Nutter's words on bad parenting are absolutely correct

Posted: January 17, 2012

MAYOR Nutter stunned many in comments he made about last Tuesday night's shooting that left three teenagers dead. After criticizing the shooter and calling him "a dog," the mayor had harsh words for Philadelphia parents, telling them not to be "idiots and a-------."

Many were outraged that the mayor took a thinly veiled shot at the parents of the three dead teens, questioning why those kids were out of the house at night looking for a fight. Some called into my show, wondering how the mayor could criticize grief-stricken parents and say, in so many words, that they were responsible for the actions that caused the deaths of these three teens.

It's because it's true, and Nutter's tough words were totally appropriate.

It's time to call out bad parents everywhere.

Because of your negligence, you raise kids who are bullies and thugs. Your kids are cancers in our schools (that is, if they even bother to show up). Foulmouthed, disrespectful and dangerous, they hijack our classrooms and prevent good kids from learning.

I taught in some pretty challenging schools, and any teacher will tell you: Behind every bad kid is a bad parent. Teachers cannot be educators when they have to spend so much of their time being classroom cops trying to control your brats and punks.

That's why we're calling out unfit parents. The kids you have so poorly raised are a threat to other kids and the community. It's time to stop with the denial. Because of your negligence, the blame is placed at your feet. Kids don't just "go bad"; it's because parents are unwilling or unable to put the time in to raise a kid right and keep him or her on a positive path.

Whenever I see a kid charged with a serious crime, I don't know whether to scream or laugh when I see the family defend him in the media as "a good boy." The same absurdity is at play when the defense attorney refers to him as "the young man." They try to make it all sound so civilized and make us question why we are even wasting our time charging these fine upstanding citizens.

But it's anything but civil. Behind every kid that goes bad is a lot of bad parenting. Instead of asking why a child went bad, you parents need to look in the mirror and see if you have the answers to these basic questions:

Do you know who your kid's friends are? Have you sized them up, really up close, to make sure that they will not be a bad influence? Have you met the parents of these friends?

Do you know where your kids are at all times? Do you set and enforce curfews?

Is education a priority? Do you make sure that they go to school, study and get good grades? Are you helping them with their studies and making sure that they do their homework? Are you talking with and working with your kid's teachers?

Are you teaching your child about values and responsibilities? And, most importantly: Do you have firm rules and enforce them every single day?

Yes, it's tough. But parenting is not a part-time job, and it isn't the responsibility of your child's school and teachers. It's a 24/7 responsibility of the parent. Unfortunately, there are toxic parents who just don't get it. They commit parental malpractice daily. They are turning out screwed-up kids who are doomed to travel a road where the potential for bad far outweighs the potential for good.

Nutter's tough words were totally appropriate and needed to be said. The solution, in my opinion, should be based on "the broken- window theory." If a community lets smaller things go on unchecked, such as a broken window or graffiti, it ends up inviting more serious crime and trouble. If you allow basic parental neglect, the problems will escalate and explode.

When kids are raised by toxic parents, the odds of those kids overcoming the parental incompetence and indifference are stacked against them. While it is nearly impossible to legislate against bad parenting, there should be incentives to encourage parents to learn better child-raising skills.

But there must also be stronger consequences. We can start with stronger and consistent enforcement of current laws against negligence and utter neglect. Last year, the city was gripped by the flash-mob reign of terror. But I don't think that too many of the parents of the flash-mob kids got penalized for not controlling their kids. When bad parents see other parents paying the price for their child's harmful and destructive actions, maybe it will send a message.

It's time for bad parents to stop being in denial, blaming others or not doing anything at all. When you ignore the basic responsibility of raising your kids and caring for them, shootings like last Tuesday's are inevitable. It's not a tragedy - it's an equation.

Teacher-turned-talk show host Dom Giordano is heard on WPHT (1210-AM) Radio weekdays 9a.m. to 12 noon. Contact Dom at

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