Friday, February 27, 2009

Permissive Parenting

Just a few blocks from my home, a 15 year-old boy died yesterday from injuries sustained when he was run over by his friend's car after a skitching accident.

"Skitching" is the term skateboarders use to describe riding a skateboard while holding on to a moving vehicle. This is the second time in 4 months that a local teenager has been killed doing this.

The boy wasn't wearing a helmet.

His friend driving the car was 16 years old.

The accident occurred in an affluent neighborhood, around 1 pm on Wednesday.

The questions that immediately come to my mind (besides the obvious, "Why didn't some adult intervene and what the hell were they thinking?") are:

--Why wasn't the kid wearing a helmet?
--What was a 16 year-old doing driving a car?
--Why weren't they in school?
--Where were the parents when all this was going on?

I know many good parents who don't consider themselves permissive, but they don't make their kids wear helmets when riding bikes, skateboards, scooters or roller blades. I'm the "mean" mom who makes her kids wear the dorky helmet or they don't ride. After breaking my nose last summer when I went over my handlebars, I'm even MORE convinced of the need to wear a helmet.

I know many good parents who believe it's a right of passage to get a driver's license at 16. Parents of large families will often justify paying for the kids' insurance because it helps having another driver in the family to transport siblings to activities or to run errands for mom. I'm the "mean" mom who says driving is an adult privilege, not a right, and you can get your license as soon as you are able to pay for the insurance, gas and upkeep of the vehicle. So far, only my 21 year-old has a license. People think we're "weird," but everytime I hear of a death involving a teenage driver, I thank God we haven't given into peer pressure from our well-meaning Catholic homeschooling friends.

The kids were both students at the local Ralston Valley High School, which has a variable schedule, so it's possible they weren't supposed to be in school. But it seems strange to me that, when I go out in public, to the doctor's office, to the grocery store, or whatever, and my school-age kids are with me, I often get asked, "Are they off from school today?" I'm the "mean" mom that won't let my kids go bike-riding far from home during school hours, in case someone thinks they're truant.

Most of the large houses in the Arvada neighborhood where the accident occurred are empty during the day. I know because for 3 years, my daughter had a paper route in that neighborhood and I would accompany her for a weekly 3 mile walk. We rarely, if ever, saw any adults in the neighborhood during the day. The kids rule the roost when mom and dad both work in order to pay for the palacial digs they think the kids need.

It just makes me sad to think of the kids whose permissive parents have contributed to their demise.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.

1 comment:

MacBeth Derham said...

I'm with you, mean mom, and my reasons are all selfish. I have been the friend who drives a mom to an accident site, and while there were no serious injuries, seeing my friend go through the whole mess is enough to keep mine from behind the wheel as long as possible. May that poor boy rest in peace...