Speak Out…Does the mother play a role in street violence?

At the Women’s March for Peace, Bev Smith challenged mothers to take more responsibility for their children. We asked Pittsburghers what they thought. Here’s what you said:

Yes. I believe mothers, fathers, too, because there are so many absent fathers. I think mothers bear the responsibility because there are so many things these kids do today and they (mothers) condone some of the things they do. They say it takes a village to raise a child. Now it’s hard to say mothers because there are so many grandparents raising grandchildren, it’s hard to say when the mother’s absent.


Sandra Spells
North Side

I know mothers are tied up having two jobs and still taking care of their children but they still have to take time to teach their children respect because children have lost respect. I don’t think they know what respect is any more. I think they have to do their part first, they can’t expect the schools to teach them everything, and it has to come from the home first.
Janet Minni
West End
Computer operator

Yes. They allow them to do things at a young age and laugh and say it’s cute instead of telling them that it is incorrect. They get older and those actions become bigger then it’s too late.
Elaine Lee
Penn Hills

Yes. I think mothers should bear a lot of responsibilities in everything their children do, due to the fact that that is the first foundation that the kid has. If a child starts off with a correct foundation the building is normally going to be a little straighter. So when the storm comes along and tries to move the building, without that first foundation, it’s a little easier for them to be moved.
Chad Williams
North Side
Board of Education

They should not be afraid to be more authoritative with their children. I know, I work in a day care center. We see a lot of the children acting out because they are used to getting their way. Their mothers either ignore what they do or they placate them. They don’t teach their children that there are consequences for everything you do.  Also mother’s should have respect for their children, be mindful of how they speak to them.
Forristine Lindsey
North Side
Head Start teacher

Yes. It begins when children are in the womb and the mother is subjected to violence it is perpetuated as the child grows. In certain situations of teen-youth violence, the cause can be traced back to a lack of parental guidance and intervention, therefore some mothers may have some influence on their child’s behavior. Although the problem is much bigger than the mother, it is most often a larger social issue of a lack of resources, jobs, programs, mentorship, quality of education.
Dana Harris
Point Breeze

(Compiled by Gail Manker, photos by Gail Manker.)


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