The parenting trap

Part of today’s Record editorial talks about the future of the city of Stockton and how families need to be an active part of the solution in community betterment. I agree. But the item on family was small: Crimes begin with a poor family situation; poor parenting leads to disrespect … which in turn leads to criminal behavior. The solution offered was that parents need to be parents. They must discipline, stress education and push children to make something of their lives.

It’s not that simple, but there definitely needs to be some change in the way a lot of families work, even culturally. It’s hard to balance it all, and life’s fast pace makes that challenging.

Crimes don’t always begin with a poor family situation, and “poor” is subjective. A parent can also discipline too much or not enough. A Record editorial recently said that higher education wasn’t a path for all students and that some with other skills and talents grow up to be very successful in other hard-working fields, which is true.

Rich or poor, single parent or two-parent households, fostered families, one car or two-car household; there is no perfect family. That kind of thinking spirals unrealistic views of the world and life as we know it. Sometimes you can have the best parents in the world and some children make choices that are astonishingly bad.

You could also argue that we live in a modern society that doesn’t allow for the same culture of family values of years ago. Parents have two or more jobs, which means less time at home with the kids, and well, less parenting. Laws and job rules have changed so much that the only time a mom or dad can truly be home with their kids is during their short family leave, vacation, if you’re lucky enough to get one, or if they’re on welfare or have a sugar spouse. Some of us push our kids into preschool and daycare because we can’t stay home with them and keep up with a lifestyle that’s in demand. Some parents feel guilty about that lack of time spent with their kids that they don’t want to be hard on them.

I’m not sure there is an easy solution. This conversation is endless. But what works for one family may not work for another. As parents, we have to decide what kind of a life we want and the kind of kids we want to raise and make some sacrifices for the family as a whole. It’s a tough world out there, and it’s unfair to criticize everyone’s style of parenting when you’re not in their shoes.

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    Christine Teldeschi

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