Young ‘uns ain’t gettin’ off easy, either

You’re turn, junior…

Actually, this is more directed at you, Mom and Dad. There is a detail we get from time to time entitled 601 W&I (Welfare and Institutions). This is the section verbatim:

601(a): Any person under the age of 18 years who persistently or habitually refuses to obey the reasonable and proper orders or directions of his or her parents, guardian, or custodian, or who is beyond the control of the person, or who is under the age of 18 years when he or she violated any ordinance of any city or county of this state establishing a curfew based solely on age is within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court which may adjudge the minor to be a ward of the court.

There are a couple more subsections, but basically, this is what is referred to as the “Uncontrollable Juvenile” detail. My opinion? Ain’t no such thing (and before you grammar dorks hop up on your soapbox, I’m taking literary license. I know it’s a terrible sentence.).

This section was enacted to control truancy and habitually disobedient children. I have a couple messages for two select groups. First, the parents. Second, the kids.

Parents…listen, you have to understand something. You are bigger than your kid(s). Get it? I don’t care if little Johnny is 6’3″ and 250 lbs. You’re bigger. Know why? Because you’re Mom. Because you’re Dad. Your house is not a Democracy. It is a Dictatorship. If it’s not, it should be. That is not to say your child can’t have an opinion about things. That is not to say you shouldn’t value Suzie’s feelings. Make no mistake, I will listen to everything my children have to say; however, at the end of the day, what the Wife and I say, goes. End of story.

Parents….you don’t understand why your little sweetheart won’t mind you? Well, gee, did we ever set boundaries for them whilst they were a-growin’? No? Hmmm…did we give them consequences for their actions? No? Damn. Did we, oh I don’t know, teach them to respect their elders, their peers, and themselves? No? Well then guess what Mommy and Daddy? Their behavior is your fucking fault. I can’t fix in 17 minutes what it took you 17 years to permanently fuck up. Sorry. You’ve no one to blame but yourselves.

This may sound harsh. Ok, fine, it’s harsh. It also happens to be reality. It boggles my mind that I get detailed to a house where Mom complains that Junior “just won’t go to school”. Are you kidding me? Know what would have happened in my house if I said some silly shit like that growing up? Besides the fact that I’d be standing for near a month after the spanking, either Mom or Dad would’ve taken my now-beet red ass to school. How’s about you throw Johnny in the damn car and drive him to school. Sit in his class if you have to. Take responsibility. YOU ARE A PARENT. I am not your child’s father. I am not your parent-coach. Do your goddamn job!

Before you get too up in arms…I’m not advocating beating your kid. Not by a stretch. In my opinion, any corporal punishment should be done out of love, not anger or frustration. You will not help the situation if you just start wailing away. Explain why the behavior was wrong. Explain a better way to handle it. Explain the consequence. Any punishment dealt out of anger or frustration merely clouds and confuses the issue.

Now its your turn, Johnny and/or Suzie. Feeling pretty good after I reamed ‘ol Mom and Popz, right? Well shut your mouth, cause I got news for you, too. When you and your stupid little buddies think you can get over on your folks by holding the ‘abuse card’ over their heads, you got another think coming. Know what? Mom and Dad have every right in the world to spank your little bottom blue. Matter of fact, how’s about I stand by and they can go to town on you and I’ll let you know how far they can take it. That work for you?

Remember the time that you were throwing a fit and Mom grabbed your arm in her vice-like grip? Left a nasty bruise, didn’t it? You told your school counselor about it and she reported it because she’s required by law. You do? Sit down, sweetie…Mom could have done a hell of a lot more and still be right by the law.

You know what your folks are required to do? Four basic things…1)feed you 2)clothe you 3)shelter you, and 4)educate you. That’s it, kid. You like that PS3? Not yours. Cell phone? Also not yours. Your car? Nope. Your TV? Nuh-uh. All that shit belongs to your parents. They allow you to use it. It never ceases to amaze me when parents ask me, “I can take those things away?” Unreal.

Junior, you are but a serf in the fiefdom that is your house. You can either be the one sleeping in squalor or you can be the one in the main house helping out. You don’t get a vote…or if you do, it like my Mom always said, “It doesn’t count because I get to vote twice”.

A final thought to you parents out there. If there are two things I can encourage you to do it’d be get on the same page with your husband/wife and be consistent. Kids sense the weaker parent. They do it from the day you bring them home from the hospital. It may sound silly, but its an absolute. We are genetically predisposed to discover and exploit weakness to get what we want. The “weak” parent in one situation may be the stronger in another. It’s the age-old “Mom and Dad ’em” situation. If Mom won’t let me, ask Dad and vice versa.

