THE BLOG

Is Marco Muzzo's Tragic Case An Example Of Overly Permissive Parenting?

02/05/2016 10:51 EST | Updated 02/05/2017 05:12 EST
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In local Toronto-area news, Marco Muzzo, the 29-year-old son of one of Canada's wealthiest families, has just pleaded guilty to six charges, including impaired driving causing death, related to a September 2015 motor vehicle accident. Mr. Muzzo has also pleaded guilty to impaired driving causing bodily harm.

This accident resulted in the death of a grandfather, Gary Neville, and his three grandchildren, Daniel, Harrison and Milly Neville-Lake, as well as severe injuries to the children's grandmother and great-grandmother.

This story is a tragedy for everyone concerned. Three children have had their lives cut short before they even had a chance to begin, two parents have lost their entire family, an elderly woman has lost her life-long companion, and Mr. Muzzo will have to live with the consequences of his actions for the rest of his life.

nevillelake Siblings Daniel, Harrison and Milly Neville-Lake, seen with their parents in this Facebook photo, died in the 2015 crash.

I don't know a lot about Mr. Muzzo, but from reading about him, it's clear that this was a young man who had few limits imposed on his behaviour. He'd accumulated a string of more minor offences before the accident, including speeding, public intoxication, and using a hand-held device while operating a vehicle.

Mr. Muzzo is young, wealthy and privileged. According to some neighbours, he had a reputation for driving with a lead foot. He has all the power, influence and access to good legal advice that money can buy. Perhaps it's not surprising that something like this would have happened.

When I think about how we're raising our children today, what seems clear is that whether rich or poor, we're being much too lenient with our kids. We're spoiling them rotten and letting them get away with far too much bad behaviour.

I wonder if more input from his parents could have prevented this tragedy from happening.

We indulge their every whim and let them off the hook when they really ought to be disciplined for the bad choices they've made. As a result, they don't have a sense of personal responsibility, and they go about their lives feeling entitled to do whatever they want, believing themselves immune to the consequences.

Mr. Muzzo's parents might have a lot more money than the rest of us, but it's quite possible (although I have no specific information with regard to this) that they're not that different from most parents of Millenials, today: overly-indulgent enablers whose idea of loving their child is allowing them to misbehave as much as they like so that they never learn from their mistakes.

It's clear that Mr. Muzzo's parents adore him, but I wonder if his parents had tried to intervene earlier on, calling him on his drinking, his fast driving and his general risk-taking behaviour. I wonder if more input from his parents could have prevented this tragedy from happening.

Again, I don't want to vilify the parents, as I have no knowledge of what went on in that family, but I think that we all must recognize how the trend of overly permissive parenting can have devastating results. Loving our child shouldn't mean allowing them to be so self-indulgent and impulsive that innocent lives are lost and our own child's life can be so negatively affected.

Parents need to show their children that every poor choice has a repercussion and every ill-advised action has a potentially painful outcome.

Whatever happened in the Muzzo household, I see young Mr. Muzzo's case as cautionary tale that shows us why parents need to be much less permissive today. Instead of letting their children do whatever they want, parents need to set appropriate limits and give appropriate consequences for unacceptable or destructive behaviour.

Parents need to show their children that every poor choice has a repercussion and every ill-advised action has a potentially painful outcome. Children should be raised to understand that they just can't do whatever they feel like doing, as people could get hurt, including themselves.

I hope that Mr. Muzzo's case can help everyone see that overly permissive parenting is never a good idea, and that spoiling a child can have devastating repercussions.

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