I had intended to write my 80 millionth story on Iran. As per usual, I was searching out a number of articles having to do with the latest collective Middle Eastern anxiety attack when, as I was searching the Drudge Report, I came across the following headline.

BACKYARD VIDEO SHOWS PARENTS HOLDING KID BRAWL [**GRAPHIC LANGUAGE]…

Mind you, right underneath that there was a link titled “Man Admits Burning Girlfriend’s Kittens to Death…” but I figured I should research one insane topic at a time.

I clicked the first above link and found the following article.

Disturbing video of kids fighting on MySpace

St. Petersburg, Florida – The video is hard to watch and it’s littered with profanity and racial slurs.

For nearly two minutes, adults, possibly even parents, cheer on two young boys to duke it out.

It was posted on the popular website, MySpace.com by a teen claiming to be from St. Petersburg.

Trenia Byrd Cox, President of the St. Petersburg chapter of the NAACP calls the clip shocking and disturbing. Titled “Jr. Ghetto Street Fights,” the clip has gotten more than 8,000 hits. It’s listed as a comedy, but Cox sees it as anything but laughable.

The clip appears to be gone now. I checked Drudge around 11:30PM and after following the trail that led back to the MySpace video section, a search of the title, “Jr. Ghetto Street Fights,” is gone leaving nothing but a few scenes from the alleged video.

Assuming the reporter over at the Tampabays10.com got this right and someone indeed captured adults cheering on a pair of elementary school age children beating the tar out of one another, there are number of issues to look at here.

First, as a mandated reporter and a social worker, frankly I’m mortified. Though I deal with parents and grandparents that routinely get their kids hooked on everything from pot to crack and heroin, I never ceased to amazed and horrified by such abject abuse and neglectful dysfunction as presented in the above story. You have to wonder just where and when society went astray that it would produce parents who encourage their children to act like craven animals and are even entertained by it.

When I was in junior high school, I practically had to sneak out of the house to fight one of peers at the nearest park. When my dad found out what I was attempting to do, he not only forbade from leaving the house that afternoon, he called the boys father. As embarrassing as that was for me (and we never did have that fight) it did show a sense of concern my father had for me as a parent. Right there he imposed a value judgment that hold to this day; fighting is wrong and one should learn to seek out another way of resolving ones conflict. If fighting can be avoided, it should be. His reasoning appeared at the time to be that if whatever problem could wait for me to come home from school, drop my books off and then head up to the park, it must not have such a pressing issue to begin with. He certainly didn’t drive me there himself while hooting, “Kick his ass Yo or you is a bitch!”

This is essentially the divide I’ve notice in today’s family society. On the one hand, you have parents invested in their children, and therefore said parents are around to instill values and perspective when their children make the mistakes that all children are bound to make. Then you have the profoundly damaged people out there who unfortunately have their own children, whom they are not invested in and therefore profoundly damage them, continuing the cycle of abuse and devolution. And though this particular story centers on black folks, you can be assured that damaged psyches are expansive and racially non-particular.

I believe that horrible and abusive parenting begins with selfishness. The rule is that you put off your own needs for the sake and safety of your children until they are old enough to fend for themselves. When this happens you can start to focus on yourself again. Somewhere along the line, I would say the 60’s but probably even before that, the belief that your own self was more important than any other being on the planet became the philosophy du jour and average adults shirked their collective responsibilities in favor of regression and an inflated sense of self-importance. In their own imitable fashion, an entire generation of people reverted to a childlike state and acted out that way with gusto.

Add to this mix a concerted effort to disarm and disenfranchise many generations of fathers with means tested welfare (among other well intentioned but ultimately flawed programs) and you begin to see the formation of the world we are living in now.

Narcissism rules the day. Narcissistic people do not view children as cherished beings to be molded into productive adults but rather little extensions of their own flawed egos. This is why you see so much sexualization of children from the lessons they are taught in schools to parents buying their daughters the latest prosti-tot fashion. Frankly, if it were up to me, I’d be demanding Child Protective Services interventions for any mother who bought their elementary school age daughter sweats that read “juicy” on the butt.

A friend of mine brought her 6-year-old boy over to the house last week because we were headed to local Catholic fair. Her son was wearing a T-shirt that read, “Homework is My Enemy.” I spent the rest of the night gently making fun of her because of this and her defense was that it was Friday and thus, since it is a weekend, homework is in fact the enemy. I tried to remind her that in his formative years she should be affirming the importance of homework, not adding to what I’m sure is his concerned opinion that homework anytime really sucks. This was a clear case of a parent imposing her sense of humor, tongue-in-cheek as it was on her little extension of herself.

My friend is not a bad parent per se. She’s not on drugs, she doesn’t expose to bad people and she makes him breakfast every morning. The issue is that she lives in a world where family values and common sense have collapsed across the United States (I’m not going to get into the rest of the world). Liberalism to the nth degree breeds this sort of moral relativity and lack of self-restraint. In my friends case it was a rather innocuous joke but in the above story, two children were irreparably damaged, probably for the better part of their lives. These two will more than likely go on to hurt many other people before they meet their maker. When you take the long view of how family values have collapsed, you can plainly see that it isn’t that far of jump from “juicy” on the butt or Jr. Ghetto Street Fights, to any number of serious child abuse and drug related offenses.

Parenting is not a laughing matter nor is it something that should be blown off in favor of debating “more serious” issues. If people would get some perspective and stop being as selfish as they are wont to be, any number of ancillary issues could be solved rather speedily. As I’ve said in previous columns, we don’t need “No Child Left Behind,” or the vast array of education and social service related programs. What we need is simply solid two-parent family homes. If said parents treated their children in a manner that lent itself to respectability instead of trying to create “Mini Me’s” you wouldn’t have half of the society issues that plague us today. Better yet, much like being a recovering alcoholic or drug addict, if you deign to be a parent, try taking care of plant for one year. The following year take care of a pet. If by the end of two years both the pet and the plant are still alive then you can become a parent.

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