Parents Is Dumber – How American Parenting is Destroying Society

This piece was originally written by me a few months ago in an attempt to get published in some educational journal or literary magazine or something. As it progressed, I realized that sometimes my dreams are just too big. So I’ll post it here for you guys. And soon I will tell you where I’ve been for the past 2 weeks…

I used to think my childhood was rough. During my younger years, I used to think my mother was as evil as they came – even my friends never wanted to come to the house. She was so vocal about everything and her voice was strong enough to pierce through a mountain made of solid diamond. I hated living in her house when I was a kid. But now that I am older, wiser, and a touch on the bald side, I can honestly say that I am now a bit thankful for those rough years. Because of her strict regiment of shouting and debasing me at every available turn, I think it’s safe to say that I turned out to be a pretty decent human being because of it.

It was only about a year or two ago that I thought about becoming a teacher – a shaper of young minds if you will – and this is something I never quite thought I would actually do. Today, I am currently a 9th grade English teacher at a public school in the glorious (and by “glorious” I mean “awful”) state of Florida.

The first day of school was nothing shy of brutal. I walked in with a million questions. What kind of kids would I have? Would they be troublemakers as I once was at their age? Would any of them actually want to learn a thing or two from the curriculum? Would they like me? Would they care about anything other than the cell phones in their pocket or who is saying what on their Myspace accounts? I left that day with all of those questions unanswered.

The first semester is about to end. I have had these students for 18 weeks and in that time, I’ve learned more than I ever cared to. For example, each and every one of them has a cell phone on their person at each and every minute of the day. My school has a strict “No Cell Phone” rule that is ignored by 102% of the student body. They’d rather text than listen to the importance and significance of literature, Frederick Douglas, Shakespeare, and capitalizing words at the beginning of each fucking sentence.

When I first started, I’d make my kids write something every day – a simple composition where they would have to use critical thinking skills in order to answer a question about something we’ve read. I can’t tell you how many 14-year-old American children use things like “LOL” in a paper they have to turn in for a grade. It’s quite scary. The following story is something I will quote from a student’s work but I will not use their name. This is actually something that was turned in to me and after getting to know this child more and more as the year progressed I realized that this was indeed their best attempt at writing. They simply knew nothing more.

We were reading a short story called “The Open Window” about a neurotic man who moved to a new town and decides to meet all of his neighbors. So he shows up at this one house where a little girl creates this fantastical story about ghosts and such. The man panics and leaves, confirming his state of social retardation for the rest of his days. I asked my students to create a fiction and answer the following question: Who do you think will walk through this door next and what will they want? It was something simple to keep them busy while I took attendance and such. This anonymous student provided the following snippet of Pulitzer Prize winning material, complete with how they think proper punctuation should look like.

Theys gonna be 5 top modls walkin threw that door. They gonna come right for me and all the ladies be hollerin. Then theyll take me out this class wit them cuz they need to go wit em someweres. My teacher will be like oh damn were he goin’? but he ain’t gonna be able to hold them back.

That’s the long short of it. I’ve saved that paper in my desk drawer as a reminder of our futures. Today’s kids aren’t like us at all, though it seems that every generation is afraid of their youth. Not as afraid of them as I am now. This is a generation of the selfish, the gross, and the inconsiderate. If it isn’t on their phone or Myspace page, they don’t care for it. They talk to their parents as if talking to a friend. I guess that’s the point after all. When did parenting stop and friendships begin?

I’ve made over 60 phone calls home to parents about children misbehaving or failing. I think only 4 of those calls made a difference. The others would come into class the next day and laugh at my efforts and implore me that their parents don’t care. At first I wouldn’t believe them – my administration told me to never take their word for something like that. Then I would see how they would continue to misbehave or fail or not pay attention to the lesson just to get another text in or two to their friends down the hall.

I take cell phones all the time in my class. That’s the school’s policy – if we see a phone, we take it and turn it in the office. A few months ago, I took this girl’s phone. She spent the rest of the period pleading with me – “please, my mom doesn’t get off work until the school closes” – and on and on. I then told her that I stay late a few nights a week so she can come to my classroom to collect it if she’d like. So the mother came in, all irritated looking, because she was upset that her kid was using the phone in class. The mom tells me, “You won’t have to worry about this again sir, I am terrible sorry. I am going to take her phone away for a week.” Her daughter was with her – the girl I took the phone from. As she walked towards my door to leave, she begged her mom not to take the phone away. What happened next? After 4 seconds of begging, her mother handed her phone back. Lesson fucking learned.

