It's difficult to imagine a more egregious example of parental irresponsibility than this. For decades, the capacity of college-age students has proven iffy when it comes to this annual rite dedicated largely to liquor, the libido, destruction, and narcissism.
Now younger students, who, owing to brain physiology, are less capable of the good judgment lacking in their college student compatriots, are being allowed to head for spring break by their parents. To me, that permission borders on the criminally negligent.
Yesterday's edition of The Cincinnati Enquirer ran a front-page article on this disturbing trend. The headline said: Permission to Party? Parents feel pressure to let high school kids indulge in spring break.
I was really struck by this pathetic quote from one parent whose daughter is heading for Florida:
"It's become like most things in life: People are starting at earlier and earlier ages," says..."Teens tell you they're more mature at an earlier age. I'm not sure if that's true. But they're exposed to more things at an earlier age."Here is a parent who doesn't buy into the notion that simply because a child has access to more information and more options in life that they necessarily have the requisite maturity to use that information or access those options. Yet this same parent overlooks her own best judgment and lets the kid head for Florida anyway!
We parents need to love our kids enough to say, "No!" when "No" is the appropriate response.
The result of parental negligence that takes the form of heedless indulgence, seen by teachers in our public schools every day, is predictable: Irresponsible, self-indulgent kids; pregnancies and abortions; dangerous teen use of drugs and alcohol; and lots of other ills.
It's tough telling our kids, "No." It may make us momentarily unpopular. But refusing to let them roll over us to engage in negative behavior will protect them until their physiologically-mature and emotionally-prepared minds allow them to make sound decision for themselves. I've learned that wise discipline imposed usually become wise self-discipline adopted.
One aspect of parenting that begins from a very early age, is the gradual release of a child from our supervision, allowing the child to become his or her own person. But letting kids to go off to Florida for a week at a time, unattended, isn't an appropriate letting-go. It's a little like setting them down in the middle of Basra without protection and expecting that they won't get hurt in some way.
No job in the world is more important than that of the parent. As I see it, it has two major components:
(1) To introduce our kids to the God Who made them and has made it possible for them to be with Him forever through Jesus Christ, a God of awesome love, patience, and grace. Following this God gives us the freedom to become our best selves and the confidence to try any worthy thing.
(2) To prepare them for adult life. That includes the capacity to make wise decisions, ones that take into account what's best for oneself emotionally, physically, mentally, and relationally. It also includes a loving regard for the well-being of others affected by my decisions.
So far as I'm concerned, parents who let their teens head off for spring break without adult supervision are making a disastrous choice. Even if the kids come back home safe and sound, which most do, it's a dangerous risk and sends the wrong signal to the kids about what it means to be a responsible adult.
What do you think?