“What Does It Mean To Be A Parent” (Nilda’s Blog)

I see too many parents nowadays thinking their kids are accessories, friends or burdens. Being a parent means acting like an adult, and that doesn’t come with just age. It takes a conscious decision to do what’s right and to be a responsible parent. This is a subject that bothers me on so many levels. I believe parents should be just that…parents! That means that responsible parents have to raise their children to be emotionally and physically healthy children, so they can grow up to be responsible and productive members of society. I’m not saying that all parents are not doing their job. Sometimes good kids just make bad decisions. I’m talking about the parents who choose not to put forth the effort needed to raise their kids properly. Too many parents these days are lacking the proper dedication and parenting skills needed to succeed in this area. Unfortunately, it’s the children who suffer from the lack of dedication and knowledge of these irresponsible parents.

I was at the store the other day and saw these children being physically abusive to one another and also to their father. I was shocked. Growing up I was taught to respect my parents the way the Bible commanded. So to see these children cuss out their father and hit him without being reprimanded was astonishing to me. The father did absolutely nothing about their behavior. If we as parents don’t teach our children to give a certain level of respect to people, they’ll never show it when they’re adults. Children these days are walking around talking about sex at a very young age, using profanities and even committing horrible crimes. These types of behaviors are unacceptable in the real world and put the safety of our home and future at risk. Children who grow up with disregard to other people also grow up to be adults who can’t keep a job, can’t get an education or can’t maintain healthy relationships. I know this because several people in my family fall into this category. I have a cousin who just got out of jail because he has an issue with authority figures. This stems from him being able to run wild as a child. He was allowed to treat others like garbage and hide behind our grandmother whenever he got into trouble. Our grandmother bailed him out of jail every time he was arrested. He was taught to lounge around and let others take care of him and now, since my grandmother has passed, life has hit him with a reality check that he can’t cash. It’s not only my cousin who is suffering, but also his six kids. His oldest is involved with gangs and drugs; three of them don’t even know him as “father”; and two of his daughters don’t have respect for themselves or others. A lack of good parenting teaches some people to repeat generational curses and continue the cycle of destruction.

The family my husband and I have started is very dedicated to each other. We make it a habit to talk to one another on a regular basis. Our kids know they can tell us anything and that there really isn’t anything that we can’t discuss. We need to be their friends as well as their parents because that is part of being a family unit. However, they also know that that we are parents first. Nowadays, too many parents feel it’s more important to be popular with their kids, and that’s where I feel the confusion begins. There is a difference with trying to be there for your children and trying to be accepted by them. Staying updated with our children’s lives is very important to my husband and me because we should know what is happening in their personal lives in order to help keep them on the right path. My son had a friend whose mother would hand him cigarettes because she was happy that smoking cigarettes was all that her son was doing. This boy was only 13-years-old and had already been exposed to sex, drugs, alcohol and several arrests. His mother was too concerned about her own personal life and significant other to give her son the much needed attention he deserved. I heard one father say that he found out his son was dealing drugs at 18-years-old. His response to finding out his son was dealing drugs was that if his son was going to sell drugs, he might as well teach him how to do it the right way. What kind of adult, let alone a parent, says something like that? This is just blatant disregard to be the responsible parent that he needed to be for his son.

I’ve seen parents leave their children with whoever is available to babysit because they had better things to do, like go to the club, movies or a concert. Yet they love to show their kids off like they are trophies. I’m not talking about the occasional “mommy/daddy needs a break” outing, I’m talking about a constant routine. I know parents who leave their kids with the babysitter all day because both parents work. When their job is done, though, they don’t head straight over to the babysitter. They must hang out with their friends first. When they finally do get around to picking up their kids, they’d rather walk straight into the kitchen for something to eat rather than greeting the children they haven’t seen all day. Let there be an opportunity to show off their kids, though, and it’s a display of extreme proportions. These parents would be nominated for an Oscar the way they portray themselves as parents of the year. When you can count the hours you have spent with your children on one hand, then that is a problem. Children are not our accessories that we show off and dump into the jewelry box when we’re done using them. These children grow up to be teenagers who feel underappreciated because of this type of relationship with their parents. If parents don’t value their children, then their children grow up not valuing themselves.

There have been times when I’ve heard parents say that they should not have to sacrifice their happiness for the sake of their children. No one is asking parents to give up their complete happiness, but being a parent does require some sacrifice. As a parent, I feel obligated to dedicate my life to my children. Parents can’t go around putting themselves before their kids. That’s just selfish. I know a mother who spends more time with her boyfriend than she does with her own four kids. Her children are left to roam the streets unsupervised. Her two oldest sons have had numerous arrests and countless visits to juvenile detention centers. Her only daughter has issues with promiscuity and has even been involved with older men. The youngest boy is now starting to follow the pattern of the older siblings and is repeating the same bad habits. Their mother relies on friends and family to take care of her kids because she is so absorbed in her own life rather than taking the necessary time to become involved in the lives of her children. These children rely on others for guidance and it’s mainly other adolescents who are teaching them these bad behaviors. I have read blogs where people support the theory that it’s ok to walk away from your family responsibilities simply because you’re bored of playing house. This notion is very absurd to me.

Too many youths today are left to fend for themselves. They’re thrown out into the world without the proper skills needed to become successful adults. This leaves them to repeat generational curses. Parents need to dedicate themselves more to their children. After all, they chose to have these kids. The parents who devote themselves to raising their children with good values and moral beliefs, as well as a strong family structure, will have children who grow up to value themselves and others. With the dedication of these types of adults, our children can be the successful individuals that we want them to be. They can be productive members of society and break the continuous cycle of bad habits.