Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Where are the Parents?

This link to a NY Times article was emailed to parents today by my son's school principal. It's all about today's generation of teens (with focus on a specific high school) and the effects of constant media in their lives. Always multitasking. Immediate gratification. Constant visual and intellectual stimulation. Distraction. Absence of time for cerebral rest to process and assimilate information - and time just to be still. I would read comments in the article, quoting parents of these teens saying, "I tell him to stop playing video games but he just won't listen", or "My teen texts all the time and won't pay attention to my demands that she stop. What can I do?" These teens say they spend five and six hours a night playing video games, and all I can think is, "WHERE ARE THEIR PARENTS??"

I was confused. If your kid won't stop playing video games, then take away the video console. If your kid texts at 2am, then have her hand in her phone to you at 10pm. If your kid looks at porn on his computer (not an issue in this article, but relevant nonetheless) then remove the computer from his bedroom and place it in a common area in the house! Why is this not common sense? Why do parents throw their hands up in the air as if they are powerless to parent?

As I shook my head at what seemed like an utter abdication of responsibility for PARENTING, it hit me: These parents are Gen X'ers. Why, oh why, do they have to be Gen Xers?! I'm hanging my head in shock and shame. Even school administrators in the article are acting helpless. Yet, here in NYC - a city with over 2 million schoolkids - there is a citywide rule: no cellphones in school. As a result, the kids have to turn in their phones in the office at the beginning of the school day, and pick them up on their way out the door. I used to think it was lame. Now I think it's smart.

Now I know that I am FAR from being a perfect parent, but I can't help wondering, What's going on here? This seems to be a blatant case of a LACK of parenting. Not really what I would expect from Gen X parents, yanno. This issue disturbed me enough to write a blog posting. A blog venting, if you will.

Any insights you can offer, Gentle Reader? What's up with our kids? What do you do with YOUR kids? Perhaps you disagree with me - I'll even take a scolding, if your argument is compelling enough. :-) Are we really powerless to "stop the inevitable"?


Morgan Lindsay said...

Well, I may not be a parent trying to stop all this but I see my parents trying to stop this for me. Mostly with texting. Instead of taking my phone away or something, they just don't give me unlimited - I get 250 texts a month to use whenever I'd like, but if I go over my limit, I pay for it. I always think it's a bit annoying, but I can see why they're saying that.

Kiwimommy said...

They are involved - no surprise there, your parents are awesome!

PBAndJ said...

I agree with you wholeheartedly. As I was reading I was thinking "do I do that?" I could probably do better but I KNOW I'm not powerless.

I think I'm doing a better job with Andrew than I did with Bryan. Experience with one child is a teacher too.

Kiwimommy said...

"Experience with one child is a teacher too."

AMEN, Sis. xo