Tuesday, August 01, 2006

is parenting really generational?

This Washington Post article mentioned by Chris O'Donnell pointed out to me what I think is the overlooked problem in teen drug and alcohol use and sexual activity. The Washington Post sees it in terms of permissive parents versus overbearing parents. Chris seems to see it in terms of generational differences. Neither source approached the problem as I see it, honesty.

We are always fighting the evil trio of alcohol, drugs and sex. Perhaps some people even see the double standard, the discussion with your children making you a hypocrite because of all the things you did back in the sixties or seventies, or now even into the eighties or nineties. Hell, if you're like me, on into the . . .uuuuhhhh . . .the zeroties?

I think that we are dishonest too often about the evil trio. Perhaps we feel that a good scare will make kids not drink and drive. We can preach the evils of drug use. We can wing it with sex because who the hell really knows anyway. We each preach our beliefs on this one, some of our beliefs being a little healthier than others.

These problems were certainly there in earlier generations, but once upon a time, young, unwed mothers were shipped off to an aunt's house and disappeared from polite society. The drug addicted son went to the asylum or into the business or out on the street, depending on the family, and the same happens today with slightly more parents willing to turn a naive eye and continue to enable. We just lie our asses off and hide everything from everyone.

I'm not sure exactly what I'm trying to say here. I've written and rewritten this entire post at least three or four times. I get some righteous indignation out, and the upon rereading I see how off course I've gone as opposed what I set out to say. I think my own problem writing this may be much like the problem I see with our approach to the evil trio; it gets confusing. We can't make them go away, and too often we just approach it when we have to. And the only time we really have to approach these issues is when it's late enough to have become a problem. That's kind of addiction in a nutshell, the problem with alcohol and drugs. Yet we won't look at the problem of addiction, we just look down on the junky and keep on walking. But if we don't start with addiction, we can never look at the real problem with drugs. We too often miss the signs with kids and drugs, and we've been taught that drug addiction is a sign of a bad person and a criminal offense.

If we need to be honest about drugs, then we should be allowed the freedom of honesty about sex. Sex is so much different than our other two evil trio members. Sex has so much more going for it, and so much riding on it. (heehee at riding on it) I certainly don't have an answer to this one. If we are dishonest about drugs and alcohol, I fear that with sex we aren't dishonest so much as deluded. To some sex is sacred, to others it's a goal, to many people it's just something to do. It's also a great way to draw attention to a product. We are, like many animals, fairly sexually minded. Yet because we are human and like variety and choice, we make things up as we go. Yet to monkey wrench the cogs, we have a huge steaming mound of guilt served up right beside all that sexual wantsomeness.

None of the trio is actually evil. It's just that these are such strong urges for people. There is a certain desire for the lads and/or lasses and the cups, yet the trio can have such dire consequences when taken too lightly. There's a certain something that drives some to do things that others wish they wouldn't. Perhaps we don't want our kids to do some of these things. Condemning doesn't work any better than bullshitting. So where are we left? We have to start being honest with each other and our kids.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I get what you're saying. I think we as a nation are prudish about sex and drugs to the point that is becomes a tempting taboo for the young. I had the good fortune to live in Europe for a year as a teen and saw that the kids abused things a lot less. The schools treated them like intelligent peers, the drinking laws allowed beer and wine at age 16, and the norm was to sunbath or sauna topless and naked and it wasn't considered sexual. Every teen I knew behaved much more calmly and was more in control of their lives and more in touch with their passions as a result. I think the problem is our attitude. My high school in the US was like a lcok down prison, where you could never leave the premises and you had to beg for a pass to go pee.

So I get it. Chris had the right idea. How could we make adults turn around their thinking to that extent in the US though?

Kim at relaxedhomeskool.com