Have We Lost the Ability To Tell Our Kids ‘No’

June 14, 2016

If you are living anywhere in the US right now, and in particular somewhere in the San Francisco Bay Area then you are no doubt aware of the Brock Turner, Stanford rape case. Much has been reported, debated, and discussed in communities across the Bay Area and no doubt across the country. Seems that everywhere we go, there are people having important and somewhat heated conversations regarding the outcome. If this type of behavior carries such a light sentence, what does this say about the future safety of our kids? What does it also say about the sense of entitlement that afflicts so many of our youth and where did it all go so wrong?

Just today we came across an article in the Washington Post written by Kate Geiselman, titled In Brock Turner’s home town, we’re raising kids who are never told ‘no’.  In the article, the author raises a number of very valid points that are indeed aligned to our way of thinking. The following excerpt sums it up beautifully.

“Communities like this one (Oakwood) have a dark side, though: the conflation of achievement with being “a good kid”; the pressure to succeed; the parents who shrug when the party in their basement gets out of control (or worse yet, when they host it) because “kids are gonna drink”; the tacit understanding that rules don’t necessarily apply. The cops won’t come. The ax won’t fall. Yet now it has.

There is an Oakwood in every city; there’s a Brock Turner in every Oakwood: the “nice,” clean-cut, “happy-go-lucky,” hyper-achieving kid who’s never been told no. There’s nothing he can’t have, do or be, because he is special. Fortunately, most kids like this will march into their predictably bright futures without victimizing anyone along the way. Many will do good in the world.

But it’s not hard to draw a straight line from this little ’burb (or a hundred like it) to that dumpster at Stanford. What does being told no mean to that kid? If the world is his for the taking, isn’t an unconscious woman’s body? When he gets caught, why wouldn’t his first impulse be to run, to make excuses — to blame the Fireball or the girl or the campus drinking culture? That is entitlement. That is unchecked privilege.”