Kids need involved parents

Published 10:19 pm Tuesday, November 5, 2019

By Nathan Rice

They were both very happy as they discussed how their mother lets them play video games all day. “We’re so lucky,” they said in unison. “Other kids have to do all this other stuff or have their time limited by their parents, but our mom doesn’t mind if we play video games all day.”

I do not doubt that they feel lucky because they can play video games all day after school, but this is not what is best for them. They are too young to realize this, but the fact that they are allowed to play video games all day does not make them lucky. It’s quite the opposite. They, like many children in our country, do not have parents who are actively raising them.

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Our city is full of children who live with a parent or a parental unit but are, in many aspects of their lives, raising themselves. I have noticed in many of the cases I have seen that many of these parents love their children, but they do not put effort into raising them for a variety of reasons.

I hope my words do not sound too harsh, but I feel I must speak up for the kids who do not know how to speak up for themselves. Your kids need you, and they need you to be more than their roommates. They need parents.

Some parents work so much that their children don’t get a chance to spend time with them. I know that the bills must be paid. I also understand that providing financially for children is a parent’s responsibility, but providing for your children is about so much more than making sure the finances are covered. Being there for them physically and emotionally is much more important than the financial aspect. It’s important to work and to bring home a paycheck, but make sure you’re keeping first things first.

Next, I’ve witnessed many children who are neglected due to drugs or alcohol. I know that addiction is a terrible thing and that it can be extremely difficult to conquer, but your children are worth the battle that comes with overcoming these things. “I’ll do anything for my kids,” is a phrase that is often said but not often meant. It may be hard, but your kids need you. There is help available. Do what it takes to overcome these things.

Some parents simply do not have a knowledge of how to raise children. Many of the cases I have witnessed go back generations. Parents who did not have active parents themselves may have never seen how to raise children. Children don’t come with instruction books, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t help available. Civic groups, government organizations, non-profits, and churches all stand ready to help you in your parental journey. There is no shame in asking for some help to learn how to raise kids.

Lastly, I’ve seen laziness play a part in the reason kids are left to raise themselves. It’s easy to let them do their own thing. It takes a lot of work to raise them properly. I understand it can be tiring, and there are times it will frustrate you more than you knew you could be frustrated. It’s not easy, but your kids need you to step up.

Kids don’t need you to be their roommate, and they don’t need you to be another friend. They need you to be their parent.

Nathan Rice is a Hampton Roads native and can be reached at