Author Topic: Where are the Parents?  (Read 713 times)

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Offline gumby_in_co

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Where are the Parents?
« on: April 26, 2018, 01:40:48 PM »
I'm really glad this "Smorgasborg" category was created. Perfect timing. Something's been on my mind and I have no one to unload it on.

I use an app called Nextdoor. It's sort of a local social media platform, aka online gossip circle.  I often find great bargains in the "for sale" section, but I mainly participate for the entertainment value. It turns out that my neighbors as a group are pretty crazy.

Recently, a lady posted a rant about witnessing some teens stealing a "soccer goal" from a local park. I assume it was either a mini-goal or a lacrosse goal because 4 girls and 1 boy carried it across the field to the parking lot, tied a rope to it and dragged it down the road in their SUV with sparks flying and general mayhem. It think we can all agree that this is a real "dick move", illegal and stupid etc. etc.

What has me obsessing over the post is her comment, "Where are the parents?"  Is she suggesting that these driving age teenagers should be under constant direct supervision? Is she suggesting that a single stupid action is evidence that the parents failed in raising their kids? I'm going with the latter.

I asked a work buddy what he thought. I asked him directly that if it turned out one of his kids did something like that, would he think that somewhere between weaning and driving, he made a catastrophic error in parenting. To my surprise, he said that if it were his kid, he would realize that he should have been more strict with his kids. He's already insanely strict, BTW.

That got me thinking. I was raised under an iron curtain of discipline as Dad was an E-9 in the Air Force. The "rod" was not spared, if you get my drift. I had to be inside BEFORE dark until I was old enough to drive. Once I started driving, my dad was known to follow me to make sure I was going where I said I was going. I was once grounded for a semester because I didn't come home directly after school one day. I was around the corner playing basketball in a buddy's driveway. Despite the discipline, I was lucky to make it into the Marines without a criminal record. As it was, I had a handful of curfew violations and underage alcohol citations. I was typically suspended two or 3 times per year. I was an asshole as a kid. My rebellion was bound to happen some time or another, but the trigger that made me say "f*ck it" was when my dad slapped me across the face for something I truly didn't do.

I took the complete opposite approach with my son. I told him at an early age that he will have the run of the neighborhood and will be allowed to do just about whatever he wanted as long as he followed one simple rule: "You are not allowed to be a jackass. I will not be responsible for unleashing an adult jackass upon the world." He could watch just about any basic cable TV show he wanted and listen to any music. Not once in his life have I ever laid a hand on him. He got grounded for the "big stuff", but I rarely sweated the "small stuff". I'd just say, "make it right."

Now that he's 19, I'm extremely proud of the young man he's become. Mahonz can vouch for that (I think). I never heard him cuss until his senior year and that was in a hockey locker room. I caught him smoking weed twice during high school and he had 2 "playing with fire" situations, including almost burning down my storage shed. He also drove the getaway car for the homecoming streaker. That's about it. Never suspended. No complaints from teachers. Vice Principal in charge of discipline absolutely loved him.

I had a conversation with him last night and asked him if he ever did anything crazy or stupid enough to get him arrested. Now that he's 19, we're VERY honest with each other. Throughout high school, there was a group of girls who used to prank him. They egged/TP'd our house a few times. They put a bunch of traffic cones on his car once and I guess there were a handful of other car-related pranks. My son's big "I could have gotten arrested" moment was that one of the girls pulled in behind my son's car and started marking it up with that window marker stuff. She apparently left her car running and her door open, so he snuck in behind her and took off with her car, leaving it parked a few blocks away in her own driveway.  Without going into details, I did MUCH worse when I was his age.

I think some people just hate kids and that's where "Where are the Parents" comes from. I hear/read about it all the time that kids today are stunted, entitled, sheltered, participation trophy gathering, etc. I coach kids who aren't my own and I volunteer in other ways. I see that nearly all kids today are doing just fine. Most are above average and more than a few are exceptional. 3 of our players last season committed felony burglary and vandalism. All come from what appear to be good families. One's dad is a cop. We debated kicking them off the team, but in the end decided that they had been punished enough and football would serve to help them. All 3 are back this season and seem to have turned things around. Time will tell, I guess. The point is, not one of those parents saw this coming. I'm not convinced any one of them would do anything differently if they had the chance.  Young people exactly that: young. They do dumb things sometimes.

So question to you: "If your kid stole a soccer goal and dragged it behind their SUV, would you think you failed as a parent?"

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Online mahonz

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Re: Where are the Parents?
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2018, 02:46:20 PM »
I blame my generation for creating the Latch Key Kid.

Mom's were willing to chase careers for the first time. Divorce was no longer a dirty word. Now our kids were raising themselves every afternoon....and all summer.  Hired Child care was a luxury.

Fast forward a few generations and its the norm. Add to that both Parents really do have to work to keep up with the cost of living. Kids have way too much time on their hands....generally. If you are a Youth Coach you double as a babysitter.

