By Request

This is not one of my normal posts, and I apologize in advance to any of you who will be disappointed today.  I'll be back tomorrow with one of my more standard posts.  (Is there such a thing from me?  I don't think so ….)

I'm going to talk about trying to parent teens, and for those of you who are not parents I apologize in advance for boring you.  Although, if you were ever a teenager, maybe you won't be bored.  And no, I did not pick this topic due to the much publicized Oprah episode on being a mom and/or a mom blogger yesterday.  (I'm not normally an Oprah watcher and I found the episode to be highly disappointing.) 

For the record, I don't consider myself a "mommy-blogger" because I rarely write about my kids.

However, last week I got an email from a reader and it gave me reason to pause.  I haven't asked permission so I'm not going to reprint the email in its entirety here, but it included comments on the following.

1.  The reader's concern over keeping her college-aged daughter out of trouble, particularly over spring break.

2.  Inquiring how I handle beach vacations.

3.  A reference to my "accidental nudity"  (this phrasing – so polite – made me laugh out loud.)

4.  Requesting a post on how I keep my college-aged kids in line.

5.  Flattering me about being cool and hot which is something I loved and can never hear enough of.  What?  Do you think anyone in my family ever says those things to me?

6.  Offering to buy my book.  (Which, by the way, I haven't written.)

But … YAY … one person wants to buy my book if I ever write one!

I write about my life, what it's like living in Orange County, my struggle recovering from my disabling car accident, sex, male/female communication, along with other subjects and situations that interest me.  I try to inject humor into most (but not all) of the things I write about because it helps me focus on something outside of the physical pain I live with. 

Also, I think I'm funny and I like to crack myself up.

Sometimes I just whine.  I apologize for subjecting you to my pity parties, but I'm sure I'll do it repeatedly given enough time.

My kids are all teens and want privacy. They've very specifically told me they don't want their lives on the Internet for worldwide viewing. That being said, they're on Facebook with their entire lives available for worldwide viewing.

I suppose that's lesson number one about teens – they make no sense.

To be honest, most of the time I don't know what I'm doing with any of my 3 teens, but I really appreciate the vote of confidence expressed in the email I received.  

My daughter, TR, is in college.  My son, RC, is a senior in high school and my youngest, PR, just turned 14 and has not yet begun high school.  Having one kid in college certainly doesn't make me an expert on college-aged kids.  Also, my daughter lives at her college so I'm not with her except when she makes trips home to visit.

I had very serious discussions with TR before she left for college about drinking, drugs, date-rape, non-date rape, never leaving a drink unattended, birth control, and every other topic imaginable.  I also discussed all those things with her when she was in high school just as I've discussed them already with both of my boys.  I'm very mom-ish like that. My kids and I are very close.  I actually think they listen most of the time.

Why we are so close and why they listen, I can't explain.  

Since the email I received focused primarily on my college-aged daughter I'll respond in kind regarding her.  In observing moms with daughters the same age, I think I mainly just got lucky.  TR and I are very similar and as a result we really understand each other.  (She tells people, "My mom and I are basically the same person.")  Sometimes our stubborness clashes, but it usually results in both of us bursting into laughter at how headstrong we can be.

I suppose neither of us are easy personalities (!), but we realize it and we're both willing to own it. We can laugh at ourselves when we need to.  Laughter goes a long, long, way with teens.

I've also made more than my share of parenting mistakes. 

I've had some very big challenges with parenting.  Briefcase has traveled extensively our entire marriage.  I've played the role of single mom more often than not.  Having a spouse gone so much presents a myriad of parenting and marital challenges.  (That's a subject I could write a book on!)

In addition, I was knocked on my ass by the car accident nearly three years ago.  I could barely function for over two years afterward.  I was undergoing numerous surgeries and very drugged up a good deal of the time while Briefcase was traveling.  I couldn't even cook a decent meal for over two years.  I'm far, far, far from being a perfect parent.  My kids have not been in a house with perfect, ideal conditions.

Have I qualified this post enough yet?

OK, then.

I not only love my kids, I really, really like them.  They know it and they not only love me in return, but they like me also.  We have a lot of mutual respect.  I'm their parent though - not their best friend and my kids have never questioned that.  I think a lot of parents try too hard to be a friend first and a parent second.  

In addition, most of the time, I have very good communication with my kids and that, probably more than anything, seems to head off a lot of problems from the start.  I really listen to them and I think, in turn, that makes them more willing to listen to me.

Did I mention my kids aren't perfect?  At all ….

Problems and disagreements come up and we deal with them as they do. Boyfriends, girlfriends, issues of responsibility, and issues of wanting more independence than they've demonstrated they can handle arise all the time with teens.  

One of the questions in the email was regarding beach vacations and I don't know how to respond to that.  Our life here is a life that has always included the beach. We are beach people. Our life, compared to most people's, is pretty much a year round beach vacation. My kids hopefully know how to handle themselves, safely, at beach parties. 

My daughter did take a "senior trip" to Hawaii with a group of friends (all female) to celebrate her graduation from high school two years ago.  We made her pay for it herself and she had just turned 18 years old at the time.  My feelings are once they're 18 we, as parents, can continue to guide them but they are adults and deserve to be respecte
d and treated as adults.

Being treated as an adult also means taking full responsibility for the consequences of their actions.

By the way, when she took that trip to Hawaii she had a boyfriend.  Boyfriend did not go on the trip and actually hung out at our house a lot while she was gone.  I may not have felt as comfortable with the whole idea if circumstances were different.

