Rotten Parenting

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Most of our problems as a society come down to rotten parenting or no parenting.  Matt Walsh at his blog provides a prime example courtesy of “Nick”:


Matt, I heard your horrible conversation today about parenting. A few comments in response:

1) Based on your remarks, I have to say I feel bad for your kids. You sound like the sort of person who never should have been a parent. You said you plain to teach your kids “how to think.” I guess this is common in right wing religious fundamentalist households. Personally, I let my child form his own conclusions about things. To impose your views on a child is tantamount to child abuse. Do them a favor, let them think FREELY.

2) You greatly exaggerate the importance of “chores.” Also, the idea that a kid should be forced to “get a job” is abhorrent. My son was very gifted so we  gave him all the tools to succeed academically. This meant we didn’t turn him into slave labor and we certainly didn’t tell him he needed to go work behind a cash register. He concentrated on his school work, and we did our job as parents and financially supported him.

3) It’s easy to mock a “30 year old who lives with is parents.” My son is almost 29 and he’s been home with us since he graduated. Unfortunately the job market isn’t the greatest (maybe you hadn’t heard) and I’m not going to let him starve on the street. He has a college education, it’s pointless for him to be out working in a retail store or some other menial job. I will be here for him until he is able to get the job he deserves.

You need to grow up, get some life experiences and then maybe you’ll have the right to sermonize about parenting.


Yeah I really loved the comment about “menial job”.  The type of job I suppose that my factory worker parents had which put clothes on my back, a roof over my head and food in my belly, for which I am eternally grateful to them.  Somehow they also had the energy after an exhausting day at work to make certain that my brother and I grew up with an appreciation both for learning and hard work.  My brother and I did plenty of “menial jobs” along the way, including baling hay, detasseling  corn, working in cafeterias, working in factories, tarring roofs, washing dishes, scrubbing floors, cleaning out sewers, serving in the Green Machine, etc, and I think we probably learned more from those jobs than anything we learned in college.  Anyone who sneers at  “menial jobs” or the people who perform them has an instant enemy in me.  Here is Matt’s response:

Dear Nick,

1) Tell you what. How ’bout I blindfold you, drive you out into the middle of the desert at night, and then leave you there without a map or a GPS? It’ll be great. You can just travel FREELY. After all, who am I to bring you to this place and then presume to tell you how to navigate? I’m just the guy that kidnapped you and dumped you into a hostile, cold wilderness. It would be presumptuous and authoritative of me to offer you direction and guidance. So I’ll let you wander around aimlessly until you collapse exhausted in a ditch, and are eaten slowly by wild scavengers. You’re welcome. I mean, I assume you’ll be grateful. I’ll merely be applying your parenting technique to the situation.

By the way, did you ever tell your kid not to play in the street? Did you instruct him about the dangers of hot stoves and fallen electrical wires? This is a quandary. See, if you imposed your anti-high voltage power line views on your kid, then apparently you’re guilty of abuse by your standards. However, if you didn’t, you’re guilty of reprehensible neglect by the standards of civilized human beings. I’m not an expert on parenting. I never claimed to be. But you don’t need to be an expert to know that one of the fundamental tasks of a parent — and this really speaks to the whole point of the endeavor — is to teach your child how to navigate the physical, moral, spiritual and intellectual dangers of life. This includes teaching them how to think, which could also be referred to as passing on your values and your worldview. If you have no interest in doing this, then I would suggest that you never really wanted a child — you wanted a friend. Now you have one. Living at home with you. Forever. Congratulations.

2) Chores schmores. What can they teach a kid? Discipline, obedience, and  hard work? Screw that. What is this, the 50′s? Listen, Nick, don’t take this the wrong way, but what leads you to the conclusion that your son is “gifted”? He can’t mow the lawn, work a job, earn a living, pay a bill, apply a skill, or support himself, yet he’s “gifted”? What are his gifts, exactly? You know, something tells me an astronaut’s parents never have to inform people that their child is “gifted.” People sort of pick up on that based on context clues. They behold his accomplishments and admire his achievements. They can SEE his gifts. He uses them, applies them, refines them. Your son MIGHT have gifts — the jury is still out — but whatever they may be, they’ll atrophy and whittle away the longer he spends lounging in a bean bag chair eating macaroni and cheese.

3) So your brilliant and gifted 29 year old son would “starve” if he was forced to take care of himself? The “gifted” standard is getting lower by the day, isn’t it? I’ve been living independently and taking care of myself since before I could legally drink a Heineken. I guess that makes me a Nobel candidate — if your helpless grown adult son gets to set the bar for “gifted.”

The kind of oblivious snobbery you display used to be reserved for classes of nobility and royalty. Now, any drooling schlub who spent 4 years getting drunk and fornicating at college can claim to be “too good” for almost every available job. Your son isn’t above anyone. He certainly isn’t superior to hard working cashiers and retail clerks who support themselves, raise families and live full lives, as your little snowflake hides under his bed while mommy makes him hot cocoa and tells him he’s special.

Go here to read the brilliant rest.  Having raised three kids I have a keen appreciation for what a tough job being a good parent is and I do not have all the answers.  However, I do know that instilling in kids a disdain for honest toil and a sense of entitlement is parental malpractice.





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  1. Bill Cosby of Massachusetts on parenting.
    Found shared on facebook. (Sorry about linking disability. )


    They’re standing on the corner and they can’t speak English.
    I can’t even talk the way these people talk:
    Why you ain’t,
    Where you is,
    What he drive,
    Where he stay,
    Where he work,
    Who you be…
    And I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk.
    And then I heard the father talk.
    Everybody knows it’s important to speak English except these knuckleheads. You can’t be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth.
    In fact you will never get any kind of job making a decent living.

