It’s Friday. Invites have been sent out all over the city thanks to Facebook. It’s PARTY TIME!! Young men don their Jersey Shore Blowouts, Levis, colorful button downs, and pullover sweaters and young ladies with not much on at all, but mini-mini skirts, mini-mini shorts and platform shoes have no idea what is about to happen. It is curfew sweep night. A local elementary school has been transformed into a police station. At least in here in San Diego, the youth who are booked, background checked, property is checked in, and parents are called.
Youth who are first time offenders are offered diversion in lieu of going to court and paying fines. The parents arrive to pick up their children and most are devastated when they see their daughters. A tear rolls down a father’s face as his daughter approaches the table with her stomach showing and a skirt four inches long from top to bottom. She also cries upon seeing his disappointment. She has lost the trust of her father.
Youth are asked, “Did you have permission from your Mom or Dad to attend this party or did they think you were somewhere else?” Nine of 10 parents had no idea that their child was in the city away from their middle class neighborhood. The curfew sweeps begin promptly at 10:00 p.m. until 2:45 a.m. Some parents do not pick up their child and the police are left to escort them home. It is not the city, county, or state’s responsibility to raise your children.
There was a time when young people respected their parents and sought their parents’ approval. Today, youth value approval and opinions of their friends more than parents. Young people must ask themselves, “Am I leading or am I being lead?” “Am I seeking the approval of someone who wants me to take risks and disrespect my parent?”
I ask this of parents: Are you in control or out of control? It is time to stop seeking the approval of your children and instead, parent them. There are many parents who are doing everything and their children still choose to walk on the wild side. It is up to all parents to make this work. Parents are parents. If parents want friends, they need to look outside of their children.
Portia Dawson defines her purpose as “empowering young women to stand up and be counted” and to also help girls “do the right thing” and avoid the relationship pitfalls she overcame. Portia is a Mentor Program Administrator for the National Police Athletic Leagues (P.A.L.) and based in San Diego, Calif. In this role, Portia developed a group that builds relationships with women who education, knowledge and passion for success. By this, she believes each young person’s life can be improved for healthier living by self-acknowledgment, self-assertion and self-confidence. In addition to a strong mental health field career, Portia works closely with the Latino Youth Council, The San Diego Oceans Foundation, Community Housing Works, and The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and the San Diego Department of Education. Portia has served with the Women of L.E.A.D.E.R.S.H.I.P. 1ST since May 2011.