TR's college is in California.  The kids at her college don't do the big spring break weeks many kids do because the beaches are right here all the time.  Do they party?  Yes, absolutely.  

Would I approve of everything they do at their parties?  I'm sure I wouldn't. However, I was a college student once too and I did my share of partying.  I survived it and ended up being a fairly responsible adult.

I do try to make my kids be accountable for their actions.  Do they screw up?  Do they make mistakes?  Yes.  (So do I – still!)  We've tried to teach them not to make excuses, but to own up to their actions, be accountable, and try to rectify things if need be.

That's another thing missing in Orange County.  Accountability.  Parents make excuses for their kids right and left here.  (Not ALL parents … but a lot of parents.)  Isn't it our job as parents to teach our kids that actions have consequences?  And what happens to them as adults if they've never learned that? 

We've always insisted our teens (from age 15 on) hold paying jobs.  To some of you this is a no brainer but I live in a very affluent area.  Teens here are handed BMW's on their 16th birthday.  (Not my kids, but a lot of kids.)  Many kids in Orange County get everything they want, in addition to many things they haven't even thought to want yet. Briefcase and I feel it's important for our teens to learn all the lessons that come from having to work.

I can't tell you how few parents allow or encourage their kids to hold jobs in South Orange County.

Have these lessons been full-proof?  No. Just the other day my daughter sent me an email from college asking if she could have a vacation in New York for her birthday.  She and her best friend were going to each pay for their own flights.  She wanted to know if we would pay for their hotel in Times Square "for several days" as her birthday present.

I emailed her back and said no.  I asked her if she had any idea at all what a hotel in Times Square costs per night, and what exactly, did she think her birthday budget was?  She then went and googled hotels and pricing, reality set in, and she emailed me back to say, "Oops I guess that won't work."

Parenting is an ongoing process.

What did your parents do RIGHT while getting you through your teen years?  And what has worked or not worked for you if you are, or have been, a parent to teens?

** Now watch, I will have jinxed myself by writing this post.  One of my teens will inform me they're pregnant, about to be a daddy, addicted to heroin, or have just been arrested the minute this publishes! **

© Twenty Four At Heart

63 Responses to “By Request”

  1. Andrea

    Oh, what a great post. I have to say that I agree with everything you say. The one paragraph where you say that you “not only love my kids, I really, really like them” really hit a nerve with me. I have found that I have never wanted to be a friend to my children and it has paid off. Sounds like you have three great kids!

  2. Andrea

    Oh, what a great post. I have to say that I agree with everything you say. The one paragraph where you say that you “not only love my kids, I really, really like them” really hit a nerve with me. I have found that I have never wanted to be a friend to my children and it has paid off. Sounds like you have three great kids!

  3. Andrea

    Oh, what a great post. I have to say that I agree with everything you say. The one paragraph where you say that you “not only love my kids, I really, really like them” really hit a nerve with me. I have found that I have never wanted to be a friend to my children and it has paid off. Sounds like you have three great kids!

  4. Nicki

    Parenting is hard work. My son is only 5 and like every parent I have already made my share of mistakes. But he’s growing up to be a polite kiddo and I just hope that I can handle his teenage years with the wisdom of my own experience.
    What my parents did right- hmm let me make my own mistakes, gave me enough freedom to keep me happy but not so much I got in trouble. But it’s hard to say I was a good kid. Never once got into any trouble at all. Hope I am as lucky as my parents were. Course it’s different times now, kids are so different. they grow up way too fast.

  5. Nicki

    Parenting is hard work. My son is only 5 and like every parent I have already made my share of mistakes. But he’s growing up to be a polite kiddo and I just hope that I can handle his teenage years with the wisdom of my own experience.
    What my parents did right- hmm let me make my own mistakes, gave me enough freedom to keep me happy but not so much I got in trouble. But it’s hard to say I was a good kid. Never once got into any trouble at all. Hope I am as lucky as my parents were. Course it’s different times now, kids are so different. they grow up way too fast.

  6. Nicki

    Parenting is hard work. My son is only 5 and like every parent I have already made my share of mistakes. But he’s growing up to be a polite kiddo and I just hope that I can handle his teenage years with the wisdom of my own experience.
    What my parents did right- hmm let me make my own mistakes, gave me enough freedom to keep me happy but not so much I got in trouble. But it’s hard to say I was a good kid. Never once got into any trouble at all. Hope I am as lucky as my parents were. Course it’s different times now, kids are so different. they grow up way too fast.

  7. Hallie

    My kids have not done anything illegal, appear to generally like who they are, are mostly respectful to us at all times and are respectful to others ALL the time, are friendly and helpful and keep their complaining to a minimum, tell us they love us often and still let me hug and kiss them.
    I think we’re doing an ok job.
    Hallie
    Oh, and they love their wieners unconditionally. (you can tell someone’s character by how well they treat their wieners) It’s a proven fact! 🙂
    Hallie
    http://wonderfulworldofweiners.blogspot.com/

  8. Hallie

    My kids have not done anything illegal, appear to generally like who they are, are mostly respectful to us at all times and are respectful to others ALL the time, are friendly and helpful and keep their complaining to a minimum, tell us they love us often and still let me hug and kiss them.
    I think we’re doing an ok job.
    Hallie
    Oh, and they love their wieners unconditionally. (you can tell someone’s character by how well they treat their wieners) It’s a proven fact! 🙂
    Hallie
    http://wonderfulworldofweiners.blogspot.com/

