we can prepare them for the life they are yet to live.

No, they don’t need us to tell them they’re different from us in a negative tone. They may have already heard that a million times before.

What they need is a guide to walk them through their confusions and self-doubts; someone who can tell them they, too, can make it in this ever-changing world.

Iba na ang panahon ngayon. Because of this, our kids need us more than ever.

This change in perspective is critical and urgent, for it calls us to be more intentional and more involved adults in our kids’ lives.

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