What do kids need cellphones this badly for anyway? It’s not like they are helping prevent rape or kidnapping – just read the fucking news. Back in our day, if your kid was talking to someone on the phone, you’d be able to keep track of it, via caller ID or straight-up stalking. If someone wanted to talk to us, they’d have to call our house. That way our parents would actually be familiar who we were talking to. There be a bit of control – or parenting – involved.

Cellphones make all of this impossible. Sure, you can read the incoming/outgoing numbers and times on the bill when it comes at the end of the month. But that’s often to late. Your daughter has moved on to blowing someone different in the bathroom at school by this time.

“Wait, what?”

Oh yeah, you’d be pretty shocked with how often blow-jobs happen in a school bathroom these days. Thanks to text messaging, this sort of thing can be planned in a matter of seconds. We’ve even bust kids having actual sex in the bathrooms – it’s that crazy. And we wonder why so many of our children are turning into Juno.


That is Probably Your Kid (3/2009)

I found out yesterday that I am not being re-hired at my school next year. I am not sure if it is because of my lack of experience, budget cuts, or if I genuinely suck as a teacher, but I can’t say I am all that sad about it. I’ve learned a lot this year, tons actually, that would make me a much better teacher next year. I just don’t know if I’ll be able to muster the strength to give it another shot, especially considering how parenting is ruining the classroom environment. What would be the point?

Author: bronsonfive

Film, movies, whatever.

15 thoughts on “Parents Is Dumber – How American Parenting is Destroying Society”

  1. Well, the up-side to this post is that I will no longer worry about global warming. Bring it. (((shrug)))

    Seriously, good for you for giving a damn. You may never know whether or not you made a positive impact on some young person as a teacher and a human being but I suspect you did.

  2. Did you turn out to be a better human being because your mother told it like it was and wasn’t going to filter her choice of words so as to not bruise your ego when you were a wee lad?

    While it’s certainly important to make sure kids do not grow up thinking they can do whatever the hail stones they wish just because there are sacrifices, determination, and hard work involved (we all know that hard work doesn’t always pay off), opinions expressed with a voice that could shatter a diamond mountain could make another lad into a life-taking psychopath.

    If more parents are trying to be “friends” with their kids while the kids are still minors (as opposed to waiting until college degrees are earned and first paying job is secured), it’s probably because they don’t want their kids to hate them. Maybe the parents (from Gen-X and late, late baby-booming) are being just as selfish. Our parents (anyone born in the Reagan era) just might have made more sacrifices financially and emotionally to turn us into socially aware and effective agents.

  3. I’d be the first one to argue about how “We were just as bad…” I mean Jesus, we grew up with nuclear bombs pointed at our beds, Hardcore punk and “NO FUTURE” spraypainted on every wall. Nihilism was just a word in the dictionary until 1981. Just listen to Suicidal Tendencies’ “Institutionalized” and tell me if kids genuinely could be more fucked up than that today.

    Except, that I find myself totally agreeing with you. Kids are fucking retarded today. Not just unintelligent, but socially inept to a point that is scary. I work security in a factory and I cannot tell you how many 18 year olds have been fired for things like not showing up on time. It’s not like they were raised by bad parents, it’s like they were raised by no parents. Apart for being able to talk (and with ebonics and textspeak that’s debatable) they’re borderline feral.

    It’s really a cycle of stupidity. Kids get stupider because parents are stupider, and the stupidest kids are the most likely to end up as parents. Back when you and I were kids, we’d see a lot of people raised by a single parent (usually the mom) then a generation later it was grandparents who raised kids. Now it’s no parents at all. What’s next? I think mass orphanages, because I can see kid dumping as becoming the next great moral panic.

    Bah! Fuck it. Their stupidity makes us smarter. Their laziness makes us more hard working. Their social retardation makes us smooth with the ladies. Their weakness is our strenght.

    So I ain’t worried.

