The kids are alright, some parents should be grounded
Narre Warren party animal Corey Worthington has almost completely faded from national memory. Which is a shame, as the kid should at least be remembered for one thing - impeccable comic timing.
One of the finest exchanges of modern television was young Corey’s droll quip to a frustrated Leila McKinnon on A Current Affair when, having banged her head against a brick wall trying to get sense out of this mop-headed ratbag, she asked “ Well finally Corey what would you say to other kids who are thinking about partying when their parents are out of town?”
After a perfect two-second pause Corey replied: “Get me to do it for you.”
It was a clever and funny answer which demonstrated that for all his confected stoner attitude, there was a reasonable mind behind those yellow-rimmed service station sunnies. Don’t be surprised if in 15 years time you find that a Mr C Worthington is the founder and CEO of a medium-sized software company with an annual turnover of $5 million, 40 staff, and the best Friday night work drinks going around.
The unsung villain of the Worthington affair was in my view his step-dad who seemed more angry at having to break his summer holiday in Surfers Paradise with Corey’s mum, than any of the mayhem his step-son had masterminded on the vomit-stained streets of Narre Warren.
On the one hand you can understand the bloke’s frustration that falling in love with a woman also entailed responsibility for a world’s-best-practice teenage maniac. But the fact that the parents initially refused to break their holiday suggested to me that Corey’s actions were nothing more than a spectacular play for parental attention.
Walk into any pub or RSL at lunchtime and you’ll find a lot of old codgers ruminating between mouthfuls of cauliflower cheese about what’s wrong with the young people today, how this generation of kids is out of control, showing none of the respect or civility that was demanded in their day.
I’d humbly submit that not only are kids no more or less civil than they have ever been, the ones who do have an attitude or behavioural problem can often credit their parents for allowing it to run unchecked.
The Worthington example is very much at the lower end of the spectrum, but there seems to be a new case everyday where, unlike Corey’s stepdad, the parents go well beyond simply being absent or ambivalent, and emerge as the leaders of shocking behaviour by kids.
In Sydney, we have seen a string of ugly incidents involving school sports, where parents have not only been urging their kids to go the knuckle but doing it themselves with all-in brawls on the sidelines and in the carpark initiated by people who are on the wrong side of 40.
These cases have led to calls for parents to be banned from attendance at games, which from here on will only proceed under the supervision of teachers, or “neutral” parents who don’t have a child in the match.
But the hands-down winner of parent of the year must go to the Newcastle mother, whose name has been suppressed, who appeared in court last week over arranging a fight in a public park between her daughter and another girl who had apparently teased her at school.
Mum packed her handycam for the occasion. When they got to the park, the daughter started kicking and punching the girl, and proud Mum stood by filming it all for posterity, shouting “break her nose” and “you called my daughter a slut”.
The magistrate gave the mum a well-deserved serve, describing her behaviour as “abhorrent” and saying: “Our kids watch us and learn. When an adult behaves that way it sends the wrong message and sanctions violence.” It was a nice lecture but the sentence was pathetic - 50 hours’ community service.
For all the hysteria about this generation I’d say the kids are as alright as they’ve ever been, but maybe it’s time that some of the parents were grounded.
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