How Will You Raise Your Kids?

 

By Dana Moss

We live in a scary fucking world.

I’m not talking solely politically, although that is pretty frightening whatever side of the aisle you fall on. I’m talking about the world of convenience. With cell phones, social medial and the internet, things are always readily available to us. What’s even more frightening, is the ease of access that children have to information.

Being a first-time parent, I am truly scared. We all do our best to teach our children right from wrong, and hopefully, how to be a decent human being. However, no matter how hard we try, our children can be easily deterred.

I remember when I was growing up, quite vividly, how mean children can be. Being overweight, I was teased for my weight, but I never thought my religion would have any impact on my friends. One of my friends called me a JAP. She said that her mother told her that’s what I was. This stands for Jewish American Princess, often referred to someone that was prissy or snobby. I was in the seventh grade and I am probably the farthest thing from prissy or snobby, however, I was so surprised that her parent would introduce her to this behavior, at such a young age. It is no surprise that bullying is an extremely prevalent issue among society today. There is an alarming level of hate against others, whether it be over race, sexual orientation, religion, you name it.

This country was built upon diversity, so why do we no longer embrace it? I cannot stand to see the number of people, especially children, decide to take their own lives over the opinions of others. There is absolutely no reason that a child should go to school, and feel either unsafe or unwanted. With the image of perfection that our culture (and social media) conveys, anyone that doesn’t resemble it, is almost ostracized.

We cannot raise non-judgmental children, if we are judgmental parents. We should be teaching and showing our children what compassion is. We should be explaining to them that although we may not look the same, we are all equal.

I know that I will raise my children to be understanding and compassionate. I will raise them to be open-minded and to ask questions, without ignorance. When we bring children into this world, we are tasked with an enormous responsibility to raise good people. We, as parents, should lead by example, as our kids will replicate our actions. If we show inclusiveness to our kids, they will show inclusiveness to others. If we are closed-minded and ignorant, our children will follow suit.

This is what frightens me. With the number of Youtube “challenges,” such as the choking challenge, where children literally are strangling themselves to the point of almost passing out, do I even introduce my children to the internet at all? I know you can’t stop them from seeing things like this, but how do you monitor it completely? Sure, you can set up all of the parental controls you want, but when they leave you for school, how do we know what they’re really picking up?

You teach them a certain behavior, but what if it isn’t considered “popular” or “cool”? Everyone has a desire to fit in—I mean, it’s human nature—but to what extent? We must teach our children to stand up for others, even if that goes against what everyone else is doing. If the underdog cannot defend himself, someone should step in. That someone, should be our children.

My children will always stand up for those that have yet to find their voice. They will fight for what they believe in, and will be wonderful human beings. They will understand the difference between right and wrong and will accept others, regardless of their beliefs. They will respect the opinions of others, even if they don’t agree with them. They will be kind, generous, and understanding.

Even though I know how I will raise my kids, I am still scared as hell to introduce them to this world. They are so easily molded, that I am afraid they will fall prey to the wrongdoings of others. This all circles back to wanting to fit in. As hard as we may try, we cannot control the actions of others. I don’t blame the children—I blame their parents.

How do you raise your children in today’s day and age? How do you protect them from the negativity of others? Though you teach them to be good people, do you see other children being the opposite? How do you explain this to your kids?

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