Have you watched American Crime on ABC? The second season just wrapped up and while Season 1 was mostly entertainment for me, Season 2 scared the parenting shit out of me.
Why? Because it dealt with several real-life situations that ANY child and family could go through.
I don’t plan on giving spoilers away, and to be honest, there are no dramatic twists or who dunnit moments. Maybe that is why the show felt so real. It painted the picture that it could happen to anyone who is in the wrong place at the wrong time or let internal struggles get out of control. The show is much more hard-hitting that any family time movie or special from my childhood. There was no happy ending, just real life outcomes.
It scared me because no matter how we see our own kids or how well they turn out, it only takes one moment to change it all. Whether that is lack of judgement, being in the wrong place, taking advantage of a situation or any countless experiences our kids will have.
Basically from early morning to dinner time, they are out there in the world on their own. Yes, there is supervision in place like daycare, school or organized activities, but all those things bring outside variables that we as parents can’t control. That’s scary.
I look at our boys and smile. They are good kids. They seem to have good manners and are genuinely nice boys. But they are both under seven. There is not a lot out there yet to influence or change them.
But what happens when they run into being bullied. Or even being the bully? What will happen? How do we as parents avoid those things? I honestly don’t think we can. I remember being picked on at school. I did not go home and talk about it. Why will our boys be any different. They hardly want to tell us what they had for lunch.
There are so many things kids today have to carry that we did not. Technology has helped our lives in so many ways, but without going through it yet, I am fearful of how technology has made being a teen a mine field of shit.
Your entire world can come crashing down with a text or a photo. I am so thankful I did not have a loaded weapon like a smart phone in high school. Don’t fool yourself, it’s a weapon. It can cause just as much harm as a gun or a knife. That is what I got from American Crime. It’s not just America either. It could be called Canadian Crime or Japanese Crime or any other country or place. It’s all the same stuff.
Boys vs. girls, blacks vs. whites, school vs. parents and on and on.
I am thankful none of that has personally touched my life to this point. It’s out there right now at our schools and jobs. Our kids are much closer to it all than we think and there is little we can do.
We can be there and watch for signs, but our kids have to go through the battles on their own and hope they get out the other side without long-term scars.
Have I said it scares the shit out of me as a parent yet?
We are raising our boys to be independent and understand there are consequences to actions, but I can’t see how it can get them ready for the big stuff.
Drugs, relationships, mental health issues, gender roles, it is out of control. I did not worry about any of that stuff as a kid, and hardly as a teen. Kids under 10 have more information thrown on them now than ever. They can’t digest it. They can’t understand it. But they can reenact it. That’s what is scary.
They see it on TV, they see it during their day, they hear about it during chats they should not be hearing. They can’t determine what is real or not anymore.
Why on earth do kids have mental health issues? Why are they stressed? Why do they carry the weight of the world on their tiny shoulders. It’s not fair.
By the time they even get to high school, they have lived a life. I would be tired. I would be ready to run for my life. I would be ready to get out of it all. That’s just not what I want our kids to go through.
Season 2 of American Crime deals with the following topics and does it very well.
- Families and friends learning about/coping with children being gay
- Violence between Black vs. Hispanic vs. White
- Schools covering up the truth
- Office politics
- Digital media and how they cover stories
- Different degrees of mental health
But what the show does best is it does not over produce or try to wrap it all up. It is hard to watch. It leaves story lines open to let you think. It does not dumb it down for the viewer. It’s real. These are stories that are happening right now.
It makes me want to bubble wrap my kids and fire up the helicopter. I won’t. But man it sure is comforting.
I recall my years as a kid and teen and there were moments I had to fight through and deal with. I did it and it went away. My worry for our kids is, it’s all stored in the cloud now. Every good and bad thing they ever do, it’s archived and accessible for anyone to do what they want with it. I shiver at the thought and it makes me pause every time I write or share a photo that involves our kids. I believe I had found a good balance. But I am also aware of it, which I think helps.
Soon Harry will not want me sharing his face or his adventures and that is totally fine. I mean, as parents, even with good intentions, we are feeding the digital beast. We are laying the groundwork for so many problems that kids will have later on. They don’t upload stuff.
So we will continue to do our best to raise our boys as we see fit. We need to offer them everything they need to chart a course through the toughest years of their lives. Sure, it’s not all tough, I get that. But it seems like the tough parts are what will fester into scarier problems that kids will take on themselves whether they know how to deal or not.
It’s hard out there for parents, but I would argue it’s even harder out there being a kid in 2016. Let’s do what we can to guide, help, understand and grow our kids into happy adults who know how to enjoy the little things in life.
Maybe now is the time I really should be watching this Fuller House show the Internet keeps going on about. I need some unreal family TV stat.
American Crime has two seasons so far and they don’t need to be watched in order. Season 1 was entertaining and easy to wash away. Season 2, like I said, scared the shit out of me as a parent.
Thoughts? Have you seen the show? Are you also scared of what high school will bring?
P.S. Apologies to MR, I did not mean to throw you into full on Panic Room mode.