Parents Need Camp Too…

The ABC network debuted its latest contribution to the world of reality tv this week. “Brat Camp” examines the reasons why nine kids, boys and girls between the ages of 14 and 17, are shipped off to the wildnerness at the pleas of desperate parents. These chosen youngsters have serious problems ranging from compulsive lying and anger issues to drug addiction and stealing.

How has this happened? How does an entire population of adolescents become so self-absorbed? I blame it on parents. That’s right. I said it. Parents aren’t doing their jobs.

Hmmmm….brat camp. Love the concept. As a sixth grade teacher of English, reading, and world history, I can think of quite a few of my students who could benefit from 40 days in the wilderness. Forty days without their handheld video games, portable cd players, cell phones, and skateboard/dirt bike/hip-hop magazines. In addition to their poor reading and writing skills, today’s “tween” generation lacks serious social skills. These kids have no respect for authority, be it in parent or teacher form. They have obvious apathy for everything that does not pertain to them.

How has this happened? How does an entire population of adolescents become so self-absorbed? I blame it on parents. That’s right. I said it. Parents aren’t doing their jobs. With that in mind, I believe that while their children are off dealing with their various issues, the parents should be also be engaged. I envision crash courses in parenting. They could learn to communicate with their children in a way that involves actual dialogue. They could learn to put down THEIR cell phones, PDAs, and remote controls long enough to listen to their kids. Parents that claim their little angels slowly became monsters over the years have to learn to intervene. You cannot be your daughter’s or son’s best friend. Put your foot down!! When your 11-year old is caught smoking pot or drinking, you deal with it right then and there. Kids have to know that there are boundaries, some bigger than others, that they cannot cross. Allowing the behavior to continue only allows it to fester into worse habits or mindsets. Be a parent and PARENT! And in the meantime, check out “Brat Camp” on ABC, Wednesday nights at 9 p.m.