A woman--let's call her Myrtle--spent a lot of time crying over her daughter. The daughter was climbing out the window after the family went to bed. She disappeared for several days at a time. She had a boyfriend who was home from prison. She skipped school and when she went to school she got into fights until she was finally suspended. What was Myrtle to do? Her daughter was fourteen. The law allows few options.
Skip forward a few years. The daughter--let's call her Agatha-- is a parent now. Her daughter's been skipping school, playing on the computer and with the video games. Not doing her homework. Stealing change from the cookie jar. Today Agatha found out that her daughter charged $300 on her credit card for an online game. Perhaps even scarier are the men she's talking to online. What is Agatha to do? Her daughter is ten.
All over America, parents are facing the same scenarios. In today's world, where most mothers have to work, not to make ends meet but just to survive, more and more kids have the opportunity to misbehave. Drinking at middleschool age is at an alarming high. One in four teenage girls has an STD. What are parents to do? In today's economy, quitting work to supervise the children isn't an option. Especially in the enormous numbers of one parent families.
Are these bad, neglectful parents? No. A resounding NO! Often the most concerned, involved parents are the ones who are hit with a wilful, disobedient child. So why is this happening? I think there are so many social factors at work that its impossible to pinpoint one or two. Certainly, the exposure to music, television, and movies that spew moral rebelion is one part. I truly believe the breakdown in the family structure is another. And as unpopular as the idea might be, I believe the drop in church attendance across the country is yet another.
Celebrity worship doesn't help the parents' cause any. Societal mores that push our kids, particularly girls, to grow up faster with makeup and inappropriate clothes led one journalist to conclude that ten is the new fifteen. Small wonder that pre-teens are engaged in "inappropriate" behavior. Young girls down the block from Agatha's apartment were caught giving blowjobs to teenaged boys. What was that you said? Not on my block? Look again.
Nearly twenty years ago when Agatha was a young teen, she lived in small town America. And without really thinking about it, she could name at least four girls she knew who had already had abortions. Two of them were only eleven years old. What do you suppose the numbers would tell us today?
If I had to decide today, I'm not sure that I would want the responsibility of raising children in today's world. Yes, I know that there have always been rebellious children. There have always been children who insisted on doing the wrong thing. I know that misbehavior is not a new concept. But I think that in today's world there are a hell of a lot of things that can go wrong, wrong, wrong. Dangers have always existed, but we're more aware of them today.
The next time a parent needs someone to talk to, be there. Sometimes all we can do is listen and offer our moral support. Often when a parent tries their best, the people around them who should support them are telling them what a bad parent they are. Parents need all the support they can get, especially when they are faltering, wondering where they went wrong.
Support your local parent.
Every morning I start my day with the encouraging words from Kelly at www.kkirch.blogspot.com and Amarinda at www.amarindajones.blogspot.com so I heartily recommend that you might too. Blessings on your day!