Saturday, April 17, 2010

It Takes A Village Isn't An Excuse To Not Parent

Time and time again I have seen examples of poor parenting and time and time again I get told I was a "sheltered" child or whatever. You know, I believe there are circumstances where it's ok to give a child some freedom and let them explore the world and learn and grow, but I also believe there are times when parents need to step up and be parents.

Case in point are little shit kids next door. I wish they lived in our complex because if they did, their parents would get shit from the landlords and probably be evicted, but they don't. They're in a totally different complex. The kids range in age from the youngest looking like he's about 4 or 5, the middle age who looks to be about 7, and the oldest, who looks to be 10 and overweight. Then there are the "supervising" preteen girls who look to be about 11 and 12 or 13. I'm pretty sure they're all related because they all live in the same apartment, same unit and I only see one set of parents. I'm also pretty sure their lease is like ours and allows two adults and two children, in which case they're about 3 kids over populated. Not as bad as some situations I've seen, but still.

So it starts when we first moved in. I go out to my car one day to find the 3 boys playing in our parking lot by the cars. I'm not sure what they're doing but it can't be any good. I asked if they live here and they said, "NO." I then asked if they have friends who live here and they say, "NO" again. At that point, I tell them if they do not live here and aren't visiting anyone and are doing stuff on our property, they are trespassing because our property is private and that places on our property like the halls, the back field, and parking lots are for the people who live in the building and that they have their own parking lot and communal grassy area to play at and they can go play there. The little ones look a little scared and confused and the oldest gives me a dirty look and they leave and play in a vacant field behind their complex.

A few days after that event, the kids are playing soccer in our driveway that goes from the street down to the driveway and is probably a good fifty feet or more. It's a long stretch. It's also hard to see people at sunset when the sun is glaring in your eyes as you go up the hill from the lot below and if someone didn't see them, they could easily get hit and injured or killed. They then stop playing soccer to dig in the dumpster on our property, which is again, private property. I've heard people saying before, "Oh but it's just trash, it's not like you want it anymore." True. But it's on private property. They are trespassing and stealing something (I don't care if it's just trash, it's on private property and they are taking something that does not belong to them, ergo, it's theft.) They get some sort of poles or something and start having sword fights in the drive way. I don't know if it was the sword fighting event or when they were playing basketball on their side of the fence, but they broke a slat on the wood fence that separates our complex from theirs. It could have been an accident, or it could be intentional, the fact of the matter is, now they have damaged property.

A few days after that, I saw two of the kids literally trespassing onto our property. Our complex has patios downstairs and there is a small wooden fence that blocks off the area between the patios downstairs and the street so they are private and secluded from the sidewalk and outsiders. Plus there is a hedge in front of the fence on the street side for added privacy. Well, the fat 10 year old and 7 year old were hopping over that fence and running around taking cans and making some sort of ruckus in the maintenance row that borders the back patios and fenced off from street area. The little one was a look out apparently because he made some sort of announcement and the two who were trespassing hauled ass over the fence and the three of them left.

Their behavior gets worse and worse. One day, Jesse is home and they are having sword fights in the driveway. He tells them to leave and they leave. A few minutes later, they are back. Jesse goes back down again and tells them he told them once and he's not going to tell them again, to leave. The oldest fat one says in a smart ass tone that they'll just come back, upon which Jesse tells them if they come back, then they can tell that to RPD because he will call the cops on them. They have been warned.

The fear of being arrested or dealing with cops must have worked. Temporarily. Not too long after that, they were once again playing in our driveway and so loud they woke Charlie up while he was napping. Now I know there aren't any laws about noise during day time and for that I am pretty annoyed, especially if I have a headache or Charlie is sleeping, but we deal with it. And it annoys me that my child can't get the rest he needs because of those stupid kids, but, it is what it is.

They have been back to their stupid antics lately. A few days ago, while pre-teen was out supervising, I saw a red truck driving out of their driveway and the 4 year old hanging onto the back of it, running after it as it drove off. I'm pretty sure the driver had no idea there was a 4 year old hanging onto his truck because if he did, logic would have said to stop. So the truck exits the driveway and proceeds to drive down the street, speeding up to the point the 4 year old can no longer hold on and loses his grip and almost falls to a loving road rash, but his limber little body manages to stay afoot and he continues to run with all his might in the middle of the street after the truck until he gets winded. None of the kids who were outside said anything or tried to call attention to the driver like, "Hey, there's a kid on your truck" and they certainly didn't tell the 4 year old to let go of the truck and not chase it. So for these girls who are in charge of the situation, they're not doing a very good job of it, especially since a child could have been seriously injured or killed if they fell and another car came whipping around the corner.