Consistency is key. Don’t threaten Johnny with a consequence and not follow through. You’re not doing yourself any favors….and believe me, Johnny knows it. I’m not saying it’s easy. I am, however, saying it works. How do I know? I’m a product of it. My parents were on the same page all the time. My actions had consequences. And I paid for them. They may not always have agreed with one another about whatever stupid shit I pulled, but, in my eyes, it always appeared as a united front. Without a doubt.

I’ll throw in a third caveat of Communication. Talk to your kids, people. You are not raising children. You are raising little adults (credit: Mom). If your kid is a little asshole, he/she will be a big asshole when they grow up. Talk to your kids like adults. They’re a hell of a lot smarter than you may give them credit for. They know the score and, believe it or not, are dying for you to set them straight.

Now, lets hug it out…

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. Snark is encouraged. Being a prat is not.

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17 thoughts on “Young ‘uns ain’t gettin’ off easy, either

  1. *standing and clapping* I'd even throw in one of those finger-in-the-mouth whistle thingies if I could do it.

    Many moons ago, before I found my calling in Fire/EMS I was a police officer for a short time. I was 23, and had no kids (still don't). How did people think I am gonna know ANYTHING about parenting kids. It was even better when the wanted parental advice for their teenagers. I was a teenager a mere FOUR years prior at the time. Get real folks…

    Anyway, well written, MC…

  2. I don't see any grammar flaws here, but some of your punctuation could be cited for being wildly over the line.

    Otherwise, this was a great post. I'm reminded of a great line from a lousy movie, a curious thriller starring Goldie Hawn titled "Deceived." At the film's denouement, when a parent is coddling a particularly petulant and indulged child, Goldie belts out, "Isn't anybody in charge around here?"

  3. Stud,

    I knew someone would eventually call me out on that score. The odd thing is I talk pretty much the way I write, so I'm fairly convinced my speech is full of f'd up punctuation as well.

    🙂

  4. This an awesome post. I wish we had about 100 million more parents just like you/my parents. Maybe then we wouldn't have 100 million assholes in this country. BRAVO!

  5. VERY well SAID!!!! I couldn't agree more! I wish more parents would read this blog and implement all the things you said here!

    **** STANDING OVATION!*****

  6. MC-

    The basic philosophy is right on. I have to add a warning, though.

    Parents need to realize that corporal punishment is determined by a community standard. That means that 12 strangers, from the county where you live, get to decide what is "reasonable."

    If you live in Marin, "spank your little bottom blue" may very well earn you a 273a(b) conviction, with 4 years of mandatory probation and mandatory child abuse classes, along with a CPS investigation. If you live in Bakersfield, you probably have nothing to worry about.

    I think corporal punishment is perfectly legitimate. I don't spank my 3 1/2 year old, because I haven't needed to. I've worked very hard to speak with him respectfully, and I always follow up disciple sessions with lots of hugs and positive reinforcement. But that doesn’t mean there haven't been showdowns where I've forced him to sit still, look at me, and listen by making him sit while I hold hin knees and squeezed when he didn't comply.

    Someday spankings may become necessary- I hope the techniques I use now enforcing respect and communication prevent that day from ever happening. But a kid that learns respect (without having to be servile) will be more confident and self disciplined as a teenager. And being a teenager is so dangerous a time.

    Anyway, if your kid simply refuses to comply with your reasonable demands, and you live some place like Marin, MOVE.

    The local college where I live is filled with ruined kids that never learned the word "no" and wind up facing discipline from guys like me. And I don't give a FUCK if their parents knew what they were doing. If they do something defined in the Penal, Health and Safety, or Welfare and Institutions code (among others,)that I can prove beyond a reasonable doubt, THEY ARE MINE. And I KNOW how to make it hurt.

    So do your kids a favor- teach them to respect you, others, legitimate authority, and, most importantly, themselves, and you will be giving them an awesome gift. Just be wary of the community where you live. If their standards of what is acceptable aren't up to par, maybe its time to move. In the end, your kids will thank you.

  7. My 15yo daughter just randomly asked me if she could go to Chicago w/ a friend of hers for the weekend. "We'd stay with some friends of his…" I just looked at her, cocked an eyebrow and said "Really?" she smiled, and said… "I'll take that as a big NO ". I smiled back at her. Just holding the lines while she checks to make sure they're still there…

  8. "Matter of fact, how's about I stand by and they can go to town on you and I'll let you know how far they can take it. That work for you?"

