There are three pernicious events that have been reported on the news this Summer that convinces me that the “entitlement generation” have now moved into the misnomer realm of parenting.

No rules apply to them or their children!  They do as they please when they please!  Their wish is our every command!

Here are the Top Three indicators — from this Summer alone! — that you might just be a Bad Parent… and if you happen to tumble into all three… then please give up on your lack of parenting skills and turn your kids over to someone who more rightly knows how to care for them within the terms and conditions of the rest of us.

Number One with a Bullet:  Parents visit schools, unannounced, at will, to “deliver” things to their children even though the school or security doesn’t know who they are and they don’t have identification — all of this in the shadow of the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre:

SUMMIT — Students who forget lunch or homework will be out of luck in one New Jersey school district.

Summit schools are stopping unannounced visits in the interest of safety.

The district says as many as 400 people visit Summit High School daily.

In a letter to parents, school Superintendent Nathan Parker writes many visitors are parents dropping off lunches, homework, musical instruments and athletic equipment.

Parker writes that eliminating the visits will make the schools safer and teach students to be accountable.

Students who forget lunches will be fed in the cafeteria and given IOUs.

Parents will need to make appointments to see teachers and administrators. Parents also must send notes the day before in order to pick up children.

Second with a bundle of Scorn:  Parents sending contraband to their kids at stay away camp even though the camp forbids the items:

I heard more techniques for getting Twizzlers into camps than getting nail files into prisons. Other tips include taping gum into the pages of magazines, stuffing chocolate bars into socks and pulling Tampax out of their cylindrical wrappers and replacing them with candy.

A friend who attended Girl Scout camp in upstate New York told me her mother used three techniques: 1) Empty out deodorant and fill it with candy, being sure to replace the protective cover before putting the cap on to make it look new; 2) buy a box of pens or pencils, dump out the contents, fill with candy; 3) carefully open a box of facial tissues, remove the bottom half, fill with candy, use hot-glue gun to reseal. When I asked permission to attach her name to these tips, she balked. “I still use these techniques to send stuff to my teenage cousins,” she said.

Christopher Thurber, a clinical psychologist and researcher for the American Camp Association, said that at Camp Belknap in Tuftonboro, N.H., where he works, a parent gave a camper two cellphones. “Hand the uncharged one in when they confiscate phones,” the parent said. “There’s a full-charged one inside the teddy bear if you need to give us a call.”

Finally, Point Number Three, bound in Shock and Awe:  You need to have a physician write a prescription for your children to eat fruit and vegetables:

Two New York City hospitals are joining a national program that lets doctors write high-risk, low-income patients prescriptions for fruits and vegetables.

The Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program — FVRx — turns local farmers markets into pharmacies. Patients receive $2 of “Health Bucks” coupons for each member of the family, and the coupons can be used to buy fresh produce once a week. Health Bucks are redeemable at any of the city’s 142 farmers markets.

Is it just me, or do we sense a lack of common sense in these three parenting scenarios?

Do parents really think they can just tromp unannounced into a school and walk into a classroom and make demands?

Do parents really believe Summer Camp contraband restrictions do not apply to them?

Why must any parent — rich or poor — need to have a doctor’s prescription for fruit and vegetables?  Fresh fruit and vegetables should be first on any parental shopping list!

This has been a disconcerting Summer for mainstream new reports on “The New Parenting.” We’re in trouble because these three points of amazement indicate a total lack of common sense and human understanding; and if those values aren’t taught to children in their childhood, then they’ll never be learned or passed along to the next generation in the adult.

37 Comments

  1. All sounds alien to me …….. walking in and out of school, barging into lessons ….NEVER

    We do not have the summer camp system, but some of those tricks remind me of boarding school and bringing in sweets and goodies .

    Fruit and Veg prescriptions …… now that to some extent I can understand – we are now second and third generation of fast fooders – the instants – the nows – the we have been bought up on fast foods, ready meals and never learned to cook generation. The everything comes out of a packet generation. Most often the poorest in society – I can see some places giving these vouchers for fresh fruit and veg as a desperate attempt to get some fiber and vitamins into young kids. I agree its crazy that it has to be done, but can understand why it is being done.

    1. Yes! I’ve been stunned all Summer reading about this nefarious parental behavior!

      I can’t imagine the teachers stand for it — having strangers burst into their classroom to deliver homework and lunches and other oddities. It’s insanity! I would lock the door and call the police if someone started banging to get in…

      If you don’t want to abide by the Summer Camp rules — then don’t send your kids to camp! This is all about defying authority — well beware of what you sow — because you’re kids will turn right around and use it against you in the end.