A few days ago I pretty much had the last of it. The 7 year old and 4 year old are walking home from school. Take in mind they live directly next door to us in the next complex. They run to the side fence that closes off the balconies from the street and I see them to see if they're going to hop it again and instead I see a stream of piss. That's right. They decide to pee on our fence. I was asked by a friend, "Oh like you've never peed on a fence..." No, I haven't. I may have peed in nature while camping, but I never peed on someone's property. And why did they have to do this when they live RIGHT NEXT DOOR!? Clearly it was an act of disrespect and juvenile hostility, like a dog that pisses on a fence as if to claim his territory. So I predict if they aren't doing so already, they will be marking their territory with Krylon and Sharpees soon.

Today, the younger preteen was casing the patio downstairs like she wanted to steal something from there. She kept walking up and down looking over the fence, then walking towards her property and back to the patio below us. She must have seen me watching her to see what she's doing because she backed off and left, came back again a few minutes later, and left a final time when I made it pretty clear someone was keeping an eye on whatever crime she was planning to commit.

Clearly their parents have no idea of what their kids are doing and if they did, I strongly doubt they care. So many parents are so quick to take the "It takes a village to raise a child" and take it in it's most literal essence and think, "I do not need to raise my child, simply pop it out. Everyone else will take care of it for me." You know what my problem is? My child. I have enough work to do raising my child, I'll be damned if you expect me to raise yours. If you truly want me to raise your child, I will call RPD every time your children are on my property when they have no reason to be. I will call RPD every time your children trespass onto fenced in areas when our maintenance man and repair people are really the only ones who belong back there. I will call RPD every time your kids chase cars, play in the street, piss on my fence and till there are enough nuissance reports that Child Protective Services gets involved because right now they won't because you have assigned your preteen girls to do your parenting when they are clearly no more capable of making responsible choices as the 4 year old. If I spoke Spanish or knew for a fact we would not wind up in a heated debate, I would go and tell you to take care of your kids, but the reality of it is, you would either not understand what I'm saying or you would defend your children saying they're not doing anything wrong when I've seen them commit crimes and vandalize property on multiple occasions. So if I need to have your 10 year old arrested before you think about taking a proactive move as a parent, then SO BE IT. All I can say is, these parents who don't watch their kids and have no idea of what their kids are doing or where they're at are the first ones to come crying, "My baby! My baby!" when their kids get abducted or murdered or whatever. They're also the ones to swear to the cops that their baby would never steal a car or vandalize property or assault someone for money or just to be a little shit with a power trip. They also are the ones who cry, "Why? Why?" as if they have no idea why their baby would break their heart and do horrible things. Why? Well, it's kind of a no brainer. It's because you sucked as a parent when your child needed the most discipline and rules. Because you gave them too much freedom too soon. Because you didn't teach them how to make proper decisions. Because obviously they didn't know the difference between right and wrong, or they did, but didn't care. Because your child has a lack of authority and they don't fear you, and they won't fear the law. These are our future gang members, druggies, criminals, murderers, what have you. Sure, they might wind up ok as adults, but more than likely, they'll wind up on a criminal path. You'll wind up dealing with juvenile detention authorities, having grandkids when your kid is 16 and you will constantly think that you did something wrong and blame yourself and at least then you'll realize where you fucked up. But by that time, it'll be too late.

The village it takes to raise a child, it doesn't mean leaving parenting up to the gov't and schools. It means you raise your kid. Us, your neighbors, coworkers, family members, etc. We set good examples of what moral people should be like when you grow up. We set examples of what is good and right in the world. We also set examples of what you shouldn't be (like the criminals, druggies, etc.) But we are by no means the ones who should set your rules or discipline your kids. That is up for the parent. You are your child's first line of authority. Have them grow up to respect you and your laws and they will grow up to respect those of the world around them. I'm sick of parents not being parents. Step up. You're capable of popping a kid out, now finish the job and raise them properly. If you can't do it, then put your kid up for adoption so they can go to someone who can. Sounds harsh? Maybe some parents need a swift kick in the ass to make them more responsible so their children can learn to BE responsible as well.

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