Pauline Harte

'Harassed' kids usually need better parenting

Pauline Harte · June 24, 1997

Last week as I was working in my front yard around 7:45 a.m., a low, scraping rumble stubbornly infiltrated the early morning harmony of chirping birds, barking squirrels and snarling mountain lions. I dropped my shovel and squinted into the sun and honed in on the discordant sound.

Skateboards! Ordinarily, I wouldn't have given this sound a second thought. Or even a first, for that matter. This is a very kid-friendly, pet-friendly cul-de-sac, and there are always a few kids frolicking on skateboards, in-line skates, bikes, trikes and Hot Wheels. We all think this is the best darned cul-de-sac in the Santa Clarita Valley, and anyone who doesn't like kids and pets just isn't welcome.

But 7:45 a.m. seemed a bit early for rowdy skateboarders, even if it was the first week of summer vacation on the best darned cul-de-sac in the Santa Clarita Valley. They started jumping their skateboards up and down the curb in front of the house across the street. I recognized a couple of the kids as friends of our neighborhood kids. They are OK kids and never cause any problems.

A doctor lives in the house across the street from me, the house that was now being used as a skateboard park. Doc has kids and wouldn't have minded the skateboarders, but he had arrived home just a short time before the early-morning boarding invasion. He had looked utterly exhausted as he trudged into his house, still in his hospital greens. By now, Doc was probably asleep.

I walked over to the kids and told them that Doc had probably had a rough night and that 7:45 was a bit early for a skateboard jamboree. The kids were nice and agreed that Doc could probably use a good rest. It seemed that a couple of these kids had "very tired moms" who were still sleeping and had ordered their skating scalawags to skedaddle and go play in "someone else's neighborhood." What an innovative idea! One is definitely never too old to learn new parenting techniques. The kids said they would be back when Doc's kids were up. They played with my dog, Star, and then left.

What kind of airhead parent sends kids to play in someone else's neighborhood at the crack of dawn?

That afternoon, I drove into a shopping center and saw these same kids in front of a bank. This time, they were talking to a couple of Sheriff's deputies. They were nice kids, but they didn't belong on the bank parking lot, skateboarding. And their moms and/or dads would probably complain about harassment.

One night last weekend my husband and I were driving home around midnight and saw some very young kids out skating. These kids weren't even teen-agers yet! And if Sheriff's deputies questioned these kids about their unsafe, nocturnal skating habits, parents would probably complain that their little angels were being unfairly harassed.

I never see any adult supervision in parking lots when kids are skateboarding. How can parents defend their children's behavior when they aren't even there? I see kids biking, skating, boarding and walking against red lights all the time! And when Sheriff's deputies detain these suicidal kids, parents complain about harassment.

There are a lot of kids in this valley who have no respect for authority. Since their airhead parents did such a lousy job "raising" them, it is the thankless job of our Sheriff's deputies to show these arrogant kids the error of their ways. Naturally, these parents and kids are going to do a lot of complaining. Rules and limits were never meant for THEM.

My kids grew up with rules and limits, and my husband and I strictly enforced these rules and limits. The word "no" is not an alien sound to them. They were raised by the precept of doing unto others as one would have others do unto you. Sure I'm bragging. We're really proud of our kids. And they have never been harassed by Sheriff's deputies. Unless you would consider a speeding ticket to be harassment. We don't.

How many people wouldn't mind rampaging gangs taking over the Santa Clarita Valley? How many people think that inner cities would be a great place to live? No hands up? I didn't think so.

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