Editorial: To be a parent

Rapper Eminem gave the following analogy in his song, "Who knew," in regards to parents blaming outside influences -- such as his music or popular culture -- on how their children act.

"You shoulda been watchin' him -- apparently you ain't parents."

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For many parents, it is understandable how a statement like that might not go over well, especially coming from a millionaire rapper who doesn't have the burdens of those struggling to get by.

But is there truth in the line, "apparently you ain't parents"?

No parent likes being told how to raise his or her child, that he or she is not doing a good job. No parent thinks anyone else should have the right to criticize the parental job he or she is doing.

And in a sense, parents who feel that way are right.

Those on the outside looking in have no idea how it is to raise someone else's child. Editorial board members will be the first to admit we all make mistakes in raising children, and see how it is unfair to judge other parents. We look in the mirror first and know we need to be better, as we hope all parents do.

But that being said, there are too many factors to not say the following: That Eminem is, in some cases, right.

Grand Futures director Chad Kiniston might be on to something when he says "parents are in denial" when it comes to underage drinking. His reason: a 2005 survey reported that 68 percent of 11th- and 12th-graders at Moffat High School had partaken in libations in the past 30 days. That means nearly three out of every four of those kids reported drinking. What if some lied?

Editorial board members can't help but see 10-year-olds riding their bikes well toward midnight, and wonder where is the supervision? That isn't just a parenting issue, but a safety issue when children are riding into traffic or holding onto cars.

Nothing good can come from kids being out that late at night.

The editorial board acknowledges we live in a different world today.

In Elisa Shackelton's column, "The Extension Connection," in Friday's paper, she noted "parents in the 1990s spent 40 percent less time with their children than parents a generation ago. In 1965, parents averaged about 30 hours a week with their children; by 1985, parents were spending an average of only 17 hours a week with their children."

It's not just that we spend less time with our children in this time-strapped world. It's also about what that time is being used for.

How much time is spent in front of television or video games?

Yes, it's a different world. But it still has the same principles.

Spend time with your kids. Teach them right from wrong. Teach them to respect others. Teach them accountability, not just with words but also with actions. Don't be afraid if they hate you today because you set limits to keep them safe or teach them responsibility. Hate today might very well turn into appreciation in the future.

Because this much is apparent: If that many youths are drinking alcohol, we need to be aware. If children are not being safe in the streets, we need to be more vigilant.

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