Monday, April 21, 2008

Middle school girls tape beating

And we have another beating showing up on line.

This time, a group of middle school girls have taped the brutal beating of a classmate and posted it on the internet for all to see. The difference between this taping and the one earlier this month is the age of the kids involved. This group ranges in age from 12-14, too young for anything more than a grounding and a slap on the wrist. See the story here:

I think we, as parents, need to take a very close look at our children. This very same thing can happen to our own kids. They could be the participant or the victim. They could be the planner or the observer. Any one of them could be on the receiving end of violence when outside of our supervision.

In an earlier post, I said we need to teach our children about accountability. We also need to teach them about consequence. Cause and effect. You do this - punishment equals this. Seems an easy concept, one many of us grew up with. Why are we having such a hard time instilling this in our own children?

I think part of it begins with not completely enforcing punishment. Totally. Our authority is lessened every time we parents cave in and allow the computer time, phone use, or Ipod to come out despite our edict preventing the use of these items due to punishment. When the hammer comes down, it needs to stay down.

I also believe our kids don't fear and respect us. As a child, even as a young adult, I was afraid to disappoint my parents. I had and have wonderful, supportive parents who were strong authority figures. I made every effort not to disappoint them.

I look at my own tweenage daughter and I see a sweetheart, when she gets her way. Normal enough reaction from a child. But I detect an underlying sense of entitlement, just as I do in my 18-year old stepdaughter. I see children willing to argue their point, believing they are entirely equal and able to make decisions, come hell or high water or right or wrong. I see children that have been allowed to express their views openly and as a result, completely disregarding the very possibility that someone else might have that right.

This entitlement will be their downfall. And we as parents have had a hand in it.

What makes children broadcast a violent crime against another? What makes someone relish, as the tender age of 12, the pain of another? I can't imagine. I'm at a loss.

I will be speaking to my daughter about this. I think our talk will begin with consequence.

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