  4. My dad has been a teacher for over 20 years in a “great” school district in Texas…like you, by “great” I mean “shitty.” He, and a very select hand few of other teachers are the only ones in the entire district who actually give a damn about their students.

    Unfortunately, pushing you students to work hard is looked down upon by the district…many of the best damn teachers they had are being let go one by one. Maybe that’s what happened in your case?

    Anyway, don’t loose hope on these kids…SOMEONE has to teach them something, sometime.

  5. I’m sorry your contract wasn’t renewed. Sounds like that school sucks some cock…literally. But think about it…you live in a rural,bored, farm district…with a bunch of rebel flag toting, bored, farm kids…Florida is nastyyyyy. however it is too bad you couldn’t stay for the kids that actually did learn something from you, I find it hard to believe you didn’t leave some students life unchanged, what with your extensive ranting on everything that will lead you to having a fucked up life ie babies, baby sex, and then more babies.

  6. You should have been stricter. Have a box, that you hold when they come in, and they have to dump their cellphones in there. They talk during your lecture? 5 minutes at the end of the day. Everytime they talk, tack on another 5 minutes. They don’t show up, detention. They don’t show up for that, suspended.

    I know what you mean with kids being retarded. Im only 21, but I look back at the youth in highschools today and I’m shocked. Its just amazing that these kids are graduating. They should all be beaten regularly until they start behaving.

  7. Holy shit. The children are the future and we are fucked.

    And I see what you’re saying, since my parents didn’t give me 1% of all the things I wanted (all the things I selfishly wanted because I thought they were the most important things at the time).

    I’m glad they did that, I think I’d be a different person today if they hadn’t been pricks to me, hahaha.

    And damn, you should submit this anyway, get the word out as much as possible. Change starts one person at a time…there’s hope!

    (but seriously, there’s no hope…and wow….BJ’s in the bathroom!?!?!? Holy hell…)

  8. I’m not going to opine about the relative quality of today’s children versus those of my generation, because we were fucking savages. I will, however, encourage you to expand this piece with more actual experiences and push harder to find someone to publish it. I think people would respond well.

    And by “well” I mean “with predictable outrage.”

  9. You are a good person and I am so glad that you care. People like you do make a difference. There might be 1 in 100 that you impact. But that one person could grow up and impact 1000. You never know. We strive to teach River every day about the importance of needing to do well. Not just because we say so. I hope that you will continue on as a teacher. Your journey has not ended.

  10. I love you, buddy. I wish I had you for a teacher in high school. Those kids are so lucky to have you to guide them. I wish they all knew it.

  11. First off, thanks to all who’ve responded. Sorry it has taken me so long to respond. It’s been a rough week.

    Trisha: We can only hope that Global Warming kicks in faster than these kids grow up.

    Pugs: Part of me thinks that hating your parents is a part of life everyone should go through. I have kids who hate their parents, even though they give them everything they want. I hated my parents growing up, got nothing, but love them now because of it.

    Jeremy: We were better because we hated shit and wanted change. Kids today don’t want that. They want facebook, head, and cellphones. There is no rebellion anymore. And if there is some, it’s because they ran out of texts.

    Omega: Who knows what I taught them… I tried to teach them a lot but who knows how much got through. I still have 9 weeks left…

    462: Yeah, kids in my town love having babies. Clearly those kids didn’t listen to me…

    Kerplar: I love your plan and have even attempted it. Why would they put the phone in the box when they wouldn’t get in all that much trouble if they kept it? Remember – parents don’t parent anymore…

    Romi: Perhaps I will submit this to somewhere. I just don’t know where anymore.

    Pete: I can’t tell you how honored I am that you of all people are suggesting the same. I really appreciate it man… I guess the search is on.

    Anne: I hope not… but it may be a couple more years before it continues.

    Saimfeld: Me too kid. Me too.

  12. I’d be interested to see a post about your parents. I understand they got divorced, which is really upsetting. ha ha I am apart of the Facebook, Head wanting, cellphone era…sad to say,I do get most things I want, however I don’t hate my parents. i’d like to think I’ll be a functioning part of society, people that are passionate won’t be deterred by a generational brain fart, sad as it is, some people are just specials.

  13. You need to start teaching Masters level classes so I can sit in your class. You would be my favorite teacher.

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