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Do you know where your children are?

M. Kate West
Chester Editor
6/29/2011

“It’s 10 p.m., do you know where your children are?” was the question asked on nightly television, usually about the time of the evening of curfews, which based by county or city ordinance, was either 10 or 11 p.m.

It was a national message, a very well-recognized public service announcement that played daily on the ABC television network from the 1960s through the 1980s.

And, as this is a personal opinion piece, I’m going to jump right out there and say it was a damn fine question that still holds tremendous relevance today.

This question has been on my mind a lot lately, primarily because of the rash of teen burglaries and vandalism that has occurred in the community of Chester.

Chances are that if those kids had been home by curfew there would have been a whole lot less heartbreak and inconvenience for the youth, their families and the local business community.

While the happenstance was tragic, the basic message is still very sound for a number of reasons including just ensuring that each child receives the rest necessary for healthy development and making good decisions.

I don’t know about the rest of the world but when I’m overly tired I’m not as good at many things as I could be. I’m slower to complete tasks, more easily distracted and my overall judgment and mood are poorer; all things that don’t spell success for that particular day.

I would think that would go for people of all ages, including those that are younger and more resilient.

Teens are tough. I’ve had a few myself so I do understand that sometimes, in spite of the best efforts of parents, what happens with and around a child is going to happen. Control is not always within your grasp, no matter how you grapple for it.

In other circumstances, there are those teens that place a high enough value on the privilege of their social life that they tend to, for the most part, follow the rules.

Contrary to the stance some folks would take, being a good parent does not mean that a child will never be in trouble.

My issue, as it relates to the original question posed, would be with parents who either don’t bother to ask or don’t see the need to set and enforce boundaries.

Even though I said earlier that the question has been on my mind a lot of late, I didn’t mean to imply that this was the first time I’ve repeated the question to myself since those early days.

It tends to pop into my brain under a number of circumstances, like when I see way too many very young girls pushing baby strollers or I hear about parties in our local woods or, in this circumstance, that the community vandalism likely happened between 1 and 3 a.m.

Unless it is an emergent circumstance, I just can’t see a reason for any youth to be out of bed and away from home in the middle of the night.

But then as my son would say, “You’re old-school.”

So, do I think that way because I’m old-school or do I think that way because that’s what is right?

Or, is that another topic for another My Turn on another day?


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