WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Jesse Jackson III on the Importance of Parenting

May 18, 2017

The psychologist and author spent a couple days in the Macomb School District talking to teachers, staff, and students about strategies for achieving success.  He also gave a public presentation geared to parents.

“I’m concerned about parents because it’s one of the only institutions where we don’t have a class to go to where parents can come and learn some very appropriate things they need to do with their children,” Jackson said in an interview after the forum with parents.

Jackson said he’s met many parents who struggle to manage their children.  He shared what he called five “action steps” to help children succeed:

·        Live a good example in front of your children

·        Prepare them for post-secondary education

·        Protect your sons and daughters

·        Parents and Teacher Should Work Together

·        We Need Fathers

Jackson also said parents need to understand the difference between discipline and abuse.

“Discipline is essentially instruction. We weren’t taught that.  We think discipline is getting a rod out and beating a guy with the switch. (But) legitimately discipline is your parent instructing you in what we shouldn’t be doing and how things should be done,” Jackson said.

“Abuse goes to where you tear a person down and destroy them.”

Jackson said discipline should be “precious guidance” given by parents to children.

Jackson poses with some of the audience members after his presentation at Macomb Junior/Senior High School.
Credit Rich Egger

Jackson kept the crowd engaged throughout his public presentation in the Macomb Junior/Senior High School library.  He said he’s dedicated his life to parenting perfection because parents need support. 

Jackson said his parents are no longer alive and he believes some of the choices they made shortened their lives.  He said they were not close to any of their children and he noticed they regretted that as they approached the end of their lives. Jackson said he did not want to repeat their mistakes.

Jackson believes technology such as cell phones, tablets, and other devices make parenting more difficult.

“It might help the tech company and it might help us at work. But it gives access and it puts the parent in the position where I have to increase my observation – I have more things to monitor Now I have to check your Facebook. Now I have to check who you are on Instagram with,” Jackson said.

“So I think it (parenting) is much harder (today).”

Jackson said children are the ultimate salespersons because they won’t take “No” for an answer – they will keep asking for something until they wear down their parents and get what they want.  Jackson said consistency is the most vital parenting principle –parents must be consistent in what they allow for their children and they should be consistently involved in their children’s lives.

“Make sure you’re in your kid’s business. Make sure you’re along for all parts of your child’s life. They need you.”