2000-12-09 / Columnists

Taking Back Our Kids

For those who read The Wave’s Police Blotter, or are aware of the activities of our local youngsters, it is becoming increasingly evident that fighting has become a regular after-school and weekend activity.

There was once a time that kids would be kids...words would be exchanged, punches would be thrown, and that would be the end of it. Not anymore! Now we have groups of kids literally hunting down other kids in our neighborhood, armed with bats, knives and sometimes guns!

This has to stop. Where do we start?

Our local police have youth officers keeping an eye on what’s happening and they’re on top of who the troublemakers are. We recommend that more youth officers patrol our streets on weekends and during the summer, specifically in the evening hours when many of these fights occur.

In actuality, the role of the police is a result of where this problem starts – the home.

It’s time that parents get the message out to their kids that violence is unacceptable. It starts with shutting off the wresting (and the new XFL), monitoring music and internet/e-mail activities, and keeping tabs on who he or she is hanging out with. Communication is key to any positive and healthy relationship.

We have to take back our kids from a society that glorifies violence, sex and irresponsible behavior. As parents it is our responsibility to instill values that will allow our kids to survive in this tough world.

And we have to continue striving to engage our kids in non-violent activities. Rockaway’s lack of family-oriented activities makes it difficult for kids to have a safe place to just hang out and be kids. As parents we need to lobby our elected officials to bring a youth center to our peninsula and get us a movie theatre and a skating rink. We need to encourage our kids to be involved with sports, theater or art groups, bands, etc. Whatever it takes to let their energy, creativity and individuality shine. It is their light that will carry them through the most challenging days ahead.

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