Children are facing challenges that plague their immature minds in ways those of us who are parents and supportive adult family members NEVER faced at such young ages. We are losing a lot of our kids – but, all is negative! We can fight to save our young people by changing our way of thinking.
This week, a local secondary school allowed police searches of their learners for drugs, alcohol and weapons. There have been previous reports of schools searching students and finding shockingly large numbers of such illicit paraphernalia. A story broke a last month about an 11 year old sent by his father to sell drugs at school. We all know about reports of violence, bullying, sex acts, drug use and peer pressure as ordinary events on school grounds. I believe that far too many parents take a laissez-faire approach to child-rearing that is inappropriate in today’s social media-infused modern battleground for the hearts and minds of our children.
Parents (this includes extended families of young people), listen up! The world your kids face is NOT the world you grew up in, so stop acting like they are just like you were at that age; they are not. They face a fast communication, highly ‘exposed’ world with few social secrets and even fewer mysteries. Religion or cultural taboos, and parental/familial wrath no longer work to ‘control’ many kids’ behaviour.
Dealing with pre-teens and teenagers is like navigating around a huge iceberg. What you see on top in your face, is just the tip, the real mass of the difficulty lies beneath and that is where you must go.
Those parents wishing to be ‘best friends’ with their kids are actually their worst enemies because their permissiveness is allowing kids to walk dark and painful paths for which these minors are not prepared. Many of them look older than they are (and parents pay to dress them that way) and try to act as if they’ve ‘seen it all’, but that is baseless bluster; these kids are babes in the woods. Parents who have experience in life, must open up and share their stories with these ‘I-know-it-all’ kids, highlighting the many things they DON’T know (without being so judgemental!)
By the way, parents are usually the authors of their kids’ problems. If you didn’t teach your children to respect others when they were 3-5 years old, you cannot magically expect them to know how to respect others when they are 13-15. You reap what you sow.
You need to check your own behaviour as parents; kids see everything. They see your hypocrisy when you tell them that drugs are bad and yet, you regularly get drunk or high.
A parent that does not know the name of any of their child’s teachers, has no idea of the subjects their kids study, and does not know a single one of their kids’ friends, has placed other things ahead of raising their children. Kids must be parents’ #1 priority.
Parents out there who spend money on their own social and material desires, but have no idea whether their kids have warm clothing or clean underwear, are tossing their kids away like trash.
There is a comedy sketch by Chris Rock from about 15 years ago where he makes harsh generalities bad parenting. He quipped that if a school kid cannot read, that is the ‘Momma’s fault.’ But, if the school kid cannot read because the power is cut off, that is the ‘Daddy’s fault.’ He went on to joke that if a kid calls his Momma by her first name and his grandmother, ‘Mom’, then that kid is going to jail.
His overall point is that parents have the main role in how their kids turn out.
Kids face a hurricane-filled world on levels that many adults don’t quite understand. I wonder how many parents are equipping their kids with the mechanisms needed to find their way through life’s storms.
Parents: Did you teach your kids to love themselves and show them that they are loved? If not, then you are sending your children into the world as prey for any predator.
School bullies have parents. Are these parents aware that their kids are juvenile terrorists? I believe that most parents know that their kid is a monster and ignore it. This makes them co-conspirators in the crime of making other human beings’ lives miserable. Shame on you.
Children under the sway of their ‘friends’ and lacking in self-esteem, personal power and confidence, also have parents. Are those parents merely extolling the kid to ‘toughen up and stop whining’, or worse, not even hearing or seeing the signs of a child in trouble? Get help to find ways to support your child’s development.
When our kids tap into the dark side of the force, we can blame the internet, TV, their ‘bad friends’, poverty, dysfunctional communities, poor role models or weak teachers. And there is truth in blaming these sources for their PART of the problem with these kids in crisis. But, the parents who choose not to be in charge of their own homes and leave their kids to raise themselves, are the main reason youth are flying out of the windows, rather than flying high into the sky of achievement.
Rescue your kids. Caring for them is not only about providing food, clothing and shelter. Stop your worries each day and spend more time with them. Make their worries, yours. Listen to and challenge them; laugh, cry, and play with them. Only then can you really be a hands-on parent and begin shaping a great adult for the future.