Justin Heiner
11CP English
May 1, 1997

The Duty of a Parent

The question of whether or not a parent should let their kids learn from their own mistakes has been debated throughout many generations. In the forties and fifties, the parents made their kids stay in a strict line and do whatever the parental figure said. In the sixties, the parents let their kids make their own choices. In the seventies and eighties, parents didn't know what to let their kids think. Now, in the nineties, parents are letting other people take care of their children and then blaming everybody else for it. Here arises the question of whether or not a parent should let their kids screw up. Although it may be tempting, it is not the duty of every parent to prevent a child from making a disastrous mistake.

In the forties and fifties, rebelling was kept to a minimum. Kids were taught to stay in line and not screw up, or they would pay for it later. They were shown false movies in elementary school which portrayed all drug users as mindless idiots, all people who listened to the "wrong" music as heartless rebels, and everybody who was just a little bit different as being shunned from society. Although parents paid for their mistakes in the sixties, they tried hard to keep their children safe while they were still kids. Not letting their kids make their own mistakes as children is what accounted for these teenagers and young adults in their twenties rebelling when the drug era came around.

The sixties came around as a direct result of what occurred in the fifties. Parents did not let their children do any of what they wanted to do, so the children rebelled against the parents and society. This would never have happened if parents had let their kids experiment a little bit when they were young. The sixties was an era of drug use, sex, and happiness. People who participated in these activities usually had no job, no income, and no respect for the rest of society. They were too stoned to care about anything but peace. Overdoing everything that came their way is a good way to define what the hippies in the sixties were doing. In this era, the parents of the hippies had no control of their children, nor did they care very much. The hippies, on the other hand, strongly believed that the best way to raise their children was to let them go their own way and do what they pleased. A good example of this would be to quote from the book, Dharma Girl. Chelsea, a successful hippie from the sixties, said about her mother, "She didn't mind if I experimented with drugs. She only said that she wanted to be there when I did [try] them." This shows how much trust the parents had in their children. In fact, a majortiy of the children of the sixties turned out to become normal people when they grew out of their experimental stages. This re-enforces the fact that letting your children experiment will help them to develop a normal life in the future.

In the seventies and eighties, parents were confused by the forties, fifties, and sixties. They had no clue what to do or how to properly raise their children. Now, instead of letting them do their own thing or keeping them under a tight leash, they acted in a very strange manner. Some parents were very wishy-washy about raising their children, which caused the children to be wishy-washy when they grew up. Drug use was present much of the time, but the drugs used were harsher drugs than in the sixties. Kids rebelled but parents didn't really resist too much. They rode Harleys, wore black leather jackets, and liked to cruse the strip for chicks. What these kids didn't know is that this version of rebelling was pointless, harmless, and downright funny sometimes. Parents not knowing what to do in this case didn't help the situation very much.

Now, in the nineties, parents are letting other people take care of their kids and then blaming everybody else when their kids don't turn out to be picture perfect. Baby-sitters and childcare centers are more populated than ever. Lower scores on tests mark the degradation of the society of the future. Parents and other analysts wonder why this could be. What they don't figure on is that the key to helping a kid grow up correctly is for the parents to be there for the kids. They blame teachers, government, and other people's parents when their own child turns out to be a criminal or a drug addict. What's missing in this figure is the parents. The kids are making the mistakes, and nobody is there to tell them that what they're doing is a mistake. Nobody is there to love them.

The idea of letting children make their own mistakes centers on the ability of a parent to both take care of a child and let their child do their own thing at the same time. Parents shouldn't expect their children to turn out picture perfect by themselves, because most of the time that won't happen. Putting too much emphasis on strictness will just make the children wish to rebel later on in life when they have the freedom to do so. This means that the parents aren't around to stop them when they decide to ruin their lives. The key to raising a successful child is to let him grow up on his own and let him think that he's growing up on his own. When, in fact, the parent is quietly guiding him on the straight path to the correct life. The parent must let the child make his own mistakes, but he also must be present when this happens, so as to help the child along and slowly and subtly teach the child that what he did was the incorrect method for dealing with the situation. The duty of every parent is not to prevent their child from making disastrous mistakes. Instead, the job of the parent is to help the child through the mistakes and teach him not to make the mistake again. If a child learns at an early age that what he previously did was incorrect, he is less likely to do it again.

All of the quotes in this essay came from Chelsea Cain's novel, Dharma Girl.

This essay was created by Justin Heiner and is copyrighted by laws pertaining to the Internet. No part of this essay may be copied in any means whatsoever without the expressed permission of the author.