Hey Parents, How About Actually Parenting?

Posted: June 23, 2012 in Child Welfare, General
Tags: , , , , ,

Those of you out there who have children and actually play an active role in your children’s lives will understand where this one is coming from.  Chances are pretty good that the people I am referring to will recognize some of my examples later in the post, but more than likely they will not recognize it as their parental inadequacy, they will instead see it as someone else.  I mean after all, when we are actually bad at something or not doing our part, but think we are, then it is so much easier to pinpoint the deficiencies in others rather than recognize them in yourself.  Hell, if we were all capable of knowing our deficiencies, fix them and move on, I would have absolutely nothing to write about.

So what I am trying to say here?  ALL week long I have either witnessed in person, read or heard about, and in one distinct case been media blitzed by children who are just out of control.  I have one FB friend who went on TWO well written rants about parents who refused to do anything about their unruly children, was relayed a horrifying story about some children who took hospitality waaaay beyond what anyone would ever extend, to the point of costly clean-up, and just about everyone either Youtubed or was media blitzed by the video of the elderly bus monitor being verbally abused by a few teens who need their asses whooped (throwback to my generation with that comment, you 40+ers know what I am getting at!).  So sandwiched in between “I am Mitt Romney or Barack Obama and I endorse the next 30 seconds of bullshit you are about to hear” commercials, we have all been aware of bad-children running amok.  Television, the media in particular is chock full of bullying, violence, sadistic pranks and just all around acts that are demonstrated by children who have parents that either take no active role in their kids lives or are on the other end of the spectrum completely and maintain the strictest of environments, possibly even veering towards or diving over the line of abuse.

We have all witnessed the children who seem to have no supervision what so ever as we troll the aisles of Walmart looking for the deal of the day.  Sometimes these kids are so troublesome we decide to go a different route than we were taking, sometimes we can only just stand amazed as the products fall off the shelf as young “Jimmy” or “Jane” attempt to climb the highest reaches of shelving, diaper hanging, little toes desperately gripping the sharp edge of the shelf, pacifier hanging in the mouth, all while the parent or parents are completely oblivious, texting away, having a FaceBook war, or my personal favorite yapping away like an escapee from the nut-hatch apparently to no one but themselves until you realize they have one of those dumbass Bluetooth headsets buried under their doorag or poorly glued in hair extensions. (See http://www.peopleofwalmart.com if you think i exaggerate too much).

So, what is it we are teaching our children when we have a situation like this (put yourself in the place of one of the peopleofwalmart right now).  We are teaching our kids that it is okay to be an unruly and undisciplined little turd, we are teaching our children that it is okay to destroy things because there is someone whose job it is to fix it, we are teaching our children that mommy or daddy feel it is okay to ignore you because we have something completely insignificant distracting us, we are teaching our children how to be completely bad parents when they decide it is their turn to carry on the family name.  Forget the specifics of the whole nature/nurture argument for a minute and just apply some common-sense to this, our children are sponges and while they may not be able to regurgitate information verbatim each and every time you throw it at them, they are imprinting themselves with the examples you set for them.  Those times they went and created chaos and you knew about it but did nothing to discipline them for it besides yanking their arm out of the socket as you lifted them up high enough to swat their ass so that you did not have to bend your lazy ass down to get on their level and apply some good sound parental knowledge!  Okay, breath taken, now go on.

I am by no means a perfect parent.  Concentrating solely on the children we have that live with us, my wife and I make mistakes all the time (not that we let the kids know anyhow :)).  However, each and every time we need to make adjustments in our parental style or simply just adjust our children, we take the time to explain and as often as is practical, we demonstrate.  It takes repetition to create new and erase old muscle memory and bad habits.  If our children are running wild and free, we are doing something to both stop the bad part of what they are doing and explaining why it is bad.  No one is a perfect parent, the best we can hope for is that when it comes time our children recognize the lesson we were trying to teach and have that forehead slapping moment that we now do about lessons our parents were trying to get through our thick skulls.

One of the few things in life that get to me, I mean really hit a raw nerve, is children suffering.  It is simply not something that is their fault.  It is the parents responsibility to provide for their family.  There are many households that have little or no money yet they are good, happy families with good children.  It is not always about what you have, but what you pass on.  Some of the worst examples of poor parenting and demon-children come from full-on nuclear families where the parents earn a decent living and the children have what or more than they need.  Somewhere along the line, however, things get messed up, the parents do not parent, the children turn into hellions, and elderly women who choose to keep working and monitor the bus end up getting verbally abused with the video posted on You Tube to the delight of the troublesome little shits that did it.  Everyone related to this one all say the same thing, “good kids, what happened, yada yada, yada”.  What happened is that these kids are busy learning a lesson in retrospect that they should have learned as their basic upbringing.

Bottom line for me is that parents simply need to parent their children, regardless of their age, regardless of the special needs they may have and regardless of the parents age.  We all know how well the families are turning out from ‘ 16 and Pregnant’ (thanks MTV).  There is no excuse for bad behavior from your children, there is simply bad parenting.  We all have off days and kids are wily enough to get things through the cracks, but it is our responsibility to own up to the crap our kids do when we are not watching, makes sure reparations are made for it, make sure our children can understand the significance of what they did, and adjust our parenting accordingly to prevent it from happening again.  No one wants to go to the park just to have the other parents start to take their kids home because your little hellion is drawing the line in the sandbox.  Stewie Griffin is funny as hell on TV, but scary in person.

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