Who's to blame?

By: K. Peak

More and more it seems we are hearing about very young victims and perpetrators of violent or other deplorable acts. Six year olds shooting guns. Elementary school children putting soap in a teacher's drink in an attempt to poison him. Gym teachers being falsely accused of molestation just because a few girls did not like being disciplined for poor sportsmanship. We have high school students blowing away classmates and teachers out of anger, despair, hopelessness or because they were never taught how to handle situations.  Babies having babies and dumping them in trash bins.  Schools that cannot handle students – or will not - for a variety of reasons: often financial. Why is this happening?

Could it be the media? Yeah!!!  Hey, cartoons are pretty violent so are some shows. Rap music encourages violence and heavy metal pushes suicide!  Magazine show tiny girls dressed like thirty-year-olds!  Maybe we are onto something here! Movies depict teens as purely hormonally driven sex fiends.  If you are a virgin you are a pariah. Guns: the only way to solve an issue according to action films. The Internet!  HEY!  Just look at what your child can download!  Instructions to make bombs can be downloaded. The latest is bestiality!  Sex! Drugs! Wow!!! But who is letting them watch this?

OK, maybe it is the schools. Yeah… the schools! Teachers do not teach. Classrooms are overcrowded creating a stressing environment.  Fights, weapons, drugs, gangs, administrators at a loss.  Yeah, maybe it is the schools. They do not do enough to raise children. Why can't the schools do their jobs?  But why are they raising children? Schools should be places of education, not doing the primary parenting job.

Now what?  Could it be role models?  I have to admit, many sports stars and actors are not the best role models. They feel they can do anything.  When they get in trouble, they seem to be above the law.  Gee, if I slammed someone in the face with a hockey stick, I could face jail time. Wrestlers, don't get me started here. Why do our kids idolize these goofs? Could this be the problem?

Personally, I think the problem is right under your nose.  Actually, it is attached to your nose.  WHOA! Wait a minute!!! How dare I try and blame parents for our screwed up children???  Stop and take a look.  A serious hard look…

How many children are carted off to day care starting at as young as six weeks?  How many children come home to an empty house day after day? How many children do not get the benefit of a stay-at-home parent to guide them? How many parents – even at-homes - are so afraid their child will hate them that discipline lacks? How many parents are not parents?  How many children will be allowed to feel they are superior and not have to be accountable for their actions because they are "just children?" How many children grow up seeing violence at home, drugs, guns and gangs as a regular part of life?  Maybe the fault is not with society as a whole, but with the family?

It has been said that most teen crime occurs during the time school lets out and about six in the evening when parents get home. Why? You do not have to be a rocket scientist to figure it out: this is when most children and teens are home alone WITHOUT PROPER ADULT SUPERVISION.   Kids left to their own devices will not always do what is right.  How many of us know our children's friends? How can we when we are working twelve hours a day and not supervising our children?  How can we when we are so absorbed in our selfishness, soap operas, wanting to go out every weekend with adult friends, and forgetting that once that child is conceived, our lives take an entirely new turn? How can we make it so tough for a sixteen year old to get a driver's license yet so easy to get pregnant?  Heck, it is harder to get a license than it is to get married!  What has happened to a two-parent system?

So, many of us are not raising our children due to one reason or another.  So now it has to fall on the shoulders of someone else: namely, the schools.  Little Johnny screws up big and gets punished.  Daddy comes down and rips into the principal or teacher demanding that the punishment is too tough and Johnny was just being a kid. Drugs and weapons are suspected in a school so the school wants to search lockers or start drug testing.  Human Rights groups step in saying searches and tests violate a student's privacy. Gee, last I checked, the students did not own the school.  Do these students work and pay taxes? Our schools are falling down physically and academically.  Schools cry for more money and we complain about a tax increase.  However, we can come up with millions for a new football franchise. Would the money be better spent on our children? Why is it sports stars get millions of dollars each year when so many good teachers leave the profession because of lack of pay?  What are we saying? I would love to see the day a sports star says, "I don't need seven million dollars to live on.  I will write in my contract that six million and five hundred thousand dollars be sent directly to the school system." I would also like to see pigs fly…

We are the ones who dictate what our children see, hear and experience.  If you think a channel is broadcasting too much violence when young children are awake, turn the channel and contact the programming director of the offending channel. Do not allow your child to use the computer unsupervised or have one in his/her room.  Use some of the child-protection software.  Granted, they are not foolproof but they are better than nothing.  Insist on meeting the parents of your child's friends before they can go over the playmate's house.  Monitor what you child listens to on the radio. Remember, you pay the rent or mortgage, his/her room is yours. Do not let your children dress like thirty year olds.  They are just children!!!   Let your child be a child.  That's what he/she is: not a tiny adult.

I would like to see the stigma of being an at-home parent lifted.  This is the toughest job you could ever have.  I hate it when so-called feminists tell me I am losing out by not working.  I can never get these formative years back with my child.  I have eighteen years to guide him and try and make him the best person I can.  If I am not around after school, on vacations and holidays, how can I do this?  To me, being a feminist is saying "I am a full time MOM and DAMN PROUD!"  I would like to see the government make it easier for women to stay home – at least for the first three years. I would like to see tax breaks for families who lose an income so a parent can stay home.  I would like to see parenting magazines do more for the at-home parent.  The ones I used to get had more to help a family with two working parents cope than those of us who courageously change our lives from corporate to homemaker cope.  I have never renewed these subscriptions in silent protest.

I would like to see less incentive for kids to have kids.  I do not think a child should raise a child.  I would like to see parents held responsible or partly responsible for a child's actions.  Maybe it will force more parents to parent.  I would like to see it harder for people who lose children due to addiction, violence, etc., to get them back.  There are people who should not be parents. I would like to see stays in foster systems lessened and children placed for adoption earlier than languishing for years in a piss-poor system.  I would like to see caseworkers not so overburdened they cannot keep up with their cases. I would like to see incentives for good people to join this noble but often abused profession.

I would like to see us look at ourselves and take the blame. We are the most important factor in our children's live. We set the rules.  We start the game.  We decide what is on television, surfed for over the Internet, what happens to our children.  When bad things happen, Columbine, Michigan, Oregon, do we need to ask why? Chances are there were ignored cries for help, attention, love, long before the gun was picked up. If we are too absorbed in ourselves and let our children do whatever or be raised by whomever, where does the blame lie?

I think the blame lies ultimately with us, the parents. 


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