Opinion: Spending is replacing parenting in some families

I felt the need to respond to the letter to the editor written by Ronnie Chirnoff regarding uneasy childhood and the comparison to those youth who are successful in life and those who are in trouble. (Addison Independent, Nov. 6, page 5A.)
About a year ago a retired family doctor wrote a letter in which he commented that he felt in order to reduce drug, alcohol and abuse in today’s society we need to start with babies as soon as they are born.
I believe this also. I did not work when raising our six children (I worked only part time when we had one child) then stayed home until last one went to first grade. I was able to go back into the nursing field at that time. I feel preschool years are when children need a structured schedule that gives them confidence so they grow up to be responsible young people and adults. A daily schedule they can pretty much count on and lots of home time and play time.
Today I have observed infants and small children being taken shopping, to concerts, fairs, etc., any time of day or night and not always dressed warmly. This makes me wonder if some of our younger parents are putting their recreation, activities, etc., first, rather than the role of parenting?
When two parents are working today the cost of the daycare for more than one child is high, families need two cars, insurance, work clothes, etc. When that child gets up in the morning and may not be feeling OK it is likely he/she must go to day care on time to accommodate parents’ work schedule unless really sick.
I see our youth today going on field trips, raising money for charities during school time, requests from parents for dollars to buy or support events going on. Seems like an endless request for extra dollars needed for something. Today’s high school youth must rent an establishment where they can have their prom. The girls need special hairstyles, manicures, pedicures. Boys rent tuxedos or buy suits. Transportation to and from can be in a limo. We had our proms in our high school gym or auditorium. We did not have to raise dollars for this and events afterward.
No wonder both parents have to work full-time. Are we an example to our children today that says it is a necessity to have a good-paying job so they can give their children all that they have been given so easily?
Are we a materialistic society? A friend once said look around your house and observe just what you have that you don’t really need. When you go shopping think twice before buying something at the mall stores. I feel some of the shopping mall stores entice our young people to spend money.
I also feel today we need to take a look at our town budgets, school budgets, the buildings we build in order for our children to be educated and say do we really need this in order to run our town and educate our children. Do we have our priorities in order?
When I was married I had a bedroom set, a dinette set with table and four chairs and a sofa and chair. Over the years I built my home into a warm and inviting place for my family.
Today children and young people need the support of all family members. I remember Barbara Bush saying, “Grandparents give their grandchildren stability.” This is a difficult and competitive world we live in now days.
There are many good parents today — I am not saying this is all parents. I most likely will get negative feedback but felt I needed to share my thoughts.
From a confident, contented grandmother of 13 who is proud of all her grandchildren.
Ginger Isham

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