What is going on with parents these days?by Nancy D. on 08/21/19
Here is where I sound like my own parents when I ask that question. I would like to share an experience I recently had:
I volunteer for a local prevention organization, which tries to promote healthy living, resiliency skills, provides emergency contacts and services for families; and just all in all, tries to help children living in the community to make healthy choices and be a resource to both the children and parents.
I recently went to a back to school night, where I was to pass out a permission slip for parents to sign, giving their child permission to take an anonymous survey during the school year. This survey was for data collection to help us know what is going on in our communities' youth regarding tobacco usage, vaping, dipping, marijuana, other drugs, & alcohol usage, so we could gauge and come up with helpful strategies for coping and resiliency skills for our youth. Many parents would turn to the child and ask the child if they wanted to participate in the survey. Some of the children said "sure"! You could see a sense of pride in their response, because none of the survey questions pertained to them, so, why not take it?
However, many of the children didn't want to, so their parents wouldn't sign the consent form. So, in other words, the parents asked the children if it was okay to sign the parental permission slip, which was the reason we had to have it to begin with...from the parent. That's the whole point, is that the parent gives permission, not ask permission from the children.
What I feared and what I've seen for many years, is this is the exact dynamic that happens in unhealthy families. Later on, these are the parents whose child may need intervention services, because they are involved in unhealthy behaviors. They are put in positions of making decisions as youth, that they have no healthy, parental guidance over.
The parents are asking the child how they should parent, instead of being a strong role model. It was absolutely mind-blowing to witness this going on right in front of me. It's not so much our youth that start having "issues". It's the parents of those youth who don't know how to guide their children in making proactive and healthy choices. How are they supposed to learn, when they are never taught?
Seriously, this needs to stop... and we need to get back to guiding our children and letting them be safe under our care and be children with strong role models, not leaving them make decisions for the adults. By the way, a child's brain does not fully develop until they are 25 to 26 years old. Yet at 15, 16, 17 we look at them to make adult decisions. Does this logic make any sense to anyone?
We can hear their opinions and should. We should give intentional consideration to their reasoning, but ultimately, it's up to the adult to provide the guidance that is in the best interest of their child, not the child to struggle to determine this, when they've never been guided to do so.