Baby Boomers, as Parents, Wield Uncertain Hand

By Scott Baldauf, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, June 3, 1999 | Go to article overview

Baby Boomers, as Parents, Wield Uncertain Hand


Scott Baldauf, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


Ann Cobern has seen all styles of parenting among the customers at her day-care center in Leander, Texas. Some parents are firm about mischief. Others teeter at the abyss of permissiveness. The most unfortunate seem confused altogether about discipline.

On some days it's enough to give Mrs. Cobern conniptions. But the school massacre in Littleton, Colo., and the copycat threats and attacks that have followed, have given Cobern more reason for concern about the children she looks after and the issue of parental discipline.

"Sometimes I hear parents say they don't take a stand on curfew because little Johnny won't like it," says Cobern. "Excuse me? Who is the adult here and who is the child?" Like many communities across the country, folks here are rethinking how far they should go in disciplining kids - and their rights and responsibilities in doing so. Some observers say that stronger child-welfare laws and high- profile court cases dealing with abuse and child custody have unwittingly left many parents reluctant to clamp down harder on misbehaving children. Others say the hesitancy to be stern has deeper cultural roots, as baby-boomer parents struggle to define their own values of right and wrong, which are different from their parents' values and approach to discipline. It's an issue that reaches into schools, courthouses, and even the thin air of presidential politics. And considering the demographic and cultural forces that brought the country to this point, it is an issue that may linger for some time. "Many of today's parents ... live in mortal dread of being exposed as not being cool," says Daniel Wattenberg, a syndicated columnist. Instead of disciplining their kids, he says, many baby-boomer parents prefer to alter their children's behavior through a "buddy buddy" relationship. "They're just not willing to punish." Some politicians say child-welfare advocates and lawyers have exacerbated this problem by confusing parents as to what their rights are in disciplining their children. Some, like former Vice President Dan Quayle, say the solution lies in giving parents more rights in disciplining their kids - and not allowing the state to intervene in how they do it. (In a recent speech in San Francisco, Mr. Quayle attacked the "legal aristocracy" in weakening parental rights, and said of the Littleton tragedy, "It's not just gun control, it's self- control.") What rights parents have But local officials, like County Attorney Gene Taylor, say the answer may lie in just informing parents of the rights they have. "Life was a whole lot simpler when you had 10 Simple Rules to follow rather than a big old book of laws and regulations," says Mr. Taylor, who handles juvenile cases in Williamson County, north of Austin. Now, "you have parents who aren't disciplined themselves and who don't want you to do it to their kids either." He pauses. "It's a big old pile of confusion." Recently, Taylor and other county officials held a meeting with school principals, law-enforcement officers, and juvenile-justice authorities to try to allay some of the confusion and to coordinate their response to juvenile violence. Most of the participants agree that a growing number of parents have no idea where to draw the line with their own children. "Many kids, in my opinion, are hopelessly spoiled," says Bob Carswell, a therapist who teaches court-ordered parenting classes for people whose kids have gotten into trouble. "I feel a lot of parents are prepared to give anything to their kids to feel loved. They cannot spend time with them, so they'll give kids things instead." By the time an undisciplined child grows into a misbehaving teen, Mr. Carswell adds, it is often too late for a parent to reassert authority. "This is like trying to catch the horse when the stall has been open for 10 years," he says. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Baby Boomers, as Parents, Wield Uncertain Hand
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.