I have a hard time understanding the trend I'm seeing in parenting.
Granted, I live on a lake. Yes, its a very laid back lifestyle. However, I am noticing that the parents of the children that live here are taking VERY little interest or hand in what their children are doing.
Let me back up a bit. In our VERY small community there are 4 families with children. There will be 9 kids from here going to the same school. They range in age from 5 to 11. We pretty much have K-5 covered. I keep track of Shecky. I know where he is and what he's doing almost all the time. (No one EVER knows what their kids are doing all the time, I'm not naive enough to think that.) He carries a walkie-talkie with him when he's out in the neighborhood and reports in to me if he goes to someones house or goes riding or what have you. I don't allow him to go into the woods or swimming without adult supervision. He still has the freedom of being able to play pretty much anywhere else he'd like. He has a set bedtime, even in the summer. (Yeah I know, I'm not anal about making him stick to it in so far as being ASLEEP but he does have to be in bed.) He has to stop playing outside or with his friends by 7pm. He has to shower and get ready for bed at that point.
The other kids that live here... have NO such restrictions. They go wherever they want. Do whatever they want. By their own admission, their parents don't have a clue what they are up to or where they are a great majority of the time. I actually had a parent tell me yesterday, "They just do their own thing. I usually just say go!" Several of these kids, (all but one or two) aren't in the grade they are supposed to be in. They've either failed a grade or been held back... or both. School isn't a priority in their families. The parents don't put any emphasis on it. The kids have virtually no desire to attend.
The kids are defiant and disrespectful of their parents.
I. Don't. Get. It.
Its not like these women work full time jobs outside the home. They have an opportunity and a RESPONSIBILITY to shape these kids into who they are going to be as adults. Do they not SEE that? Do they just not give a damn?
I've already started a "Reward Bag" for this school year. Shecky points out things all the time that he wants. I buy them up and when he does well in school he will be rewarded with an item from the bag. The stuff ranges from Yugio Cards to Pirates of the Caribbean Figurines to DVD's to PS2 games. Depending on the achievement he'll receive a reward of appropriate value. If he does POORLY in school, gets bad behavior reports, fails tests or God Forbid, gets a D or an F on his report card he'll get penalized. He'll be grounded from SOMETHING depending on how bad the infraction.
When I bought his school clothes I made sure they were dressy-ish. 3 button shirts with and without collars etc. Pants. Shorts and Logo Tee shirts are for playing in, not going to school. Its to help him realize School is different. Its important. Its SPECIAL.
I THINK about these things and when I talk about it to these other parents or when their kids hear about it I just get these blank looks. These, goggle eyed, WTF is she TALKING about looks.
I'm I thinking too hard about these things? Am I being a helicopter mommy? Is it WRONG for me to put the emphasis on this stuff? Should I be more lax? Am I doing all this wrong? I have no clue. I just know the kids in these other families... they choose to hang out here with the rules, with the family atmosphere, with adults that TALK to them and LISTEN to them. They're starving for attention and that really pisses me off.... and wears me out.