Lord of the Flies

21 10 2009

The local radio show posed a question this morning in the light of seven separate arrests of minors for illegal activities on local school properties in the last forty-eight hours.  The crimes ranged from drug sales to rape.  The question – are our schools out of control?  I couldn’t get through and with my long winded opinions, perhaps it is best.

My daughters have went to negligent schools and great schools, but at neither end of the spectrum have I ever felt that the lack of control lied at the feet of the school administrators.  It is my opinion that it belongs squarely on the shoulders of the parents.  Too many parents have a misguided belief that they are here to be their child’s friend.  I didn’t have children due to some deficiency in friends and at the end of the day if my kids don’t count me in their list of best buddies, I really could care less.

There is some merit to the argument that the financial expectations of our society have led parenting to its current wayward path.  The need to keep up with the Jones’ has parents working more than forty hours, multiple jobs and leaving them with only a few hours a day to spend with their children and those few hours aren’t well spent but rather played out sprawled on the family sofa before the great big pixelated screen to watch the latest sexually oriented crime show.  The breakdown in structured relationships only impacts this more as we see single parents struggle to bring home the bacon, fry it in the pan and still find time to spend with their kids.  To me though, this is a cop out, despite the merit.

Ultimately a lot of the problems in our children’s schools falls back to the fact that parents no longer discipline their children.  The fear of being called in for abuse is great and only serves to feed the underlying laziness  in parenting.  So parents send their children off to school to learn and be taught everything from manners to mathematics to the ways of life.

My children attended an after school programme sponsored by their school when they were in elementary school and on many occasions when I would come to pick them up, I would witness the behaviour of other students in the programme.  With no regard for respect to their elders they would pop off at the mouth, disobey the supervisors and in general, re-enact the Lord of the Flies on a daily basis.  On one visit the supervisor said to me as I stared in almost disbelief at the scene, “I would love to send one or two of these kids home with you but I’m afraid they wouldn’t make it out alive.”

It isn’t that I am cruel to my children, but I do set expectations for them and there are punishments for their failure to meet those expectations.  I haven’t spanked my children in many years, I haven’t had to.  They learned young that they are to obey me.  From their birth through now, fourteen plus years later, they know the cost of back talking or lying or stealing.  Some of our friends say I am too strict and in a comparison to the standards of today’s parents – perhaps I am.  But in my eyes, I am not.  I compare my parenting to that of my parents’ methods and I know that if my father were alive today to witness some of what my children are permitted to get away with, he would have me over his knee with a paddle in hand.

Three years ago my oldest daughter spotted a book at a school book sale that she wanted.  She knew that she wouldn’t earn the money for it as I don’t pay them an allowance – any money they earn is from work done above and beyond their regular chores, something she had never aspired to.  So she stole the book.  A few days later I spotted the book.  There isn’t a scrap of paper in their rooms that I don’t know the origins of, so I knew immediately that this wasn’t her book.  And as she fumbled for a story on how she obtained it, I knew she was trying to lie.  I made her go to the school administrators and confess and in addition to the punishments brought down by me at home, they punished her as well, by not permitting her to go on the class trip.

Last spring my younger daughter was sexually groped and threatened with being raped by a boy in her class.  Fifth grade.  I learned from my daughter that she had received several drawings over the past few weeks leading up to this where he had sketched out sexual activities and labeled them with names and passed them to her in class.  She had been turning them in to the teacher who had disregarded the activities as merely a prepubescent boy acting out.  I went to the school officials and demanded action against the boy.  Ultimately they explained that they had called in his mother whose response was it must have been a joke, he didn’t really understand his actions.  And that was the end of it.  I wanted him prevented from attending the class field trip but was told that they could no longer do things like that because the year after they had punished my other daughter in that manner for petty theft they had punished another child for physical violence and the kids’ parents had gotten a legal force involved.  And legally the school was told they could not exclude children from activities based on their behaviour.

It’s problems of this nature that bring our schools to the violent level of depravity that they are at today.  Parents fail to discipline for fear of official retribution or concern that their children won’t still be their friend and they pass the duties of behaviour management on to the schools.  The schools have their hands tied for fear of legal retribution by the parents who are too lazy to spank their kids themselves.

Today’s minors are raised with the belief that anything they do prior to the age of eighteen can be wiped from their slate as they age because they cannot be tried as an adult.  I believe in the instances where the minor cannot be tried as an adult, the parents should be held legally accountable for the actions of their children.  And for parents who have raised their children right, this shouldn’t be a concern.

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2 responses

22 10 2009
Polprav

Hello from Russia!
Can I quote a post in your blog with the link to you?

23 10 2009
Tia

Not a problem.

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