Tell why you agree or disagree with Randy's assessment of what kids want from their parents (from Chapter 7 of The Outsiders)?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

    When Ponyboy and Two-Bit stop at the Tastee Freeze for a Coke in Chapter 7 of Susan E. Hinton's novel, The Outsiders, "the blue Mustang that had been trailing us for eight blocks pulled in." Out stepped Randy Adderson, one of the Socs who had beaten Johnny and later tried to drown Ponyboy in the park. Although Pony wanted to run, Two-Bit held firm.

"You know the rules. No jazz before the rumble," he said to the Socs.

But Randy only wanted to talk with Ponyboy and meet the greaser who had saved the kids from burning in the fire. He went on to explain about his best friend Bob. His parents had "spoiled him rotten," but that wasn't what he wanted.

"He kept trying to make someone say 'No' and they never did... That was what he wanted. For somebody to tell him 'No.' To have somebody lay down the law, set the limits, give him something solid to stand on. That's what we all want, really..."

Ponyboy observes that Randy seems older than his 17 years, "like Dallas was old," and this may help to explain Randy's agreement with Bob's desire.
    As an adult, I am thankful that my parents set limits and expectations for me: make them proud, stay out of trouble with the law, get good grades, go to college. More specifically, I was expected to be home and in bed by a certain time; to complete my homework before engaging in other activities; to treat other people as I would like to be treated; to respect my elders; and to give 100% effort in things that I do.
    However, these guidelines would probably not have been followed without close parental guidance. Most kids today do not want lots of rules to follow, and many modern parents prefer to give their children independence that they did not enjoy themselves in their youth. Most kids want to be treated as adults from an early age, and they want to make the majority of personal decisions that affect their lives.
    This, of course, is a good example of why juveniles are not given adult responsibilities; they simply have not matured to the point where they are capable of making decisions that may affect their lives forever. It is partly a case of inexperience, and it is partly due to the fact that a child's brain does not fully mature until he nears or even surpasses the age of 20.
    In Bob's case, he had everything given to him that he wanted, something that most kids would wish for today. But Bob seems to have been unusually mature--except for his cruel treatment of fellow humans--and had his parents set some limits (a ban on drinking, for example), he might have lived to become a responsible adult.
    Mustangs, madras, girls and money--few kids would want more, be it 1965 or 2009.

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The Outsiders

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