Sunday, November 12, 2006

Parenting is a Thankless Task..

Time hangs so heavy on my hands I've undertaken the National Blog Posting Month challenge ie a post a day for the entire month of November. One positive point: it's put me in touch with blogs I wouldn't otherwise have found and on a good day I've bookmarked them....but today's not that day. This morning I came across a teacher in the UK writing about the violence among and between her pupils. It's a horrifying description and if you're that blogger please send me your address I'd like to continue reading your blog....

Because I choose to write about the pink, fluffy stuff doesn't mean that I'm not concerned about the world outside this charmed corner and I spent the morning mulling over that post, the state of education in the UK and here, and just generally despairing for the future. Did I come up with THE answer? Aside from 42, of course not or I'd be a television pundit, silly, and featured in "Hello" magazine not writing a blog.

When I was a teacher I blamed the parents, when I became a parent I blamed myself for my children's misdeeds and I still believe that parents should take responsibility for their children's behaviour after all we're the ones who had them.
These are my reflections from the coalface of parenting: that it takes constant vigilance, that you need to monitor them all the time, that to let anything slip by unremarked is to bring disaster upon ourselves. In short parenting is 24/7, a constant battle of wills, damned hard work and absolutely nothing like the cute smiley families you see on tv. And I wonder if part of the problem is that we simply don't want to work that hard and because we love our children and trust them we'd really like to believe that a sleepover at X's isn't teen speak for a drunken party with older boys and illicit substances or a trip to the local night club armed with forged identity cards. And no, I haven't had to deal with those particular nightmares mine were different nightmares...
Years ago I read a report by an American who foretold the continuing disaffection of youth and inner city violence and whose solution was so severe to my liberal self that I couldn't believe he was serious. He suggested the stopping of welfare to single girls who become pregnant was the only way of stemming the growth of the underclass.
I hate saying this but I begin to wonder.....
And I'm not going to start on my thoughts about the "blame" culture we live in or peoples' inability to own up to their actions.

5 comments:

tut-tut said...

Yes, I agree. I think it's better to err on the side of seeming overly cautious, especially with a teenager (and in my case, one who is about to get her driving learners permit). Parents who drop kids off at the local shopping mall to roam endlessly just don't know what can happen the minute they pull away.

I know everyone wants "me" time, but sometimes it's just not in the cards right now!

dana said...

Well, I am not a parent (yet) but of course I do have very definite views on how my husband and I will raise our future children. And, of course, all that could fly out the window once we are actually parents.

I do think that young adults should have manditory parenting classes at the high school level to give them some insight as to what they could be getting themselves into. Would that work? Who knows?

Pam said...

This is a complicated issue - so many issues actually.

Good post- good reminder to raise awareness, stop blaming outside and take a look inside.

Canker said...

I was passing by, saw your invitation and...
As an academic (in the UK) and a father of two daughters I think there has been no worse time to raise children in the past 100 years. My father agrees (or rather made the comment first). Society in the UK is the opposite of supportive.
I heartily concur with "parenting is 24/7, a constant battle of wills, damned hard work and absolutely nothing like the cute smiley families you see on tv." However, the payback is that the more one puts in the more (on balance) one gets back from one's children. Nil desperandum!

b/sistersshoes said...

The truth of this stung with the reality of many youth today. When I was teaching, if a student was cited for misbehavior, the parents stuck up for the child and argued with me! What the &%$# !

When I grew up, we were punished by the school, and when I got home...there was no explaining...mom just punished us more.

It only took one or two times before we all became model students.

love your way today,
X Darlene