Life issues are tough on kids today. But they seem to be harder for parents. We live in a society devoid of morality and family values. Many of these moral deficiencies are brought on by the very adults who mold the trends for our youth. It is an unfortunate fact that too many kids are looking to adults outside the home for their example. The question is why?
The very first answer that comes to mind is, they really want someone to look up to, heck, we all do. The first people they model after are parents and caregivers and when those relationships are dysfunctional, the child goes outside for others to model after. Early on we are everything to our kids, and then the tweens and teens roll around and all bloody hell break’s loose.
It doesn’t have to be that way as we try to hold on to our kids as they grow. With that said, in many homes parents are placed in a constant adversarial position while our children’s peers, the music/video industry, video games and the internet have become for the most part the mentors and heroes of our children. Sometimes our kids just wander out into the world way too soon and begin to develop relationships they may not be ready for. As a parent, we are constantly trying to figure out the best way forward. Experts on daytime tv or in magazines tell us what is best for our children and how we should raise them. Meanwhile, we run around in circles chasing our tails and our kids.
We are told our children are individuals and granted they are. With that individuality comes the new-age theory of respecting their “privacy.” The funny thing is, we are adults and we lose any sense of privacy when we have children, but are told we should be careful to respect the privacy of our children, or the adult children who still live at home. What does that mean exactly? Knocking when we approach their bedroom doors? Being careful not to read their online chats should they happen to leave the screen open? Are we not allowed to go through their drawers; after all, we end up putting their laundry away, do we not?
At what point do parents dismiss this absurd new-age policy and take back our right to raise our children? Not the way society dictates, but how we deem it appropriate based on our moral belief systems. We should analyze the core values we bring to our homes.
One value we bring to our home is education. Much is written about a higher education. We urge kids at an early age to seek higher education. Why? Perhaps because we want them to do better than we did and in many cases a college degree is a historical first in many families today. However, mainly its because we have come to realize how important an education really is. Education and knowledge are at our beck and call in the internet world. However, if not monitored, too much information too young or the wrong information, can be very disruptive to our children’s mental stability.
As parents, we must get to know our kids, and help guide them to shape their future. Some kids are creative and not book savvy. My niece for instance was a very good cartoonist at about age 7, very gifted with her hands. I always encouraged her (and my sister) to pursue her gift early on. Not everyone can draw cartoons flawlessly; and combine colors are nicely as she did. Due mainly to bad parenting decisions she never did get the support she needed to pursue her creative gift. She ended up getting a paralegal degree and works in a firm in South Florida. She hates the job, but she now has two kids, and the salary supports the three of them well. Point is, had her mother helped her pursue her true gift of art, she would have excelled at doing something she truly loved.
Knowing your kid means being involved in their scholastic life. After all, our kids spend a significant part of their day in school. For me that came early on when I learned one of my daughters tested gifted. She was very advanced in reading. This afforded her the ability to be a successful student; gaining her scholarships and led her to her master’s in business early on. Some kids are better at sports, such as my son who is a fourth degree blackbelt in Taekwondo. He has been practicing martial arts since the age of 6. I swear that helped so much with his focus, discipline and self-control. It was a great investment. Also, many companies today tend to be hire people with advanced belts in martial arts for management positions precisely because of the disciplines learned in martial arts that transfer so well into certain management positions. He is now pursuing a marketing degree and aspires to open his own Taekwondo school.
It is important to know the areas where your child struggles in school and help them with those subjects. I remember having to pay for tutoring for my son and one of my daughters. With my daughter, it was the onset of Common Core (math) that led to her needing tutoring. With my son, Common Core was also a factor, except his issues were with reading comprehension, and frankly the way the questions were asked. Reading comprehension is very important and it affects every part of a child’s learning process. For if the child is deficient in reading comprehension, he/she will struggle in all other subjects. School issues are very important, and as parents we must take a very active part in this area of our kids upbringing.
Next there is the moral component that goes into raising kids. Let’s face it, if we do not introduce morality early on in a child’s life, once they are off course, it is very difficult to introduce those values. Perhaps you are not a church-going family, or have different religious beliefs going on in your home. First, that’s an issue. When you marry someone these questions or morals must be discussed. Especially if there are going to be children brought into the home be it biologically or by adoption. Teaching children about respect, lying, stealing, cursing, yelling, aggressive or violent outbursts, how to handle anger and frustration, can be difficult if the adults in the home do not know or practice any of those values themselves. These are all considerations that must be made when you decide to bring a child into this world. Our own upbringing lends itself to how we raise our children. For conversation sake, let us say that we were brought up in homes with morals and values. Instilling those very morals and values are conversations married couples should discuss before having children.
When my husband and I married in the Catholic Church for instance, part of the process was to sit in a room and fill out a lengthy questionnaire about our values, morals, traditions and specifically our beliefs as to how we would raise our children. The priest would later sit with us and discuss any similarities but also, and most importantly, the differences he noticed in our responses. We worked through those and decided we would raise our children as Catholics.
Unfortunately, in today’s society many couples who have children are not even married, or become parents not so much by choice, but more by an oops. This is part of the problems we are encountering today with so many single-family homes; and fatherless homes. These familial situations make for challenges when it comes to raising our kids. At some point, we have to put the welfare of the child before all else. Especially in two different home environments children are subjected to. We as parents, whether married or separated must decisively work together to raise good, law-abiding, caring individuals before we release them on society.
Our kids require our guidance and our example. One of the main problems we have with this current culture is the lack of parental attention and active participation, and quite frankly harmony between the two adults in the child’s life. As parents, we have a responsibility not only to our kids, but to ourselves to raise decent human beings. Leaving our kids to the schools to teach them what they should be learning at home is futile, the task falls squarely on us.
After all, if it’s not you raising your children, then who is?