  9. Hallie

    My kids have not done anything illegal, appear to generally like who they are, are mostly respectful to us at all times and are respectful to others ALL the time, are friendly and helpful and keep their complaining to a minimum, tell us they love us often and still let me hug and kiss them.
    I think we’re doing an ok job.
    Hallie
    Oh, and they love their wieners unconditionally. (you can tell someone’s character by how well they treat their wieners) It’s a proven fact! 🙂
    Hallie
    http://wonderfulworldofweiners.blogspot.com/

  10. Joanne

    I have never had the opportunity to let the world know this little tidbit, but here goes. I was such a wild child my family had given up. Let me establish a time line first I was a teenager in the “summer of love” I (would have ) graduated in 1970. I dropped out at the end of a dismal freshman year and became a “street hippie” by the time I was old enough to arrest(18), the police already had the paperwork done and off I went. I was addicted, anemic, had hep B, all the fun stuff of that era. I sat my ragged 18yr old butt in county jail and my Mom came down and said to me….. “we have talked about this for some time, and I need to tell you what we decided” the essence of what they decided was this…. “you got yourself in here, you will have to get yourself out” bye mom.
    now at the ripe old age of 57 I still maintain it was the most productive thing she ever did for me. I was there for 13 months. I got healthy, finished high school with high grades statewide. further more, I never went back.
    Thanks mom

  11. Joanne

    I have never had the opportunity to let the world know this little tidbit, but here goes. I was such a wild child my family had given up. Let me establish a time line first I was a teenager in the “summer of love” I (would have ) graduated in 1970. I dropped out at the end of a dismal freshman year and became a “street hippie” by the time I was old enough to arrest(18), the police already had the paperwork done and off I went. I was addicted, anemic, had hep B, all the fun stuff of that era. I sat my ragged 18yr old butt in county jail and my Mom came down and said to me….. “we have talked about this for some time, and I need to tell you what we decided” the essence of what they decided was this…. “you got yourself in here, you will have to get yourself out” bye mom.
    now at the ripe old age of 57 I still maintain it was the most productive thing she ever did for me. I was there for 13 months. I got healthy, finished high school with high grades statewide. further more, I never went back.
    Thanks mom

  12. Joanne

    I have never had the opportunity to let the world know this little tidbit, but here goes. I was such a wild child my family had given up. Let me establish a time line first I was a teenager in the “summer of love” I (would have ) graduated in 1970. I dropped out at the end of a dismal freshman year and became a “street hippie” by the time I was old enough to arrest(18), the police already had the paperwork done and off I went. I was addicted, anemic, had hep B, all the fun stuff of that era. I sat my ragged 18yr old butt in county jail and my Mom came down and said to me….. “we have talked about this for some time, and I need to tell you what we decided” the essence of what they decided was this…. “you got yourself in here, you will have to get yourself out” bye mom.
    now at the ripe old age of 57 I still maintain it was the most productive thing she ever did for me. I was there for 13 months. I got healthy, finished high school with high grades statewide. further more, I never went back.
    Thanks mom

  13. LPC

    I know why your kids and you have a good relationship. You are authentic. Kids will never be satisfied until they find the authentic self inside of us. They will push us until they find it. And in your case, they find you truly love them. Meaning you don’t need them to be perfect, to perform, you don’t keep yourself from real interactions. You love them and you are authentic.

  14. LPC

    I know why your kids and you have a good relationship. You are authentic. Kids will never be satisfied until they find the authentic self inside of us. They will push us until they find it. And in your case, they find you truly love them. Meaning you don’t need them to be perfect, to perform, you don’t keep yourself from real interactions. You love them and you are authentic.

  15. LPC

    I know why your kids and you have a good relationship. You are authentic. Kids will never be satisfied until they find the authentic self inside of us. They will push us until they find it. And in your case, they find you truly love them. Meaning you don’t need them to be perfect, to perform, you don’t keep yourself from real interactions. You love them and you are authentic.

  16. Cute~Ella

    This was a wonderful post. I hope to be the parent that you seem to be (much like my own mother) when I have children.
    The best thing my parents did for me as a teen was to love me unconditionally. I grew up really fast (my parents divorced when I was 5 and mom drank a lot at first so I “watched” my brother who was 2 at the time – I had a lot of responsiblity that I handled well from an early age, worked most of the year, and played 3 sports a year on top of helping raise my baby sister too.) so they let me be my own person when I had time to do so. The most important things they taught me? Work hard, learn from your mistakes and be accountable.
    It worked out ok as far as I can tell.

  17. Cute~Ella

    This was a wonderful post. I hope to be the parent that you seem to be (much like my own mother) when I have children.
    The best thing my parents did for me as a teen was to love me unconditionally. I grew up really fast (my parents divorced when I was 5 and mom drank a lot at first so I “watched” my brother who was 2 at the time – I had a lot of responsiblity that I handled well from an early age, worked most of the year, and played 3 sports a year on top of helping raise my baby sister too.) so they let me be my own person when I had time to do so. The most important things they taught me? Work hard, learn from your mistakes and be accountable.
    It worked out ok as far as I can tell.

