Criminologist Melissa Sickmund asked a good question: "Why is it that as adults we want to think our kids are the worst kids ever?"
It's an ancient tradition, as these examples show:
"Our youth now love luxury—they have bad manners and contempt for authority. ... Children are now tyrants—not the servants of their households. ... They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers."
_ Socrates, fifth century B.C.
"I would there were no age between ten and three-and-twenty, or that youth would sleep out the rest; for there is nothing in the between but getting wenches with child, wronging the ancestry, stealing, fighting."
_ William Shakespeare, "The Winter's Tale," Act III, Scene Three. Circa 1610.
"The number of boy burglars, boy robbers and boy murderers is so astoundingly large as to alarm all good men."—A New York Times editorial in 1857.
"America is now home to thickening ranks of juvenile `super-predators'—radically impulsive, brutally remorseless youngsters, including ever more preteenage boys, who murder, assault, rape, rob, burglarize, deal deadly drugs, join gun-toting gangs, and create serious communal disorders. They do not fear the stigma of arrest, the pains of imprisonment or the pangs of conscience."
_ William J. Bennett, John J. DiIulio Jr. and John Walters, "Body Count," 1996.
Source: University of Richmond law professor Robert Shepherd Jr.