A recent study published in “Pediatrics” entitled “Influence of Motion Picture Rating on Adolescent Response to Movie Smoking,” explained how adolescents are affected by smoking in movies. The findings indicate those teens that watch movies featuring smoking are more likely to try cigarettes. The study goes onto demonstrate what steps can be taken by society to prevent this. But the health conscious study misses the point of raising a child.
The conclusion of the study states: “An R rating for movie smoking could substantially reduce adolescent smoking by eliminating smoking from PG-13 movies.”
It is understandable that adolescents can be influenced by movies. However that does not make it the responsibility of the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) to censor films because of this. Where the study really fails is in its lack of acknowledging the parental role in influencing a child’s behavior.
Unfortunately, what the study does show is an ever-growing trend in America. Parents are passing the responsibility of raising their child onto other people. Ultimately this passing of the torch has little effect.
“I’ve been smoking since I was 17, and it was never a movie that made me want to smoke. I think the reality is, it’s the responsibility of the kid’s family to tell them what the real world is like,” said Sage Bachman of Chicago.
In the Supreme Court case “Pierce v. Society of Sisters,” the Supreme Court ruled “[the]child is not the mere creature of the State. Those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.”
The ruling does not state that it is society’s duty to raise a child.
A couple of years back, a cartoon began circulating the Internet. The cartoon had two captions at the top, one that read “1960” and another that read “2010.” Under the banner of “1960” two parents are holding a child’s report card in his face yelling that his “grades are terrible.” In the panel under “2010” the parents are waving the report card in the face of the teacher yelling the same thing, while the child petulantly sticks his tongue out at the teacher.
By not punishing a child for their poor grades, and rather blaming the teacher, a child never learns a lesson. Their morality and attitude begins to change, and parents lose more control of their children. By blaming the teacher the parents are not confronting their own role in their child’s grades and upbringing.
“Parents are quick to pass the blame of their failures onto other people. I think, especially for me and how I raise my child, that society should play a minimal role,” said a young mother, Melissa Sapp of LaGrange Ill.
Parents are responsible, for their child’s growth in all areas. They are responsible for whether or not their child smokes, does well in school, acts out in a violent manner, or any number of other scenarios. It is safe to say when a parent becomes hands off in the raising of their children they losing their ability to engage their child.
By placing the responsibility with society to shelter their children from these things, parents are never forced to confront the issues with their children. Children are the real losers in this scenario, because they are forced to confront these situations on their own, and never learn from the wisdom of their parents.