Friday, December 15, 2006

open thread commentary-american families under assault

i doubt that i will win any popularity contests for this one- but hey, i am on a roll this week- so here goes it: america's biggest problem is its parents. no one really likes to voice that out loud for fear of offending anyone- but i have no such fear. now, please, don't misunderstand- i am not saying that parenting is easy. it isn't- and shouldn't be. as a parent, you have chosen to be responsible for and teach-- another person- not an accessory- for the rest of his or her life. it isn't your right or an option to be your child's peer and it isn't your right or an option for you to be overindulgent and not teach him or her anything about how to live as a responsible, productive member of society. but- that is just what america's parents are doing.

my thought is- the biggest threat to the american family is not gay marriage- its american parenting. parents are uninvolved emotionally or too involved emotionally. it is nature vs nurture gone awry. we don't teach manners and we don't set boundaries and the children in america don't have any sense of responsibility overall because we adults don't. the daily routine in many households is- little to no communication and lots of time apart. little interaction among family members apart from the daily chores. we are raising a group of kids who expect things to be done for them- and expect to be able to do what they want when they want it- because they have the time, the money and little supervision. i have seen it in my own community. hands off parenting. you know- the ones who yell at their kid from across the grocery store instead of teaching the child not to touch things? well, we are starting to pay the piper.

now, i realize that a number of panties will be in a twist- so before it gets too painful- i realize that some households do the best that they can. both folks have to work and sacrifice to scrape by. looking at america's highways and byways- and neighborhoods- i don't think that these folks are in the majority. i could be wrong and i welcome statistics to prove me such. no, it is about priorities. many in america- my own family included- have a dual income family to afford luxeries- like a big house or multiple cars or eating out or hobbies or whatnot. many of these families overindulge themselves and their offspring. no limits, no boundaries, no social skills- and being raised by a baby sitter- has resulted in a group of young people with no manners, no morals and no conscience. the rates of juvenile crime have risen over the last decade- and there is plenty of anecdotal information from kids misbehaving in grocery stores and restaurants to 'super nanny' on tv. for some reason, americans glorify the bratty child and parade him or her around as if on display. perhaps it is the new badge of wealth? i mean- look at paris hilton for heaven's sake. anyhoo- why the tirade? below are links that made me think- where are these kid's parents that 1) they would even think to do this and 2) have the free time to do this. gave me food for thought- you?

fort lauderdale, fl

beaten with a bat- 'bumfights' dvd- dr. phil vs ty beeson

vile teen fad

myspace beating video

teen fightclub video


Peacechick Mary said...

It's not just the parents, I think. It's our whole culture that does not support parents; doesn't back them up. Being a parent is one of the roughest jobs in the world and so much depends on it. A little encouragement and support goes a long way.

betmo said...

i agree to a certain extent. how did our culture get the way it is? parents often take the easy way out- giving in is easier than fighting all of the time. but kids test limits and the limits have to come from the parents- not culture. the limits have not been there. it has to start when the children are young- and that is where you see them getting away with swearing and tantrums and what not. limits can be provided with love and caring- but often folks think that the behaviour is cute. unfortunate that it isn't as cute at 15.

Anonymous said...

I was raised by a single-parent (with the help of grandparents for a while), and my sister and I were latch-key kids after we moved before I started 10th grade, and my sister started 6th grade. I think we turned out okay. LOL It IS parenting. We had a lot of respect for our mother...because we knew she meant business if we were in the wrong! HA HA! We also respected her because of what she was doing for us...working her way up a ladder to make a decent life for us. Long hours, sometimes. I do see a lot of leniency in parentling these days. I witnessed a faculty member and her child at the college where I work. The child was about three years of age and very disrespectful. The mother was one of these quiet, "I will try to talk to my child" for discipline persons. The child hauled off and hit the lady! If it had been me and mine, well, once we got on the elevator... let's just say the child would have a new-found respect for me. LOL

I also look at the students on this campus. No respect for others. They will walk three-wide on the sidewalk, and as you approach them walking the other way, YOU have to move out of their way. They won't share the walkway.

Unbelievable. I think the government has scared parents so much about corporal punishment, that they are scared to discipline their child. If the kid says something about getting a "spanking," DCF comes out to the house. Unreal. And I know there are persons that carry things to the extremes, and there should be intervention there, but good grief!

Sewmouse said...

Yes, let's continue to blame the parents for kids out-of-control, when society has created these monsters of it's own accord.

Shall we talk about the kids who come home from grade school and threaten their parents with calling the police or DCFS if the parents spank or otherwise use disciplinary measures?

How about the parents who actually DO try to instill discipline and insist on consequences for improper behavior - who are then arrested for ABUSE?

When I was a child, if we acted out in a store, we were taken to the car, locked in and told we weren't allowed into the store again until we could behave. Do that now and it ends you up in jail for "Child Endangerment" or "Child Abuse" or "Child Neglect".

I'm sorry, but you just can't have it both ways. You can't take away a parent's ability to instil respect and appropriate behavior through discipline and punishment - and then expect that the parent is able to raise well-behaved and socially-acceptable children.

Yes, I'm well aware that there are REAL cases of abuse, endangerment and neglect. These, however, are few and far between. The woman dragging her screaming son out of the store is not necessarily going to burn him with cigarette butts, as some busy-bodys will assume.

Until society decides to either HELP parents rather than threaten them - or backs off and lets them do their jobs - this will only get worse before it gets better.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you on pretty much all your points, b.

You do make some good points and some of them may bother some people, but they need to be said.