    People marched and were hit in the face with rocks to get an Education, and now we’ve got these knuckleheads walking around.
    The lower economic people are not holding up their end in this deal.
    These people are not parenting. They are buying things for kids.
    $500 sneakers for what?
    And they won’t spend $200 for Hooked on Phonics.

    I am talking about these people who cry when their son is standing there in an orange suit.
    Where were you when he was 2?
    Where were you when he was 12?
    Where were you when he was 18 and how come you didn’t know that he had a pistol?
    And where is the father? Or who is his father?
    People putting their clothes on backward:
    Isn’t that a sign of something gone wrong?
    People with their hats on backward, pants down around the crack, isn’t that a sign of something?

    Isn’t it a sign of something when she has her dress all the way up and got all type of needles [piercing] going through her body?
    What part of Africa did this come from??
    We are not Africans. Those people are not Africans; they don’t know a thing about Africa …..

    I say this all of the time. It would be like white people saying they are European-American. That is totally stupid.
    I was born here, and so were my parents and grand parents and, very likely my great grandparents. I don’t have any connection to Africa, no more than white Americans have to Germany , Scotland , England , Ireland , or the Netherlands . The same applies to 99 percent of all the black Americans as regards to Africa . So stop, already! ! !
    With names like Shaniqua, Taliqua and Mohammed and all of that crap ……… And all of them are in jail.

    Brown or black versus the Board of Education is no longer the white person’s problem.
    We have got to take the neighborhood back.
    People used to be ashamed. Today a woman has eight children with eight different ‘husbands’ — or men or whatever you call them now.
    We have millionaire football players who cannot read.
    We have million-dollar basketball players who can’t write two paragraphs. We, as black folks have to do a better job.
    Someone working at Wal-Mart with seven kids, you are hurting us.
    We have to start holding each other to a higher standard..
    We cannot blame the white people any longer.’

    ~Dr.. William Henry ‘Bill’ Cosby, Jr., Ed..D. “

  2. I can never understand this modern obsession with young people “leaving home.”

    I am sixty-eight and I sleep in the bed I was born in; my father and my grandfather, to my certain knowledge, were born and died in that bed and I do not know how many generations of my family did so (I am speaking of the frame, old Scottish vernacular; the mattress is new). My family have lived in the same house since at least 1617, when the Register of Sasines was established and on the same land for goodness knows how long before that, as local records testify. Five out of the nine families whose farms are feued from us and who share the common grazings can say the same.

    A majority of our neighbours live in three-generation households. Grandparents still living on the farms that their children now work and which their grandchildren will inherit. Small local businesses often show the same pattern.

    People round here do not share the notion that “becoming independent” means finding a boss and I must say I find it paradoxical.

  3. But Michael, at least the next generation in your area is working on the family farm or in the family business. The young-adult Yank layabouts in the OP aren’t working at all, whether in a family farm/business or outside the home; instead, they’re just mooching off their parents without contributing to the family income.

    On the other hand, each of our own children knew & knows that they will be expected to work upon completing their education. Our oldest son (at this point, at least) will be joining Don in his law practice, and taking it over when Don retires. Our daughter (just entering university this fall) has finally been convinced by us that there are just not that many jobs in the print publishing industry, and will be training to become an English teacher. Even our recently-deceased autistic son, Larry, had he survived, would have been put to work with some janitorial & mailroom duties at Don’s law firm, and would have been contributing to the family’s support to the extent he was capable of.

  4. Everything wrong with this idiot’s entire worldview can be gleaned from his statement about “…the job he deserves.”

  5. I thought the letter from “Nick” was parody. I’ve re-read it and I’m still not sure that it is real.

  6. Don – I try to cut everyone some slack, but when Nick got to the part about “menial jobs” that did me in too. It is never pointless to be working. That boy is doing a lot more damage to his chances of future employment by sitting at home after college than by working retail.

    Michael – Valid point, but does Nick sound like a man who works the soil for a living?

  7. In the Unitarian tradition and Congregational tradition (religions) children are encouraged to grow up and think idependently of parents. This independence of thought is deemed to be a sign that they are using their own minds and thus developing in a mature fashion. Of course this means that taditional beliefs or a heritage being handed down to your children would be in opposition to their becoming individualistic in their thoughts, thus this is discouraged. Unfortunately this religious view (and it is part of their religion) has been mainstreamed and implanted as part of what is view as the goal of public schools–to have thinkers who ‘think outside of the box’. Perhaps that is one way to put it. In a country where one religion is not supposed to be established as a national religion we have done this– encouraged children to turn away from their parents and family traditions. We have made it a matter of pride for children to do this as if it makes them wiser and better people, something which is not always the case. Planned Parenthood sex education comes out of this religious tradition, for example. It encourages teens to break away from the sexuality which is based on a more and spiritual view to sexuality which is based on teens deciding separate fromparents on when and how to get involved. That has hurt our young people. So in a sense good parenting has been defined as letting kids break free and become their own persons—disregarding the wisdom and advice and experience of an older generation. How foolish is that?

  8. “You need to grow up get some life experiences and then maybe you’ll have the right to sermonize about parenting.”

    What? His 29 year old is gaining his important “life experiences” in his fathers dwelling?

    Stupid is what stupid does.

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