Selfless v. Selfish Parents

I never knew how selfless parents are until I became pregnant and life was no longer about me. I also didn’t know how selfish parents could be until I became an educator. I have first hand experience from both sides of the spectrum, and I must say one side is worse than the other and is the side I see most often. Let’s start with selfless.

Selfless Parents

Growing up, my mom sacrificed a lot for my brother and I. She was always working and rarely ever home. It was always a babysitter or my grandmother taking care of us. As a young child, it didn’t make sense to me why she was always gone and why we could never go anywhere. She was a single mother for a long time. As I got older, I began to understand why she did what she did. Despite working all the time, she still made sure we stayed on top of our education, I went to tutorials, she helped with homework, she came to events we had, she was and still is a supportive parent. She’s superwoman. She’s a selfless person when it comes to my brother and I, and now that I have a little person on the way, I had to let go of my selfish ways because life will no longer be about me.

As an educator, I see selfless parents all the time. I see parents who get off the train to pick their child up from school or tutorials. Parents who will bend over backwards to make sure that their child is good and wants for nothing. I see parents who work nights and yet are still invested in their child’s education and extracurricular activities. Mainly, I see single mothers doing this through all races. Women who have nothing and clean houses or toilets for a living but when you see their child, you would never know. As an educator, I have the utmost respect for these women. I appreciate these parents because I can see that despite their circumstances, they make sure their child is getting an education, has clean clothes, food on the table, a roof over their head, and have a chance at life.

Being a parent, you can’t be selfish because you have little people depending on you. Little versions of yourself and without you taking care of them, they have no chance at life. Children cannot fend for themselves and shouldn’t have to (I’ll go into detail about that in a minute). By working hard and providing for your child’s wants and needs shows them that they are loved and what to do when they get older and have children of their own. You’re setting the standard for them to know that they may not have that dream job they’ve always wanted, but sometimes you have to make sacrifices and do what you have to do in order to take care of your family.

Selfish Parents

These types of parents I see all of the time and not just at school. You can walk in a store and see selfish parents: kids with no shoes on, their hair is matted, the mother or father is dressed to the nines, the parents are dressed in bed clothes and children have on clothes 3 sizes too small. You can look on the street and see the bad choices that some parents have made and again, I’m speaking of single mothers. I hate how single mothers get this bad rep because of how many of them carry themselves. But that’s neither here nor there.

I’ve been in education for five years and in those five years I’ve seen all kinds of selfish parents. Parents who spend every school year in prison and tell you on the first day of school that they’ve gone to jail every year since their child has been in school; parents who don’t value their child’s education; parents who rely solely on you to educate their child because they don’t have the time, money or resources, nor are willing to help their child at home; parents who won’t come in for parent-teacher  conferences to discuss their child’s academic needs because they have to work and don’t want to take off; parents who won’t let their child stay for tutorials when this student has a label and is performing more than one grade level lower than where they are; parents who don’t take the magnitude of their child’s behavior and academic failures seriously; parents who have made poor choices that are now causing their child damage mentally, physically, and emotionally; and parents who just plain don’t give a damn. I could go on and on about this but then we would be here forever.

I see parents who continuously have children and can’t take care of them because they are too wrapped up in their poor choices and don’t want to to give them up to take care of their responsibility. If you didn’t want to have children then you should’ve taken the proper measures to prevent it from happening. I always hear people say that they didn’t get their life together until they had children. Then there’s the opposite, but how can you have a child and think that what you were doing before is still okay? How in a person’s mind do they think that continuing to binge drink and take drugs while carrying a child is okay? Even continuing to do it after the child is born, not being coherent enough to even acknowledge that your child is still reeling from the lasting effects of your insufferable decisions.

Then you have parents who don’t do drugs or drink, but love to party, stay out all night, bring different people around their child, abuse their child because of generational ties, lack education and get upset when their child wants help to better their education so they don’t end up like their parents, evoke jealousy on their child because their child is not like them and even may be better than them, so they sabotage this child’s livelihood. I really don’t understand how having a child can not make a person want to change.

The worst part of selfish parents that I’ve seen is children who have to fend for themselves. Young children are left with their older siblings who aren’t even 13 yet and this child is expected to cook, clean, bathe, wash, and make sure their siblings get to school. As a parent, how can you put all of your responsibility on your child, not giving them a chance to even be a child? Too many children are having to be adults before they even hit puberty, then people wonder why they have adult behavior and characteristics. It’s like the child is being punished because you don’t want to do what you’re supposed to do. I’ve worked with high school students who wanted to go to colleges far way from their families because of what they had to endure. Then I had high school students who couldn’t go far to college because they still needed to work and provide for their grown ass parents and younger siblings. How is that fair? This child can’t even enjoy the college experience because they have to help with their family that they didn’t ask to  be born into.  I see why some people as they get older, never return home to visit their families. Is that the example you want to set for your child?

If you grew up below the poverty line, in section 8 housing, with no car, lights turned off half the time, and barely any food, wouldn’t you want to change your life for when you have children? What would make you continue the cycle?

Let’s Do Better

You have parents out here who feel like they aren’t doing enough for their children and in reality, their child doesn’t know what is too much and what isn’t. All they know is that they are living a good life and they are happy, and that’s really all you can hope for. From one parent to another, let’s vow to do better and help other parents to do better when we see that they need help and guidance, especially our single, black mothers.

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