[Exene Says...] Why Are Parents Too Scared to Be Parents?

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Exene Cervenka
[Editor's Note: Exene Cervenka is a writer, visual artist and punk rock pioneer. The OC transplant is the lead singer for X, the Knitters and Original Sinners. Her column, Exene Says..., is her space to basically just write what's on her mind, everything from crazy life stories to political theories and observations about what's going on in this fucked up world of ours. To contact her, send all messages to askexene@ocweekly.com.]

Thank you very much for the feedback on my column from a couple weeks ago about the clusterfuck that is our Next Generation. I'd like to respond. I, too, am respectful of your opinions.

First: "What do you have against sports?" The answer: "Nothing." I appreciate athletic excellence, drive, discipline, etc. and those who participate in sports, instead of just staring at a dozen screens in a sports bar. However, I don't appreciate the Super Bowl illuminati's half-time sexcapades, designed to brainwash and destroy. Or young people killing one another over a pair of Nikes. Or celebrity worship and living vicariously through them.

Parents of the next generation also need a talking to. First off, yes, this is Orange County. Is there anything more influential over children's minds than Disney, Snow White, Prince Charming, witches, Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, etc.? Why are there so many cute, bubbly girls that quickly turn into, well, bad girls? They learn at an early age to be sexual exhibitionists. Where do parents come in? They should have come in and stopped the exploitation of their children long ago.

As a parent, I cringe when I hear fellow parents ask children for permission. "We have to go now, okay?" "We aren't buying that, okay?" "That's not okay, okay?" It's difficult enough for teachers to teach, but to have to first instill a sense of discipline and respect in children who have none at home is too much to ask.

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25 comments
Brainwashed_in_church
Brainwashed_in_church topcommenter

I am scared to be a parent because if I even think of giving one of my kids a spanking or a swat on the rear end, I could end up in jail for child abuse. It is too risky.

MissBlanche
MissBlanche

Well said Exene!   As a mother of two small kids, I always like to hear the objective (sort of) view of my many non-parent friends on the "kids today" topic.. and I think you nailed it.  

and to ilynne-   "Most of the US is a deadly obstacle course that kids can't navigate safely" SO WRONG...navigating the world takes SKILLS, and you don't get them sitting in front of screens or being driven everywhere by your parents.

Allison Springer
Allison Springer

Bravo. I have a pet peeve with parents who take their children everywhere: bars, clubs, rock shows, etc. because they are too self absorbed to put the needs of the child ahead of their own. It won't kill you to actually stay home with your children if you can't afford a babysitter every night of the week.

Brandi Glenn
Brandi Glenn

Yes to many parents trying to be thier kids best friends!

Brandi Glenn
Brandi Glenn

I agree fully! There is a lack of respect twords adults that is so sad. When I was a kid if i did not speak with respect to an adult I got in trouble!. I don't like it when a teenager looks me up and down and almost challenges me!. Not sure where this is going to led us? Also the people you blog for need to not put half naked women On the same page you are on. Epesially writing about this! Just FYI.

Jolie Smallwood Keysor
Jolie Smallwood Keysor

Wow. What a visceral reply. For whatever reason this struck some nerve in you. Regardless, your anecdotal story about raising your son proves nothing. I have young children, I see what she is talking about. One of the major points of her story was the sexualization of girls at an early age; you dont mention that. Making your children hate you was not the point; parenting responsibly may make it seem like they hate you at the time. Wouldn't you rather they "hate" you when they are 13 than when they are a mature adult and realize you gave them no boundaries, no limits and blame you for their failure in life? The parent as friend is one of those theories that didn't turn out so well; Exene is certainly not the first to point that out.

Liz O Love
Liz O Love

Parenting goes BEYOND playing outside with your children. It's about raising them to be solid members of society. It's leading by example. It's providing structure and stability and nurturing them through transitional periods in their life. It's about being present and being aware - it's love, discipline, devotion and consistent effort. Sure, kids these days would be more inclined to pick up an XBOX controller rather than a book or play games on devices rather than hoping on a bike. But it's all in how you control their daily activities. Kids need structure. My step kids have play time; in doors and out doors. They have skateboards, they play baseball and football with their father and are part of a league, they have a dog, they swim, they go on walks, They also have electronics. A responsible parent regulates these privileges. It's not about wanting to make sure your child "likes" you or consider you a "friend." It's not a matter of giving in to their every wish and demand just so you please them or hope they stop bugging you about things. Let them ask for things until they are blue in the face. Guess what? An Iphone isn't going to provide for them. A Facebook account isn't going to feed them or put clothes on their back. If you allow that type of behavior or expectation to run rampant in your household, you are doing something terribly wrong. A child needs a parent that will say NO and provide a logical reason so the child understands. The message will come across loud and clear. And if it does not...hey, part of your job is to continue to imbed the message in their heads. What kids really want is security and to know they are taken care of...they want to know their parent will be there -- no matter what. It takes a certain type of person to be a parent. Some people can't hack it. And those are the people who should never procreate.

Rich Ellis
Rich Ellis

Dead fucking on, Exene. I'll bet Lynne Cooney's kid is nuthin but a big pussy. It's a tough world out there, so get your kids used to it.

