A couple of years ago, kids who were supposed to be pet-sitting while we were away instead held an underage drinking party at our Falmouth home. Lo and behold, the police knew every one of the partiers (and their parents) from previous encounters.
All but two of the 20 parents were indifferent or actually miffed (to put it mildly) that I would be calling to tell them about their kids’ actions. I simply couldn’t believe or accept the excuses these parents made for their child’s behavior.
Now we have a front-page story that involves a big party involving many of these same kids, excused this time as they were celebrating their state sports championships. The parents who hosted the party have been charged with furnishing a place for minors to drink alcohol.
And fast-forward a week to yet another underage drinking party. Two of the boys mentioned as summonsed for underage drinking are the older brothers of two of the kids who were at the party at our house.
Although we know it happens in many other communities as well, there are many stories we have on local parenting methods. One couple confronted for hosting a party claimed that if they didn’t provide a venue and alcohol, their child wouldn’t be “popular.” Another mother had kids use her business parking lot and ferried them to her house, so no one would get suspicious about an alcohol-infused graduation party she was throwing for her daughter.
And the dialogue of the kids and parents involved? Most of it seems to be along the lines of, “they were just having some fun, and really, who cares?”
Well I care, because while kids should know better, it is the parents who are responsible for this sorry state of affairs. These are people who would rather be friends than parents and role models, because parenting is hard work and they want their kids to like them.
Parents who aid, abet and enable bad behavior are denying their children the opportunity to suffer the consequences of their choices and learn from their mistakes, something every child needs to grow into a mature, responsible adult. Parents who encourage entitlement and victim mentality deny their children the satisfaction and esteem gained from actually earning something by oneself.
When do these kids learn about taking personal responsibility for their actions?
We are an independent nation creating a nation of dependents. I actually fear for our democracy.
And by the way, don’t feel left out if you have no children at home. The school system’s legal bill is skyrocketing, thanks to parents who are all about their rights without taking on any responsibility; who lawyer up, rather than back up teachers and school administrators in disciplinary and other actions. You and your tax dollars are paying for their highly developed and completely misguided sense of entitlement.
Do we in Falmouth stand for the solid values that built this country? If so, we had better grow a backbone and crack down, hard, on these kids and especially on their parents. Why aren’t we taking a stand as a community, for rule of law, for respect (of laws, police, teachers and authority in general), for responsibility, for accountability?
How much more of this sort of behavior from both kids and parents are we going to accept and excuse before a tragedy happens? (Which, by the way things are going, is only a matter of time.) What are we going to do as a community to hold kids and parents personally responsible for their actions?
Falmouth resident Susan Dench is an on a one-woman mission to promote personal responsibility in America. She is the author of “The Responsibility Rules: Living a Self-Disciplined Life in a Self-Entitled World,” and the forthcoming “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Entitlements: How Big Government Usurped Personal Responsibility in America.”