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Leadership’s Future: Parents Are Mucking Up Our Future

by Miki Saxon

What’s going on? This post is a call for your thoughts.

I simply don’t understand what today’s parents are thinking—assuming they are thinking at all.

18 years ago Wanda Holloway tried to hire a hit man to improve her 13 year old daughter’s chances of making the cheer-leading squad.

More recently Lori Drew helped her teenage daughter fake a MySpace page that drove another teen to suicide.

Parents launch efforts to destroy teachers who don’t hand out ‘As’; they scream at referees and umpires when they disagree with a call; they threaten coaches who don’t allow their kids to play enough.

On one hand they enable their kids to avoid all responsibility and on the other castigate them for not living up to whatever parental dreams they are trying to realize.

I know that it’s not all parents; and this isn’t a new rant, but it’s one to which I keep coming back.

And it came back with a vengeance, in fact you might say my outrage cup runneth over, when I read that Senator John Ensign’s parents paid off his mistress.

“The wealthy parents of Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) gave $96,000 last year to the staffer who was then his mistress and to her family, his attorney said yesterday.

The gifts to Cynthia L. Hampton and her family were given “out of concern for the well-being of longtime family friends during a difficult time,” according to the lawyer, Paul Coggins.”

Ensign’s parents aren’t Gen-Xers and probably not Boomers, so this problem isn’t new.

You read stories about helicopter parents all the time, but when does it end?

How can anyone expect a person to make good choices when their mistakes (and worse) are ‘handled’ for them by their parents?

What do you think about Ensign’s parents’ actions? Obviously, pay-offs aren’t in the same class as murder; are they better or equal with bullying?

I don’t have any answers, but we’d better find some—and fast!

An open discussion is a place to start so let’s hear your thoughts.

Your comments—priceless

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Image credit: Army.mil on flickr

4 Responses to “Leadership’s Future: Parents Are Mucking Up Our Future”
  1. StephenNo Gravatar Says:

    My Dad told me once, when I was a teenager, “If you land in jail, get comfortable.” That was pretty sobering.

  2. Miki SaxonNo Gravatar Says:

    Hi Stephen, three cheers for your dad.

    Did it make a difference in your actions after that?

    Would you say the same thing to your son in similar circumstances?

  3. AndrewNo Gravatar Says:

    Very interesting post. I don’t have kids, but I’d imagine knowing you have to let your kids fall at some point, even though you could stop it, must be so hard. I guess some parents don’t see why letting them take that fall, learn that hard lesson, feel that sting is important, so they play superhero — or, in your examples, villain! I’ve never heard those stories before, but they’re pretty sick.

    I think part of being a good parent is allowing your kids to go through some things that you COULD make easier for them or even prevent. That’s not to say parents should turn a cold shoulder; parents should be there to be supportive and helpful after the fact, but hopefully the lesson will have been learned and the kid will be a step closer to independence. Because isn’t the whole goal of being a good parent to prepare your kids to be okay in the world independently from you?

  4. Miki SaxonNo Gravatar Says:

    Hi Andrew, Absolutely. In “The Prophet,” Kahlil Gibran likens parents to a bow and kids to the arrows. The bow may launch the arrow, but it can’t really control how or where it flies.

    But that ability to think independently and make good decisions needs to start at an early age.

    If you help a child walk to soon by holding them up their legs may bowl because they aren’t strong enough to carry the child’s weight yet, but if you keep supporting them once they are strong enough then the muscles won’t develop correctly and the legs will be weak.

    Learning to make decisions and then dealing with the results are best learned in small, safe doses that get larger as time goes by as opposed to waiting until the child is 18 or 24 and expecting her to do it herself.

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