January 15, 2014
Too many kids are having kids
From my view point as a Judge with a front row seat to the story of so many people’s lives, I’ve come to the conclusion that our youth are over sexed, undereducated and having children too soon! The writing is on the wall, it's no longer a family secret. Kids are having children at an increasing rate and I find it alarming and a cause for concern.
Within the last two weeks my court has encountered young adults, ages 18 to 23, with families consisting of 1, 2 even 5 children. It's truly the scenario of kids having kids. Don’t get me wrong, having children is a blessing and the children are the future, but if the parents are not prepared to nurture and develop their children, instead of creating the next generation of leaders we are rearing the next generation of criminals and juvenile delinquents.
A Case of arrested development.
The epidemic of children having children is alarming because I see it as an example of a larger problem, young people who are arresting their futures. An arrested future means they are putting restrictions or challenges in the way of their possibilities. Admittedly, there are some young people who beat the odds and show themselves to be good parents. Some young parents even go on to complete college, get good jobs and make a difference in the world. However, those stories are not the normal outcome. The normal outcome is one of struggle, bad relationships, heart ache and heart break.
Most young people are not ready for the responsibility of parenthood. Many lack the knowledge, support system or reasoning ability necessary to parent properly. An example of this occurred when my bailiff and I were at Wendy's and decided to engage the young lady who took our order in a conversation. She expressed how happy she was that Christmas was over and how she had to work overtime to get “all the gifts” her child wanted. I asked the young lady, “how old is your child?” She replied that her child was two years old. So, a young mother decided to work extra hours in order to spend money to get “all the gifts” that her child wanted. I didn't want to embarrass the girl but I wondered if anyone ever advised her that a two year old doesn't require much for Christmas. I wondered if she had the same zealous approach to saving for her child’s future or ensuring the child's environment is nurturing?
Who’s Responsible? The first obvious place to put the responsibility is on the parents of our youth. It’s amazing to me when I see Facebook posts celebrating the birth of a grandchild to a barely grown couple. I agree that once the child is here the only response is happiness, but where was that parent when the young adult was out having sex? Parents are asleep at the wheel. Parents are letting their children have the opposite sex spend the night at their houses, treating every boyfriend and girlfriend as if that person is married to their child, even supporting and encouraging young couples to live together. To stop this downward spiral we must work together. Parents must set appropriate standards. The schools must make sure there is no sexual behavior in the halls and all other adults have to be an example of proper conduct. My hope is to see fewer cases where young couples with children are involved in some type of arguing, fighting or domestic violence. I know that we can lead them in the right direction. Let’s stop allowing kids to raise kids. Let’s get involved or else we will be raising the next generation of criminals.
For more discussion on this subject or others, join Judge Dawson’s Cycle Breaker/Finish First program on Monday nights at 5:30pm at the East Cleveland Municipal Court. East Cleveland Municipal Court’s Judge William L. Dawson is on a mission to help people to Finish First, live their best lives and be Cycle Breakers!
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