    ROFLMAO!!!!

    and THANK YOU@@@!!!

    I am soooooooo sick of being called to kids who "just won't listen". This week alone we had a 9 year old tearing the house apart while mommy and daddy stood by, afraid to intervene because the boy had a fragile mental condition. I say B.S.! His mental condition is called Zero enforced boundaries! Way to go mom and dad. Then we had a 10 year old who tied a noose and was threatening to jump out the window with it, and beating up mom and dad. Um hello?? di dyou just hand him your parenting card when he turned 2 and let him run wild with it? (I say "we had this call" but I am sitting up at HQ with a broke leg, and heard the calls go out and talked to the crews about the calls.)

    I am sick and tired of parents who repeat over and over "I'm not going to tell you again, I'm not going to tell you again". Yes you are, and your kid knows it!

    Grrrrr way to get me fired up. I am going through a divorce and raising three kids myself, but they do what they are told when they are told, mind their manners, or face consequences. Don't get me wrong, they aren't angels, but they know that when they test the boundaries systematically, looking for weaknesses, it's not going to work. Anyway- handing the soapbox back over to you. 🙂

  9. What I will never understand are the parents AFRAID to discipline their children.

    In case you didn't know, the word "discipline" is derived from the word "disciple". That's right…like those folks in long robes and dirty feet (save for one day of the year) who learned the teachings of Christ… STUDENTS.

    If you, the parent, are unable or unwilling to TEACH your children how to behave in society, you have no business having children. Even the most expensive private education you can afford won't fix those first years of your non-existent boundaries. Just because they are TEACHERS doesn't mean you can give them your little monsters and expect a miracle. Lord knows they don't get paid enough for that crap!

    Your precious little bundle, that filled your heart with hope as you drove home from the hospital that first day, is one flying chair away from the next Maury episode. Remind me to Tivo it.

    And Mommy-Medic was much too nice, giving you back your soapbox. I think I'll hang on to it for a little while longer 😉

  10. When my time comes to leave this earthly home – I will be leaving it a better place because you are my son. St Peter will take one look at me and say "nice job – come on in!"

    This was an EXCELLENT post. There is no greater reward than to see your child actually doing what he/she was taught. As I have said a zillion times – YOU are the one thing your dad and I did absolutely right. xoxo my boy!! (Derrell – damn we did good!!)

  11. You know, when my older sister was going out of control my mom did everything you suggested, MC. For a couple months she even followed her everywhere she went. Everywhere. School, her friends homes, the store, the park. And then when my sister did manage to get away, she'd get dragged back by the hair a few hours later by my mom. She would even go as far throwing away anything my sister got from friends, but I don't think she ever once hit her. Its because of that my sister didn't end up all tatted up with gang shit and worse, like many of her other friends at the time; junkies, ho-bags, jail/juvie. Eventually she calmed down and saw all that happened to her friends, or maybe she calmed down because she saw all that happened to them.

    All that shit shit affected me because I hardly stepped out of line, because I saw just how far my mom would go. She is not a woman you should mess with.

  12. Thank you for this post. As a strict parent I sometimes feel like the only one. We don't do corporal punshiment much in our house it is kept for the most serious of offenses. My 10yr old has been spanked maybe 4 times. We do, however, ground "amish style" which my children know mean they can not use anything that takes electricity except the overhead light and they will being going to bed at sundown and up at sunup. We tried traditional groundings and found 3 days of amish is worth 2 weeks of traditional! I have been told by other parents that I am way to strict and praised by the same parents for my well behaved children while theirs ran around tearing up jack.
    I totally argree. I'm not trying to raise kids. I am trying to raise good productive citizens that will be an assett to their community, not a detriment.

  13. I recently stumbled upon this blog and have been reading the archives.

    All I have to say is AMEN!!! I wish more parents had this kind of philosophy and demanded respect from their children. Thank you for the post MC, even though I am late to the party.

  14. I'm late to the party too, but I have to chime in with my support: amen to everything you said!

    Consistency, fairness, responsibility, and consequences: you've got it absolutely right. I would also throw in a couple more lessons (sadly, learned from watching my sister try to raise her 2 boys): 1) if you want your kids to take your lecture seriously, don't laugh all the way through it; and 2) if every word that ever comes out of your mouth is in the form of a shriek, how will your kids a) know when you are "raising your voice" or b) learn how to speak in a normal tone themselves?

    The End. 🙂