I've noticed two trends in parenting, recently--over-parenting, and under-involvement. Both are fairly common around my area, and both cause major, lasting damage to the children involved.
Over-parenting, also known as helicopter parenting, turns out whiny, self-centered, neurotic, helpless children that just don't grow up well. They don't know how. One example happened a couple of weeks ago: one of my students had a scheduled weekend home, and then wasn't able to go. This was a major issue for that student, because that was how they did laundry. They took it home, and had their mother do it. Without that weekend, though, they were running out of wearable--not necessarily clean, but wearable--clothes, and didn't know how to do laundry. At all. To the point that they didn't even know how to measure the detergent for the load. And they asked me how to do it. They said that it seemed like I have my shit together, and I'm approachable, and I like to help my students learn how to do stuff.
I told them to go get a box of detergent tabs from Walmart, read the tags in their clothes to make sure they didn't try to wash something that was dry clean or hand wash only, or dry something that was hang or lay flat to dry, then select cold water on the knob on the laundromat machines. No, I didn't tell them to sort whites from coloreds, or warm from cold water wash items. They had enough to worry about, and I may be their teacher, but I am not their parent.
(I did want to slap the shit out of their parents, though. My EIGHT year old is capable of running a washing machine. And knows how.)
Under-involvement is also very common in this area. If the kid's smart, they're capable of raising themselves. If they're not, you've got a pack of ferals (and it's always a pack, because it's almost always a woman who sees having kids and pulling welfare as a career choice. Want a raise? Have another baby! It's not like they have to do anything with it).
There is a pack of ferals living next door. The children are all around a room-temperature IQ, impulsive, emotionally explosive, and have no adult care. No adult supervision. Despite having non-working adults living in the house.
I'm not talking the free-range kids movement, where kids are allowed to do things within the bounds of their abilities. I'm talking about NO care. NO supervision. Neither parent is present, much less parenting (not helicoptering--parenting). I'm talking making sure that young children and toddlers are not in danger of getting run over by a car, and making sure the ten year old doesn't have to repeatedly chase down and carry an eighteen month old toddler back to the house, nearly dropping the baby every couple of steps because a) they're not big enough to carry a fat toddler; and b) because said baby is kicking, screaming, biting, flailing, and generally trying to get away so that he can run back into the street. I'm talking making sure the kids actually get fed meals, and have a bedtime. And no, ten pm on a school night is not a good bed time for younger than about junior year in high school.
Assuming any of the ferals make it that far.
This is how welfare becomes generational.
No, none of these children--adults who were never taught how to adult, nor yet the ferals next door--are actually my problem. Not really. They do cause problems, and they're going to be causing problems for my children as taxpaying adults, sometime in the not-as-distant future.
No, I don't see the need to intervene. I'm moving (hopefully) within the next two months.
What I want to know, at this point, is why people have children if they either refuse to take care of them at all, or refuse to teach them what they need to know to become adults in their own right? Why do people have children when they have no intention of actually being a parent?
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