At the Spunky Homeschool blog, “Spunky” discusses the phenomenon of outsourcing parenthood, or more accurately, ceding the authority and responsibility for raising your kids to others, most especially various institutions.
Why would a mother seek the authority of someone else to read a book to her child and the classroom? The answer is obvious, of course. The mother was not the authority in the classroom. This is as it should be. The mother is not there every day and the teacher must keep control of the room and the principal must keep control of the school. The mother rightly sought their approval because that is the system that she submitted to when she allowed her daughter to attend.
The question is, why would a mother knowingly yield her authority to someone else to the point where a simple request for a story would require the approval of three others? Simply stated, the mother has outsourced her parenting.
… When I was growing up we all went home for lunch. Then in the schools began to take on that responsibility. The parents were thankful. Then the schools began to provide clinics. The parents were thankful. Then the schools began to teach health. The parents were thankful. The schools began to teach sex ed. The parents were thankful. The schools began to parent for them. The parents were thankful.
Now, she says, school systems and the government are grabbing even more control over the raising of your kids. In Rhode Island, schools will be planning “strategies to decrease obesity and improve health and wellness of students.” This is a parental duty, not a school or government duty.
But it’s not just government that’s taking over parenting. Unfortunately, the Church—which should know better—is doing it too, most especially with mandatory “safe environment sex education” programs that require every child in parish religious education or in a parochial school to take part. Such programs are often problematic in their content, but they’re also problematic in that they shift responsibility and authority for such things from parents—in whom the Church has said it resides—to institutional structures.
The argument is often made that if the Church didn’t do it, many kids would be left vulnerable to predators. It may be obvious, but maybe we should concentrate first on getting the pedophiles and perverts out from among our midst rather than making children our first line of defense. After that we can then educate the parents on how they can protect their children. But this should be forced on no one.
Part of the reason for the breakdown of the family in our society is that parental authority has slowly been stripped away. The Church should not be part of the problem.