, , , , , , , , , , ,

We see it all around us, lately we’ve had a front row seat to it. I don’t understand why it happens, our generation certainly wasn’t raised with this behavior as an example. If anything, our parents were overly protective, which really doesn’t justify such an extreme reaction.

Kids are out of control and parents complain that they don’t understand why their kids act as they do.

Recently there was a story in the local paper about a teenager that reported her parents for drug use, alleging that they had supplied her with drugs as well. There was a police raid of the home. Subsequently, the teenager tried to commit suicide and was put under medical care in an in-patient situation.

The truth of the story was revealed to be that the teenager had been doing drugs with her older boyfriend, had been engaging in sexual activity, plotting a way to get away from her parents so they could be together. The teenager’s parents had imposed rules the teenagers objected to.

The parents were baffled as to how something like this could have happened. They could not see that they had abdicated their responsibility, then when they realized things were getting out of hand, tried to be parents and impose rules.

They had allowed their teenage daughter to have a largely unsupervised relationship with her first boyfriend. The teenagers spent lots of time in her bedroom alone, on the second floor of the house, while the parents spent most of their time in the garage with the family business. The boyfriend picked up the daughter almost daily, taking her out. The daughter disappeared for weeks at a time, going to stay with her Grandmother, where she was able to see her boyfriend without interference from her parents.

The teenager was never outside, never did any chores, went to school, came home and spent all her time in her room, online, or with her boyfriend. Though this was her first boyfriend, her parents didn’t intervene when she posted on Facebook that they were engaged, nor when she changed her last name to his.

Where was the parenting when she first started to see this boy? Why was she allowed to be alone in her room with her boyfriend? Why hadn’t her parents talked to her about how serious the relationship was getting? Why would the parents not intervene when she changed her name and relationship status on Facebook?

Why do parents today seem to think they can abdicate their responsibility as parents, that their kids will just somehow figure out life and make good choices without parental guidance? Why do parents act so shocked when things go wrong with their kids and think they can start enforcing rules after they’ve neglected their responsibility?

I see this even with parents of children with special needs. Such parents seem to think the school and social services will step in and do their job for them, they look for someone else to take on their responsibility for them.

Then, when things go wrong, it’s everyone else who is at fault, the children, other parents, the school, society, etc. We wonder why kids take no responsibility, but fail to see that we are not giving them good examples to follow.

This story from the paper was terribly unfortunate, it didn’t have to unfold the way it did. To me, parenting is about taking ownership of one’s responsibility for the well-being and nurturing of a child, the future of society. My parent was overly protective, but I was able to identify what she did that was helpful to my growth and independence and what she did that wasn’t. I was able to determine what I could use as a parent, myself, and what I wanted to discard. Raising my own child wasn’t about spiting my own parent, as it seems to be for so many others.