Baby Boomer Parents Asleep at the Wheel

What goes on in universities these days is another sad story, where postmodernism is unopposed and where binge drinking is an every-weekend affair. Some campuses are even more extreme. An article that appeared in The New York Times on March 18, 2000, described what they called "The Naked Dorm" at Wesleyan University, a coed residence hall where clothing is optional. There is a "Naked Hour" when men and women get together to socialize. One student said, "It's the idea of not judging anyone, or respecting one another's beliefs. It does not have sexual overtones." Yeah, right! I'll spare you the other details except that the article claims that these parties at the dorm are among the most popular on campus. I'll bet. The question I would ask, again and again, is this: "Where are the parents who pay the bills for this kind of craziness?" One female student told her dad about the dorm and, "He just laughed."

The Luntz Research organization conducted a poll that addressed the issue of morality. Surprisingly, they found that 80 percent of Americans believe immorality is our greatest problem as a nation. Still, most of them are too busy or too demoralized to take on those who are exploiting their kids. That's how the manipulators manage to get away with murder.

There are still some moms and dads out there, thankfully, who are determined to protect their children. One of them, Michelle Malkin, is pretty burned up about weak-willed parents who tolerate such nonsense. She wrote:

Baby Boom Parents Are Asleep on the Job

"When pigs fly. When hell freezes over. When the cow jumps over the moon. N-O. No, no, no! End of discussion." This is what I'll tell my daughter when she asks me, many years from now, if she can attend a coed sleepover party. All across the country, believe itor not, adolescent boys and girls are romping around in their skivvies together under one roof with their parents' approval.

The Washington Post devoted 1,200 words to this booming teen fad. Anewspaper database search turned up nearly 200 other stories on coed sleepovers. Popular teen shows such as the Warner Brother's network's 7th Heaven have featured boy-girl slumber parties. A recent Abercrombie & Fitch Christmas catalog featured four preteen girls in bed under the covers with an older boy, lewdly waving his boxer shorts in the air.

"It's the newest thing," one 17-year-old boy named "J. D." explained to the Post reporter. The mixed overnight parties "are a variation on group dating," the Post reports, "where teenagers hang out together but often don't pair off. Some parents say the parties became more common a couple of years ago after school administrators in several districts asked hotels to stop providing rooms tostudents after big high school events." To win over his parents, J. D. argued that hosting a coed slumber party is "better than us lying about where we are and renting some sleazy motel room."

Many parents—and I use the term loosely—are buying into this bubblegum logic. "I just feel it's definitely better than going tohotels, and this way you know all the kids who are coming over, you know who they are with," said Edna Breit, a Maryland mom who allows her teen son to invite up to 20 girls and boys to sleep over, bathe in a hot tub, and stay up until dawn watching movies in the family basement.

Breit shared her furtive method of policing her young overnight guests: "You keep the serving bowls for snacks small. That way you have the pretext to go down there and refill." This is pathetic. How is it that we arrived at a point where a grown woman is proud of turning her home into a coed Comfort Inn, where parents must dream up sneaky ways to spy on their own children? When did "better than" judgments replace doing what's best for your children?

Pushover parents who think this is all harmless fun—that we should just chill out, lighten up, and relax—need to wake up. Teenage boys and girls do not belong in adult settings of intimacy. Coed sleepovers send the wrong message to teens too immature tohandle sexually charged situations. It is only the latest sign of a culture that has given up on enforcing traditional roles of authority and on passing down moral sense and wisdom from one generation to the next.

Thanks largely to the radical egalitarian ethos embraced by the Baby Boomers, American notions of discipline have grown softer than the down filling in a teen's sleeping bag. Kay Hymowitz, author of Ready or Not: Why Treating Children As Small Adults Endangers Their Future and Ours, notes that nowadays "adults define themselves as children's allies, trainers, partners, friends, facilitators, colearners, and advocates. Their role is to empower children, advocate for them, boost their self-esteem, respect their rights, and provide them with information with which they can make their own decisions. But is this really what children need?"

My child needs her parents to be parents, not playmates. It is not easy to say no, and mean it, but we are prepared to say it again and again. Untilthen, I will cherish the fleeting days of innocence when a coed slumber party for our daughter means an afternoon nap in the crib with Mr. Wormy, Mr. Whoozit, and her dolly in pink pajamas.

© 2001 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

Thanks, Mrs. Malkin. It is good to know that common sense can still be found among young families. The rest of us must join you in our determination to protect kids. Our first obligation is to heed the warning signs posted at railroad crossings. They tell drivers to Stop, Look, and Listen. That is exactly what we need to do regarding the world in which our children live. We dare not get too busy to monitor their activities. That scrutiny is needed every single day because of the predators lurking near them in the tall grass, especially where young children are concerned.

Book: Bringing Up Boys

By Dr. James Dobson

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