Friday, May 10, 2013

Spare the rod and spoil the child

By Mike Ullery
Chief Photographer

As part of my job, I monitor police/fire/rescue calls in Miami County.

One type of call seems to increasingly attract my attention, and raise my ire.

I cannot believe the number of calls to Miami County 9-1-1 requesting assistance from police officers to deal with supposedly out-of-control children. Perhaps I should mention that these calls come from parents of the children, some as young as seven or eight years old.

I guess my feeling is — I just don't understand.

If you can't control your kids when they are in elementary school, how in the world do you think you will be able to handle parenting a teenager?

No one ever said that being a parent was easy. As the old saying goes, "Gray hair is hereditary. I got it from my kids."

I understand that life today is difficult. Kids will try your patience, your nerves and anything else they can try. But, it is our job as parents to be ... a parent.

Being a parent is fun but it requires more work and more responsibility than any other job on earth. I think that most parents at some point feel as if they are failing. It is a natural feeling. In spite of all the hard work and trying to make life easier for our children, they will still screw up. My best advice for kids and parents, is deal with it and move on, but not before acknowledging that a lesson was learned.

I'm not sure that trying to make everything easier for our kids is the wise way to go. The generation of Americans who lived through the depression and World War II have become known, justifiably, as "Our Greatest Generation," as coined by Tom Brokaw.

That did not happen by accident or coincidence. Those of my parents' generation grew up working hard just to survive. Just as they reached adulthood, they marched off to war. An all-out no-holds-barred total war. I have my doubts that any generation of humans at any other point in time, could have faced the tasks and hardships of World War II, on the battlefield or the home front, and come out victorious.

Our "greatest generation" never had anything handed to them. Today, we want to give your children everything. No work involved. We want keep them safe. No risk allowed.

Too many parents try to be a friend to their children, not a parent.

No one wants to discipline their children. Sometimes, in order to make a point, you have to get their attention. If kids know that there are no real consequences for misbehavior, they will just keep going.
There is no crime in spanking a kid. You heard me. A whack on the hind end is a necessary tool in raising many kids.

We have all heard, or used, the phrase, "This is going to hurt me more than it does you."  That is because a good parent, hates the fact that they are going to spank someone they love and it does hurt to have to to that. But kids need to learn that misbehavior or breaking the rules carries consequences.

"You were bad!" just does not get the  job done for most children.

Ignoring misbehavior over time leads to kids becoming increasingly difficult to manage. And it is our job to manage our children. Their brains have not developed to a point where their judgement is always the best. It is our job to teach and train them to use good judgement.

Far too many parents let their children, and their children's friends, raise themselves. Out of sight, out of mind.

It scares me that a parent who feels the need for police re-enforcements in order to deal with a misbehaving third-grader, has actually been charged with responsibility for a child, a growing and developing human being. I pity the child.

What has our world come to that a parent feels intimidated by their own child?

"Spare the rod and spoil the child."