Friday, August 5, 2011

Parenting Should Require a License

Chances are you had a time in your life where you hated or at least strongly disliked your parents. Either justifiably or out of your own disdain for their rules, you decided that they were bad parents for that period of time and you actively did whatever you could to piss them off to the highest level of pisstivity (©Walter Jackson #highschoolquotes). We've all been there, but this isn't going to be one of those discussions. This is going to be about the truly horrible parents of the world. The people whom you see every day and ask yourself how the state hasn't taken away their children and locked the parents in a dog kennel.

On a bright, sunny spring day back in 2007, I was driving eastbound on good ol' Central Street in Evanston. Just coming home from a rewarding, fulfilling, totally worth it completely horrible day at work. I had my music blaring and I was in complete relax mode. As I'm cruising along, a woman pushing an infant in a stroller just decides to cross the street...directly in front of my moving car. She wasn't at a crosswalk, there was no cop controlling traffic, there was no traffic light; she just decided that crossing in the middle of a fairly busy street while pushing a baby in a GOD DAMNED STROLLER (into on-coming traffic) was a really good idea. I lost it. I screamed "You fucking worthless idiot!" out of my driver-side window at the woman who looked at me as if I had offended her...good because she offended me deeply.

I've had several opportunities to shout at shitty parents in the years since. It almost seems like some parents go out of their way to put their children in the most dangerous situations possible. We wonder how kids drown in the backyard pool or get abducted from the front yard when half of these parents wouldn't notice if you replaced their child with a doberman. I'm not blaming all parents of abducted children for the abduction, that would be obnoxiously ignorant. But we cannot disavow the connection between idiot, non-attentive parents and child abduction, that would also be obnoxiously ignorant.

Bad parenting goes way beyond putting children in danger, though. I'm sure we all have some weird hang-up due to the mental scars our parents blessed us with. Whether they made fun of your weight, or your intelligence, or how you've somehow failed to live up to their expectations we all know from personal experience or witnessing through close friends the damage done by parental berating and nit-picking. There is two sides to this coin: all of the over-praised, you-can't-do-anything-wrong, self-glorifying abominations that live among us. The kind of people who grow up to date-rape women and not feel the slightest bit of remorse. That is an extreme example, but you get the point. It almost seems as if most parents don't understand that there is a middle ground and you don't have to swing to one of the polar extremes. Just like everything else in this country, people assume you have to be on one side or the other, but the middle usually yields better results.

Look, my mom didn't do the perfect job raising us (can't you tell?), but she did a damn good job considering the circumstances. Being a single mom in the projects surrounded by gangs and drugs and not having one of us get involved in anything remotely shady or illegal takes a lot of luck and even more good parenting. We always thought our mom was hard on us coming up, but looking back we see that she had to be. She did the right amount of discipline and encouragement to make us not feel like we had to go out and do outrageous things for whatever purpose kids do outrageous things. Hmm...balance what a novel idea.

If bad parents put half the effort into raising their kids as they did into their outfits and finding out what time the club opens, this country would have something to look forward to. The bad parents far outnumber the good parents (by my totally valid and in-depth research) and, as far as I can tell, have kids like mogwai-rabbit hybrids on Viagra in a swimming pool (let it sink in). What is the answer? Selective sterilization? Maybe. Perhaps we need a government agency that gives a limited number of parenting licenses per year to deserving, responsible adults and we can criminalize unlicensed births? No? Too much like China for you? That's ok, we all know it would never happen (for a million ethical and logical reasons). Besides, the government is much better at doing the fucking as opposed to controlling it.

1 comment:

Jonathan said...

Well said my friend.