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"I'll Curse You Out, Too!"

by Jerry Burge, March 2016

I was visiting a high school when I was able to observe a student confronting a teacher. The teacher asked the student to put away their cell phone and to sit down. The student refused. The teacher then tells the student to leave the class if they were not going to follow instructions. This time, the student not only refused, but commenced with a tirade.

The teacher became frustrated and called the main office to have the student removed. While the teacher waited for someone to come and escort the student out of the classroom, the teacher began telling a story to the entire class about students that shared the same disrespect as the student that was acting out, lives with parents who are unemployed and unproductive members of society. Interestingly, the student stopped in mid-fit and called their mother. “Momma, this teacher said I’m going to be a nobody,” the student said. Now in my mind, the parent would have been the last person the student would have called. However, it wasn’t. The student continued to curse and berate the teacher while at the same time explaining the situation to their mom.

I pondered over this situation for a while before I realized that people without impulse control are marginal in employment options. I have observed many scholastic environments where college professors won’t allow cell phone distractions during their lectures, college campuses won’t allow students to berate instructors (and vice versa), and the armed campus police officers would protect faculty and students by removing a student with force from a class if they're disruptive and refuse to leave.

If the teacher was wrong in their approach, was the student right to have reacted as they did? What was so wrong in asking a student to not use their phone in class and to take a seat? What about the phoned parent, what was her responsibility in the whole act?

After seeing the incident play out, I felt the student was not only out of control, but the parent had no control. This was a classroom full of graduating seniors, and the disruptive student was the teachers’ aid. I was saddened by what I observed, and hoped that this was a rare occurrence. But after talking to several teachers I have found that it is a situation that is most common.

"Adult Adolescent"

by Jerry Burge, February 2016

Many parents experience their teens not moving out after they have finished college, high school or neither. Is it because they have not been socialized to leave their comfortable environment?

Eagles stir up their nest to encourage their fledglings to fly and eventually leave and propagate the species. As long as a creature's comfort is free, there is little incentive to leave. Parental nagging in their minds is business as usual; nagged since childhood about one thing or another, not taking out trash, doing dishes, cleaning a bedroom etc. Without rights of passage in the form of increased responsibility and expectations through parental behavior regularly, a child may not believe that they should ever leave home. A child never leaving may be a comforting idea to some, but the reality can be very debilitating for young adults.

Statistics say that children are staying longer with parents due to economic difficulty. I assert that there is a stigma among youth to financial struggle. Whether in the wild with animals or in a society of people, struggle is a part of life processes that build strength and character, forcing people and animals to evolve; become stronger, build self-confidence and overcome obstacles, and start their own lives.

"Privacy"

by Jerry Burge, November 2015

While in Chicago, I accepted a writing assignment for an advertising agency where I had to attend a few social events and write reviews on the overall experience. At one of the locations, a known celebrity entered with their family and friends. One of my fellow associates was very insistent on the fact that I add the celebrity’s name to my literary piece because they felt it would add more readability, flare and interest. However, I was very reluctant to invade their privacy. I felt angered and sadden by my associate’s point of view, as well as the overall societal norms that overlook the privacy of others.

This is what concerns me about our youth who expose so much of themselves using social media without reservations. I truly believe there are things about our personal lives that should remain personal. How vain and self-absorbed are we if we think someone is really interested in knowing every moment of our lives that’s being tweeted, posted our “squawked”.

Should we not be concerned that some people are bad, dangerous and outright creepy? Parents, please consider teaching your children the value of privacy, and the freedom of anonymity for their own protection.

"New Shooter. Old Problem"

by Jerry Burge, October 2015

While attending an event in Arizona I saw the news flash of a shooter in Oregon. I was eating breakfast in a popular eatery and notice a really pleasant guy and his wife eating large pancakes. The size of the cakes prompted salivation and a friendly discussion. When they left I noticed a large caliber weapon being worn on the man’s hip (it’s legal to openly carry a firearm in Arizona). My first thought was: If not everyone, but if some were armed like this gentleman, would a shooter open fire?