Now add in the social media explosion.

So I dont blame the parents. They cant be everywhere and kids are generally pretty stupid at times.  Dragging a sokker net behind your vehicle for kicks....hell....I grew up a Saint if thats the worst this Lady has got. I did not grow up under and iron fist and raised my kids the same way. I was not a model teenager. Found myself apologizing to my Parents for it 20 years later.

And yes, both of your kids strike me as really good people. Your Daughter helping me set up for my Brothers Memorial Service is all I needed too see. Im sure there were a thousand things she could have done instead.
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Offline jrk5150

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Re: Where are the Parents?
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2018, 02:50:43 PM »
I would have drilled his ass, punished him, and then laughed when he wasn't around.

I stole a canoe from a YMCA camp when I was 16-ish.  Never did anything with it - the guy that was driving, we stashed it at his house, and I never thought about it again. 

Done hubcaps.

Done some other really damaging property stuff. 

I'm not proud of ANY of that, I regret it and wish I hadn't.  But I'm also not a hypocrite.  Can't kill my kids for stuff I did.  Of course, I'll never tell them I did that.  And I'll punish them the way I would have been if I'd been caught.  Hell, they deserve that just for getting caught.

Frankly, my son is a LOT better behaved and responsible in a lot of ways than I was.  I credit my wife for that.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2018, 06:17:19 PM by jrk5150 »

Offline gumby_in_co

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Re: Where are the Parents?
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2018, 03:42:52 PM »
Looking back at it, the biggest difference between me raising my son and my dad raising me is that I was MUCH more involved. 70's style parenting seemed to revolve around kids staying out of their parents' hair.

That and not beating him.
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Offline Michael

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Re: Where are the Parents?
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2018, 03:46:47 PM »
Looking back at it, the biggest difference between me raising my son and my dad raising me is that I was MUCH more involved. 70's style parenting seemed to revolve around kids staying out of their parents' hair.

That and not beating him.

I read a book on Talleyrand a few years ago and they mentioned that the nobility back then sent kids to orphanages when they were a few years old and then took them back when they were teenagers or so.  The author pointed out that there is no evidence the kids turned out any worse for it.
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Offline Coach E

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Re: Where are the Parents?
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2018, 07:05:33 AM »
So question to you: "If your kid stole a soccer goal and dragged it behind their SUV, would you think you failed as a parent?"

Yes and no. Thinking logically, I know that kids will be kids and like others have said, they will do dumb stuff. I, as a parent, can't control everything they do. When they're little and try to touch the hot stove, you protect them from harm. As they get older, you warn them about the metaphorical stove, but sometimes they still feel the need to touch. Does that mean you failed? If I were to judge that solely on the merits of my kids' actions, then I am a gigantic failure. However, that means that my parents were also colossal failures and I know that's not true...now.

I never wanted any of my kids to be that kid. I was that kid and I tried to raise mine to be different. Guess what? They're still gonna do what they're gonna do. 

As far as doing doing dumb stuff, my oldest boy is a clone. I've tried to head him off at the pass, as it were, before he makes that decision but in the end he does what he does and now I've let natural consequences take over. I warn him, but I let him find out on his own. Case: he and his buddies were driving around in his van and one of them hung out the window and threw a full Gatorade bottle at a woman walking her bike up a hill. It hit her hard and they took off around the corner laughing. He comes home and a short while later a cop shows up after they ran the plates. Long story short, I tell the cop to take him away if he needs to and my kid can't believe it. "You tell me you want to be treated as an adult, so here you go. What you did could be considered assault and when adults get charged with assault, they get arrested." There was a lot that happened with all of this but he ultimately didn't end up going to jail, but it scared him.

Interestingly, even though he still does dumb things and generally gets in his own way, the one thing he did get out of this is that he doesn't really lie about stuff when he does get caught. He's willing to give himself up when questioned. That's been my takeaway from raising kids: they will continue to do stupid, stupid things, but how do they handle it when they get in trouble, getting burned by the stove? If they're accountable, then that's something I hope I taught them.  I was in my thirties before I figured out that being an ass**** doesn't really help me out in life. I want my kids to learn that a lot sooner than I did.
The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.
- Marcus Aurelius

Offline gumby_in_co

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Re: Where are the Parents?
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2018, 01:07:57 PM »
I tell the cop to take him away if he needs to

Exactly how I would have handled it. At the beginning of my son's Senior year, he was 17 and 6 months (give or take). I sat him down and told him that he is now an adult in my eyes. 6 months isn't going to make a bit of difference, plus, the Marines have no problem putting a 17 year old behind a .50 cal in a convoy in Iraq . . .

Anyway, I told him that my work is done as far as correcting, fixing, disciplining . . . whatever. "You are free to do as you choose, but your consequences are now your own."

Now that he's 19 and still living with us, the only thing I bitch at him about is essentially being a bad roommate. Tools, garage, bikes, hot tub, etc.
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