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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Now and Again: Responsible acts

Friday, March 25, 2005

I will be the last person on this planet to say that I am a perfect parent, and I am willing to bet that most parents with any common sense don't claim to be perfect. However, there are some things in this day and age that just simply chap my hide.

I could go on about how it used to be when I was growing up but that would make me sound old and, quite frankly, I am not that old. There is no doubt about it, parenting is hard work, it's a job you have to do 24/7, 365 days a year for a minimum of 18 years.

You always have to be one step ahead of what your child is trying to get away with next. It doesn't matter if they are two, twelve or a senior in high school. They will constantly try to get away with whatever they can, because they always want to test our limits and the limits of their independence.

I will admit that sometimes what they try to get away with is pretty funny, because, let's face it, we tried it too. I don't know how many times I have tried to convince my oldest that I do, indeed, have eyes in the back of my head.

We as parents have an obligation and duty to teach our children right from wrong, and make certain that there are consequences for their wrong actions. It's simply common sense, not a matter of religion or what the most recent parenting expert has to say about it.

To me there are about three kinds of parents - those who 'think' their children can do no wrong, those who know that neither they nor their children are perfect but strive to be anyway, and those who are just simply too wrapped up in their own lives to pay attention to the actions of their children.

The first and last type are the ones I take issue with. They either don't know even a fraction what their child is up to, or they do and don't do anything about it.

Recently, a friend of mine relayed to me that her son's bicycle was stolen. Not only was it stolen off of their property, but it was parked right by the door to their house.

It is a rather expensive 'Diamond Back' stunt bike, red with black handle bars. He probably worked a zillion chores to earn that bike and it gave him some independence as a mode of transportation. It could have been stolen by another kid or an adult, we have no way of knowing.

Here is my point, if my child came home with a bike that I knew did not belong to him, I would be asking some serious questions. I would know if my child was being less than truthful. I would insist that the bike be returned where it came from and even escort the child to the place where it was found.

If my child stole it I would make darn sure they returned it with a thousand apologies and pardons. Then if the victims of the theft were in a forgiving mood and decided not to press charges, I would be sure there would be consequences at our house.

He would probably be doing some family community service for quite some time and grounded from everything under the sun. But, make no mistake he would quickly learn that his actions were very wrong. Any parent, with common sense, would follow a similar set of actions.

I get really tired of hearing parents blame everybody and every circumstance for their child's behavior. Many times claiming it was because of this or that. Whatever happened to taking responsibility for your child's behavior and making your child responsible for his or her own behavior?

Parents are the strongest role models kids have and if you aren't as good a role model as you can be, then you are responsible for your child's behavior, just as much as the child is. If you don't own up to your mistakes, neither will your children. It's okay to tell your child you messed up, and that by golly, they better not make the same mistake.

If you think your child can do no wrong - think again. If you are doing the best you can and can admit your mistakes - bravo. If you don't have a clue what, where, when and how your child is behaving - get one. Then when you get one, a clue, that is, return the stolen bike to the police department.