What does it mean to be a Parent in America?
The way that we parent can bring forth a lover or a hater, the empathetic or the abuser, a sober mind or an alcoholic, a loner, or a social butterfly, a nurturer of life, or a killer. When something goes horribly wrong in society, those who attempt to find out why, always go back to childhood. The young adult who walked into a school, killing elementary school children after killing his mother is scrutinized by law enforcement and profilers. Was he a loved child? Did he witness violence in the home? Was he abused? In fact most violent crimes are profiled not from the adult backward, but from the child onward. We have to relearn what it is to be parents and what it is exactly, that we should be teaching.
Parenting in America today has changed from the time of our parents and our parents parents. There was a time when disciplining a child included a spanking. Now, that same effective tool is called, child abuse. So, if there is no discipline in the home, how are children to truly learn the difference between right and wrong? But then the abuse is real too. There is a difference between a quick swat on the butt to re-enforce a rule, and taking a cable cord, your fists and feet, and beating a child into a corner and replacing love with fear that grows to hate.
In other cases, here in America, parents have replaced time and play and learning with a television and a video game. While advancements in technology have grown by leaps and bounds making learning more interactive, it should not and cannot replace the parents. Times of one parent staying at home while the other works has past. With an unsure economy, both parent have to work to spurt the household and where does that leave the children and what are they learning when you are not around?
Learning doesn't happen at a set time that we deem fit for teaching. It is happening every second of every day. The words we choose to use (profanity), the lifestyle we share with our families (prejudices, alcoholism, and abuse), the tone of voice we use with each other (the shouting and disrespect), the things that are not said, the hugs and love that isn't given are all observed and filed. And it is these things more than education of our choosing, that are kept and remembered.
Parenting in America is getting younger. More teenagers are becoming parents before they are ready for such responsibilities. While more young fathers are parenting, there is still a huge threshold. Teen aged and young adult males don't know what it is to be a father, so they mimic what they learn from others, which, in most cases, negatively affects the child. Parents need to be taught if they are going to be positively effective parents to children who are so easily molded and shaped by the environment in which they live. Things like patience, time, and love that we think we have, tend to go missing in child rearing and that, in my opinion, is what it means to be a parent in America. Until parents learn to listen and love, kids will continue killing kids, children will become parents too soon, and families will continue to fall apart in this place called the land of the free, and the home of the brave.
Written by: Marquitte Polite, United States
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Edited by: Rajesh Bihani ( Find me on Google+ )