  18. Cute~Ella

    This was a wonderful post. I hope to be the parent that you seem to be (much like my own mother) when I have children.
    The best thing my parents did for me as a teen was to love me unconditionally. I grew up really fast (my parents divorced when I was 5 and mom drank a lot at first so I “watched” my brother who was 2 at the time – I had a lot of responsiblity that I handled well from an early age, worked most of the year, and played 3 sports a year on top of helping raise my baby sister too.) so they let me be my own person when I had time to do so. The most important things they taught me? Work hard, learn from your mistakes and be accountable.
    It worked out ok as far as I can tell.

  19. ballerinatoes

    As Mother’s Day is approaching, I have been thinking about writing an “ode” to my Mom about all the things she did right. #1? She let me make independent decisions, wherin I also made mistakes. And some of those mistakes were real doozies, but I learned from them. And when I got to college, I had some problem solving skills and common sense to fall back on that many of my friend didn’t. And #2? Not making me eat things that I hated. I seriously hated fish when we were kids and she would always make me a hamburger on fish night. Someimes it’s the little things. Love you Mom!

  20. ballerinatoes

    As Mother’s Day is approaching, I have been thinking about writing an “ode” to my Mom about all the things she did right. #1? She let me make independent decisions, wherin I also made mistakes. And some of those mistakes were real doozies, but I learned from them. And when I got to college, I had some problem solving skills and common sense to fall back on that many of my friend didn’t. And #2? Not making me eat things that I hated. I seriously hated fish when we were kids and she would always make me a hamburger on fish night. Someimes it’s the little things. Love you Mom!

  21. ballerinatoes

    As Mother’s Day is approaching, I have been thinking about writing an “ode” to my Mom about all the things she did right. #1? She let me make independent decisions, wherin I also made mistakes. And some of those mistakes were real doozies, but I learned from them. And when I got to college, I had some problem solving skills and common sense to fall back on that many of my friend didn’t. And #2? Not making me eat things that I hated. I seriously hated fish when we were kids and she would always make me a hamburger on fish night. Someimes it’s the little things. Love you Mom!

  22. Jan

    Like you, I’m close to my kids but I’m their parent first and their friend second. Like you, I’ve always been big on them facing the consequences of their actions – I don’t and won’t make excuses for them and they know it. Like you, I help them out, but only if they earn it – if they (*cough*Darling Daughter*cough*) sit around on their charming little arses, the First Bank of Mom closes right up.
    While Darling Daughter has caused some severe headaches in the past, none of them have gone to jail (mostly because they know Mom would leave them there, I imagine), gotten knocked up or gotten someone knocked up (because they know Mom isn’t going to help them raise a kid) or ended up a homeless drug addict (because they know Mom would let them be a homeless drug addict – there would be no attempts at intervention).
    Are they living up to what I feel their potential is? Hell, no. As far as I’m concerned, I’ve raised three delightful little underachievers. But the two oldest are on their own, living their lives like they want to live them, and The Young One will be able to do the same when he flies out of the nest.
    Parenting is hard work, and you can never, ever get it 100% right. In my case, you’re lucky if you get it 50% right.

  23. Jan

    Like you, I’m close to my kids but I’m their parent first and their friend second. Like you, I’ve always been big on them facing the consequences of their actions – I don’t and won’t make excuses for them and they know it. Like you, I help them out, but only if they earn it – if they (*cough*Darling Daughter*cough*) sit around on their charming little arses, the First Bank of Mom closes right up.
    While Darling Daughter has caused some severe headaches in the past, none of them have gone to jail (mostly because they know Mom would leave them there, I imagine), gotten knocked up or gotten someone knocked up (because they know Mom isn’t going to help them raise a kid) or ended up a homeless drug addict (because they know Mom would let them be a homeless drug addict – there would be no attempts at intervention).
    Are they living up to what I feel their potential is? Hell, no. As far as I’m concerned, I’ve raised three delightful little underachievers. But the two oldest are on their own, living their lives like they want to live them, and The Young One will be able to do the same when he flies out of the nest.
    Parenting is hard work, and you can never, ever get it 100% right. In my case, you’re lucky if you get it 50% right.

  24. Jan

    Like you, I’m close to my kids but I’m their parent first and their friend second. Like you, I’ve always been big on them facing the consequences of their actions – I don’t and won’t make excuses for them and they know it. Like you, I help them out, but only if they earn it – if they (*cough*Darling Daughter*cough*) sit around on their charming little arses, the First Bank of Mom closes right up.
    While Darling Daughter has caused some severe headaches in the past, none of them have gone to jail (mostly because they know Mom would leave them there, I imagine), gotten knocked up or gotten someone knocked up (because they know Mom isn’t going to help them raise a kid) or ended up a homeless drug addict (because they know Mom would let them be a homeless drug addict – there would be no attempts at intervention).
    Are they living up to what I feel their potential is? Hell, no. As far as I’m concerned, I’ve raised three delightful little underachievers. But the two oldest are on their own, living their lives like they want to live them, and The Young One will be able to do the same when he flies out of the nest.
    Parenting is hard work, and you can never, ever get it 100% right. In my case, you’re lucky if you get it 50% right.

