Friday, October 16, 2009

I blame the parents.

I have been writing this post in my head for close to two weeks. It is one of those that I cannot seem to mold into a nice cohesive rant. I typically try to keep my posts short and my rambling thought process in check... but when I saw this news story yesterday about 5 boys setting another on fire, all bets were off. This post will pour from my head/fingers/ heart, might get off track, will piss people off and will most likely earn some hateful comments from anonymous.

It all started October 4th when 4 teen boys entered a home in a rural, 'picture perfect' New Hampshire home sometime before 4am. They brutally attacked a woman with a machete, killing her and then moving on to her 11 year old daughter. The little girl's throat was slit and leg broken among other injuries. 4 teens... in New England... in a sleepy town... in a quiet community.

This story is eerily reminiscent of a brutal murder of 2 Dartmouth professors on Jan 27, 2001 in their secluded New Hampshire home. In both cases, the teen boys involved stated they just wanted to know what it felt like to kill somebody.

And as the community, media, friends and family try to rationalize and figure out 'how could this happen?'... I know the answer. It is the parents. The horrible parents of these murderers. The level of pure evil exhibited by our youth is simply out of control today. Setting other children on fire? Taking a human life with a machete? It's disgusting. It's frightening. And what do you want to blame? An onslaught of peanut allergies? Seasonal depression and global warming?

Nope. It's your parenting. It sucks. You suck. You should have never had children because you do not know how to care for them. I am sorry to break the news to you, but I do not feel bad that you have 'lost your child too.' Your child was not dragged behind a truck until all the flesh was pulled from his bones. Your child was not dismembered and stuffed in a trunk. And perhaps if you used a condom, that fate would not have fallen on those poor victims.

The comments I see from these ignorant 'parents' in the media make me want to hunt them down with a Zippo and carry out some justice. (Although, my parents did not raise a monster so we know I am not capable.) The mother of one of the arsonists (they were ages 13-15, by the way) stated "What was my son supposed to do once the boy was on fire? Try to put him out and catch fire himself?" You dumb bitch. How about knocking the bottle of rubbing alcohol from the other kids hands? How about telling an adult of the murderous plot? Geez, I can think of a million way to not set a child on fire and laugh as their flesh melts from their body.

The parents of the 4 murdering teenage boys in New Hampshire have similar profound explanations. "I knew that boy was bad news. I told my son not to hang out with him." Really, you knew he was bad news? So what the hell was he doing with him at 4am on a Sunday morning torturing an innocent mother and daughter in a completely random act of violence? Where were you? Where were all of these parents? And it is just a vicious cycle that will continue on. Do you think these scum bags will now be able to turn around and raise the next generation of pillars of society? One of these boys has a 17 year old girl carrying his unborn child. I am sure that baby won't have any issues in life.

What is the wake up call going to be? Do parents need to be held legally accountable for their child's behavior? People need to stop multiplying or give a shit about creating human life. And I don't mean physically, I mean the life that they are creating. At my 9 year-old's last teacher conference, it really hit me that I (along with my husband, of course) am out on our own island when it comes to raising a socially conscious child. When I walked into the classroom, the teacher had a stack of papers set up for me to exhibit Ariana's multitude of excellent test scores. Honestly, I couldn't care less about these test scores. She always scores off the charts and we know she is quite an overachiever in her academics. Wonderful. However, there are plenty of brilliant, psychopathic, anti-social people out there in the world. I immediately sat down with the teacher and said "I am aware of the test scores and I know she does fantastic at academics. I really want to discuss her social skills and interaction with others." You'd think I had just walked in naked with an owl on my shoulder. She was literally speechless. She fumbled with that stack of papers, neatening, sorting, breathing slowly. "Umm, I really don't have the opportunity to see her interact with the other children. With these new programs, our day is very structured."

What? How about recess, lunch, hallways... snacktime???

