SHANNON WILLIAMS
President and General Manager
Indianapolis Recorder

Babies are having babies.

Bullying has become a nationwide epidemic.

Educational excellence isn’t even mandated in many of America’s homes.

Today’s children are … different.

There comes a point in time when we can no longer blame “the man” or “the system.” There comes a point in time when we have to be realistic and look at the true source of the problems facing today’s youth. In retracing the steps of the past, we will realize that many of today’s ills are because parents stopped parenting.

It is that simple.

Somewhere along the way, parents became less effective in regards to their parenting skills. The ball was dropped, and we are now experiencing the negative effects of that ball never being picked back up.

Well, it’s time to grab that ball and get back to work. Parents, it is time for you to start parenting your children.

Here are some tips that can get you started:

Remember, it is no longer about you

If you chose to have children, then you also chose to sacrifice for them. That means you need to stop making things about you and do what is best for your children. Make children a priority so when challenging and uncertain times come up, you can equip your children with the necessary tools required to help them through the adversity.

Don’t expect other people to raise your children

While teachers are a big component in a child’s life, they are not the primary component; parents are. The same goes for grandparents, cousins and older siblings, etc.; it is not their responsibility to raise your children.

Invest in your children 

Investing in your child does not always mean financially, though that is important, too. You can invest in your children by spending quality time with them, exposing them to different forms of culture, getting them involved in various activities or by instilling in them the importance of academic excellence. There are tons of free programs that expose children to different activities and educational initiatives. Investing in your children now will make them more successful and productive in the future.

Teach them that bullying is wrong

It sounds cliche, but that old saying “treat others the way you want to be treated” is especially fitting relative to the bullying epidemic. Intimidation tactics are never good, so explain the dangers of bullying to your children. Also, encourage them to talk with you if they find themselves being bullied.

Set boundaries

Even if you’re fortunate enough to give your children every material possession they desire, still set boundaries for them. Children need to know that things come in moderation and that they can’t have access to everything. An elitist child who never hears “no” will have an unrealistic perception of the real world. They may also have a difficult time with authority in the future. Speaking of authority, parents should also punish their children when they do something wrong — including mouthing off, which seems to go unpunished more often these days.

Practice healthy living

Obesity in America is at an all-time high, and children represent a large portion of the obese population. Practice healthy living by eating better and participating in physical activities. I know video games are popular, but also encourage kids to be physically active. If you have a dog, walk the dog as a family. Small efforts turn into big results. 

I get so frustrated with parents who are lackadaisical about their parenting responsibilities. It is time to step up and actually parent children. If not, this society will be going down a steep hill fast!

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