We cannot forget parental responsibility
To the Editor:
Once again newspapers and television are painting a grim and unfortunately
realistic picture of the violence young people are capable of committing.
Parents are meeting in large groups trying to make sure their children
are safe while in school. Yet, as journalists report and parents
continue to meet, there seems to be something repeatedly overlooked --
the responsibility each parent has to teach and train their child to be
a decent person.
It has been reported over and over that two things have consistently
contributed to the violent attacks on children in school: Someone is teasing
another person without any apparent intervention to stop it, and the child
being teased has no clue as to how to cope with it.
We parents must teach our children, through example and correction,
how to be kind, considerate, thoughtful and encouraging towards others.
A large part of this is treating our spouses and our children in this manner.
Allowing brothers and sisters to persistently bicker and bully each other
teaches them that this is also acceptable behavior towards others.
Ditto for husbands and wives.
I'm sure that if parents were questioned, they would respond in one
of two ways: Vehemently deny that their child would engage in teasing anyone
(which may be the case), or they would admit that while the child may tease
others, this is a part of being a kid, and other kids should learn to "deal
with it." The parent who responds in the second way could definitely benefit
from a refresher course in the "Golden Rule."
Am I defending the actions of the young person who decides to commit
murder because he has been, the source of perhaps years of unkindness and
bullying? No, certainly not. This does, however, bring me to
another aspect of parenting which is sorely overlooked -- teaching a child
to control his emotions.
We are raising a society of people who, when their wants are denied,
they pitch a fit. We've all seen the two-year-old who has a temper
tantrum when a piece of candy is denied.
Fast forward that same child into adulthood and what do you have?
An adult who cannot control his anger. We call it "Road Rage" (in
a car), "Air Rage" (in a plane), and I'm not sure what to call it when
it occurs on a sports field.
Children must be taught that a denied request is not reversed in response
to unacceptable behavior. Of course, if Dad comes home ranting and
raving about something that didn't go his way at work, or Mom uses some
choice language at top volume when things don't go as planned, then how
on earth can we expect our children to do otherwise.
We somehow expect that even if we don't change how we behave, our children
will grow up "just fine." In reality, we are teaching our children that
in order to elevate themselves, someone else must be trampled upon; you
can get what you want by aggression, or if that doesn't suit you turn the
aggression into a means of destroying yourself and others in the process.
The payoff is you might just be the next big story in the evening news.
Is it any wonder that we are watching a culmination of lazy and ineffective
parenting destroy so many young lives.
JOYCE A. MEYERS