A phenomenon in our country? A plague of cowardice? Targeting unarmed civilians and students? I am not promoting the carrying of firearms by the general populace. Shooters rarely target areas where other armed persons are likely to be in attendance. I guess if they did, it would not be a shooting, but a shoot out, and in a shoot out, the shooter might be the first to get shot.

"To Be College Bound Or Not To Be"

by Jerry Burge, July 2015

Yes, college is a great option! But it’s not necessarily the best option. Why? Because college is not for everyone.

There are many viable competitive paying professions that exist today that do not require a college degree. A truck driver, seamstress, grocery clerk, police officer, firefighter and other civil service employees (just to name a few) are honorable professions that do earn a living wage. We should encourage our youth to achieve in the area in which they excel. There was a time when schools offered trades as an alternative class, and many students who didn’t excel in academics excelled in metal shop, print shop, industrial plastics, woodshop etc. Have students changed. Has our education changed? Or both? What are we to do? Are we loosing and not gaining in comparison to other countries termed by “The Harvard review” as emerging markets? Will Third World countries educational competence one day exceed our own?

I must say that I was quite impressed during my recent visit to eight different countries in Southeast Asia. I observed children on the back of motorcycles with one hand holding onto their parent and the other hand holding onto a book that they were reading. I experienced cultures where education was not free and those that attended were honored to be there. I spoke with teachers who said education was an honor and there was no such thing as a disrespectful student in school. The teachers received a level of respect that would be unheard of in our American public schools.

Recently, I read an article that LAUSD is going to allow students to pass courses that are part of the A-G requirements with a “D” grade. While we may lower our standards, the rest of the world is raising theirs. I have been in meetings where counselors desire the universities to lower their standards to accommodate students who are experiencing life difficulties. Unfortunately, our youth have a sense of entitlement that is perpetuated by many parents and other caregivers that tell students they are great when they are not. Truth is, some students are great, but not all are. Some students are too lazy to commit themselves to the rigors of higher education or don’t have the discipline to endure the process and sacrifice of delayed gratification.

I have witnessed a chilling effect with basic honesty. A student that gets accepted into a college, but doesn’t believe in studying will most likely fail their first year. So, I’m asking you, if all participants, winners and losers get the same trophies, how do we really distinguish true winners?

"Slap Yo Mama Or Get Slapped By Yo Mama"

by Jerry Burge, June 2015

An angry mother receives praise by the police chief and the community for slapping her teenage son in public for throwing rocks at the police during the Baltimore riot. Did the mother by proxy do what the general public wanted done, to punish the rioters and stop their behavior? Did she speak (or slap) for a nation through her actions? Or did her actions present an irresponsible parent, making this a child abuse or corporal punishment issue?

What are parents to do when getting mixed signals from societal norms and established laws surrounding corporal punishment? Is it okay for parents to display tough love and use corporal punishment to cease unruly teens if it fits within the government agenda, but not when it’s on a parental agenda?

Living in a time of duplicity, what are parents to do with a disorderly teen that's not throwing rocks at the police, but at them, a neighbor, another youth, or just acting out? Who then decides what acceptable parental discipline is? According to US polls, “...overall support in America for corporal punishment has decreased significantly during past decades.” (1)

The young male that was slapped by his mother in public never made an attempt to strike back at her- the look of submission and respect never left his face. Was it his submission, and the mothers singled parent “Blackness” that garnered governmental and societal acceptance?

Please keep in mind that race, class and gender always plays a role in law and politics. So what if it had been a White, Mexican, Asian etc. male smacking his child in public for a good reason? Would that have changed the public and governments position?

I personally do not have the answers…. My hope is that this topic sparks a conversation- one that matters affecting our lives and those of our children.

_________________________________________________

(1) Christian Science Monitor 10/19/14

*This video can be seen on YouTube

"Raising Your Child To Fail”

by Jerry Burge, March 2015

Parents, are we indirectly telling our children that it’s okay to fail and have a bad attitude? That life will still bear fruits of financial comfort and reward regardless of personal choices and behavior? We now live in an era of entitlement where most youth and teens don't care about the sacrifices you and others have endured to provide for their current lifestyle. Although disrespectful, irresponsible and lackadaisical behavior still receives great reward. Their failed grades, disobedience and pride obtain infinite incentives.

