Let me start this post by saying that I don’t have kids. Yeah, that’s right. I’m not a parent. However, I am a teacher; which makes me the surrogate mother to many students.
I spend the majority of my day with teenagers and I’m struck with how differently they are being raised than when I was being raised. This doesn’t mean that my parents were perfect- they definitely had faults, and I bet if you asked them, they would admit to making mistakes. Nevertheless, there seems to be an epidemic of insufficient parenting going around- resulting in children who are disrespectful, lazy, ungrateful, insubordinate, and incapable of making good choices without guidance.
Here are cases where I’ve experienced students who have been victimized by insufficient parenting:
- Students have significant others who are allowed to live with them or have overnight visitation.
- Students are allowed to get fire-engine red highlights in your hair.
- Students are allowed to curse at, yell at, holler at, and put their hands on their parents. Without consequence.
- Students have school as their only responsibility, yet they are allowed to underachieve.
- Students are allowed to respond by saying “what”, “huh”, or “yeah” as opposed to “Yes”, “M’aam”, or “Sir”
- Students are allowed to wear clothes that show off their undergarments (this applies to young men and young women).
- Students who don’t know how to wash anything- their hands, the dishes, the clothes- because it’s always been done for them.
I’m sure there are more cases, but those were the first to come to mind. I can only imagine how difficult it is to raise children. The amount of love, care, and work required to be a good teacher let me know that parenting is difficult. Nevertheless, children deserve our best. They deserve and require limits and boundaries. There are so many moments where I feel that a child’s life could have been different because someone told them “No.” It would sound something like this:
- “No, you aren’t too cute to wash the dishes.”
- “No, you can’t go to the movies this weekend because you are failing your math class and you need to study.”
- “No, you will not live in this house and talk to me any kind of way.”
- “No, you will not just have this because you asked for it. You need to earn it.”
- “No, you can’t go to this party where I know that there will be underaged drinking and illegal drug use.”
The bottom line is that it requires effort. Being your child’s friend is never the answer. There were SO many moments when my mother reminded me that we were NOT friends or peers, and that we were not equals- she was in charge. While those moments were difficult at the time, they taught me how to respect authority and understand boundaries.
I promise, if I keep seeing all these cases of insufficient parenting, I’m gonna have to do a parenting workshop. The first lesson will be: “Your Child’s Problems- It’s all YOUR Fault”. Yeah. It’s like that.
Let’s stop the insufficient parenting before we lose this generation. Thanks.
Until next time…