Just for the fun of it and nostalgia, I put up on my social media site a posting that asked my friends, “What was something your mom and/or dad use to say when you were little that nowadays would have DCFS at the door if you said it in public?” I know my mom’s favorite was, “I brought you into this world, I’ll take you out of it.” She rarely though had to vocalized that threat as she was a master of the “eye”. There was a certain look with the right slight tilt of the head that had us toeing the line in a flash! Many of my friends made comments that over time I’d heard from relatives or even friends of my youth parents. We found most of them to be hilarious and wondered too at the fact that many of those past parental threats crossed racial lines!
This posting got me to thinking about how in just a short time frame in American culture, parenting has changed! I’m not talking about parenting style so much as parental rights versus parental responsibilities. What is the difference? Parental rights is the right to raise you child/children as you see best fit for them in your household (while of course obeying all laws). Parental responsibilities appears to be the new shift, and it’s based on what the government states you are allowed, suppose to do, and can’t do. The parenting culture has changed significantly in a short 60 years! Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the tougher penalties on abusive parents that are not just spanking or giving their child a stern lecture, but beating, burning, starving and verbally degrading their children. I’m not going to touch on the argument of DCFS’s role and lack of action either regarding this topic at this time. I’m really trying to get you all to think and take notice of this drastic yet subtle shift in the parenting culture.
Some of us reiterated statements by our parents, such as: “I’ll beat your behind for a month of Sundays all in one”, “You wanna cry? I’ll give you something to cry about”, and the ever classic, phrased many ways, “fine don’t eat it, but then you won’t get anything else to eat for the rest of the day”! Many of us heard these verbal threats of punishment that if acted upon at all, typically entailed a spanking. I have to say, my mother, friends mother’s and even some family members were champions at thought provoking, behavior curtailing statements, but were never abusive in punishment. Yet we have those that have made it necessary as deemed by the federal government to impose infractions and penalties on parents today that may repeat some of these statements that we laugh about now (those of us of a certain generation), yet others gasp and scream foul about today!
I remember a friend telling me a couple of years ago about how he stopped at the post office at our small downtown here in suburbia, and he left his oldest son (age 14yrs sleeping in backseat) and his youngest son (9yrs old at the time) sitting in the front seat of the mini-van while he ran in the door about 25ft away to drop a package into the out of town drop. Well his youngest son is small for his age so he probably appeared younger and some “concerned citizen” called over a passing police patrol and stated, that a child was locked in a car (yes it was summer, yes the windows were cracked) and they stated it had been awhile! Not even for the couple of minutes it took my friend to jog up the steps of the post office (we have one of those neo-classical style buildings with the multiple stone steps), and the couple of minutes to exit the doors and jog down the stairs the police were there at his vehicle. Now this said friend is a youth pastor, seminary student and has a reputation for telling the truth without exaggeration, so I believed him when he said it was only a total of 5 minutes leaving a child in a vehicle that did not have the keys in the ignition and in the presence of an older sibling. The police made all sorts of child endangerment and legal threats to him, until finally he could get a word in and pointed out the 14yr old sleeping in the back, the keys in his hand and the actual drop slot you could see through the glass revolving door that he ran to put the package into! Oh they didn’t apologize to him, just a “well better if you take him with next time, so people don’t get confused” comment. My friend for lack of understanding and what I contribute to his deep rooted liberal leanings, he swore up and down that it was based on his color, as we live in a predominately white suburb. The race card was thrown down and I really believe he missed the true reason someone else was after him (oh by the way, that concerned citizen was a school teacher..hmmm).
I sincerely believe no so called good citizen called the police because a little black child was in the car, but because today’s society feels like they have an obligation to deter something that they don’t know for sure what is occurring but based on the propaganda the government is pushing with their liberal media friends encouraging limited parenting rights (after all it’s a wonder we all survived) to endorse their agenda of parental responsibility with the government taking the role as the “head of household”. It’s a wonder we survived because we played outside, all day and often times in the dark keeping the “old folks” up by screaming in glee playing “ghosts in the graveyard”, “Ollie-Ollie oxen free” yodels throughout the neighborhood. We were left home alone while our parents went out to dinner, we let ourselves in the home alone after school (thus the term “latch-key”). We had our mouths washed out with soap, we were sent to bed with no dinner, we got spankings (sometimes in public too). Heck Andy Griffin spanked Opie Taylor’s behind on TV and in another episode he told the father of Opie’s friend that was breaking the bike riding rules to take him out behind the shed and handle his business, so to speak. So what changed? Why are parents afraid to raise their voice let alone spank their child?
