Her Voice: Children are a parental responsibility
by Yolande Barial / For the Tracy Press
Jan 28, 2011 | 4133 views | 5 5 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
New Year’s Day, my 15-year-old son and his girlfriend were invited to a party at the home of one of their school friends in Lathrop. I had never been to the home before, and neither had my son or his girlfriend.

The closer we got to the area, we noticed other vehicles driving slowly; apparently looking for the same house. There were three adults standing outside of a house — two men and one woman. I parked the van directly across the street and got out, as did the teens in my care. As I walked up to the house, hand outstretched, I introduced myself and then my son.

Before I could even begin to introduce my son’s girlfriend, the woman said to me, “You are the first adult to get out of your car and meet us.” I responded with, “You have got to be kidding?”

She said no, as did her husband and the neighbor. The two men looked rather athletic and were very capable of handling any 15-year-old boys or girls. She then told me that I was more than welcome to go inside her home and take a look around, and then she said to look at how many kids are in her home.

I walked into the home, a beautiful and roomy place with vaulted ceilings. The bass beats were rhythmically bumping off the walls and at least 30 teenagers were standing around, looking and talking to one another. I saw a lot of scantily clad girls and a bunch of sagging-pants boys.

On my way back to the van, the mom and I chatted, the dad told me what time the party was over and I assured him that my son’s girlfriend’s father would be picking them up. I wished them good night. He assured me that everything was going to be fine. I was comfortable leaving my charges at the party.

As I walked back to my van, I saw more cars pulling up. A car of four girls with an adult woman in the driver’s seat — probably someone’s mom — caught my attention. The mom had the car in park, engine still running, windows rolled up. The girls got out and went to greet the owners of the home and went inside. The mom never got out, and as a matter of fact, she had already driven away before her charges had gone into the house.

As I sat in my van, I thought: As parents, we have really fallen down on the job. In light of all of the crime that occurs daily against our children, there are still adults/parents/guardians who find it permissible to just drop their children off at a stranger’s house.

Does anyone but me see something wrong with this behavior, this style of parenting? As just a mom, I call on the other guardians to remember that we are the parents, and as such, we are directly responsible for our children and their welfare. We cannot continue to abdicate our responsibility and then blame others for what our children do.

We must put into practice adult caretaking behavior, for not only our sake but for the sake of the children we have been blessed to have in our lives.

• Yolande Barial is a mother and Tracy resident. 
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January 28, 2011
Yep, my parents did it and so do I. My kids would say "ah mom you don't need to go etc"

If I'm dropping off the kids at a new house I go up and introduce myself. If new kids are coming to my house I will go outside and introduce myself if they don't come up. I really think it is important. I also feel better about the parents that do the same. I know that my kids is probably well taken care of at their home.
January 28, 2011
Yolanda, you did everything right!!!

Refreshing read!!!

My mom did the very same thing! Loved her for caring!

January 28, 2011
Ornley - I agree. You have to be their parent, above all else. If they end up thinking of you as a friend as well, then that's a bonus. That "friendship" shouldn't be the goal. I'd rather my child stay healthy, do well in school, stay out of trouble, and hate me every step of the way, than to give in to his every desire and be his Buddy. The kid has a lifetime ahead of him, and a killer personality. He'll make friends just fine. He doesn't need me in his "posse".
January 28, 2011
Good on ya Yolande, ya got th right idea. Wish we could get more parents interested in bein thair children's parents rather than thair friends. Ya can be both but ya gotta be th parent first an taday it seems fer a whole lot of parents thair children are not much more than an inconvenient truth ta be dealt with as quickly an cheaply as possible. An we wonder why we have problems in our society? It's what we teach our children, through our ambivalence, ta do. Break that chain an yer kid's parent first, then ya can be thair friend an guess what, they will love an respect ya fer it.
January 28, 2011
You know, it never really stood out in my mind until you mentioned it, but my mom always did exactly what you did. She would always walk us to the door, and spend a moment or two getting to know the parents. While I always found it kind of embarassing, it seems logical, and common sense now. Seriously, who WOULD drop their kids off at a strangers house without going in? Many parents trust their childrens judgement far more than they should. Nevermind the higher level of intelligence we all feel our children have, they are still children. There is still a very good reason we are legally responsible for them until they turn 18. As adults, we know better...or at least, we SHOULD know better. Good post, Yolande.

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