I as a tourguide and tourbusdriver in the San Francisco Bay Area deal with a lot of high school students groups. The groups come from all over the world to visit the USA,which always includes a trip to our city. American high school kids are not the worst - it's Brazilians, Mexicans and other upper-class children of the reigning Latin American countries. These offspring, raised with servants and private schools and so on, do not know anything about work, accepting what is given, (e.g., meals and so on), or even recognizing their extreme priviledge when they come from nations of struggling, semi-starvation level wage-earners. They learn arrogance and laziness from their parents and expect others to provide them with everything.
American highschool kids on our buses, generally of the upper-middle-class, do not have servants, but have parents who do and pay for everything for them. They do not babysit, mow lawns, paint fences, garden, houseclean, run newspaper routes, or work parttime at shops, restaurants or hotels. They are given long, expensive trips abroad or around the USA while their parents get a break from them. We tourguides and drivers have to deal with these semi-spoiled children who do what they want: come back late to the bus, refuse to eat their meals, talk on their cellphones, chew gum and leave it on the seats, smoke illegally, drink, make out in the back of the bus, and complain endlessly, or at least sulk, pout and frown. They're considered, to put it mildly, a grieviously ungrateful lot. We feel we're wasting our efforts, our educated lectures on these groups, but what the heck! We adults need paychecks, and their parents are sending them to us to take care of them so we do it anyway.
Which teenagers ARE grateful, attentive, etc.? Asian kids. If they come directly from Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia or China, they're an educated and well-disciplined elite whose parents have instilled in them respect for authority, a sense of gratitude, humility, and civility. It is a pleasure to deal with them, help them, give them high-level history, geography or socioeconomic lectures on California, and of course, they're so well-prepared, they know much of what we're telling them already BY HEART - including statistics about population, etc.
American kids are a product of their parents. Why they become so indifferent to their (relatively) silver-spoon youth is a mystery to me, since my parents were immigrants, had to work hard, and we all had to scrimp. To think of trips to Europe or around the USA at that age was an impossible dream. Maybe "having it all" is a backhanded curse; one is simply too young to understand what it means not to have it. Later, they will look back and appreciate it, but it's too late - they have to appreciate it WHILE they receive it, or all the efforts at education (which their parents pay) won't penetrate.
Any rebuttals? I am happy to argue all day with you. Or take you on a tourbus full of these U.S. kids!!!! This Saturday I have another load to meet at SFO, and I dread it. But a paycheck is a paycheck, hey?