  25. Alan

    With 2 young kids, I have a long way to go. But I imagine I’ll be back for advice in about 7 years or so…LOL

  26. Alan

    With 2 young kids, I have a long way to go. But I imagine I’ll be back for advice in about 7 years or so…LOL

  27. Alan

    With 2 young kids, I have a long way to go. But I imagine I’ll be back for advice in about 7 years or so…LOL

  28. Renee Couturier

    What a great post. I have two teenagers myself, 17 and 14. I have to say that raising kids is the absolute hardest thing I have ever done in my life. You commented once on my blog about how your kids don’t want to be on there. Well they don’t know they are on there. I haven’t told anyone in my family about my blog. I am really afraid I will piss someone off, plus sometimes I just want to vent. But I have tried not to get to personal about them. Only photos. Life in NC isn’t that different than CA I suppose because a lot of my kids friends parents have decided it’s better to be their friend. What a crock! I absolutely can’t stand that. We do a lot of activities as a family, I hope that helps instill something in them. With my luck, it’s probably just going to run up their therapy bill.
    Thanks for sharing.

  29. Renee Couturier

    What a great post. I have two teenagers myself, 17 and 14. I have to say that raising kids is the absolute hardest thing I have ever done in my life. You commented once on my blog about how your kids don’t want to be on there. Well they don’t know they are on there. I haven’t told anyone in my family about my blog. I am really afraid I will piss someone off, plus sometimes I just want to vent. But I have tried not to get to personal about them. Only photos. Life in NC isn’t that different than CA I suppose because a lot of my kids friends parents have decided it’s better to be their friend. What a crock! I absolutely can’t stand that. We do a lot of activities as a family, I hope that helps instill something in them. With my luck, it’s probably just going to run up their therapy bill.
    Thanks for sharing.

  30. Renee Couturier

    What a great post. I have two teenagers myself, 17 and 14. I have to say that raising kids is the absolute hardest thing I have ever done in my life. You commented once on my blog about how your kids don’t want to be on there. Well they don’t know they are on there. I haven’t told anyone in my family about my blog. I am really afraid I will piss someone off, plus sometimes I just want to vent. But I have tried not to get to personal about them. Only photos. Life in NC isn’t that different than CA I suppose because a lot of my kids friends parents have decided it’s better to be their friend. What a crock! I absolutely can’t stand that. We do a lot of activities as a family, I hope that helps instill something in them. With my luck, it’s probably just going to run up their therapy bill.
    Thanks for sharing.

  31. Kelly

    This may not be your ‘normal” post, but it was a fanatastic post. By the way, you ARE funny and you crack me up all the time too, but I still loved this more serious post. Its no wonder you have a good relationship with your kids because its clear how much you love them and they know it. I wish I had been raised by a woman like you. Your kids are lucky.

  32. Kelly

    This may not be your ‘normal” post, but it was a fanatastic post. By the way, you ARE funny and you crack me up all the time too, but I still loved this more serious post. Its no wonder you have a good relationship with your kids because its clear how much you love them and they know it. I wish I had been raised by a woman like you. Your kids are lucky.

  33. Kelly

    This may not be your ‘normal” post, but it was a fanatastic post. By the way, you ARE funny and you crack me up all the time too, but I still loved this more serious post. Its no wonder you have a good relationship with your kids because its clear how much you love them and they know it. I wish I had been raised by a woman like you. Your kids are lucky.

  34. Kristan

    Aw, I liked this post too. I think it’s nice to mix in the heartfelt with the humorous. 🙂
    I’m not a parent (at age 23, thank goodness) but I have to admit, having a “bad” kid is one of my top 3 greatest fears. I’ve always felt like my parents and I have a really good relationship, even when we fight (which we do plenty, lol), and the thought that I might produce a kid who hates me or turns down the wrong paths in life is terrifying.
    So how did my parents avoid it? I think the main ingredients are love, attention, and guidance — all of which you seemed to have provided to your kids as well. Because those 3 things shape a decent human being more than any particular set of values, philosophies, or rules.
    Oh, and trust/respect, which you mentioned. But I think you’re right, that that’s earned, on both sides. And once it’s in place, everything goes a lot more smoothly. Because everyone is going to make mistakes, but mistakes can usually be remedied. 🙂

  35. Kristan

    Aw, I liked this post too. I think it’s nice to mix in the heartfelt with the humorous. 🙂
    I’m not a parent (at age 23, thank goodness) but I have to admit, having a “bad” kid is one of my top 3 greatest fears. I’ve always felt like my parents and I have a really good relationship, even when we fight (which we do plenty, lol), and the thought that I might produce a kid who hates me or turns down the wrong paths in life is terrifying.
    So how did my parents avoid it? I think the main ingredients are love, attention, and guidance — all of which you seemed to have provided to your kids as well. Because those 3 things shape a decent human being more than any particular set of values, philosophies, or rules.
    Oh, and trust/respect, which you mentioned. But I think you’re right, that that’s earned, on both sides. And once it’s in place, everything goes a lot more smoothly. Because everyone is going to make mistakes, but mistakes can usually be remedied. 🙂

  36. Kristan

    Aw, I liked this post too. I think it’s nice to mix in the heartfelt with the humorous. 🙂
    I’m not a parent (at age 23, thank goodness) but I have to admit, having a “bad” kid is one of my top 3 greatest fears. I’ve always felt like my parents and I have a really good relationship, even when we fight (which we do plenty, lol), and the thought that I might produce a kid who hates me or turns down the wrong paths in life is terrifying.
    So how did my parents avoid it? I think the main ingredients are love, attention, and guidance — all of which you seemed to have provided to your kids as well. Because those 3 things shape a decent human being more than any particular set of values, philosophies, or rules.
    Oh, and trust/respect, which you mentioned. But I think you’re right, that that’s earned, on both sides. And once it’s in place, everything goes a lot more smoothly. Because everyone is going to make mistakes, but mistakes can usually be remedied. 🙂

  37. Pseudo

    Great post 24. As my husband has alwys worked nights and weekends, I could relate a lot to the feeling like a single mom most of the time.

