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Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Stevenstown 300 - Why Won't Parents Take Responsibility?

Teens do stupid drunken things. They egg houses, they lie, they smoke marijuana, they jump off cliffs into water that is way too far below, they have sex. Part of being a teenager is taking risks.

I wrote a book that inspired this blog. Turns out the teenaged brain is hotwired to do stupid things because the part of it that controls judgment isn't finished growing up yet. 

But there's a big difference between being a teenager who does dumb things and the Stevenstown 300 who broke into a former NFL star's home, and had a giant party, destroying property, peeing all over the place and much more.

These were not smart kids. Holloway had security cameras and he watched the destruction from his home in Florida, put the video up online, and named the kids. He did not call the police and have them all arrested - which would have been easy - and instead told them to show up and help clean up the mess. One kid came.

And the parents of these 300 kids are pissed. Not at their children but at Holloway. They say he violated their privacy - no sorry the iPhone photos and videos negate that. They are suing him or thinking about it. They are threatening Holloway. What kind of a message does that send to the real problem here?

Let's back up. Your kids does something they should not do. You hold them responsible for it. One child showed up to clean up - one out of 300. My kid would have been there with me to watch. And so would all of his friends. Why? BECAUSE THAT IS CALLED RESPONSIBLE PARENTING. Apologizing the entire time to Holloway, to me, to everyone. Taking responsibility for his actions. Period.

We live in a society where we give our kids too much. The good parents struggle to teach them values. Our kids are inheriting the mess we've made for themselves and of the world.

DO YOUR JOB PARENTS. Your kids have to grow up and not think it's OK to break into someone's house and destroy it.


Until you let your kids know that you should have your parenting license taken away. And heaven help those kids later in life.


Monday, September 23, 2013

OK I Give Up Take Arabic!

I thought how can this child learn another language? Seven years of Spanish - just get fluent. But no - my incredibly smart child wants Arabic - and he's doing really well in it.

So it's not just a parent bragging story. Today NPR featured a study from the Hewitt Institute for Behavioral Genetics at the University of Colorado, which looked at genetics versus the environment in teens' ability to learn new things. The conclusion was Learning New Things Gets Harder as Teens Transition from Childhood.

Except in really smart kids - And you know how smart your kid is but the takeaway I got from this article is don't underestimate his or her ability to learn something brand new.

So the next time your not so directed high school or college student decides to master a new instrument, take a new language, figure out how to build a rocket ship - just encourage them. They say that kids are sponges. Teens are too.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

What Happens When Your Teens' Texts Start Coming to You

Every mom who has ever or wanted to snoop on her teen has dreamed this would happen. Yesterday Verizon Wireless did something - I may never know what - and all of my 17 year-old son's texts started coming to me. He just started college and is away for the first time. I only know what I am told which means I knw next to nothing.

I read several conversations most about doing stuff with each other. Some more interesting than others. A photo that was certainly not meant for me.

The conversation that put me over the edge was the one with his girlfriend who is now at another college. Both sides of the conversation. They both went to college in August. They tried to break up. They got back together. They set guidelines. They will be together until they are not.

As a parent, I'm just so happy that my son's early experiences with a girl were about love - what is evidently a deep and abiding love. That's a wonderful thing.

And I was suddenly a total snoop. I would learn everything I do not know. But suddenly everything they thought, felt, imagined, wanted to do when they are in the same city, and much more, was right in front of me. I mean front and center. My phone would chime and there was more and more and more. Like mom nirvana. But when it started to get intimate I realized that it was none of my business. When did I become that mom?

I texted back to them - "I'm getting your texts." OMG came back, oops came back. Then the real response - "Who is this?"

Not only could I read everything that they wrote but they didn't know I was there or who I was. Holy canoli.

"It's your mother. Can you please make this stop?"

Another string of OMGs and I'm so sorry. Then dead silence as they switched to another medium - Skype I think. We fixed it somehow today.