Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Parental Responsibility Scrutinized by Society

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Parental Responsibility Scrutinized by Society

Article excerpt

Dear Open Mind: I'm saddened, depressed and angry about the untimely death of a child recently when trying to pilot a plane. I feel that as parents we are responsible for the actions of our young children.

Would we allow them to drive a car?

Would you expect them to make adult decisions about their health care?

Would it be right to allow them to cross a busy street in the middle of the block rather than insisting that they go to the comer where it would be safer?

I fully agree that everyone should have a part in any decision-making concerning their life, but a 7-year-old making decisions about whether or not to fly a plane? What would prompt a parent to allow a child of this age to make such a decision for herself?

Your emotional response to the behavior of the parents is normal. Responsible parents who assume accountability for the health and welfare of their offspring would experience some degree of reaction. The more disparate others' behaviors are with your parenting values, the greater your anger and outrage might be.

I suspect that what prompted the parents to allow the child to be a part to this attempt is a permissive parental attitude. Some adults opt for the easy answer now and keep the child happy at all costs. This approach has a high risk of consequences emerging in the future.

Parents must accept that their role is difficult if done properly. Setting daily limits, boundaries and guidelines is a responsibility and a commitment.

Consistency creates a healthy groundwork of correct expectations of the child and responsible judgment by the parent.

The parents in question may have been simply allowing the child to have her way. The parents alternatively may have been pushing her in a vicarious manner, which is also an unhealthy and risky pattern. There also might have been an economic motive; if the experiment had succeeded, our society typically rewards such endeavors with book offers and TV shows. …

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