  38. Pseudo

    Great post 24. As my husband has alwys worked nights and weekends, I could relate a lot to the feeling like a single mom most of the time.

  39. Pseudo

    Great post 24. As my husband has alwys worked nights and weekends, I could relate a lot to the feeling like a single mom most of the time.

  40. Sandra

    Thank you for addressing parenting! I watched the Oprah show last night. What I took away from it is I’m allowed (and therefore plan to) voice the fact I’m not the mom I thought I’d be.
    As for what my parents did RIGHT. Well, I should preface this by saying I was difficult, independant, and had an “it’s my life” attitude. We ended up in family counseling, mainly because of my father and I. He and I butt heads a lot. In addition, I lost my virginity at age 14. Basically I was a nightmare. I never got into drugs, even though drugs, especially cocaine, were all around me. Sex and boyfriends were my addiction. I graduated high school in 1986.
    Let me list what I feel my parents did right.
    1. The family counselor was a great idea. It helped by bringing in a 3rd party opinion. She was able to establish and set boundaries we all could agree on. I was about 15 at the time.
    2. My parents always said if I was with anyone who was too drunk to drive, I could call my parents anytime of the night to come pick me up. No questions asked. I didn’t actually did this until I was in college living on my own, but knowing I could was positive.
    3. Allowing me to work. I started working at age 13 as a babysitter after school, then I worked for KFC at age 15 (lied about my age), then Kmart from 16-18. I always wanted to buy more than my parents were willing to pay for.
    4. Agreeing to let me change schools to a private school where my girlfriend attended. I left the public school system where I started cutting and getting bad grades and went to a small private school. My choice and my request. My grades and attitude improved immensely.
    There are more but those are the top 4 in my mind.

  41. Sandra

    Thank you for addressing parenting! I watched the Oprah show last night. What I took away from it is I’m allowed (and therefore plan to) voice the fact I’m not the mom I thought I’d be.
    As for what my parents did RIGHT. Well, I should preface this by saying I was difficult, independant, and had an “it’s my life” attitude. We ended up in family counseling, mainly because of my father and I. He and I butt heads a lot. In addition, I lost my virginity at age 14. Basically I was a nightmare. I never got into drugs, even though drugs, especially cocaine, were all around me. Sex and boyfriends were my addiction. I graduated high school in 1986.
    Let me list what I feel my parents did right.
    1. The family counselor was a great idea. It helped by bringing in a 3rd party opinion. She was able to establish and set boundaries we all could agree on. I was about 15 at the time.
    2. My parents always said if I was with anyone who was too drunk to drive, I could call my parents anytime of the night to come pick me up. No questions asked. I didn’t actually did this until I was in college living on my own, but knowing I could was positive.
    3. Allowing me to work. I started working at age 13 as a babysitter after school, then I worked for KFC at age 15 (lied about my age), then Kmart from 16-18. I always wanted to buy more than my parents were willing to pay for.
    4. Agreeing to let me change schools to a private school where my girlfriend attended. I left the public school system where I started cutting and getting bad grades and went to a small private school. My choice and my request. My grades and attitude improved immensely.
    There are more but those are the top 4 in my mind.

  42. Sandra

    Thank you for addressing parenting! I watched the Oprah show last night. What I took away from it is I’m allowed (and therefore plan to) voice the fact I’m not the mom I thought I’d be.
    As for what my parents did RIGHT. Well, I should preface this by saying I was difficult, independant, and had an “it’s my life” attitude. We ended up in family counseling, mainly because of my father and I. He and I butt heads a lot. In addition, I lost my virginity at age 14. Basically I was a nightmare. I never got into drugs, even though drugs, especially cocaine, were all around me. Sex and boyfriends were my addiction. I graduated high school in 1986.
    Let me list what I feel my parents did right.
    1. The family counselor was a great idea. It helped by bringing in a 3rd party opinion. She was able to establish and set boundaries we all could agree on. I was about 15 at the time.
    2. My parents always said if I was with anyone who was too drunk to drive, I could call my parents anytime of the night to come pick me up. No questions asked. I didn’t actually did this until I was in college living on my own, but knowing I could was positive.
    3. Allowing me to work. I started working at age 13 as a babysitter after school, then I worked for KFC at age 15 (lied about my age), then Kmart from 16-18. I always wanted to buy more than my parents were willing to pay for.
    4. Agreeing to let me change schools to a private school where my girlfriend attended. I left the public school system where I started cutting and getting bad grades and went to a small private school. My choice and my request. My grades and attitude improved immensely.
    There are more but those are the top 4 in my mind.

