My recent experience with the raging ignorance on the internet left me with one thought screaming in my head: Parents are obviously falling down on the job. We blame a lot of what’s going on in the world on the media, and we’re not really wrong to do so, but parents have a responsibility to teach their children right from wrong and raise them into worthy adults. Those parents have the ability to tell their kids what is good and bad for them, and they have the power to change what the media is showing their children.
It seems that somewhere along the line, people forgot what it means to be a parent. Being a parent means that it is your job, your absolute responsibility, to raise your children into the best people they can be. You are charged with teaching them the lessons that they need to know to become good and useful adults. You are there to do everything in your power to control the influences that affect your child, and to stand up and make change when those influences are obviously not for the greater good.
The multitude of offensive and disgusting memes floating around the internet is just one example of how things have gone wrong. If people are growing up to enjoy and be amused by these things, there was obviously some lacking in the parenting department. Good parents would have taught their children to respect themselves and others. Good parents would teach their kids not to drink in excess, not to do drugs, not to abuse anyone. A parent who’s doing it right would teach their children that rape and violence are never funny or okay. But look around and you see that these messages are obviously not reaching today’s youth. So what are the parents doing? Why aren’t they taking charge of their offspring and teaching them the right things?
Even though the media does have a great amount of influence on people, both young and older, the media is shaped by the people with money. If parents don’t like the messages being sent to their young, they have the right and the power to put that money to work. Stop buying from companies that send dangerous or offensive messages. Support companies and causes that send the right messages. Make calls, write letters, speak out and make a change in the world to reduce those influences that are damaging your children. If nothing else, a parent can absolutely take measures to disallow negative influences within their own home. They can encourage the things that will help shape their kids into worthwhile adults.
And I know many will argue, but I don’t think it’s ever too late to take control of your kids. Whether they’re 5 or 35, you’re still their parent. If they’re doing things and exposing themselves to things that are detrimental, you can always say something. Offer them alternatives to the negative influences. Tell them that you love them and explain why what they’re doing and experiencing is wrong. Even if you’ve been a horrible, absent parent for years, you can start changing today, and commit to that change. Even if you think you did everything right and your child turned out wrong, you can try harder starting today, and commit to that effort.
If parents keep throwing their hands up in disgust, trying to blame the media or other kids for the way their own children are turning out, things won’t get better. Being a parent isn’t an option, it’s a requirement as soon as that life comes into the world. You are responsible for that life every day until you die. That’s not meant to be a burden, it’s a gift and a chance for you to change the world through the person that you raise and let out into the world. If you have a child, you have to do that. You have to do every single thing in your power (which is more than most people think) to help your child grow into the best possible person. So start now, and stop making excuses.