Where are the parents?

After seeing a gang of children ages 8 to 12 diving off the West Mashta Bridge, I wondered, “Who is raising our children?”

Last Saturday afternoon a group of children, boys and girls alike, repeatedly climbed over the railing and jumped into the waters of Hurricane Harbor. These kids then climbed the seawall over some rocks and jumped back in the bay. Later, encouraged by the cheering mob, two boys climbed the flag poles and dove into shallow waters, clearly not acting in their own best interest and personal safety.

Where were the parents of this group of boys and girls hanging (literally) from the West Mashta Bridge? Do these parents know what their children are up to? A sad commentary to say that this is becoming an all-too-common occurrence of misconduct by children roaming the streets of Key Biscayne. Egging cars, stealing golf cars, vandalizing mailboxes. We have all experienced it. I for one have remained silent, out of frustration. Nothing changes. There is no enforcement. Our local police seem ill prepared to handle mischievous children.

Without the appropriate parental guidance, what happens to these kids? Who is at fault? The children? Our school system for not teaching civics? Our own village community for failing to provide community service opportunities for kids with time on their hands? Perhaps, our public safety procedures for not reaching out to parents to let them know what their kids are up to?

In my opinion, the parents are at fault. There is no substitute for good parenting. In these Covid-times we live in, I invite Key Biscayne parents to spend “real time” with our kids. Now more than ever our children need our support, guidance and rules. Yes, rules! These guardrails help children understand expectations at home and in the community, what we collectively refer to as societal norms. Over time, children develop self-control and will mature enough to successfully navigate life with confidence on their own.

Juan Santaella

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