Caution tape.I've argued before that the first rule of parenting should be "judge not". And yet from tragic accidents to rioting children, there's no doubt that parental behavior influences children's safety, wellbeing and behavior.
So what are we to make of news, coming via an opinion piece by radio host Dom Giordano at Philly.com, that suggests Philadelphia's Mayor's widely-reported response to the shooting death of 3 kids was a thinly-disguised attack on parents:
MAYOR Nutter stunned many in comments he made about last Tuesday night's shooting that left three teenagers dead. After criticizing the shooter and calling him "a dog," the mayor had harsh words for Philadelphia parents, telling them not to be "idiots and a-------."
Many were outraged that the mayor took a thinly veiled shot at the parents of the three dead teens, questioning why those kids were out of the house at night looking for a fight. Some called into my show, wondering how the mayor could criticize grief-stricken parents and say, in so many words, that they were responsible for the actions that caused the deaths of these three teens.
Whether or not Giordano's interpretation of Mayor Nutter's words is correct or not is a matter of debate. The online video I just watched suggests he is criticising "adults shooting at kids", not parents themselves.
Read More: London's Rioting Kids: Who Is to Blame?
There are, to my mind, a few different things going on here. Should parents be responsible for their children and do mistakes, neglect or bad decisions have real world consequences? Absolutely. Should we jump to conclusions about specific cases before we know all the facts? Absolutely not. And should elected officials focus on individual responsibility, or the structural inequalities that create bad choices? I suspect it's a case of both/and, not either/or - but it's a shame the only thing that ever gets heard is the blaming of individuals.
I'd rather talk about solutions than find people to blame...
This post was written by Sami Grover.
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