      What I don’t get about the food prescription is that if you’re poor enough to qualify for that program, then you’re likely alway on government support — so why aren’t you using that basic food support to buy veggies for your kids in the first place? I know, I know… you’d rather buy soda and cookies for yourself…

        1. Yes, that’s the point! “Oh, well they’re buying cookies and pop on welfare, so let’s force them to get veggies and fruit by writing a prescription so that’s the only thing they can buy with it…” It’s just so crazy! SMILE!

          1. I know the UK is mighty touchy about childhood obesity and childhood diabetes – Jamie Oliver had a whole campaign about making school meals healthy – he had to teach the school cooks how to cook – not reheat 0 he then had to go to the families and teach them how to cook vegetables and fruit and he still had moms buying pie and chips and handing them through the railings to their kids at lunchtime ……… it all went quiet after that.

            Learning about food needs to start in preschool – the kitchen is a great place for general education and integration of all subjects – simple maths, colors and of course mixing and making a mess – it will only be solved from the bottom up as there is too much damage done at the top .

          2. Jamie Oliver had a TV show here that followed him as he tried to bring right nutrition to the unified Los Angeles Public Schools District and it was a massive failure from every angle.

            He was thwarted at every turn. He was denied the chance to make a change. His show was canceled with four episodes remaining. There was some outcry and the remaining episodes here burned off much later, but still, the point was broken and the system is still in disarray:

            Food Revolution is where The Office meets Top Chef — if Top Chef was at the bottom of the food chain. Every week, Oliver bounds into work and quickly offends pretty much everyone around him. “Don’t get arrested!” Oliver’s daughter warns when daddy leaves for work.

            Whether it’s the the Los Angeles Unified School District that wants him gone or the administrators and students of West Adams High School that want him to stay — but have to endure phone-a-thons with lawyers and officials every time he shows up to class — Oliver comes off like Ricky Gervais’ middle-management pariah David Brent.

            http://www.wired.com/underwire/2011/06/jamie-oliver-food-revolution/

          3. that sounds like even more of a nightmare than it was in the UK – even when the results of healthy eating meant they no longer needed four school nurses and could do with one – ah maybe THAT was the problem

  2. I had to work with one of the products of that kind of parenting this year. She showed up fewer than half the days scheduled. It meant one of us who was there had to cover for her. She was I supposed to ask questions if something was over her head. She decided she would do it her way and damaged clients and reputation of the office. Procedures and rules were not in her lexicon. She thought she was a star. Se is not working there any more.

    1. Hi Marsha!

      Yikes! I feel for you. I’m glad she didn’t last — they’re usually quite cunning in finding ways to blame others and get many people in trouble on their way in and out.

      I had to teach that generation — on the university level — and it was a frightening experience because they all wanted their own special accommodation and attention and rules for getting an automatic “A” grade. If you didn’t obey them, they went after you, full guns — but never to your face… they are experts at playing them system and complaining and appealing up the chain of command.

      It really soured me on the experience for awhile because it took the system by surprise because of all the new, and rising, complaints against the teachers.

      When it became clear this was a student generation issue, and not a bad teacher matter, the problem was quickly fixed by the administration through ignoring the bad behavior and turning the student back around to face the teacher in complaint… and that worked because they prefer deceit over direct confrontation and accepting “no” for an answer.

      1. She tried to intimidate me by saying she went to college. I mentioned that I graduated from UC Berkeley and had a graduate degree. She basically thought she was smarter than everyone else and did spend time throwing people under the bus. She could be pleasant and that is what got her hired plus passing the test.

        About 10 years ago, I had a manager who had two stores to manage. For a while, she had both stores convinced she was at the other. One day when we got her at home, she said her four year old daughter didn’t want her to work that day. And she was gone.

        I’m from a more accountable era. Paper late….grade dropped one full grade everyday.

        In my work situation right now, there are three who works and one who is a major b.s.er. My manager just figured it out.

        Their kids may never have any limits or guidance until they get to school.

        Thanks for letting me indulge myself……

        1. I delight in your commentary, Marsha! I feel much less alone now knowing there are others who try to have standards in a world in which pretending appears to be more valued than actual production.

          These schemers are experts. They know how to write a letter. They know how and when and where to complain. If they spent the same amount of time they spent trying to game the system, they’d actually be really, and honestly, productive!

