The secret of proper parenting

The little voice that says “you could have done better; you could have worked harder” is the curse of the veteran parent. There’s quite an industry out there to make you feel guilty that you didn’t adopt all of the latest trends, that there are perfect children out there and none of them has your last name.

This week has supplied plenty of opportunities to wallow in parental guilt. There was the 60 Minutes piece on redshirting kindergarteners to give them a leg up on their competition. On Daily Circuit on Monday, we endured Pamela Druckerman, who wrote a book on why French kids seem to behave better and throw fewer tantrums, and how French mothers are able to maintain their pre-children life after having children.

That page was the “most shared” page on the MPR website yesterday, which means a lot of parents got a bucketload of “you should’ve been more like the French” in their inbox.

Today’s news provides the antidote in the “at least I’m not them” category.

It’s the sad story of a 9-year-old boy in Washington state who found a gun at home, brought it to school, and accidentally shot an 8 year old girl.

He was sentenced yesterday to 12 months of probation, and ordered to undergo 48 hours of counseling and write a letter of apology to Amina Kocer-Bowman, who remains in serious condition at a Seattle hospital. More serious charges were dropped. The lad was also expelled from school for a year.

It was a picture in the Seattle Times this morning that caught my attention. The boy was being escorted out of the courtroom by his uncle, who is his guardian. No parents were in the courtroom. Why not?

The parents relinquished custody of their three kids several years ago. They were adopted by their grandmother, but she died of pancreatic cancer in 2010, so their uncle took on the role of parent.

Then there’s this part of the story, from CBS News today:


The case has put the boy’s family under the scrutiny of authorities, who on Monday issued arrest warrants for his mother, Jamie Lee Passmore, and her boyfriend, Douglas L. Bauer. Police allege that the couple left several guns unsecured in their home, allowing the boy to gain access to the .45 caliber gun that he brought to school.

Passmore, who is a felon, is not allowed to own firearms, although investigators found guns in her home on the day of the school shooting. Bremerton police Lt. Peter Fisher said the warrant for Passmore lists two second-degree counts of unlawful possession of a firearm. Bauer is wanted for a second-degree count of unlawful possession of a firearm.

The couple is reportedly on vacation in Las Vegas for a NASCAR event, said the boy’s attorney, Eric John Makus. Fisher said police were “confident” that the couple will return later this month.

Some kids are doomed by the biology of their birth.

The secret of proper parenting? Just do the best you can and try to ignore the people who tell you you’re not doing it right.

Please forward this to the French.