Parenting Doesn’t Stop When They Go to College

Curt & Gabby SchillingBy now, you may have heard about Curt Schilling and the vulgar tweets that blew up his Twitter after he simply congratulated his daughter for earning a softball scholarship to college. Kudos to Mr. Schilling for bringing a much needed spotlight on how our youth seem to be under the illusion that there are no consequences for the horrible things they post on social media.

From Poor Judgment to Bad Behavior to Criminal Actions

“Youth” in this instance is referring to college-age boys ¬¬- boys that Mr. Schilling refers to as “white, affluent, college attending children.” With one kid in college and another about to be, I’m sensitive to the despicable things I inadvertently hear about college boys and their behavior on social media, at frat parties, or wherever they hang out with their peers. Many of these kids are good kids from normal homes who you assume have been brought up by loving, well-intentioned parents.

When the bad behavior goes unchecked, they feel enabled, entitled, and above reproach. These are the type of boys who might take the jokes, language and threats to the next level and end up raping coeds then making excuses or justifying why it was no big deal. That’s been in the news a lot, too, and always sparks debate. “The girl was drunk.” “She was all over him.” “Did you see how she was dressed? She asked for it.” Rape is rape and no means no yet many will say the girls bear some responsibility for putting themselves in risky positions.

Don’t Cut the Strings Entirely

What about the parents? What role do we play? Just because our kid is away at college doesn’t mean we should completely cut the strings and turn our head so they can do whatever they want. College kids still need parenting — arguably even more than middle and high school kids! Of course, ideally, morals are instilled in these kids as children and teens and they know better than to post vulgar threats, or slip a date rape drug in a girls drink, or get so smashed that they end up in a situation they’ll later regret, but kids who have been raised right are making bad choices regardless of their upbringing. Drink

Why? Because so many parents conclude that when they reach 18 or go to college we are suppose to let them sew their wild oats and come of age. We can’t be with them 24/7 and they have to learn from their mistakes. Yeah, I get it. But, geez, we don’t have to stop talking to them, teaching them, and setting a good example.

Communicate Honestly

Maybe what needs to change is our tone. Instead of preaching and threatening like when they were 15, try having adult, honest conversations about the dangers of social media, about avoiding risky situations, about using good judgment, and most importantly, about consequences and accountability. Our kids will make mistakes. They will make stupid, impulsive decisions. They will say and post inappropriate things. They will get wasted and end up in compromising positions. When parents stay involved and have that honest rapport with their kids, we can guide them before they get carried away and really cross the line. The important thing is that they accept responsibility when they’ve screwed up and don’t make excuses or blame someone else. It doesn’t mean they aren’t good kids or that they have bad parents. What will define their character, and ours, is how they respond and learn from those mistakes.

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” — William Morrow

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