Matt Townsend
Matt Townsend

"Exercise, discipline, affection." I always thought the Dog Whisperer was onto something with his mantra for raising well adjusted dogs. I think it's as equally applicable to raising well adjusted children.

Nathan Richardson
Nathan Richardson

shit yeah. such a smart woman. she's certainly lived harder than most.

Tabitha Nevers-Bonaventure
Tabitha Nevers-Bonaventure

I put "hate" in quotations because my children will never actually hate me, but you cant let them do whatever they want. Being your 20 year olds "bff" is fine i guess... But being your toddlers "bff" is something quite different. I agree that just tossing your kids outside to play is unlikely these days, but getting them out in a safe and freeing environment is key. I find that the younger a person is when they have children the more they lean towards feeling the need to friend them. I dont feel that my children owe me anything but i do feel that i owe them the strength to make the hard decisions for them until they can make them themselves. Children need boundaries and i intend to make mine strong because my love for my children is strong. I let them make thier own decisions (mind you theyre toddlers) when the outcome is uncircumstantial (wearing what they want outside in the garden, what to have for breakfast from their breakfast options etc... ) but if they tell me that they dont want to brush their teeth then we need to have a talk, when they interrupt or dont share then we need to have a talk.. I will not be my childrens "friend" until i am not so involved with raising them to be thoughtful, empathetic, and loving adults... And during this whole experience we will love and appreciate each other and overcome all obstacles that meet us.

lardg
lardg

Exene a few good points in your article, I feel the family unit and the idea of family as a whole has been decimated since the late 60's. Not one person under the age of forty has an idea of what family values are, and the responsibilities that come along with being a part of a family are or what it represents or entails. They are alone in the fact that they do not have the connection or respect for one another that was taught in the previous eras and how it effects an individual as a person. The values that were once handed down within the family created a structure that no longer exists, it also created a understanding of personal responsibility and pride in self. There is a issue in the lack of parenting skills that translate into social skills not known by the newer generations. This is handed down as a parenting style, and now generation after generation suffer.

 ps ilynne -school much? effin id-i-ought!!!

ilynne
ilynne

Fuck you, Exene. "Send your kids outside to play." Where do you live? Most of the US is a deadly obstacle course that kids can't navigate safely. In many neighborhoods kids can't GET to a friend's house two blocks away because the cities and towns are set up for cars only. All of you assholes need to start working toward making "outside" an actual safe place for kids. 


You, madam, are not a child-rearing expert. You're just another punk whose ass people will kiss no matter what drivel comes out of your mouth.

Lynne Cooney
Lynne Cooney

Oh fuck you, Exene. "Send your kids outside to play." Where do you live? Most of the US is a deadly obstacle course that kids can't navigate safely. In many neighborhoods kids can't GET to a friend's house two blocks away because the cities and towns are set up for cars only. All of you assholes need to start working toward making "outside" an actual safe place for kids. I somehow managed to raise a great kid without him hating me once. He's 20, in school, happy and he knows that I'm his best friend. I don't see why people wear making their kids hate them as a badge of honor. I'll bet you all think they owe you something now, too.

Julie Angelica Lafkas
Julie Angelica Lafkas

A very good article here. Exene Cervanka, makes a lot of valid points about parenting. :-)

Chuck C. Cattell
Chuck C. Cattell

Well said..I couldnt agree more.I share as much of the simple and real experiences with my son as I possibly can.Fishing,hiking,riding bikes,playing wiffle ball,walking the dog,reading an actual paper book,making calls to family members on one of my many rotary phones,listening to Lp's,growing vegetables etc..Its all about getting to it and making a solid effort.Sure you might mess up here and there,but unless you are some kind of nutjob,it's all gravy.

Tabitha Nevers-Bonaventure
Tabitha Nevers-Bonaventure

I remember when I was shopping at the grocery store and my daughter (3) asked for some candy and I said "no" she blerted out "But mom-mom I dont want you to say 'no' I just want you to be my friend!" I looked at her straight in the eye and said "I'm not allowed to be your friend until you're much much MUCH older, I'm your parent and I'm the boss so what I say goes." I hate seeing kids ruined by parents who are too afraid to discipline. I'm not afraid of my kids "hating" me when their teenagers, if they do "hate" me occasionally than obviously I'm doing this whole "raising kids thing" correctly... lol.

John Dennis
John Dennis

It is great to see her doing other things. The first and last time I saw her play was in Gathering of the Tribes concert.

Darla Scarpella
Darla Scarpella

"Parents: Start parenting again. Children should be playing outside and using their imaginations." YES. so glad my friends do this with their kiddos.

qdpsteve
qdpsteve

Wow, not bad Ms. Cervenka. Megakudos to you, ma'am. You almost sound like (gasp) John Rosemond.


Is anyone (Gustavo maybe) sure this piece didn't get lost here on its way to a more sane, conservative website? ;-)

wigginsdmd
wigginsdmd

Damn lady. And you are "Mother of the Year?" It's funny you are so rabid about this; AL CC? Maybe you should have been less friendly.

Justin_Khase
Justin_Khase

Both You and ilynne need another Thorazine shot on your way back to your padded rooms.

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