Some will say it’s the parenting style changes based on the times, while I agree with that to a point, but it seems like you constantly have a flavor of the year that writes a bestselling baby whisper, teen anguish, parenting book that usually repeats the same psycho-babble previously written by another author. I don’t recall too many, if any parents that rapped to their children to relate to them, or grunged, emo’d or what other fad of the time is out there. But it’s also fair to say that there became a time when cities, towns, suburbs under state law which was ordered by federal guidelines to impose curfews (not a bad idea either, always a good idea to get some of the “little heathens” off the streets). How many of you remember the commercials, “It’s 10 o’clock, do you know where your child is?” I do. Then there were the DARE commercials which some experts found that DARE was actually detrimental to the children’s self esteem. You then have the Child Outreach programs now in many schools that are run by local community centers which are also usually linked to the local Family Shelter Services. Child Outreach preys on what and who they consider the disadvantage (in my own opinion). I take issue with them in my locality because they racially profile. I know they do, most of the kids they reach out to are minorities regardless of family economics. They made the mistake of inviting my daughter during her first year of middle school to a “girls round table” lunch every Tuesday in a specific teacher’s classroom. I asked her, “what is this about?” She told me it was for girls to meet and eat lunch together that one day of the week, and have a place to discuss things. Anything they couldn’t discuss with other people, like what was going on in their homes, how their parents treated, and talked to them. Ding! Ding! Ding! Alarms going off in my head! I have nothing, absolutely nothing to hide about how I run my household, so why are you pulling my daughter into this group first of all is my thought? She’s dressed nice her appearance is immaculate everyday, she doesn’t qualify based on her parent’s income for any social programs, she is an honor student with some classes at the advance level. So I asked her, what girls are in this group and show me in the yearbook ( they do their class pictures early), so she showed me, and surprise, surprise, they were either Hispanic, black or some other ethnicity in the minority for this town. I made an appointment that day with that teacher and outreach advocate, and lets just say, they were very happy to not have my daughter as a member of their group when I got my opinion of their home eavesdropping tactics stated. I then politely notified by phone many of the other parents of the girls on that list what the actual deal about those lunches were. Last I heard, there wasn’t enough participants for them to continue.
We now have the “sugar tax’ as the feds have deemed that because of government healthcare costs, if you want to buy anything that is classified to be in the “high sugar” count and thus obesity inducing category, you will pay more tax on it. They are brain-washing your children through their own television shows such as Sesame Street with the Muppets doing public service announcements on how to eat, and what your parents should be serving you for meals. This is not just advertisement to get your child to scream for the latest toy or nutritional information (since when does a toddler really care or can understand the fat count of a food) but propaganda that is belittling the parents role in their household! My friend’s daughter came home one day from her after-school DARE program to tell her mom that the officer and teacher said if she yelled at her and kept getting loud when she spoke to her, she can call 911 and she’ll be arrested and she gets to go live with her daddy. My friend looked at said child (I was sitting at the kitchen table that day), leaned down right into her face and said, “I will yell, scream, and raise my voice as I see fit in my household”! You go back and tell them that until they can pay my rent, bills, and get your daddy to pay his child support, they will not dictate how I behave that is within the law in my own household! Be grateful little girl I don’t whoop your behind like I would have gotten for First of all discussing my families habits outside the house and secondly for the fact that I don’t whoop your behind for being smart mouthed with me as “you know what’s up” and how I get down (the whole time her voice had climbed several octaves with each salient point)! Needless to say, daughter’s smirk was instantly vanished off her face.
I hope, I have provoked some insights and thoughts on what is going on when you see parents that appear afraid to even verbally discipline their children, as well as young adults today that because they were reasoned and negotiated with to behave or do something, are now the same ones we have Occupying our downtown’s and not concerned with EARNING a living but having the government provide for them. Why the hell not? The government is becoming their parent, and if we don’t start fighting for LIMITED government, we won’t be joking when we say “who’s your daddy”, for it’s BIG BROTHER.