This morning one of our local radio shows was talking about the two Johnson County teens that were recently charged with cyber-bullying. There was a lot of talk and arguing between the hosts and a few callers about who is ultimately responsible for the kids’ actions.
Bottom line from the radio hosts was that parents should know what their kids are doing on the Internet, that parents should know what their kids are doing PERIOD. Some parents were saying it’s not possible to always know what your kids are doing. Question is – are they trying?
The Bug is only two and Squoosh isn’t even here yet. But I wonder about this and quite frankly, have spent a few hours here and there seriously worrying about it. I want to raise good kids, who know right from wrong and have strong morale values. But is it all me and my husband?
Kids need to have a strong social circle, including extended family, friends, neighbors etc. They mimic what they see and yes, the parents’ teachings and persuasion can sway them one way or the other, but where does their individual personality and genetic make-up come in?
I didn’t get in much trouble as a kid – the usual not cleaning my room, fighting with my sister and lying. In fact, I can remember the last time I was ever grounded and truly in trouble with my mother. I was in 9th grade and had lied to her about skipping youth group and walking across a major road to go to Hardee’s. (You can see what a rebel I was, huh?) Church called and asked where I was and since I didn’t know that, I told her I was there. She asked again the next morning. I lied again. And she gave me one more chance; I still lied. Oh yeah, then I got grounded for 3 weeks, which in my house meant life sucked. No TV. No Phone. No Friends. Books were pretty much my only option at that point.
Sounds minor right. See the thing is…I’m a pretty risk averse person and always have been. Just the thought of making my mom really angry was enough to deter me from making really bad choices. Now mind you, I smoked, drank, and a few other things in high school with the rest of the kids, but I could never quite bring myself to do the things I knew inherantly were really bad. Plus, my mom always seemed to know what I was doing anyway. (That time she picked my best friend and I up at a party drunk and we thought we were SO awesome at hiding it?? Oh yea, she totally knew.)
I’m digressing a bit – but here’s my point. Was I a “good” kid because my mom was a positive influence on me and I had respect for her? Or is some of it (most of it?) just part of my risk-averse personality?
I don’t know how the Bug is going to be when he’s older. He’s a sweet, sweet boy now. I know my husband and I are going to raise him the best we can to be respectful of others, to do the right thing and make smart choices. I know he’ll falter here and there. And that’s ok. It’s how you learn.
I don’t have an answer to my question and I know I’m rambling a bit, but I needed to write this down. I think parents need to be firmer with their kids. I do think society, as a whole, has relaxed way too much when it comes to disciplining our children. We don’t want to raise them in fear for sure, but we also are not their friends; we’re their parents, their teachers. We have a job to do, a responsibility.
Are we all doing it?
For now, I can only worry about me, my family and my children. But I’m still going to wonder.