As a society, are we teaching our children that "the rules" don't apply to them?


I had a really interesting conversation with a friend of mine last night. It really has me thinking.

We were talking about what is going wrong in our society, like why bullying is such a problem, and drug addiction, slacker-type behavior, etc.

My friend said that she thinks a lot of parents are teaching their kids by example that "the rules" don't apply to us, and by extension, to them.

Some examples she gave varied from small little things to major things. Like:

  1. In sports, parents sideline bad behavior. Heckling refs, fighting with coaches. The kids know it's not allowed, but parents do it anyway. Lesson: You don't have to respect the authority of the coaches/refs.

  2. Police: When a parent gets a traffic ticket and complains and moans about the jerk of a cop who gave the ticket, regardless of the fact that the driver was, in fact, speeding. Lesson: When I break the law, I shouldn't be punished.

  3. Church: When the parents of First Communicants are told "No photos" during Mass. There's always at least one person who flaunts the rule. Lesson: I don't have to obey the rules told to me by the priest.

  4. At school: The child gets in trouble and the parent runs down to complain to the principal. It doesn't matter that the child may have done wrong. The parent wants the punishment lifted.

  5. Another school example: Dress code: For example, sneakers aren't allowed. The parent thinks it's a dumb rule, so sends the child in sneakers anyway. Lesson: The rule doesn't apply to me.

  6. Another school example: iPods aren't allowed in school. Parent tells child to hide it in their backpack. Lesson: THe rule doesn't apply to me.

I could go on, and all of these are real examples I know of personally. Should we be surprised that our kids don't follow the rules as teens and adults?

I'd love to hear your thought on this.....


Oh one thing that is my pet peeve...lying about a child's age to get the lower price for admission.

I see your point.


Oh these types of things get me so upset! :mad:
I agree totally with what you’re saying! I’m a huge advocate for teaching personal responsibility!


At my children's parochial school, there has been a HUGE problem with kids drinking. The incidents are off campus. They are at homes where the parents are either allowing the behavior or turning the other cheek. It is ridiculous. Several times police were called and kids picked up. When the school received the names of the students (which can be released for ages 16 and up), they are kicked off of sports teams. EVERY TIME the parents come in and complain that the school is being too harsh!!! What in the world?!?!?

Same with kids who bully or do other things...when the admin. steps up and disciplines, the parents complain and try and get the principal in trouble.

Finally, my friend went out with her daughter and a group of cheerleaders, football players and parents after a game. On the parent deck, there was beer. I boy came up to get a beer and not ONE parent said a word!! My friend finally did and took the beer from him. Unbelievable.

Thankfully, these kids are parents are in the minority. Most parents support the mission of the church and school...most. Sigh.

Yet and still, there are plenty of parents who help kids break the rules, encourage them to do so or at least fail to do anything about it when they break the rules...anything but complaining the the RULES are wrong.



I don’t think it has to do with just parents. It has to do with common sense. I don’t care what the parent is doing, if the kid has common sense they should know better. If I saw my parents make a bad choice, I wouldn’t do it because I’m not an idiot. The parents are not the only one raising the kids. Its just society in general. And society gets worse and worse it seems, but those with common sense can stand against the regular ‘norm’ who think its a good idea to do immature/dumb things.


I wholeheartedly agree! Its one of the reasons we pulled DD out of our former parish school. The true people that were at fault, were never held accountable for their actions. Too many excuses, not enough actual discipline because they didn’t want to “offend” or “hurt” the feelings of the bullies and their parents. Same with the dress code or other rules a certain few students routinely abused. In the meantime, there we were trying to teach our daughter that if you do the crime, you pay the time. When you make a mistake, you take responsibility. The rules are in place for a reason and you are not so special that they don’t apply to you. Felt like I was constantly hitting my head against the wall and the school was routinely undermining the lessons we were trying to teach our daughter.


Blue... I get what you're saying. But I'm not SURE common sense is written into our DNA.

I know some really smart people, but who also just seriously lack in common sense. And if you stand back and look at their upbringing, you can see how they are missing it.

I think part of the problem is that we as a society we do teach our children that certain rules aren't for them. I think we also protect our children SOOOOO much. We refuse to allow them to make decisions. You can't magically start making good decisions at some pre determined age. You actually have to learn how from a young age. AND, those decisions must have consequences (hence the issue with allowed rule breaking) if they are bad. But parents often don't allow decisions. They FORCE their child to eat (so they never learn their own hunger, they tend to over eat later) They FORCE them to take a coat when it's only 68 degrees out. No one is going to lose a finger for being cold in 68 degrees. But someone is going to learn to grab their coat and not throw a temper tantrum and get wrestled to the floor to put one on if they are allowed to CHOOSE to be cold for the day.

Re the example of kids drinking and getting kicked off the team. The parents think the school is being harsh because their UNDER AGED children where ILLEGALLY drinking, and they think getting kicked off the team is harsh? How about going to juvy, and not even getting the chance to play? How about one of those teens choosing to drive, and killing their friends, and small family. This happened in my high school. 5 lives lost in one night. THAT's Harsh...

Example: I had my inlaws here this last weekend. They aren't relegious, and they won't go to church with us. My boys were bummed to leave them behind. One in particular started announcing he hated Sunday School. And he wasn't going, OR getting dressed. Oh good Lord. I kind of felt my FIL feel proud of this particular defiance. But I'm also a bit touchy here... so I say nothing.

I grabbed my child's church clothes. Pants, shirt, socks, and shoes. And walked to the car. DH walked him to the car in his underwear. Oh he was shouting the whole way to the car. He didn't want to go to Church, and Sunday school... and therefore, he figured if he didn't get dressed, he didn't have to go... UH... NO WAY... you're going. YOU CAN CHOOSE whether or not to go with clothes on. Needless to say, we got 2 blocks from the house when he finally got quiet and asked for his clothes. I told him I'd pull over, IF he easily got dressed. If he fought me he'd go in naked. (THANK GOD, he asked for his clothes.)

Rules... YES! Consequences! Allow them to make decisions! YES!!!!!


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