          I think it’s a big game to most of them because they’re tender and bored. They want to poke the monkey to see what response they’ll get. Doing grade appeals via threats and intimidation is like a night out at the movies for them. It’s sociopathic!

          You’re right that the real parenting is left to the teachers — but they won’t have any backup or protection from the parents at home — and that’s the sad part because it’s easier for the teacher to just give in than to try and fight every single household.

          1. One of my friends who was in admin at a local community’s college said some parents showed up to get the grades of their kids changed. My son is facing some of the same things at a school in Ohio.

            With the advent of the for profit schools like University of Phoenix, the goal is the degree. Any learning is purely accidental.

            It is nice to find someone who has dealt with it successfully.

          2. I can’t stand colleges. I put in 2 years and quit because I knew I wasn’t learning anything that was actually useful (even in the classes for my major). Maybe I’m too smart for my own good, but I won’t submit to BS that’s completely irrelevant to a career. Unfortunately, as long as sheeple submit to college as is, and put up will all those useless required classes, nothing will ever change. How much more affordable do you think college would be if you were only paying for the classes you actually need for you major? The books alone cost a fortune! Plus, they release a new edition every year to screw people out of selling their old books. Funny thing is the best professor I had was in a required history class. :-/

  3. I have a worse example of the third one. I know someone whose kid got such a prescription — his father was the one to write it! You would think if your father were a doctor that you would know how to feed your child!

  4. Well, to me, the 2nd one is bullshit. Sounds like extra rules for the sake of having rules. How does it hurt anyone if someone allows their kid to bring junk food? Screw it. Rules are supposed to exist for a logical reason, not just for whoever is in charge to feel powerful. I remember when I was in middle school. I practically grew up on junk food. They had vending machines, but we weren’t allowed to use them. My parents gave me money to get whatever I wanted. I’ve never been a milk or juice drinker. I don’t care. The high school was actually connected to the middle school building, and we didn’t have excess security back then, so I was able to just head up there and get what I wanted. I also used to skip Homeroom (last 20 minutes of the day) in 7th grade because there was no grade for it and I had a ride home. I still remember fighting with the teacher in 4th grade because I could do the math in my head and just write down the answer and they wanted to see the goddamn work. I was the smart kid that ignored half the homework or did it during other classes and aced the tests. I always saw being at home as MY time and wasn’t spending it doing school shit. I’ve heard of high school kids staying up half the night doing homework. It’s absurd. Half the subjects are completely worthless as it is. I know a guy that had all the credits he needed to graduate like halfway through high school, but he wasn’t allowed to graduate early. You can’t tell the school to piss off and get a GED at like 14 either. I could probably go on all day here. These schools are practically run like concentration camps nowadays. They ban every little thing, have a rule for everything, but bullies still bully and get away with it. Half the schools will suspend you just for getting beat up. Doesn’t matter who started it or if you threw a single punch. Is it any wonder some kids go postal?

  5. Nicola —

    Yes, I’m a massive Jamie Oliver fan. He fought the system and, in many ways, won — by exposing the absolute ridiculousness of the status quo.

    He offered a smarter, cheaper, healthier alternative to feeding kids right in school and was abjectly rejected by the system.

    He isn’t an anti-hero. He’s a True Hero!

    1. It will be interesting to see how successful he is in Portugal – he is not taking on the schools here – but I think hes trying to catch the right generation to stop them going the fast food way ………. we are stating to get fast food here and the spiders web of trans fats and MSG is slowly spreading. He is doing programs and a book on fast real food ………… hes offering menus that cook in under 15 minutes which are healthy – so people are not tempted to go get a big Mac

      1. The problem with kids and fast food is that if the parents made the food for the kids, they wouldn’t be as likely to be hungry and go seeking fast food.

        If you satisfy the hunger, then the need to be falsely full can be managed through behavioral modification.

        The real problem comes with peer pressure and convenience and not being at home to eat the right food. Popularism helps sell the fast burgers and fries, too.

        Here’s a fascinating recent NYTimes article on why health-conscious people choose to eat french fries:

        “When you put a healthy option up there on an otherwise unhealthy menu, not only do we not pick it, but its presence on the menu leads us to swing over and pick something that’s worse for us than we normally would,” Mr. Fitzsimons said.

        Why? Mr. Fitzsimons called the phenomenon “vicarious goal fulfillment.” By seeing a healthy menu option at a restaurant, “it basically satisfies that goal to be healthy,” he said, and gives consumers leeway to order what they want.