  43. Deb

    IMHO there’s an epidemic of parents trying to be their kids best friend. I don’t understand it, but I see it everywhere i look

  44. Deb

    IMHO there’s an epidemic of parents trying to be their kids best friend. I don’t understand it, but I see it everywhere i look

  45. Deb

    IMHO there’s an epidemic of parents trying to be their kids best friend. I don’t understand it, but I see it everywhere i look

  46. Lo

    PHEW. it’s hard to respond to this in a comment section. i’m an only child. my dad was gone half my life bc he was a marine.. for 30 years. my mom, for all intents and purposes, raised me. did she make mistakes? yes. did i? yes. but i turned out alright, my mother and i are now very close (we email multiple times a day and see each other every week) and i can honestly say she is the most important person in my life. she’s my rock. that said, i was a WICKED teenager. oh holy hell, i should’ve been in catholic school. or juvi. or SOMETHING. i mean, i wasn’t THAT bad but there was no controlling me. the best thing she ever did was give me room. she gave me independence, LISTENED to me when i talked.. she tried to understand where i was coming from and my logic. that, i think, will get you thru parenting. if you just try to understand wtf your kid wants, and why they want it, and where it’s stemming from, chances are you’ll avoid a lot of bumps. like drugs. like running away. like being violent. i was a wild child but i’m also now a very responsible, grown up 24 year old who’s married and is happy. so. good job mom. 🙂
    the fact that you take the time to LIKE your kids and parent and set guidelines is good. listening is good. without that, you’re going to have teenagers who are doing god knows what behind your back and you’ll never be able to stop it. you know? so good job to you too 🙂

  47. Lo

    PHEW. it’s hard to respond to this in a comment section. i’m an only child. my dad was gone half my life bc he was a marine.. for 30 years. my mom, for all intents and purposes, raised me. did she make mistakes? yes. did i? yes. but i turned out alright, my mother and i are now very close (we email multiple times a day and see each other every week) and i can honestly say she is the most important person in my life. she’s my rock. that said, i was a WICKED teenager. oh holy hell, i should’ve been in catholic school. or juvi. or SOMETHING. i mean, i wasn’t THAT bad but there was no controlling me. the best thing she ever did was give me room. she gave me independence, LISTENED to me when i talked.. she tried to understand where i was coming from and my logic. that, i think, will get you thru parenting. if you just try to understand wtf your kid wants, and why they want it, and where it’s stemming from, chances are you’ll avoid a lot of bumps. like drugs. like running away. like being violent. i was a wild child but i’m also now a very responsible, grown up 24 year old who’s married and is happy. so. good job mom. 🙂
    the fact that you take the time to LIKE your kids and parent and set guidelines is good. listening is good. without that, you’re going to have teenagers who are doing god knows what behind your back and you’ll never be able to stop it. you know? so good job to you too 🙂

  48. Lo

    PHEW. it’s hard to respond to this in a comment section. i’m an only child. my dad was gone half my life bc he was a marine.. for 30 years. my mom, for all intents and purposes, raised me. did she make mistakes? yes. did i? yes. but i turned out alright, my mother and i are now very close (we email multiple times a day and see each other every week) and i can honestly say she is the most important person in my life. she’s my rock. that said, i was a WICKED teenager. oh holy hell, i should’ve been in catholic school. or juvi. or SOMETHING. i mean, i wasn’t THAT bad but there was no controlling me. the best thing she ever did was give me room. she gave me independence, LISTENED to me when i talked.. she tried to understand where i was coming from and my logic. that, i think, will get you thru parenting. if you just try to understand wtf your kid wants, and why they want it, and where it’s stemming from, chances are you’ll avoid a lot of bumps. like drugs. like running away. like being violent. i was a wild child but i’m also now a very responsible, grown up 24 year old who’s married and is happy. so. good job mom. 🙂
    the fact that you take the time to LIKE your kids and parent and set guidelines is good. listening is good. without that, you’re going to have teenagers who are doing god knows what behind your back and you’ll never be able to stop it. you know? so good job to you too 🙂

  49. Mike

    TWO people will buy your book when you write it.

  50. Mike

    TWO people will buy your book when you write it.

  51. Mike

    TWO people will buy your book when you write it.

  52. jennster

    i really love this post. REALLY. it was one of your best. i loved everything about it. write more like this. whore. 🙂
    i so agree with a lot of what you say. accountability and parents making excuses. i think it is more a sign of the times- than necessarily where you are living. parents in general anymore want SOMEONE TO BLAME whenever something happens to their child- yet they never blame their child. it’s always SOMEONE ELSE’S fault.
    i also totally agree that people care too much about having their kids LIKE them. they want to be their friend.. the cool mom.. the mom everyone likes. it’s not important that your kids LIKE you- it’s important that they respect you.. .and fucking are scared of you! LOL
    i don’t know what my parents did right cause i’d like to think i was a pretty mellow teen. i played sports and worked and didn’t get into trouble or anything. i talked to my mom about a lot of things and i had good friends and made good choices (most of the time). you know? i do look back at my fucking outfits and wonder HOW THE HELL my parents let me out of the house wearing that shit?!?! LOL

  53. jennster

    i really love this post. REALLY. it was one of your best. i loved everything about it. write more like this. whore. 🙂
    i so agree with a lot of what you say. accountability and parents making excuses. i think it is more a sign of the times- than necessarily where you are living. parents in general anymore want SOMEONE TO BLAME whenever something happens to their child- yet they never blame their child. it’s always SOMEONE ELSE’S fault.
    i also totally agree that people care too much about having their kids LIKE them. they want to be their friend.. the cool mom.. the mom everyone likes. it’s not important that your kids LIKE you- it’s important that they respect you.. .and fucking are scared of you! LOL
    i don’t know what my parents did right cause i’d like to think i was a pretty mellow teen. i played sports and worked and didn’t get into trouble or anything. i talked to my mom about a lot of things and i had good friends and made good choices (most of the time). you know? i do look back at my fucking outfits and wonder HOW THE HELL my parents let me out of the house wearing that shit?!?! LOL

