I was listening to the radio, Tom Joyner in the morning, like I always do when I heard a segment by Don Lemon (the CNN anchor) referencing the biker fight in New York and going on to speak about America’s problem with rage. In addition to the biker fight he recounted the death of the 88-year-old veteran at the hands of teenagers and the story of the Australian baseball player who was shot by three young men who simply decided to kill someone out of boredom.

Lemon explained that he was a afraid to walk out of his house sometimes and he was also puzzled as to why the youth of today prefer to resort to such violence for what is usually no good reason at all. Having spoken with a psychiatrist friend, Dr. Wendy Walsh, Lemon concluded that parents and economic disparity are to blame for the bad behavior of today’s youth. He and Walsh claim that poor parenting and feeling powerless due to gaps in wealth have led to misplaced anger over the last few decades, which is why the youth of today lash out by committing these heinous acts.

Even though I am only a tender year into being a parent, based on how I was raised I can recognize poor parenting, I have even seen it. Parents don’t seem to raise their kids the same these days. When I was growing up I had strict limitations on what I could and could not do. I couldn’t have a tv in my room and was only allowed to watch one or two shows a week provided that I did all of my homework. If I got a bad grade or made a mistake on my homework/school project I’d have to do it again and THEN look for opportunities to get extra credit for messing up the first time. I had to get permission for everything and my mom had to know everything about where I was going, who I was with, and when I’d be coming home. My mom had me on lock, and at the time I thought she was being hard on me, but now I understand that she was practicing what she thought was good parenting.

Today, I feel like only a handful of parents teach responsibility and hard work while many other parents let their kids have so much freedom and are quick to let slide or even defend bad behavior. I do agree that poor parenting is much to blame for the behavior of children today, I did have a slight problem with Lemon suggesting that parents ought to be licensed to have children or at least be required to take parenting classes.

Although everyone probably should not be a parent, whose right is it to decide that a man and a woman should not be allowed to reproduce? I think that I would be highly offended if I were to be told that I had to get permission before I had a child. Furthermore, parenting classes just don’t seem right. Every one was raised differently, every one takes their own lessons out of life and then chooses which ones to apply to the way that they parent. Parenting classes designed to tell parents how to raise their children would require that everyone would be taught the same things so that their children would grow up on the same lessons and values, which would probably cause them to all act the same way. Just think about a world of sameness and no variety.

What makes America and the world great is that there are people of different walks of life who all have something unique to share. Being required to teach our children the same thing would lead to nothing but mindless drones who aren’t really our children, but products of the government or whichever body assumes the role of stand-in parent.

From the time that I knew that Peyton was on her way, I began thinking about what I wanted for my child, including how I would raise her, what I’d teach her, the lessons and values that I want her to follow, and even what I’d like her to become when she’s older. Being required to take parenting classes would only taint my idea of what parenting should be because ideas that weren’t originally a part of my parenting plan would now be introduced. Plus, part of the fun of being a parent is messing up. You live and you learn from your mistakes because no one is perfect.

Agreed that parents should be encouraged to always take an active and positive role in kids’ lives, their child or not (reverting back to the whole “it takes a village” thing) but I definitely object to the idea of forcing parents to learn how to be parents unless explicitly asked.


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