Our children are subjected to many influences that aren’t consistent with how we are trying to raise them (see my Mother’s Day posting). I believe parents need to take charge of their children’s lives and control what they are exposed to. I know this is extremely difficult, especially with older children, but it has to be done.
I heard a talk recently that discussed the kinds of sex and violence that our kids are exposed to that we don’t have a clue about. Incredibly violent games. Terrible song lyrics. Magazines aimed for teens that have inappropriate articles on sex and other subjects. Things on the Internet we would rather they not see. Movies that go well beyond scary (I don’t even like seeing the ads for them on TV).
No wonder the line between fantasy and reality becomes blurred for some kids. No wonder kids want to have sex at earlier ages – their world is saturated with it. No wonder kids shoot up schools – they have been exposed to so much graphic violence most of their young lives. To many kids, sex and violence are normal, reasonable, and acceptable.
Not only must parents take control of their children’s lives, but they should start sending them to Sunday school or CCD. Those are about the only places where your values are reinforced. However, if you do send them to Sunday school or CCD, you should also attend church. If you just drop them off and then do something “more worthwhile”), it tells them that it isn’t really important to you. It also won’t be important to them, and they will tune it out. Remember, they often follow your example or pick up clues from you.
If you don’t believe me that we need to do a better job as parents, just read the article that I read recently (May 22) in the Poughkeepsie Journal. It had to do with five sixth-graders in Saugerties who planned to slit the throat of one of their schoolmates. I don’t know all that is behind this planned violent act, but if sixth-graders believe it is OK to slit someone’s throat, we have a serious problem.