Not MY Kid!
by Ned Wicker
In America, behavioral problems involving children are always, without question, about somebody else’s children. Parents today side with their kids against the world, regardless of the circumstances. Or so it seems. My parents’ generation was different. They came of age in the Depression, had no sense of entitlement and fought in World War II.
My generation, by and large, were lousy parents because we were entitled and raised spoiled, entitled children, who themselves became horrible parents with no sense of discipline. “My child would NEVER do anything like that!”
Let’s establish a simple truth here. Human nature has not changed since the dawn of man. Science and technology change, societies change, cultures change, but people don’t. The great philosopher Socrates lamented about how rule the young generation was, and he do so in much the same way as I am doing now. Would his children ever have done something like that? You bet.
A friend of mine is a school teacher. He was doing his normal hallway duty when he noticed a bigger kid bullying a younger student. The bully pushed the kid into a locker, took his lunch away from him and slipped into the boy’s room. The teacher followed and came into the facility just in time to see the kid throw the bad lunch into the urinal and relieve himself on it.
He asked the kid why he would do such a thing and the kid boldly denied it. “I watched you do it,” my friend exclaimed. “So what?” said the kid. He took him to the principal’s office, where they called the boy’s mother. She said, you guessed it, “My son would NEVER do anything like that!” The principal told her that the boy was suspended for a couple of days, which would hopefully give him time to think about what he had done. She was furious.
The next day the boy’s father called a threatened a law suit. The principal, to his credit, did not back down and explained that the teacher had witnessed the whole affair and he had also talked to the little boy that was bullied. The father, like mom, was furious and claimed everyone was a liar.
Bad parents can raise drug addicts
I tell you this little tale because those are the types of people who raise drug addicts. It’s not just poor people in the inner city, or single moms who are holding down three jobs just to pay the rent. It’s not just fatherless children who grow up on the streets. The parents of the school bully are professional people, with a nice home and solid social standing. But their child can do no wrong and they’ll defend him to the end. He doesn’t have to face the music or accept any responsibility for his behavior.
There is no discipline.
There are no boundaries, as he can do anything he pleases.
This is a recipe for disaster. The day will come when a kid like this will find himself in serious jeopardy of addiction, overdose or severe toxic poisoning. He’ll do alcohol and marijuana, then maybe move to something else because nobody says “you can’t do that.”
What should have happened?
If the school principal called my parents…oh boy, was I ever in trouble. I know this because kindly old Mr. Steffan did call my parents and I remember all too well the consequences that followed. Instead of “My son would NEVER do that,” there was “My son had better not ever do that again.”
The discussion with the principal would have been about my behavior and how to correct any bad habits I had developed. My parents would not concern themselves with their own image, or social standing. Truth be known, the end result would have been my not being able to sit comfortably for a while. Message received.
Parents thinks that there kid won't do drugs... they're often wrong!
Parents don’t think their kids would ever do drugs. Their kids are good students. They play sports and go out for the debate team. The kids also know how to play the game and present a squeaky clean image, but these are the same kids that buy illicit drugs and become dealers themselves. It’s like having a secret life. Parents are oblivious to the goings on.
Another friend of mine reaches out to kids that are hanging out in city parks, mainly because his home is right behind a local picnic area with a new pavilion. The teens hang out there every night when the weather is nice. Most of them are 15-16 years-old, but the ringleader is a few years older and has an entourage of young girls around him.
The police know the kids hang out there, but do little or nothing about it, mainly because they know the parents don’t care, or would put up a huge legal fight against them. They would do some arrests, but only if someone were caught with serious drugs. A small amount of marijuana gets a pass. There’s always alcohol, but the law enforcement people just have a very difficult task in trying to catch them and an even bigger job in turning it over to a district attorney who wants to prosecute it.
The neighbors who live next to the park rarely, if ever, call the police because they fear reprisals. The same clean cut, good students and upstanding youth will damage property and threaten worse if the police hassle them. My friend explained that they know who calls the cops.
Parents often completely clueless
This is an easy problem to overlook, because I live in a nice community. There’s money here and nice community spaces. It’s an ideal setting for a drug pusher. There are teenagers with lots of money. They’re bored and they want some fun. Their parents are clueless. There is lots of money to be made.
There is a lot of blame to go around, but I start with the parents who firmly believe their child is incapable of bad behavior. Today it’s a nasty kid bullying a smaller child. Some day I’ll see the same bully lying dead of an overdose on the table in our emergency department. But their child would never do anything like that. Ya, right.