Is Parenting Harder in Today’s Society?
Cyber bullying, girl fights and child abuse within team sports – it seems like there is so much more to worry about as a parent in today’s society. Prior to the Penn State scandal I was excited that my son has finally reached “team sport” age and was anticipating his first soccer season this coming spring. I imagined sitting on the sidelines as the excited mother, capturing every moment with my camera. But now that dream is tarnished, I’m sending him out on the field with reservations and with my guard up. I’m now forced to think about the unthinkable and sit on the sidelines with both eyes not only on my son, but the coach and the field. It’s frustrating that what is supposed to be a fun activity for kids has been tarnished with concerns of child abuse accusations and charges. It’s sad that we as parents have to take so many extra precautions to make sure our kids are safe.
And it seems like it just gets harder and more frustrating as our kids get older. Not only do we have to worry about our kids getting bullied at school, but now we have to be aware of cyber bullying. We have to worry about what pictures our kids are taking, who’s sending them text messages and what they are saying about each other. We have to make sure our kids are protected from cyber bullying so they don’t feel trapped into taking their own lives. In 2010 alone 30% of middle school students were victims of a least one form of cyber bullying.
It seems like there is just so much more to worry about as a parent in today’s society. If you watched the Lifetime Movie, Girl Fight then you can see how damaging cyber bullying can be. How were those girls able to attack a defenseless girl and just leave her in a parking lot? How did they think that was okay to video tape and gloat about? Some say movies and TV shows are desensitizing our youth, but NO decent person should have thought that was an okay thing to do, let alone brag about it.
As a parent of both a girl and boy, I’m scared for both of my children. They have so many more things to watch out for than I did growing up. The worst form of bullying I experienced was prank phone calls, but kids today have to deal with so much more. Not only do they have to face bullies in person, but they have to deal with them via email, text message, online, facebook and so much more.
So how do we protect our kids from society? I’m starting now. I keep the lines of communication open with my children; they are free to express themselves and how they feel. My hope is that my children will know and understand that they can come to us with any problem and concern. My hope is that I’ve encouraged them enough to believe in themselves and have enough confidence to not be defeated by a bully. My hope is that they will survive the child and teenage years unscarred and tainted.
What are things you’ve done to keep the lines of communication open with your kids? Do you take extra precautions with online activity or team sports?