The IUSB Vision Weblog

The way to crush the middle class is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation. – Vladimir Lenin

Parental and Societal Responsibilities for Teenagers

Posted by iusbvision on March 31, 2007

Recently in Elkhart two 15 year olds, a 16 year old and an 18 year old were arrested for being apparently responsible for two local bank robberies.  According to WNDU four boys between the ages of 15 to 17 were also suspected of the March 15th armed bank robbery as well. This instance of teenage crime and others like it bring up the important question of both parental and societal responsibilities for teenagers.

It is understandable there will be instances where teenagers will get themselves in trouble with minor pranks and offenses. However, a bank robbery reveals a group of teenager’s ability to both plan and execute a mature felony.   This is quite different from throwing toilet paper on the neighbor’s trees. It is clear both society and parenting have failed these kids.

It is common for the first blame to go to the parents, of which we have no idea if this is actually the case. It is safe to assume monitoring of these kids was not done regularly, as they had the ability to execute such a task.   What it is not safe to assume is the reasoning for poor monitoring. There has been a drastic increase over the past decade in single parents which can drastically hinder one’s ability to watch their children as much as they would like too. This can result in a lack of accountability and discipline.

Society can not be expected to be “the parent” when it comes to dealing with teenagers. They can respond to poor decision making by sending them to a juvenile center and trying to teach them right from wrong. Ultimately, however, without a re-enforcement of these principles at the home most teens will not embrace the foundation that so many of them need today. As a person who left his teen years behind only three years ago, I now realize the importance of an ethical foundation for the everyday business and academic decisions. Without someone who held me accountable for my actions and taught me to understand the differences between the good and bad decisions, life would have been much more difficult.

Teenagers will always make poor decisions because it is part of the learning experience. This is why it is important for an adult to be hovering over their shoulder to point out when these poor decisions have been made. This may seem like pestering, and most teenagers will get annoyed. In fact, doing this will keep one from being the “cool parent”.  However, what is more important? That your kid thinks you are “cool” or that your kid is raised to understand that you do not approve of their poor decisions? Approving of irresponsible behaviors only gives teens a false impression of reality. This impression is that society and people will accept their poor decisions without confronting them on it, but this is simply not the case.

I may not be a parent, but I was just recently a teenager.  My parents didn’t approve of poor decisions I had made when I was younger, and it wasn’t until I got older that I truly understood why. Don’t be afraid to teach them about reality, it may make you unpopular, but if they learn the truth, it will eventually make you respected.

Craig Chamberlin

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