"We do not spend time outside of the classroom with children these days. There are volunteers for that. We spend that time planning lessons and reporting. There really is no way for you to have a global view of how she interacts with others here at school."

Now I was speechless. My daughter was great at spelling and algebra, so who cares about integrity, character, empathy... or silly things like that? I have always been of the mind that parents should not rely on schools to raise their children. But, now, as we are actually nurturing a real live human (or 3) of our own, it is really hitting home.

When people make endless excuses for their deficiencies in parenting, it really drives me mad. I mean, it is not rocket science. I always think back to when Ariana was in 1st grade. She had her first 'best friend.' She hung out with this girl for months, at dance, at play dates, at school. She loved her. And then, the family stopped inviting her for play dates and started declining our invitations. After a few months, Ariana asked her little friend why the weren't playing anymore. The girl said, "Well, when you were at our house you lied to my mom and she does not want me to hang out with kids who lie."

Wow. Now those are some great parents. Not only did they teach their angel lessons on honesty and choosing good friends, they inadvertently taught me daughter the same lessons. These parents are great... very involved, very kind. They slowly let Ariana back into their lives over the past couple of years and the girls are close again. And you better believe that Ariana is on her best behavior when she is around them!

It is small things like that, early in life, that make a difference. How many people just have kids over and don't even interact or pay attention to what is transpiring? How many people actually sit down to dinner every night or read a book at bedtime... just take the time and involve yourself in your child life? The people of these children who are committing these crimes always say they have no idea. The mother of one of the Columbine boys just recently came out and said she had no idea he was suicidal until after the shootings when she read his journal. Really? Your own child living in your home and you suspected nothing?

Let me tell you that while my children live under my roof, they will have no expectation of privacy. I have no issue reading a journal, installing a Chaperone service on their cell phone to stalk them, listening to their phone calls. I would not even be opposed to setting an alarm on their bedroom door if I thought the were sneaking out.

Basically, I am not afraid to parent them. I do not need to be their friend. I do need to set a good example, teach good life lessons, love them, lead them, bully them and threaten bodily harm... whatever it takes. And if you can't figure out your own ways to raise a not-abhorrent human being, call me, I will send you some condoms.

I just wanted a add a teeny post script here. I do understand that there are people and children out there with actual mental defect or other biological dysfunction that can complicate their interactions in civilization. However, I still charge that the parents have a responsibility to recognize these issues and work through the proper channels of therapy, medication or whatnot to protect these children.


  1. I could not agree with you more. Parents need to pay attetion to their kids. So don't teachers, I play football EVERYDAY with my 6th graders, and they are boys! I also eat linch EVERYDAY with my students, Yes that is most teachers lunch time, and it is their time, but I chave other times to do my planning, and so I choose to sit with my students, and I am not even the teacher I am just the aide. I will tell you though that I can sit any parent and tell them what is socially going on with their kid, and they care about that just as much as test scores.

  2. I agree. 100%.

    every day I see parents who neglect to care for their small children (putting the burden on their bigger children, often. Or the television) and want to point fingers when their 12 year old has a gun. Get's someone pregnant. Murders someone.

    12 years old is very old in some communities. By the time a child is 12, he or she may have been responsible for several other children. May have missed school because no one makes sure they are there. May already be a parent themselves.
    It's sick.

  3. I just stumbled upon your blog and I really loved this post. Great job.
    We are the parents to two little girls, 5 and 3. Our 5 year old is in kindergarten and already, the teacher has told me (on more than one occasion), that we are doing a really great job and we should be proud of ourselves. Funny, my husband and I don't feel like we do 1/2 as much as our parents, but what we do is 10 times more than most other parents she sees. Our house has routine and discipline and there are consequences for bad actions - if there is a discipline issue at school during the day, it carries home for the rest of the day. She said that she rarely sees parents like us anymore.
    Oh, and the vast majority of our friends (who are parents)? They tell us how lucky we are to have such "easy" kids.