I wish I could say these trials belong to someone else.
I wish I could say these parenting challenges are urban issues. I’d like to point to out-of-touch rural communities and say, Look, these are the folks who aren’t raising adults. I wish these were the challenges of single mothers, people of color, the poor. It would give me great satisfaction to say these difficulties afflict only the wealthy. But it’s not true. We’re all in the same boat.
The problems long associated with our economic underclass—urban, small town, and rural—are, and have long been, present among wealthy city-dwellers and in well-off suburbs. As early as 1981, someone called it affluenza—meaning, an upscaling, to one degree or another, of the toxic behaviors we’ve traditionally attributed to troubled kids growing up poor.
Meth? Are you kidding me? Do I look like a hillbilly? I get Adderall from a friend who has a doctor’s prescription.
In such equations, vodka cocktails > malt liquors; burgling middle class homes for unsecured hunting rifles and handguns > than robbing convenience stores; and so it goes…. The details are different, the trouble is the same (unless, of course, you factor in that poorer, browner-skinned, kids are still more likely to do prison time for similar offenses).
And so we’re sad, a lot of us. We hate to see kids get off on the wrong foot. They are, after all, our children, one way or another.
The question is, What are we doing about it?