Here's an interesting question to consider, "Are parents forsaking the importance of parenting at the hands of continued crisis?" It's a question we really need to mull over and not just in the United States but across the globe as we are seeing the failings of parenting all over. As the impact on our children is enormous, I hasten to guess that the implications on our world have yet to be fully realized.
I bring this topic up because of the increased number of examples I am noticing lately regarding kids left to their own devises quite early in their youth. Many children seem to be raising themselves, whether their parents remain in the home or not. And they are not doing such a great job of it, understandably. Many are "living in" and then "leaving" the nest with zero manners, little boundaries, and the inability to manage themselves in healthy ways associated with proper societal behavior and lifelong success.
Stories of Internet and gaming addiction, excessive "YOLO" binge drinking and harmful behavior on college campuses, and the U.S. foster care system being deluged with children struggling with physical and mental challenges are causing me to wonder if the coupling of crises parents have been experiencing in the United States over the last few years has caused us to become merely breeders as oppose to parents. With stretched financial resources, stressed out minds, and very little time to devote to any one task let alone a whole other person (or people in the case of more than one child), many parents seem to be delegating their parenting responsibilities to their children or relinquishing them all together. Thus, the resultant suffering is not only costing us in our own humanity but financially and in "future."
No doubt, as I noted above, we are neither the first nor the only country who is exhibiting the cataclysmic ramifications of lost parenting practices. Japan and China certainly know what it's like to send their children off to camps to detox from over-gaming. And certainly, the recent horror story of how an 8-year-old little girl in Kuwait lost her life from internal sexual injuries on her wedding night -- resulting from an arranged marriage to a 40-year-old man, almost certainly devised to relieve financial strains for the girl's family -- offer strong evidence that proper parenting is giving way to the pressures of the outside world. Sadly, in both examples, the word "NO" from loving parents would have saved everyone involved an enormous amount of heartache. But the fact is, the word "NO" requires a conscious effort to parent and I'm not quite sure we haven't lost the taste to actually do so today -- so strung out, tired, and financially distraught are we that we can barely taste anything at all.
Giving birth is easy (for most of us anyway). Being a responsible parent is an entirely different matter, especially in current times. No doubt, allowing our children to text the heck out of their friends as we sit at dinnertime enjoying a peaceful meal while we look the other way has its benefits in the short-term... but in the long-term? I can only see that type of behavior leading to catastrophe, both large and small.
My suggestion as a parent of five, myself, is that we must truly reconsider, individually and as a society, where "parenting" sits on the national and global scale of importance as well as in our own lives. Parenting is not a game. Nor is it a job you can toss or walk away from without severe ramifications. The few examples recently highlighted by the press stand as strong indications of where we are headed if we don't come back online here and place the welfare of our kids first.
As "thinking" beings, allowing "breeding" to become our legacy makes us the least intelligent species on the planet as beyond natural instinct, we know better. Must we be reminded by the immortal words of Karen Carpenter's song, "Bless The Beasts And The Children" of our responsibilities on this planet. Suffice it to say, the future of parenting and that of our children are in our control people. It's high time we take back that control, grow up ourselves, and parent!
If for nothing else, we owe it to our kids.
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