Lessons Learned From Bad Parenting

I can’t help but view the recent riots in England and Greece in the same way as I do a child creating a ruckus in Whole Foods’ after learning he won’t be getting a chocolate candy after all.  While there may be many explanations for the behavior of the rioters and the child, I contend it can largely be explained as the consequence of over indulgent “parenting”.

I realize there are going to be some who will reject my analogy as simplistic, patronizing and perhaps worst of all – unsympathetic.  I can hear it now-“Just because a child is acting out doesn’t mean he is spoiled …he could be overtired.”  “How can you compare a child’s desire for instant gratification with a British student’s outrage at seeing his tuition rise to $14k per year?”…but think about it…those of us who are parents know better.

Parenting affords us a unique opportunity to view the causal effect of our efforts to raise happy and productive human beings.  I am all too familiar with the mistakes and successes I have made in parenting and how they are exhibited in the everyday behavior of my children.  I also know from discussing with friends, colleagues and neighbors that I am not alone in connecting the tenets of “good parenting” to “good behavior”.  It’s interesting to note that these shared opinions among friends transcend political and socioeconomic differences.

We all agree that love and respect of every child is not diminished by saying “no” once and awhile.  Likewise, teaching someone to be self sufficient versus dependant on others is viewed by most to be a positive human attribute.  Given this general consensus, why would we continue to support public policies which degrade our time tested experience on such matters?  Unfortunately many of our elected officials fall prey to the very same justification we hear from our kids…”I need the $200 sneakers ‘cause everyone is wearing them.”…”I deserve a secondary education at taxpayer expense.”  Just as every bad parent does, the policy maker acquiesces and is left to wonder at a later point in time-“where did we go wrong?”

Parents of all political persuasions recognize the pitfalls in giving everything to their children as opposed to them earning it.  We must discourage public policies whose unintended consequences are to create a malcontented and unproductive citizenry.  I urge you to see this course of action for what it is- “Bad Parenting”

Published by Spencer Robinson

Arlington Resident. Born in Cambridge. Raised in Belmont. Resided or worked in Watertown & Waltham. Married w/3 children. Political Description-Independant Conservative

2 replies on “Lessons Learned From Bad Parenting”

  1. I don’t think I like the parenting analogy — not sure who the “parent” is in the public conversation.

    But I do think that being as candid as possible about financial condition is important — so that people have realistic expectations.

    The justifiable cause for voter anger in some European countries may be that some governments were entirely dishonest in stating their financial condition, continuing to make and amplify promises that they could not keep.

  2. Sorry I thought I was being clear. In my analogy the parent is the “policy maker” or those we elect to govern.

    I agree there is a lack of straight talk coming from our representatives-this sounds like a characteristic of a bad parent to me…

    Re: European voter anger. Who’s being dishonest? An electorate that believes a secondary education is a right or the government which continues spin fairy tales about having enough of other people’s money to pay for it. Two sides of the same coin perhaps.

    I am facinated about how differently you and I view the world. To me a headline describing French unrest over the prospect of the retirement age going from 60 to 62 is indicative of a spoiled child. Given your reaction to my analogy, I suppose you view it as the government’s fault for being dishonest. I think either view makes my case.

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