  54. jennster

    i really love this post. REALLY. it was one of your best. i loved everything about it. write more like this. whore. 🙂
    i so agree with a lot of what you say. accountability and parents making excuses. i think it is more a sign of the times- than necessarily where you are living. parents in general anymore want SOMEONE TO BLAME whenever something happens to their child- yet they never blame their child. it’s always SOMEONE ELSE’S fault.
    i also totally agree that people care too much about having their kids LIKE them. they want to be their friend.. the cool mom.. the mom everyone likes. it’s not important that your kids LIKE you- it’s important that they respect you.. .and fucking are scared of you! LOL
    i don’t know what my parents did right cause i’d like to think i was a pretty mellow teen. i played sports and worked and didn’t get into trouble or anything. i talked to my mom about a lot of things and i had good friends and made good choices (most of the time). you know? i do look back at my fucking outfits and wonder HOW THE HELL my parents let me out of the house wearing that shit?!?! LOL

  55. emmysuh

    Here’s some advice from a college age girl, and one who has a pretty awesome mom.
    First of all, you should probably just assume that your kids party. I mean, there are maybe 3 of them in the entire world who don’t, but it’s better to assume that they do. They may not party a lot or often or dangerously, but they probably at least GO OUT to parties, even if they don’t drink, etc. So they’re in that environment.
    Now, it’s my opinion that if you know/assume your kids ARE going to party/drink/have sex, it’s far more healthy to advise them on healthy ways to do it (in college, I mean, I don’t know how I feel about high school, etc.)
    My advice is:
    – OK, I am a women’s right activitst, I do work for rape prevention/awareness, and obviously, I never EVER think a woman is “asking to be raped,” that’s bullshit. BUT I do think girls hold a certain responsibility. Girls needs to keep themselves safe as much as possible, which includes going out in groups, not walking alone, not leaving a friend unattended with a guy you don’t know, never leave a (wo)man behind! etc. My friends and I still go out and have fun and can be wild teenagers, but we make sure our actions promote our safety, even if we are partying.
    I think encouraging an open conversation about partying and sex promotes a good relationship in which your child feels comfortable coming to you and asking about their problems, at which point, you can be like, “I really wish you wouldn’t do that.” But you can also help them find solutions to their problems.

  56. emmysuh

    Here’s some advice from a college age girl, and one who has a pretty awesome mom.
    First of all, you should probably just assume that your kids party. I mean, there are maybe 3 of them in the entire world who don’t, but it’s better to assume that they do. They may not party a lot or often or dangerously, but they probably at least GO OUT to parties, even if they don’t drink, etc. So they’re in that environment.
    Now, it’s my opinion that if you know/assume your kids ARE going to party/drink/have sex, it’s far more healthy to advise them on healthy ways to do it (in college, I mean, I don’t know how I feel about high school, etc.)
    My advice is:
    – OK, I am a women’s right activitst, I do work for rape prevention/awareness, and obviously, I never EVER think a woman is “asking to be raped,” that’s bullshit. BUT I do think girls hold a certain responsibility. Girls needs to keep themselves safe as much as possible, which includes going out in groups, not walking alone, not leaving a friend unattended with a guy you don’t know, never leave a (wo)man behind! etc. My friends and I still go out and have fun and can be wild teenagers, but we make sure our actions promote our safety, even if we are partying.
    I think encouraging an open conversation about partying and sex promotes a good relationship in which your child feels comfortable coming to you and asking about their problems, at which point, you can be like, “I really wish you wouldn’t do that.” But you can also help them find solutions to their problems.

  57. emmysuh

    Here’s some advice from a college age girl, and one who has a pretty awesome mom.
    First of all, you should probably just assume that your kids party. I mean, there are maybe 3 of them in the entire world who don’t, but it’s better to assume that they do. They may not party a lot or often or dangerously, but they probably at least GO OUT to parties, even if they don’t drink, etc. So they’re in that environment.
    Now, it’s my opinion that if you know/assume your kids ARE going to party/drink/have sex, it’s far more healthy to advise them on healthy ways to do it (in college, I mean, I don’t know how I feel about high school, etc.)
    My advice is:
    – OK, I am a women’s right activitst, I do work for rape prevention/awareness, and obviously, I never EVER think a woman is “asking to be raped,” that’s bullshit. BUT I do think girls hold a certain responsibility. Girls needs to keep themselves safe as much as possible, which includes going out in groups, not walking alone, not leaving a friend unattended with a guy you don’t know, never leave a (wo)man behind! etc. My friends and I still go out and have fun and can be wild teenagers, but we make sure our actions promote our safety, even if we are partying.
    I think encouraging an open conversation about partying and sex promotes a good relationship in which your child feels comfortable coming to you and asking about their problems, at which point, you can be like, “I really wish you wouldn’t do that.” But you can also help them find solutions to their problems.

  58. emmysuh

    Oh, and I’ll definitely at least check out your book from the library. 😉

  59. emmysuh

    Oh, and I’ll definitely at least check out your book from the library. 😉

  60. emmysuh

    Oh, and I’ll definitely at least check out your book from the library. 😉

  61. JRm

    I’m 35 with no children, but my parents were big in getting jobs at 16 (although each of my sisters and I babysat before then). anyway, i think you got it!

  62. JRm

    I’m 35 with no children, but my parents were big in getting jobs at 16 (although each of my sisters and I babysat before then). anyway, i think you got it!

  63. JRm

    I’m 35 with no children, but my parents were big in getting jobs at 16 (although each of my sisters and I babysat before then). anyway, i think you got it!

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