The reason I am writing this am of a story by "T Reginald Gibbons" I read, "Is your son a Hacker?". When I first read through it, I thought "this must be a joke...." but it seems not. Or it might be. I'm just not sure, but regardless I felt the need to write my own story, or my personal view on parenting. He gave his own views, and now I give mine. Enjoy.
First off, I am not a parent. I don't even have a girlfriend (or not yet ;) ) and for that matter, I'm 17. But before u dis-regard me as a teenager whose just here to waste everyone's time I say hear me out, who knows, I might have a point [editor's note, by Peter Johnson] You don't.
I have thought about parenting allot, and I definitely want to have a family some day, and to start off with, T Reginald Gibbons ideas on parenting are complete and utter crap.
My understanding of his opinion of his children is that he thinks of them as objects, which must obey his very word. He quotes;
"I keep a fatherly eye on the CDs they listen to and the shows they watch, the company they keep and the books they read. You could say I'm a model parent"
Model parent? The way that I see it, he takes his children and forces them down the path he likes. I totally disagree with his approach. The whole idea of parenting is to have your children emerge as adults, ready for the world and owning the skills they need to survive. I know this, and I know he does too, I'm not criticizing him on this level, but from what I understood he wants them to be this so badly that he tries to force them into the mould he imagines.
My idea of good parenting is letting your kids find out things for themselves. I'll take CD's here for an example. A while ago I bought an Eminem CD. Everyone knows Eminem now, because of his "controversial raps". I bought it because I liked a few of his songs, and wanted to buy a new CD anyway. I listened to the lyrics, and was amused by them. All the gay hating jokes, racist comments and all that was pretty funny to me, but NOT because I thought gay people suck, home violence is acceptable or that gang warfare was "cool", but because it's rare to hear those sort of things in a mainstream way. A short while after I got bored of the CD and moved on, and haven't listened to it for a long time, at least over a year.
How did that CD affect me? If I said it didn't I'd be lying? In me at least it brought a bit of context to the world for me. It showed me a part of the world that I wouldn't have found out to later otherwise. Had my dad been monitoring my music the way T Reginald Gibbons seems to do, I would never have listened to that CD, or at least not with him around. I am over that CD now with no bad side effects, and there has been no conflict between me and my parents about it, like I feel there would have been had I been banned from listening to it.
An example of the context I mentioned before is when I went into one of the poorer suburbs in Tasmania. I saw poverty there I was not used to, with me living in the nice home I do, and going to my private school. I went there as a community service project, to build a graphiti wall, as my artistic talents have been commented on. While there I saw what poverty is really like first hand. When I saw this it provided some perspective on how things can get if they are let. I am so grateful that I found out this for myself. My dad has told me that if I don't do well and slack off, that's what I could end up like. But I never really took him seriously. Seeing it first hand helped me gain perspective on what things can really be like. However, had I not seen it for myself on my own terms, I might not have taken it as seriously as I had. The same as listening to the CD, I decided for myself what the truth was, and believed it, rather than being told what's what/
Here is another Quote;
As a child enters the electronic world of hacking, he may become disaffected with the real world. He may lose the ability to control his actions, or judge the rightness or wrongness of a course of behaviour. This will manifest itself soonest in the way he treats others. Those whom he disagrees with will be met with scorn, bitterness, and even foul language. He may utter threats of violence of a real or electronic nature.
Even when confronted, your son will probably find it difficult to talk about this problem to you. He will probably claim that there is no problem, and that you are imagining things. He may tell you that it is you who has the problem, and you should "back off" and "stop smothering him." Do not allow yourself to be deceived. You are the only chance your son has, even if he doesn't understand the situation he is in. Keep trying to get through to him, no matter how much he retreats into himself.
From my point of view, the reason his son may be unwilling to talk to him is because he doesn't trust him. Trust is 2-way. He trusts his children to be good, but do his children trust him? One reason that his son doesn't want to talk is that he fears retribution that his father may not "approve" of what he does or says, and would rather avoid the conflict that will probably arise. Ask yourself this; what would you do if you found out your son/daughter has gotten completely drunk at the party last night and passed out on someone's bed? Would you get angry and ban her from ever going to a party again? If so, does your son/daughter know this? Most likely. Why tell you what they did last night if it's going to have such a bad outcome? And is he retreating into himself or away from you?
We teenagers have more than enough conflict already. School, teachers, friends, homework, it all adds up. What makes a happy teenager is having a safe place, where they can talk about anything and ask for help on anything. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to tell your parents about what happened last night without getting grounded? To have that level of trust? And to know that they have probably been in that situation before, and to know what's best?
I realise, it's not easy to be in charge of another person, and to be responsible for shaping a human being, but remember this.... You are their parent, not their god. U can chastise them for their actions, but are you sure it's really going to change anything? People are more likely to listen to people they trust and respect. Think about it
In conclusion, let your children explore life for themselves. Don't tell them what's right and wrong, but let them see the situation and decide what's right for them. Let them experience the bad, as well as the good. When learning to drive I was told that a day when everyone cuts you off, and everything goes wrong is much better for you because that's when you learn the most, and know what driving is really like at it`s worst. Don't tell your kids it's bad, but let them decide that it is. And let your kids be comfortable with you don't berate them for their mistakes, but help them through them once they see what the mistake was. And don't ever think you're more important than them, because that's when you fail.
And on a last note, http://www.toothpastealien.com/main/misc/stupid/hackakid/truenote/index.htm is the URL of a person who has done something similar to me, except he focused more on the mis-informed hacking side of the story. He raises some points though that I believe that are very valid.
Cheers for reading this, and my apologies to T Reginald Gibbons. If you read this then I would really appreciate your comments on this work, should you read this. It's not meant as an attack on your parenting, but more as another option. Anyone who wants to comment directly to me at Tigrah_Wolfe@Hotmail.com. Thankyou
[editor's note, by Peter Johnson]
Subject : Your Adequacy Submission
While we at Adequacy.org appreciate your candor, we have long been
aware of the unpopularity of "Is Your Son A Computer Hacker" in the 17
year old male virgin demographic. I mean of course you don't have a
girlfriend, how could you?
We have decided that your article does not meet our standards and will be
publishing it in our "Hall Of Shame" section.
Senior Editor, Adequacy.org
More God Than Man