No, it is not easy being a parent, but yes, too often parents expect others to parent for them.

It does take a village, but it also takes a parent to reinforce values, behavior, and yes, even manners.

I think it's kinda like "homework" for life.

Hope you have a great weekend, b.

I will try to only post this once.


Anonymous said...

wow it worked!

betmo said...

perhaps- but again i ask- isn't it us who determines the way 'society' behaves? who decides what's acceptable? isn't that us? you don't have to beat the snot out of a kid to instill a sense of right and wrong. you have to teach your child. are they always going to listen? no. if 'society' determines how americans raise their children- why do we keep having them? if we don't like the way things are- why aren't we changing it? having worked with social services agencies closely throughout my career, i can tell you that it is not easy to have a child removed from a home. one phone call does not a case make. these folks are trained to spot false allegations- and for all of the bad press they get- they do a decent job of seeing what is unfounded. where they are deficient is waiting too long to take a child from the parent. why? parental rights. it takes jumping through many, many hoops and courts to get parental rights terminated. parents choose not to use their parental rights because it is easier to pretend everything is fine at home. not to say that there aren't homes where there is dysfunction on the part of the child. i know it isn't easy to find supportive services for children and young people in many communities. i see it here in my area. many services for adults- not so much for kids. the kids with severe problems are in the minority.

my thought is- we put the blame on society; on the school system; on the media and video games; the internet- the piece that is missing is parental involvement. i am not saying that parents do not love their children- i am saying that love is not enough when you are a parent.

dawn said...

Although I respect Sewmouse right to her opinion, I disagree. For all who don't know me I am the mother of 3 boys. I live in the city and my kids respect me and don't beat up the homeless. They also do not threaten to call child welfare. They are not angels but I am proud of there choices and when I haven't been we have discussed many situations. I have to say some people should not be parents. It's really top long to get into. I have always been invovled in my kids lives and have kept them occupied so they would stay on the right path. All 3 of my boys have completely different personality's. I also believe that schools have a responsibility to do right by these kids and not just teach to a test but to teach them to have opinions and make the right choices. It's not easy being a parent but nobody said it was supposed to be.

betmo said...

my other thought is- why do we always blame the kids? they didn't grow up in a vacuum. i can only speak to what i know- and that is the area of the planet in which i live- but when i see parents rearranging and accomodating everything but their kids needs- it makes me mad. it is almost like the kid is on par with the handbag- does it go with the house and car and image? i speak in generalities. i am not singling out any one parent. what i am saying is- if we take a look at the bigger picture in america- who is letting their daughters wear thongs outside of their low rise jeans? who is buying the grand theft auto video game or any of the war video games for christmas? who is putting the raunchy cds in the stockings because jimmy just has to have fifty cent's latest? who lets their kids have internet and cell phone in their rooms at 14- and then wonders why their kid gets abducted by a stranger from the internet? take a look at the big picture.

Anonymous said...

Good call, B...sometimes the parents are WAY too doting on the kids. We didn't have the money for EVERYTHING when I was growing up, and certainly not when we moved to the "big city." ( know what I mean, Betmo.) But we were supported in the SENSIBLE activities we wanted to take part in...not just every little whimsical thing, and we might have gotten some money for some decent items of clothing or some of the latest cassettes (I'm dating myself here), or whatever. We had to go out and get jobs and buy that stuff ourselves most of the time. And we bought what was approved. Nowadays, kids get too much age-INappropriate stuff.

betmo said...

again, i am not beating up on parents who do the best that they can. i just go by what i see. there are many families i see in my community from all walks of life who are hands off- or too controlling. there is no middle ground. the bottom line is- the kids are not learning to be responsible adults. i really think that some of these folks think that kids pop out of the womb fully formed and ready to fend for themselves. they are cute when they are little but then they grow up into real people. they aren't accessories and they are not toys and we shouldn't be relying on society or culture to raise them. it is not my responsibility to watch out for your kid. a co-worker of my husband's took her 7 year old son on a day trip to new york city. as soon as they got off of the bus, she promptly lost sight of him. he had run off and was hiding from her. why? she is a complete duh and never has a clue as to where he is. of course he could see her- and she found him- but a child that young needs to have a parent's hand for awhile. manhattan at christmastime- crowded. many many more stories.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if I am going to buy all of this; with all due respect to you, Betmo, I don't think it is this easy.

betmo said...

i don't think it is supposed to be.

Anonymous said...

What I meant was "cut and dry" rather than easy. I see some improvments in children these days that other people may not. I see more tolerance in today's children and young adults than I have ever seen before, and I respect them for that.

Anonymous said...

Betmo, I tend to agree with you. I believe children (some more than others) essentially reflect what what exists or does not exist in the home and what is at the core of their parent/s.

Sure, society plays it's role but I think society is the result of what families produce and introduce into it.

I also agree with viking that there are some amazing kids these days, I've seen more than a few that manage this in spite of who their parent/s taught or didn't teach.

I think that in this day and age, it's so important not to judge kids by appearance. Often there is a soft underbelly where there is an abundance of tattooing, piercing and black attire.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't have said it better Alaskababy...that is exactly the message I was trying to get across..don't judge a kid by the tatoo.

Anonymous said...

and I also agree with you, Betmo, that parents have a lot to be desired, and there is so much to learn. ...

Anonymous said...

By the way, thanks for this thought provoking post. This is the most that I've commented in a long time. I know you've posted this type of thing before, and I haven't anyway, you know..whatever..have a good one.