Horrible Choices Children Make May Not Be The Parent's Fault

In the past month, the following incidents have made headlines:

As I attempt to wrap my head around all of these stories  I was starting to think, "Is parenting taking a serious turn for the worse in this country?"

And it's not only those highly publicized cases but the behavior I see from teens (of all races and socioeconomic backgrounds) in public is shameful.  The behavior, the language---you should see what children do when their parents aren't around to supervise.

Then it occurred to me that this shocking behavior may not be the parent's fault.

It very well may be that children and young people are simply listening to the dog whistle of our society.  The one that rewards greed and avarice.  The one that literally has different sets of rules for different sets of people.

All in all children are much smarter and more perceptive than we give them credit for.  Living in a nation that says one thing but glorifies another has borne fruit.

I honestly believe that young people are finally getting that message.

And that ain't good.

The siren song of our money over everything, win at all costs and I'm not responsible for my actions culture is starting to trump good parenting.

Then of course, there are some people who don't know how to be good parents.  I accept that.

God only knows what these children see at home---no matter how nice the address.

I accept the fact that some people are ill equipped to not only teach morals, charity, compassion & manners but they clearly don't live by those tenants in front of their children.  I get it.

That's when it hit me---there isn't really a sense of shame in this country anymore.

And yes I know shame is very subjective, but while I'm a huge believer in personal responsibility how can we expect children to behave any differently than the glaring examples of irresponsibility that's shoved in front of their noses everyday?

It seems to have started with Charles Barkley's "I Am Not A Role Model" commercial to the present day Florida Congressman getting busted for drugs.

Yet, I know the majority of you parents are fighting the good fight.  I truly do.

If I may, I'd like to supplement what you teach with a few simple lessons I was taught about life.  Usually, your kids don't think you know what you're talking about unless they hear it coming from someone else anyway so I thought I'd be your parenting wing man.

These rang true then and they ring true now.   I believe they need repeating to the younger folk.  Repeat multiple times if necessary.

  •  No matter what you do, not everyone will like you.
  •  Sometimes your best isn't good enough.  Don't stop trying.
  •  Life isn't fair*.
  • The world is a mean place**.
  • You will be disappointed***.
  • You will not always get what you want, what you work hard for or what you deserve***.
  • You (and only you) are responsible for your own actions.

*Don't stop trying to make it fair.

**Don't stop trying to make it kind.

***Don't stop striving toward your goal.

In case the younger set didn't know, if they are blessed to live long enough life will present challenges.   Some of us will face them more than others.

Some of those challenges will suck, others will be life changing.  The key is to survive and thrive despite your trials and tribulations.

You can't do that if you react like a spoiled homicidal brat whenever things don't go your way.

Poor impulse control and short term benefit thinking is not the answer; looking at the big picture and being able to properly express frustration at disappointments is.


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