13 September 2010

Shaping our kids

Who is socializing kids these days?  If parents don't take care of their own kids, who will?  Do some parents think that the world will take care of their kids?  Do they think that their kids will somehow, magically develop into good citizens without an ounce of guidance?  Is it the responsibility of our schools to shape our kids?


When did this happen?  When did parents forget that they are responsible for their kids?  Who turned over the shaping of our future to strangers?

The reason I am on this rant stems from an event I attended with my children this weekend.  It was a family event for a class my kids are taking.  The organizers had put together a great program of crafts and snacks and about 25 children moved from table to table, enjoying the activities.

At one of the tables, the kids could make candied apples using honey, frosting, sprinkles, chocolate chips and more.  As you can imagine, this was a popular table.

I watched with horror as a 10 year old girl took a spoon to stab a hole in the plastic seal on a container of sprinkles.  She did not have the patience to pause to ask an adult for help.  She jabbed at the seal 4 times before the plastic gave way and sprinkles burst out all over the table.  She then took the spoon, poured sprinkles over her apple and into her mouth, spilling more over the table and onto the floor.  She then looked up and laughed, "I'd hate to be the one to have to clean that up!"

Her mother watched as it all transpired.  In response to her daughter's comment, she giggled back, "maybe YOU should."  But, it was clear she did not mean it.  She just turned and continued her conversation.


How can a mother let this happen and even condone the behavior?

In what universe is this behavior ok?  Am I the only one disturbed by this kind of conduct?

I really had to restrain myself.  I wanted to walk over to the 10 year old.  Look her in the eye and tell her to put the apple down, clean up the mess and leave the room.

Why did her mother not do this?  When did parents stop parenting?  Do they want to be their kids' friends?  Are they afraid that their kids won't like them if they set rules and insist their kids think of people other than themselves?

Yes, it's hard to be the bad guy sometimes and it's hard to listen to our kids cry because they want things, but we are parents.  We have to teach our kids right from wrong.  We have to teach our kids to be patient and to work for things they want.  It is our responsibility to shape our kids and when they turn out to be whiny, rude, messy and without motivation, the mirror is the only place to look for whom to blame.


  1. I think there are two frequent culprits, although I know there are more than just two possible: one is the media. That is who is enculturating our children. Most of the media are run by massive companies that just want our children to learn to purchase things. Some of the media (for example, text messages) are run by our children's peers. Neither of these parties give a hoot about how our children grow up, but most parents let their children suck up the media by the hour. Community elders used to pass along the stories and lore that shaped cultures and taught lessons about how to live around other people; now the media tell those stories. And they are totally irresponsible. Think about it.

    The other culprit is divorce: I think many single parents don't want to be the less-favored one, so they are more permissive and "more fun" for the kid, making the other parent have to be the disciplinarian and "bad guy." So often that is a defensive stance to take, but I've seen lots of people hurt their kids by playing those games, all because they don't have the self-possession or maturity themselves to do what is right, both right by their kid and right by the society they live in.

  2. I agree with you on some level, Amy, but I also think it's placing a blame on a scapegoat to say it's the fault of the media. My kids watch plenty of tv, play plenty of video games and interact with lots of poorly behaved kids. It is MY responsibility to make sure that I shape them, not the media or their friends. In the end of the day, WE are responsible for being the above all authority and role models for our kids. They have to know that no matter what they see on tv or see their friends doing, they know the right thing to do because we taught them.