COMMENTARY: Parenting Modern Kids in a Modern World

A hit number in the 1960 musical Bye Bye Birdie was a classic parent’s lament starting with, “I don’t know what’s wrong with these kids today! Why can’t they be like we were?”

The answer, of course, is they’re just like we were, but many of us aren’t like our parents were. Sometimes that’s good, often it’s not. Every generation of kids coping with raging hormones and a need to express independence and individuality will use language, wear clothes, listen to music, and dance in ways that offend their parents. And most will engage in conduct that their parents think is wrong or unwise. Should modern parents, therefore, just relax and let kids do their thing, confident that no lasting harm will come of it? I don’t think so.

Sure, we should recognize the inherent limitations of parenting and the futility and impropriety of trying to control every phase of our children’s lives, but that doesn’t justify passive or permissive parenting. Although we can’t control our kids, we can influence them. And when necessary, we can confine their options by saying no and backing it up with whatever tools we have.

Parents may disagree on where to draw the line when it comes to sloppy or sexy clothing, Internet use, loud music with crude lyrics, and body piercing and tattoos, but lines must be drawn somewhere and enforced. This is much more important regarding issues regarding alcohol, drugs, and sex. Kids need and deserve guidance and boundaries.

Our children won’t necessarily accept our views of right and wrong, but if we state them clearly and continually, they’re much more likely to consider them.

What do you think?

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

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Comments 5

  1. Life is wonderful and so are our future leaders if we take time to listen to them. Taking time to listen also means compromise and respect. We are whom they emulate. If we are positive or negative that is what we will produce. Simply put….as a society we have a responsibility to them…not just parents.The strength of a nation depends on how we raise our children. Individually speaking…..I raised four young men and they are leaders.

  2. As a high school counselor I coud not agree more! We must teach our kids that there are boundries, rules, and consequences! Sad to say at the high school level our students aren’t being taught true consequences! Dr. Deasy is so proud of the fact that LAUSD’s suspension rate has decreased, but the reality is that our suspendable offenses have not decreased, only that we are not suspending for these offenses! One might argue the fact that what good does a suspension do, well first, it gets the parent in to have a conference, second it goes down on the students record and third it shows other students that this behavior is not tolerated! I honestly have seen such a decline in behavior with a big chunk of students and I am concerned that the behavior will carry over into adult hood and what then? If a child does not learn there are consequences then what will happen to them as an adult?

  3. As parents, I think our main responsibility is to provide guidance and support. Eventually our children are going to have to make choices on their own. We can provide a good foundation and framework for our children to follow.

  4. Example, Example, Example. Eventually if you keep an open dialogue with your kids and explain your position in a fair and non-judgmental manner; your youth will come around to your way of thinking.

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