        And health-conscious eaters are the most susceptible to picking unhealthy items when the menu also has healthy ones. “It’s often the ones raising their hands, saying they would pick the salad, those are the ones that are the most at risk when they walk in,” he said.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/30/sunday-review/why-healthy-eaters-fall-for-fries.html?pagewanted=all

      1. as a child I had the “you may not get down from the table until you have cleared your plate” issue …… I eventually gave myself permission to leave food on my plate and only eat when I was hungry and not eat for the sake of eating until my forties .

        And why am I now fancying chocolate ? Good job I have none in the house!

        1. Yes, that’s a bad sort of tough love: “Finish your food even if you are no longer hungry.”

          I was raised to fend for, and feed, myself. I was an expert peanut butter and jelly sandwich maker. If I had a fast food joint nearby, I’m certain I would’ve been there quite a bit. I’m lucky I was stuck in the middle of nowhere. SMILE!

      1. well we already have “rat packs” and space food – and every time of multivitamin pill for every group of people – all that is needed is to is to condense it more and bobs your uncle we are there.

  6. I admit I am a little guilty of the first one. I’d never barge into a class room and always signed in or had my kids meet me at the office if I had something IMPORTANT to give them. However, letting them go hungry for the day, or having them receive a bad mark for late work eventually taught them to be more responsible. The second one is a HUGE pet peeve of mine, I see it all the time and will avoid going into a rant about it here. And the third… I am not sure about this one. I was reading in a news magazine a while back about how many inner city children have never tasted an apple! Apparently there are problems getting fresh fruits and veggies in the inner city? So I can see how vouchers might be a good thing.
    But I agree, these are all very significant signs that one might be on the wrong track to good parenting.

    1. When the story about parents being banned from school hit the NYC news stations, one morning TV news host — a perfectly blonde older woman with children — shared an important lesson. She said she uses school as place for teaching and learning — and that means throughout the entire school day.

      She went on to say that if her children forget their lunch — it’s their job to figure out what to do — AT SCHOOL! Her kids are not allowed to call her. They have to figure it out on their own. Ask their friends to share a sandwich. Go to the office and ask for some sort of lunch pass for the day. Bum a few quarters off a couple of classmates. “If all of that fails,” she tells her kids, “that’s fine, because you won’t starve in six hours and you can eat when you get home.”

      She went on to say the same thing about homework. She tells her kids if they don’t get it done, or they leave it at home, they have to figure it out — AT SCHOOL! Negotiate. Explain. Confess. Don’t hide. Deal with it. She also tells them that if they need her help, they can talk about it with her after school and she will advise them, but she will not step in or speak for them unless there’s no other way out.

      Her kids have to learn how to negotiate obstacles in life and school is a great place to do that because there’s safety from real danger there — an adult in the office will always step in and help do the right thing. She feels it’s their life and their education at stake and, she believes, that a big part of learning is knowing how to take care of yourself when “mommy isn’t around to save you.” She uses those six hours at school as a furthering of the overall education of her children away from her care and the safety of the home.

      I was totally taken with her story and I wished all parents had that philosophy. She’s just the sort of parent who “gets it” and who can be a fantastic help beyond the classroom when it comes to setting up the students for proper lifelong learning and survival. A mother like that trusts the system and the teachers and that is an incredible blessing.

        1. Yes, keep butting in — SMILE!

          I agree. We need more parents like her to set the example. I was sort of surprised by her impromptu commentary in the middle of the newscast. It was obviously a topic close to her immediate heart.

          What’s she’s giving her kids is a smart independence that will transfer elsewhere. They’re stuck on the street without a way home. Someone they don’t like is following them. They find a person hurt and bleeding on the street and they need to get help fast. Quick, thoughtful, decisive action is learned — and you have to practice it in real life to give safety a context.

          The TV anchor’s name is Kirstin Cole — she isn’t the regular morning show host, she’s filling in for the main anchor who is out on maternity leave. I couldn’t remember her name in the midst of my reply, but here’s her WPIX bio:

          http://pix11.com/bio/kirstin-cole/

          (PIX11.com is a WordPress.com VIP blog!)

      1. I totally agree, but I notice more helicopter parenting today – those parents (and some teachers) have a way of making you feel like a terrible parent if your kids don’t have it all together. I loved it when i volunteered in a class of 4th graders and a student didn’t have what he was supposed to have because his mother forgot and the teacher told him it wasn’t his mothers responsibility to remember. I was so happy to hear that, made me feel like I might be on the right track after all.