General Question

Here2_4's avatar

Raising our kids. Should government be involved, neighbors, schools?

Asked by Here2_4 (7142points) November 1st, 2014

Who should be involved with the raising of a child? Should parents be able to expect some help, or should they expect the right to handle all on their own?
What is too much?
What is not enough?
What, if anything, is just a big mess all the way around?

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21 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

It’s a case by case call. Everyone is so different, I think a parent has to evaluate their skills and their kids needs and make the call what they need. There is no good one size fits all rule.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

neighbors yes, government hell no!!

schools (especially colleges) already have too much power brainwashing our kids. Many teacher have their own agendas.

longgone's avatar

Ideally, I would like to see every child paired up with a guardian at birth. One adult person who does not make any day-to-day decisions – just someone to catch any problems before they become “cases”. Much like a godfather.

I don’t trust parents to be sane people just because they managed to have a child. Yes, I do think parents can expect help. They are doing a hell of a job.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

@longgone no offense but that sounds pretty damn scary to me.

longgone's avatar

@BeenThereSaidThat Not offended. Yes, I realize it would need an insane amount of planning, and rules set in stone. I am not advocating random people with the power to separate children from their families. I’m not even saying my guardians should be associated with the government. However, I do believe there is a key component missing in our schools. Society already takes responsibility for children’s education – we put all the focus on their minds, and expect them to become well-rounded individuals while leaving their emotional (and physical) development in the hands of parents. Yes, many parents do a wonderful job. I still say…even one child without anyone to hug, play with and talk to is one too many. There is no way to help the large number of mistreated kids without also keeping an eye on all others.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

One of the challenges with parenthood is that almost anyone can become a member without passing some sort of test. Another is, what are the acceptable measurements in order to prove potential success? A third is that each human being is an individual based upon a combination of nature and nurture.

I strongly believe that a higher success rate is based upon two factors. One is that it takes a village to bring up a child. The other is that it takes the existence of a fair government to be a safety net.

dxs's avatar

I think that the parents are the ultimate teachers of children. Children are primarily under the responsibility and control of their parents. The “government” is there to protect the child should the parents infringe on the child’s rights. Abuses include (but aren’t limited to): physical punishing, indoctrination, circumcision, etc.

jca's avatar

If it’s left up to the individual, lazy parents who don’t want to get up will not send their kids to school (believe me, I’ve seen it as a CPS worker). If left up to the individual, parents who believe in whipping kids will whip the crap out of them, in order to teach them a lesson (believe me, I’ve seen it as a CPS worker). If left up to the individual, parents who would rather spend their money on drugs, drinking, gambling or their newest boyfriend or girlfriend or a host of other vices will not spend it on food for the kids, proper clothes for the kids, a home for the kids, whatever (believe me, I’ve seen it as a CPS worker).

Government is there to oversee those who cannot or do not do a good job on their own.

Without schools having some sort of standard, there will be haphazard levels of education and expectation all over, willy-nilly.

johnpowell's avatar

@BeenThereSaidThat :: You said, “neighbors yes, government hell no!!”

Then you said: @longgone no offense but that sounds pretty damn scary to me.

What they typed: Ideally, I would like to see every child paired up with a guardian at birth..

What is the difference between a random neighbor or some random guardian?

Both ideas are incredibly stupid but you seem fine with one and appalled at the other. Some ideological consistency would be nice.

flutherother's avatar

Neighbours shouldn’t be involved unless the child steps out of line. The idea of a guardian is a bad one and won’t work anyway. The government’s responsibility is to set up and organise an educational system for all and a child care system for the few that need it.
It isn’t a big mess all round but it is never going to be perfect either.

jca's avatar

The bottom line is children that have medical care, food, a roof over their heads, decent educations and who are not neglected or abused make for a better society as a whole. The more we can ensure that those things happen, the better off we all will be. Children are the adults of the future. Are they going to be self sufficient individuals or are they going to be criminals?

longgone's avatar

@johnpowell I usually like your posts, but the one in this thread doesn’t add anything to the discussion, IMO. Unless you’re arguing that parents are not, in fact, random people?

In that case, I’d be interested in your reasoning.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

@longgone, who do you see fulfilling the role of guardian? How would these people be appointed and by whom?

I agree with @Pied_Pfeffer‘s comment that it takes a village to raise a child. Schools are already involved in raising children. Teachers, whether they like or want it or not, have increasing responsibility with less and less control. I’ve seen schools implementing toothbrushing programs in junior schools and breakfast clubs for children who arrive after having been given no food. Schools are often tasked with making up for poor management by parents. Teachers are often responsible for teaching children things that extend well beyond the school curriculum. They’re being expected to do this because parents are falling down on their jobs and someone has to pick up the slack for the sake of the children.

Governments also already participate in raising our children at various levels. However, if government departments become involved with a specific child, I would say it is because there are significant problems within a family. Children aren’t going to school or they’re presenting somewhere as being neglected in some way. At a macro level, governments already impose regulations about the level and quality of schooling our children should receive and this is no bad thing.

As to guardians being involved, it would depend how they were appointed. This could be somewhat successful if the parents can nominate or have input into nominating the guardian. I am concerned about how such an idea would be managed. I’d hate to think of unsuitable people having close contact with children.

The idea does have merit as a way to counter the lack of family support many parents now experience. In the past, grandparents, aunts and uncles were often involved in raising children, but that’s less common these days. Having guardians whose primary role is to act as an advocate for the child, but who also offer support and guidance to parents could be a good thing. It depends on how the guardian’s role is framed, who the guardian is, and what power they have over the child and how they’re raised. I wouldn’t want to see the parent’s rights being undermined.

longgone's avatar

^ “Having guardians whose primary role is to act as an advocate for the child, but who also offer support and guidance to parents could be a good thing.”

