Letter: parenting is more than giving birth

This letter is in response to Jessie Winchester's letter in the Nevada Appeal dated Nov. 30, which stated legislators in our state are out of touch with reality. Let's examine some of her thoughts to see who is really out of touch.

First of all, parents have always been responsible for the actions of their children. This is not a new concept. Responsibility for one's child is the obligation (to that child and society) that every parent assumes the day their child is born. This is a legal obligation as well as a moral one.

If parents fail to be accountable for their children and their actions, then they too must be held responsible. Parenting a child does not only include providing food, shelter and clothing for a child - it is love, nurturing, guidance, an education, positive discipline, social competence and self-sufficiency skills.

There is much research on the process of delinquent behaviors in our youth - it begins with a lack of positive family interaction. Parents must "step up", take responsibility and, when necessary, seek the assistance of others when things get out of hand.

Second, the Family Resource Center was not created to monitor and enforce the law. We do believe this is still the duty of the local law enforcement agencies, district attorney's office and the court system. The Family Resources Center was created to promote healthy family relationships through education and support services.

It is a place where families can go to get the help they need. The center strives eagerly to help prevent families from facing legal action because of poor school attendance and many other issues by providing assistance such as parenting classes, counseling, tutoring, substance abuse and anger management programs, or whatever it takes to strengthen the family structure.

Next, it was suggested that kids who are truant should participate in boot camps. Recent studies overwhelmingly indicate that boot camps are not working. What works are community-based programs that assist families by working with the entire family unit and not just concentrating solely on the youth.

Simply removing a child from the home does not resolve the underlying problems. Children do not just decide one day to become delinquent. There are many reasons that children act out. Simply sending them away will not repair nor improve a family structure.

Finally, parental accountability is essential, and for many of the young people today, we are severely negligent in not making parents parent their children. The number one deterrent to teenage drug use, juvenile delinquency and crime, teen pregnancy, etc., is positive parenting.

Again, studies indicate that youth excel by consistent positive discipline, strong support and parental monitoring. If we do not require parents to be responsible for parenting their children then the consequences can be devastating to the children and costly to the taxpayer.

Oh, and one more thing ... one should research the facts before making outlandish remarks that have no basis in reality.

JOHN SIMMS, Chairman

TILISA MAY, Executive Director

Ron Wood Family Resource Center


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