I’ll be the first to admit it. I’m not the perfect parent. My kids aren’t perfect either. They’ve messed up. I’ve messed up. We’ll all mess up again.
But there’s a difference between my imperfect parenting and what I’ve seen in the news recently. Though this post is a bit different than what I normally write, two specific stories caught my attention and won’t let it go.
Brian Holloway’s House Trashed
Labor Day weekend, more than 300 teenagers partied at the vacation home of former NFL player, Brian Holloway. Unfortunately, Holloway was not at home. Nor did he know that hundreds of drunk, rowdy party goers were “enjoying” his home. Not until his son happened to see photos and posts pop up on Twitter and other social media outlets.
Holloway called the police but when they arrived the only thing they found was the aftermath – trash, graffiti, broken windows, beer and urine soaked carpet. Holloway estimates the property damage at around $20,000.
Instead of immediately insisting on arrests, Holloway organized a cleanup, but none of the partying teens or their parents showed up. So, in an effort to get the teens to come forward, take responsibility for their actions and change their behavior, Holloway reposted their partying photos on a website he created called HelpMeSave300.com.
How many do you think came forward after that? None! Unless you count the parents who’ve threatened to sue Holloway for posting photos of their delinquent teenagers online. Seriously?!
Twelve-year-old Bullied to Death
The second story resulted in consequences far greater than property damage. On September 9, 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick jumped to her death from a water tower after suffering months of bullying by a group of 12 to 14 year-old girls.
It started over a boy late last year at school. Physical attacks. Terrorizing her online. The school knew. The parents’ knew. Rebecca’s parents resorted to homeschooling. But it continued. In fact, it continued even after Rebecca unsuccessfully attempted suicide last December by cutting her wrists.
So far, Florida sheriff Grady Judd has arrested two girls, charging them with felony aggravated stalking. And he hasn’t ruled out charging the parents too.
His reasoning? “It only can happen when parents don’t parent their children,” he said. “You need to know what they’re talking about online. You need to know who their friends are. You need to know if they’re bullying people at school.”
The arrests happened after one of the girls made an self-incriminating comment online last weekend. The parents’ response? “Somebody hacked her Facebook account.”
These two stories have some sad similarities:
- Parents who refuse to take responsibility for the behavior of their children.
- Parents who have not taught their kids that actions have consequences.
- Parents who’ve absorbed or taken care of the consequences of their kids actions.
- Parents who’ve fostered an atmosphere of entitlement.
- Parents who’ve never taught their children to care about or respect other people.
I realize that some kids will behave like this even when their parents have taught them these things. But in the aftermath, when a kid makes a bad choice, a good parent makes them stand up and take responsibility for their actions.
They don’t make excuses for them. Or blame someone else. Or sue the victim.Help me understand this. Am I making too much of this or is our society on a downward spiral?
In the wake of his experience, Brian Holloway has started a movement to encourage parents to teach their kids to be responsible for their actions.
What can we do as the church? What can believers do to help the younger generation change the direction they’re headed? What can we do to teach and encourage young parents?
Let’s share some ideas today!
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Today’s kids seem to not only have an incorrect since of entitlement, but also thrive on seeing how far they can push the envelope, not only at home, but with society in general. Maybe this attitude stems from them being raised by the generation of the gamers. I am not saying we must condemn all video games, that Nintendo and X-Box are the root of all evils and should be ran out of town on a rail, but that the individuals who play these games hour after hour, day after day get a constant positive feed-back for doing nothing but playing a game that builds a faux since of accomplishment. They are heralded as “heroes” in a virtual world, lifted emotionally to levels that normally would not be met without great personal sacrifice in the real world, but here they have surpassed socially anyone they have held in a place of honor, or looked up to for guidance in the real world. They have moved beyond such “control” as a mentor, leader or counselor. They look, instead, for new leaders they can “respect” in their twisted virtual vision and all too often the “chancellor” they find is brought forth from peers driven to a place of prominence out of a pack mentality. The gamer can only give respect to those of like thought. In other words, only the ones seen as of the “brotherhood of gamers” even deserve respect. The gamers have their own language, credo, following, and reality. If you are not from their world you have not “earned” their respect. Take this bent, perverted way of looking at things and have it raise a child. That is what we are now experiencing.
Wow, that’s a scary thought! I don’t know anything about gaming, but as prevalent as it is, I’m sure it has influenced the current parenting generation as you’ve described. Unfortunately, I believe it is just one of many negative shifts/influences that are shaping the current generation. It’s like “good” parents have to try even harder than ever just to keep the culture at bay.
Great post, Kathy! I’ll be tweeting it and posting on my FB page! It seems like a lot of parents these days are more interested in being their kids’ friend than their parent. My husband and I have emphasized natural consequences with our boys, 14 and 10, since they were little. It has helped them think through the fact that our choices have consequences; good and bad. It would be easy to rescue them at times, but I’d rather them learn on small consequences when they are little than on life altering ones when they are teens! Thanks for writing about this topic.
Laura, thanks for stopping by. I wish more parents emphasized consequences with their children today. They really aren’t doing their children any favors.
Thanks Kathy for this wonderful post. This exactly the challenges will are facing nowadays. I believe our children needs constant monitor, one to one talk and mostly teach them the way of God from the beginning of their life, even if they want to do sone things which are wrong, that fear of God will challenge their heart and leave them to think twice.
Thank you for stopping by and sharing. So often in our busy lives we fail to take the time we need to talk, teach, and share with our children. But time with them is vital! Great prayer: “That the fear of God will challenge their hearts!”
Hello Kathy I know I’m not a parent but I was looking through websites on “what’s wrong with parents these days?” And I found this one. I’m only fifteen but I want to reply to what your talking about. I myself know that it’s true we teens and kids are influenced by the environment we have been grown up in. Even though we don’t admit that we look up to our parents sometimes we still always look up to what they believe in and how they teach us to take responseability for our consequences. It’s hard on us kids and teens when parents are not good role models. So I beleive that parents are at fault if they sue the victims, by doing what they didn’t teach their kids, that if parents don’t let their kids take responsibilitie for what they did then what will stop them from doing the same with their own kids.
Hi Dianelys, thanks for commenting! It’s good to hear your prospective. May God give you the wisdom you need to be responsible now and to help your own children one day be responsible too!