That’s my thinking. As to how we would appoint guardians – there would need to be screenings, but on the whole, I think children benefit from having a wide range of different people to go to. Teachers simply don’t have the time to consider individual kids’ emotional needs, nor is it what they’re trained for.

Parents would, of course, be able to interview potential guardians, as well as observe how they interact with the children. Some will not care to do so, but in that case, their children’s lives will be improved by just having someone to look out for them. Should parents have concerns, they would need to be able to voice these and be listened to.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Of course the government MUST be involved. and those who believe otherwise are fooling themselves. It doesn’t require great insight to appreciate that the kids of the country belong to ALL of us. There was a time when this fact was accepted and taken for granted. Even more than such niceties as roads, bridges or public jails, the children of the country top the list when it comes to “basic infrastructure.” In fact it may well be argued that there is no point in maintaining the other items on the list once the kids are excluded. The load carried by people with children these days is absolutely brutal. From an economic standpoint, there is no rational reason to even consider the risks, travails and staggering expenses involved in seeing a child through to adulthood. In times even tougher than these it was appreciated that the children are the literal future of the country. So let’s turn the question on its head. What benefits do we accrue from the government neglecting the plight of struggling kids and their beleaguered parents?

Pandora's avatar

I don’t think there is any easy answer. There are times when the government needs to be involved because the family environment is toxic and or dangerous. But there are times when common sense is ignored because of set laws. Social workers should be allowed to recommend what is needed. However there are cut backs on social workers and many children fall through the cracks.
Lets take an example. Let us say a child is spanked one time in public because the kid almost ran out in traffic. Said parent, is witness to have spanked the child and a cop arrest them for child endangerment, even though it was maybe just 3 whacks to the bottom. Should the parent had just chided them, knowing the kid is maybe the sort to laugh at being scolded and take the risk that the kid thinks its a funny game to get mom mad or afraid? Parents have to sometimes make a quick decision sometimes based on how they know their child will react to best in the interest of the child’s safety, health and development.

The cop may have to follow the law. But if he saw that the child was about to endanger his life and the parent did what they thought was needed, than common sense should tell the cop that it is none of his concern, unless he can see actual bruising that may indicate abuse. Or if he saw or heard the parent cursing the child out, or abusing them in a fashion that appears to be more than just normal discipline but indicating irrational behavior. Then get their information and have social services pay a visit.

Schools should be allowed to report possible abuse or toxic environment.
Family and friends and neighbors sometimes don’t report things because they are portrayed as being jealous or simply as someone with a grudge and the authorities ignore them. I reported what I was sure of an abusive situation twice. One was for a neglected dog, and the other was for a child. For the neglected dog they asked if there was possible a personal reason I reported it. Maybe the dog barks too much, or I don’t like the people. I told them to come and look for themselves. They never came. The dog was all bones.
For the child they came knock at the door and asked about the girl and they said she was fine. I heard her crying and she was left alone with her mothers new lover. He was a mean man. Again they suggested that I was making up what I was hearing because maybe they were disturbing me. The cries I heard where sounds you would hear from a wounded animal. Every sound she made wrenched my stomach. But you know. They show up about 20 minutes after and that was that. About a month later, skipped out.
This is why people don’t like to report things. If I knew it would be this useless, maybe I could gain her trust. The little girl knew it was me, and would only look at me with sad eyes after that. I always felt she was pleading with me to help her.
See common sense would’ve been to have a social worker show up or female cop to talk to the little girl separately. Not male cops asking with the man right next to her.

Here2_4's avatar

I don’t think anything has been solved, or even resolved, but I see very good points here.
It looks like a long road to travel before any real solutions can be decided and implemented.

jca's avatar

@Pandora: Contrary to popular belief, it’s not illegal to spank your children. It is considered abuse and therefore illegal to hit them with anything other than an open hand. Therefore, no closed fists, no objects (for example, a switch from a tree, a belt, a hanger, an electrical cord, a frying pan), and the hitting cannot leave marks (for example, bruises or welts). We (CPS) try to discourage people from hitting their children, but it’s not illegal, as long as it meets the criteria I explained above.

youngisthan's avatar

Neighbors and schools should be involved with parents in raising kids but i think parents are more important and play a big role in raising kids.

snowberry's avatar

@jca I’m not disputing what you’ve seen in your career as a CPS worker, but this is CPS I’ve come to know: This started in 2006.

My kids are all grown now, but in my last dealings with CPS showed me they were corrupt, and they broke the law in dealing with us and our children. In our situation we stayed well within the boundaries of the law, but CPS refused to acknowledge what we did was legal. We won because we were able to hire an attorney to force them to do what the law said they must do. Otherwise, our kids would have been ripped out of our arms like happened to this little girl. The above link sounds typical of how they operate. They sure weren’t interested in the well being of our kids, and it appears to me that nothing much has changed in the generation that’s grown up between then and now.

After that experience, even though I know there are good people who work in every type of job, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to think of CPS as anything other than big business and their workers as little more than pawns for a very corrupt government.

jca's avatar

@snowberry: I was stating what the laws are about hitting children. I don’t recommend hitting them, I don’t hit mine, but I am just saying that it’s not illegal to hit them, within certain boundaries. That is all. I’m not here to defend ever CPS department in every town in every state, nor am I here to discuss cases that I only know one side of.

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