Throughout my many years of teaching and counseling, I have observed self marginalized students with the latest technology and expensive clothing and wondered why parents condone such behavior. Parents, we have to stop allowing this behavior and start teaching our children about the basic principles of reward and punishment so that they can become better functioning teens and future adults.

As parents, it’s one of our many responsibilities in raising children to help guide them in understanding financial value and delayed gratification. I’m not suggesting parents should raise destitute children. However, expensive cell phones, name brand clothing and other material things are not necessities of life that a parent needs to provide to a child that’s behaving obstinate, unappreciative and having marginal to failing grades.

Parenting is hard work and I encourage you as conscience adults to:

- Actually be the parent and not your child’s friend. It is a necessity that you take authority and parental responsibility when parenting because it’s absolutely impossible to do so when you’re trying to be their friend.

- Be okay with not being “cool” in the eyes of your child because you hold them accountable for their actions, and have them earn whatever it is they want. Children don’t have enough life experiences to properly negotiate and understand life as you do. Some lessons may be hard for them to understand and respect in the beginning, but after time, they will respect you for making them work for what they want.

- Knowing your child respects you is much more satisfying than them thinking you’re cool!

A lesson will take place by being parents now or by a failed friendships later. So, I ask…..are you raising your child to fail or to succeed?

"Has Your Teen Publicly Sexted?"

by Jerry Burge, February 2015

According to the U.S. Department of Health Services, many teens and preteens (aka “tweeners”) are engaging in several different sexual behaviors other than vaginal intercourse. Has oral sex, anal sex, group sex, and sex texting become a part of sexual development among today’s youth?

Technology allows unlimited access to watch and learn anything via uncensored:

- Articles

- Images

- Videos

- Messaging

Smart phones, personal computers and electronic notepads are vehicles of sex texting (aka “sexting”). Per The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy:

1 out of every 5 teens – guys and girls – have sent or received sexually explicit photographs or messages via cell phone or other mobile devise.

40% of teenage girls do it as a joke

34% do it to feel sexy

12% do it because they were pressured.

My advice for parents:

-Talk to your teen about sex. Though it may not be as easy as discussing hygiene, traffic safety,

and being weary of strangers, the talk is much needed.

- Advise your child that once they send a sexual image or text, it becomes public and permanent

(Guerry 2013).

- Set rules and random checks for the use of their smart phones and electronic note pads.

- Be familiar with the type of apps they are downloading and using.

- Continue to be the parental guidance in setting the terms of what is appropriate sexual behavior.

Though the Internet, TV, and social media have a strong influence in shaping our youth’s views

of sexual interaction and understanding, will you allow it to define your child’s sexual practices

or set the standards of what is acceptable and permissive?

I ask...is that your child trafficking in provocative images of minors?

“Is Your Child the Next School Shooter?”

by Jerry Burge, October 2014

Since January 2014, there have been 23 elementary and middle school shootings. Gone are the days when parents could assume that their children are safe at school. Concerned parents grapple with the fear that their child may be the victim of violence, but wise parents must also consider that their child could also be the purveyor of violence. Is it possible that your child will be the next school shooter?

A school shooter may not conform to our antisocial expectations because they are:

1.Honor roll students

2.From two parent homes

3.Residents of affluent communities

4.Not serious behavior problems at school

5.White male

6.Overwhelmed with a sense of entitlement

I define a specific question and answer that needs to be identified and cultivated by parents when dealing with the prevention of this type of school violence.

A. What is your level of communication with your child?

B. There has always been a warning before all documented school shootings.

As a parent you are directly and indirectly responsible for your child's actions, or lack there of. If you are experiencing difficulty connecting with your child, consider the initiative to find someone who they will communicate and share information with. An adult family member, professional mental or social health personnel, neighbor, mentor, teachers, clergy, friends, or young adult who you deem responsible, and is a positive influence based on your understanding, are all options.

As a parent you may feel that you can never do enough, but you can. Sometimes it becomes a must to outsource and find other solutions that will help you to reach beyond your limitations in dealing with your child. Thus, when you feel like you have done all that you can do, seek professional support from Analogy7 or any other licensed professional.

According to research, there has always been a warning, a sign…. I ask… is your child the next school shooter?

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