There’s an old saying that goes a bit like this, “If I knew better, I would do better.” Today parents are grappling with issues that no generation has experienced before. No one could have foreseen the effect television and computers have had on our society. Children are being exposed to everything, whether they are ready to understand it or not. There is profound helplessness in the eyes of many parents as they desperately attempt to shield their children from the vile reality of life.
Of course, all the abductions, murder, alcohol, drug abuse, and abandonment existed years ago. Since our communication practices were so primitive, you fortunately or unfortunately did not have the opportunity to learn about every little detail of the event.
It is impossible to live in a cocoon, and even if you could, the technology-savvy communication conglomerates would find a way to beam information into your secluded little dwelling.
Parents must learn better ways of communicating with their children and providing them with information before it is obtained outside the home. This can only occur if this country takes a serious look at making parent education a priority. Parents must take a more active role in the ever-changing dynamics associated with parenting.
What should parents know about child development? At what age do you discipline a child, and what types of disciplinary methods should be used? Do I spank or not spank? How do I know if my tween (children 10-14) is using drugs or having sex?
Parent education in America is a hit-or-miss practice. Some organizations call themselves parent education associations and networks, but there is no organized parent education movement in this country. No Child Left Behind should read No Parent Left Behind.
How do we provide parents with the information needed to raise loving, caring, competent, well-adjusted children? It begins by demanding that the government provide parent education programs for parents. This is not something else to take up a parent’s time or pull them away from the little time they have left with their children after working ten hours. Parent education programs, for lack of a better title, involve a variety of practices and tools so parents can learn about the real challenges associated with parenting.
As our adult lives become more complex, so will our ability to affect the lives of our children. If I do not have the time to learn what it takes to raise a competent child that will contribute to developing a great nation, why should I have children? If I work 50 to 60 hours a week and never see my children, how can I anticipate that they will be responsible, nurturing parents in the future?
There is little doubt that this is a complex issue, but as parents, we must begin today to discuss the future of America, which does not begin with its children, but with the parents.
Life is moving faster than we care to admit, and at some point, parents will need to take a stand and say enough. Parents need support, help, information, more time with their families, and they need it now.