My parents did a good job raising my sister and I. I think the majority of the Baby Boomer generation parents did. They taught us that actions have real consequences and having manners wasn’t optional. It was also a time when society wasn’t so morally corrupt either. Our faith was most important and my parents sacrificed a lot for my sister and I to attend private grade school and high school. Grades were important, homework was a must and sports always came second to school work…always. Getting in trouble at school was a serious offense and one my parents did not tolerate. They treated teachers with respect which meant accepting their ability to teach, discipline and grade. They never fought with teachers. They respected their roles as educators, not questioned it. I got grounded (I didn’t say ‘we’ because my sister rarely got in trouble) and that didn’t mean being sent to my room with an iPhone/iPad/iPod or any other smart phone (heck, smart phones weren’t around then!), it meant no land line (only phones we had!), no TV and no sports (even if it was a game day!). We said please, thank you and I’m sorry. We dressed and acted appropriately. ‘Sass’ was not handled with yelling, name calling or out of control parenting, it was simply handled. My parents didn’t have a manual on how to raise us, but they did the best they could, and in my opinion, they did a damn good job.
I don’t know what happened between now and then. Kids and teenagers these days are brats. They are spoiled brats. They have too many toys, too much technology, too much TV and too much attitude. They are not well disciplined, not well mannered and not well educated (this goes beyond just schooling). So…where are the parents? Maybe they’re too busy working which means they’re too busy to take the time to be around their children and see what is actually going on with them. Or maybe, they just don’t care. They’re too selfish. They’re still ‘partying it up’ (you know these parents) while their kids are doing God knows what (some guesses can be made here based on age). They don’t want to grow up and be responsible adults so they act like children themselves, reckless and irresponsible. Or maybe, they are just oblivious. They think their children are angels and clearly unaware of the things going on around them. They make excuses, saying things like ‘well it’s different nowadays’, ‘it’s just a phase’ or the truly blinded comment, ‘no, that’s definitely not going on’. These are the parents fighting with teachers even though it was their child who didn’t complete the homework. These are the parents who find babysitters every weekend so they can go out. These are the parents whose kids are corrupting other kids. These are the parents now.
And if what I’m saying is making you current parents mad then GOOD! You should be mad. You should be mad at yourself. Did you forget what being a parent means? That it’s your job to make the time to help with homework, be involved in what your kids are doing outside of school (hopefully sports, keeps kids out of trouble, but if not, hopefully you know what it is) and teaching them responsibility (how about a little ‘no chores, no phone’?). When they do something wrong, they should be punished. I’m not saying physical violence, but there needs to be some form of discipline so that it’s understood you don’t get to just go through life doing whatever you want, whenever you want (ACTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES!). And while you’re at it, some manners too. My parents made sure that I said hello and goodbye to every family member when I was at parties. That’s called ‘respect’. The same goes for accidentally bumping into someone or hurting them..you say you’re sorry. You don’t support you child’s bad behavior. You don’t justify their bad actions. And you definitely don’t encourage it (which you can be doing through your actions, which whether you think so or not, they are watching and learning from).
Society doesn’t help either. A part of me wants to blame the people because we make up the society. We determine the framework and society just fills in the gaps. My parents didn’t have to deal with reality shows, casual sex and the exploitation of sex as well as the ‘glamor’ of the internet and smart phones. The worst shows that happened to be out there when I was young were things on MTV (which wasn’t even that bad) and 90210 (and even that show had consequences to bad actions).
I believe that raising a child in today’s world is much harder, I really do, but it’s not impossible and it can be changed. We can change the way things are done.
This is my plea to my generation’s parents (anyone born 1976-1986) and those future parents. Please stop. Please stop the cycle with our children. I want my kids growing up with TGIF (which growing up for me meant the TGIF shows, pizza and family game night) and Saturday morning cartoons. I want family time to mean something and the dinner table be a PHONE FREE ZONE. I want to talk not text with my kids and I want them to make good, moral decisions. I want them to have manners, respect their elders and one another. I want them to know there’s more to life then what Google can show you. I want them to be able to watch DECENT television shows that aren’t filled with teenagers having sex or getting drunk (ABC Family you have truly let me down, my kids will probably only be watching the Disney Channel which I pray never conforms to society the way ABC Family has!). I want my children to have parents that are around and setting good examples for them.
We can give all the excuses as to why things are the way they are now, but I don’t want to hear it. I honestly don’t. I refuse to be anything but an extraordinary parent. And yes, I will be tired and maybe even some days completely burnt out and sure, I’ve only been a parent for 10 months so what do I know? Well, I know this. I know that my children will be good kids and grow up to be good, kindhearted adults because I will do whatever it takes to ensure that. I will not give up on my child or any of my children (God willing we have more) and I will not succumb to society’s shitty showcase of our world. I will teach my children the way my parents taught me. I hope if you were blessed with great parents that you will do the same, and if you were not, that you break the cycle with yours. God gave you the miracle of bringing a child/children into this world, give Him the respect by raising them to be loving, compassionate, responsible and moral individuals. Stop the cycle. It starts with you.