by Maria Lloyd
Today I was taken aback after reading this New York Daily News article titled “Good Parenting 101: Mom turns son in after seeing him on tape stealing from 9-year-old girl.” Of course I was taken aback by the teens’ actions, but what was more appalling were the actions of their mothers. In their ignorance, they’ve prematurely placed their sons in the system indefinitely. Punishing them in-house and seeking solutions to understand why the teens engaged in said criminal activities would’ve yielded a rewarding outcome in the long-term; however, the mothers have decided to allow the system to raise their sons… And we all know how well the system does (insert sarcasm here). The United States’ “rehabilitation” of its criminals is so flawed that nearly 70 percent of criminals offend again within three years of release. And for the crime these teen boys committed, 70.2 percent of robbers repeat their offense. So, bravo to the two mothers who have helped Philadelphia Police ruin their sons’ lives. If they were doing their job as parents, the boys probably wouldn’t have engaged in the criminal activity at all.
Here are ways to tame untamed youth:
1. Keep them busy.
If you have unruly children, your best option is not to turn them over to police. You are to keep them busy. Have you ever heard the adage “Idle time is the Devil’s time“? Well, giving your kids too much free time will surely set them up for engagement in risky activities. Place them in extra-curricular programs. Between school and extra-curricular activities, your child should be so busy that they don’t have time to think about committing a crime.
2. Find your child a mentor.
If your child does not have a stable household with two parents, find them a mentor who you’ve thoroughly vetted and whose judgement you trust. Be sure to know who you’re trusting with your child. Placing your child in the hands of pedophiles could essentially turn them from a bad child to the worst child. Single mothers, it is best to find a male mentor for your child, whether your child is a boy or girl. Single fathers, it is best that you find a female mentor for your child, whether your child is a boy or girl. There’s a reason why Mother Nature appointed two people of the opposite gender to create a life. It’s not meant for you to do it alone.
3. Listen to your child.
As I’ve written previously, it is time for black parents to respect their children and treat them as human beings. You can have authority in your household without demeaning and/or bullying your child. Your household does not have to operate as a dictatorship for you to gain respect. Parents can stop growing problems within their children if they’d take the time to listen to them. A parent who listens to his/her child is able to quickly pick up on drastic changes in the child’s behavior, which can be life saving. Stop screaming and yelling at your child and take the time to listen to them. Your child is a human being just like you. He/she should be able to express themselves in a respectful manner and feel comfortable with expressing themselves to you.
If you are offended by anything I’ve written, you are part of why the black community is worse off today than we were in the 1960’s. If you are seeking someone to stroke your ego and applaud you for raising your child by yourself, I am not that person. I will never agree with withholding children from one of their (stable) parents. And if you are failing to find an adequate mentor for your child in the absence of a stable parent, you are no better than the aforementioned. Our children don’t stand a chance of being successful when their parents are too ignorant and/or stubborn to act in ways that are in the best interest of their child. I don’t know what happened to the two teens whose parents turned them in to police, but I can only hope the police had mercy on them and did not plague them with a criminal record that will hinder them eternally as they seek an education and a career.
Maria Lloyd (@WritingsByMaria) is a contributor for the Your Black World Network and Dr. Boyce Watkins. She is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University and an advocate of dismantling the prison industrial complex, increasing entrepreneurship, reforming education, and eradicating poverty.