|“I’m not worried about the cops, but my dad might find out.”
Adolescence is a natural stage in the development to adulthood. During that period there is often a strong desire to defy parents and reject the behavioral standards of the community. Currently, a major concern of society is the involvement of teenagers in violence, crime, drugs and sex. Once a child becomes delinquent, many parents then turn to remedies that are too little and too late.
The standards and values in American society are constantly changing. Some changes that might seem innocent in the beginning can create difficulties in the future. One example is the formal manner of greeting in the black community some 60 years ago. No one would ordinarily address an older person by his or her first name. This practice reminded the young that everyone is entitled to respect, regardless of their personal achievements or their level of wealth.
Another practice was that high schools had more demanding dress codes back then. Boys had to wear shirts, ties and dress slacks of their choice. Jeans were not permitted. Girls had to wear skirts with hems to the knees or below and conservative blouses or sweaters. The dress codes in public schools today are so lax that almost everything goes.
The decline of other practices also eased the pressure on adolescents to conform, but none was more destructive than the idea that parents should be their children’s friends, rather than their disciplinarians when appropriate. Not surprisingly, some children believe that they should be free from parental intervention because “times have changed” and their parents are “old fashioned.”
In order for parental authority to retain its vigor, no breach of the rules should be ignored. Children will tend to be compliant when they believe that they will be caught after a violation, and the punishment will be greater than they care to endure. However, this authority system works best when the children believe that their parents love them, are interested in their greatest welfare, and the penalty fits the offense.
The psychological and arbitration approach to child discipline now seems to be more popular than old-fashioned authoritarianism. However, more undisciplined youngsters seem to develop now in the black community, compared to the days when parents were unabashedly authoritarian. Perhaps it is time for parents to emulate some of the old successful child-rearing techniques.
As of Nov. 21, 70 people have been murdered in Boston. During the same period last year, the number was 45. That is a 55.6 percent increase, but even such a large jump in the murder rate does not tell the whole story. Armed attacks on minority gunmen have been occurring in social venues.
In the past month or so, Rudi’s restaurant in the Hampton Inn Hotel was closed by gunfire, an assailant armed with an AK-47 killed a woman in a store on Warren Street opposite the Washington Park Mall, and three people were killed and one wounded in a shootout at a busy pizza shop on Centre Street in Jamaica Plain. Racial minorities were involved in all three incidents.
Is there now reason for restaurant and other business owners to have special security concerns? How are African Americans and other minorities to have unimpeded access to places of public accommodation?
A party for Harvard and Yale alumni was recently closed because of security interests. This will indeed be a recurring issue. Unless this crime is curtailed, everyone will have to rethink what security measures are appropriate in public places.