Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Disciplining The Willful Child and the Legal System

Total ridiculousness!  There aren't many topics which chap my hide as much as that of a whiney, out of control teenager complaining about being disciplined.  As Americans, we are taking children's right to be autonomous way too far.  When do we as parents/adults have the right to discipline?

Back in the day, I remember when parents not only had the right to spank their kids, but even the principal's office would take a swing or two.  I'm going to tell you something, when you knew all the adults in your life not only the right and/or obligation to discipline your ass, you straightened up:  QUICK!  Today, you can't only not spank, you can't even tell a child that they are out of line for fear they'll call Child Protective Services (CPS). 

Rachel Canning, a New Jersey high school honor student, is suing her parents for abandonment, demanding they provide financial support and pay for her college tuition.  She also claims she was forced to leave their household once she turned 18.  Her parents say she was a willful child with whom they tried to instill rules to stop her rebellious behaviors.  Long story short, she's at odds with her parents because she wanted to break house rules, party, and live with her boyfriend.  Ha!  I think the boyfriend's family are idiots for taking in this willful child, and they will live to regret it.  But that's for another blog post.  Where did Rachel's parents fail so that she thought she could run to others for support of her childish behaviors?  Should the court actually intervene on her behalf to seek a financial remedy of which she made of her own volition?  Time to feel the real sting of not having the shelter of your parents' nurturing, Rachel!  In other words, you reap what you sow.  This is where adults come into play:  Though the courts aren't allowing us to take charge.  Instead, they reprimand us for taking a strong parenting role. 

I know of someone going through a similar situation.   She and her husband took in a foster child with behavior problems and like Rachel, had her own idea how life should be led.  She's been very defiant; difficult to redirect.  As they encouraged her to go to school (as opposed to skipping it); not to lie, cheat, or steal (she already had a felony on her record); and for God's sake:  To clean her room, how did she repay them for opening their home to her?  By calling CPS!  Today, children know that overzealous investigators will indeed come out, thusly gaining the juvenile response they wanted by getting their caretakers "in trouble."  When speaking with another grandparent, I had to chuckle when she told me she handed their granddaughter the telephone, gave her the number to CPS, and lastly, told her to pack her bags to go with them! 

I'm not sure that the powers that be realize in allowing children to become autonomous before they have a full grasp of all the consequences of their actions/inactions is criminal unto itself.  Without proper guidance, they are left to their own devices and let’s face it, if they were capable of making proper choices, they wouldn't get into the fixes in which they often find themselves.  Adults make fouled choices, too, but the difference being is that we know better!

There needs to be a better plan in helping children grow as productive adults that doesn't involve the legal system.  Untie our hands:  Let us parent!


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