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home : opinions : opinions November 24, 2015

9/4/2013 6:00:00 AM
COLUMN: Dear Kids,
Bob Weete
Bob Weete

Bob Weete

I hope you are paying close attention to the world around you. I, for one, apologize to you for what our society has done to you. I feel that your life has been made unnecessarily tough by some of our society's decisions. Trust me, it was not the intention, I assure you. But the end result is the same.

What am I talking about? I'll try to explain. Our society has inadvertently placed a terrible burden on you - even "worse" than my own generation's teenage and young adult years. Society has turned its back on what experience had told us was what a good parent does to prepare kids for adulthood.

We fell for the line that "spare the rod, and spoil the child" would make our kids more reasonable, more dedicated, more all that other good stuff. We wanted our kids to grow into mature, happy adults, ready to take on the world. Really, we did. "You want your kids to think well of themselves." Sounded good. At the time.

We did not think about the possible end results of our not wanting to hurt our kids' psyche. We didn't spank them; we "rewarded" for everything they did; we praised them, all that "positive" reinforcement garbage.

The result? Well, it's really not a pretty sight. We withheld our love, an extremely important part of parenting. "What?" you say. "I gave them everything they wanted!" That included doing whatever they wanted. I got them a cell phone "like all the other kids have", I bought them $100 shoes "like all the other kids"; I allowed them to see movies that were not even imaginable in my day, "like all the kids"; and the list of "spoils" goes on.

"No" was not used very often. I didn't want to have my kids traumatized. Kids have grown up for centuries and frequently when they were admonished, and kids have responded with something akin to, "I hate you." That truly is terrible for a parent to hear, believe me. But, a parent, the adult in the family, must be in control, as they are supposedly the one in charge of the molding and development of their child into the kind of person they will be the rest of their lives.

I don't care if you are "18", the magic age for so-called "adulthood". That is still just a number; it is no guarantee that an adult level of maturity has been achieved.

Where do I get off saying parents who spoil their kids are not giving them the love children need? When parents turn the job of discipline and direction over to their kids, indirectly they are also communicating that they don't care enough about the kids to prevent them from making foolish mistakes in their lives. Especially if the parents, themselves, have "been there, done that".

Kids do deserve a reasonable explanation, whenever possible. "Because I said so" just doesn't work well, but sometimes that's the only explanation you have. Use it. You are the experienced one. With experience, they will learn that you, the parent, are actually pretty darned smart. Don't expect that during the teen years, though. Keep consistent, anyway.

Funny things about kids in any generation. They are adaptable. Even though they try to resist. Consistency is crucial, absolutely crucial. They will try temper tantrums, crying, not speaking to you. They are not evil creatures. They are human - just like you. Really. Don't laugh. They really are human. Look where they came from!

You have undoubtedly heard of the tragedies involving three kids who were "bored", so they decided to go out and kill someone. And don't give me the racial card. That is just bull. You have also heard of many other "stupid" things that people do, like the one of the kids beating an 88-year-old WWII veteran to depth.

And the use of drugs to "ease the pain" of growing up? Tell me that those things are not because the child feels no parental direction, no parental love! That's also at the root of most of the gang activities. That is the "family" to them. It is totally logical. No kids are born "bad". I believe it is because they are emulating bad behavior they constantly see in some homes, on television, in movies, in songs, and in the actions of people who have the opportunity to be inspiring to kids.

Miley Cyrus? She blew it - totally! And yet she chose to portray a message to kids who are desirous of being liked, admired, loved. And who knows what the next "icon" will do to be noticed? I don't even want to guess.

So, kids, as another year of your public education starts, decide it will work toward your advantage. This is a major opportunity that is offered you. Don't tell me you don't have the opportunity that "other kids" do. Bull. You have the obligation to do things for yourselves. Don't blow it, or you could be flipping burgers at McDonalds the rest of your life.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, September 7, 2013
Article comment by: Get a Job

Dear kids. Sorry childhood doesnt last forever. Advice to you, get a job. If you don't like the job you get, get the qualifications and education to get the job you want. Nothing is going to come to your doorstep, you need to get out in the world and pursue it. Life isn't fair. It isn't suppose to be so get over it and make your life move forward on your own. Everyday you can make the choice what direction you want your life to go, but ultimately it is your life. Cherish it and choose well.

Posted: Thursday, September 5, 2013
Article comment by: Eddy McGillicutty

They'll be flipping burgers and complaining that they are not getting paid enough to live. Well, guess what. Flipping burgers at Mickey D's isn't suppose to be a career opportunity. It's designed to get you a starting point in the workforce and teach you to advance to become a responsible person. Stay in school and get an education while it's free so for the rest of your life you won't have to wake up only knowing 5 words - "You want fries with that?"

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