Tag Archives: Teens

The Last Text Message

It is bad enough that I have anxiety attacks at the thought of my daughters driving alone but throw in factors like drunk driving and texting and I just want to keep them at home safe and sound. I know that’s unrealistic though, as every parent of teenagers can tell you. We talk and we talk about the risks, the dangers, then we close our eyes and pray like mad that all the talks have somehow sunk in.

I ran across this video on facebook, courtesy of Waking Circle with this notation:

PLEASE NOTE: THIS VIDEO WAS PRODUCED BY AT&T AND MADE AVAILABLE ON OUR SITE AS A PUBLIC SERVICE. PLEASE CONTACT AT&T FOR QUESTIONS RELATED TO THIS VIDEO. THANK YOU.

this is not easy to watch, but watch it. it will make you think before you start texting while driving. it will make you think before you get in a car with someone who is texting and driving. and, i hope – it will make you STOP texting with someone that you know is behind the wheel.

please – share this with every parent you know, and with every “text addict” you know.

this video was produced in march, 2010 by AT&T.

Share this video with everyone you know. It’s not only the kids who need reminding, even adults who should know better have been caught texting while driving. No phone call or text message can be so important that it can’t wait until you’ve stopped the car.

I Hope… They Be Wrong and Be Loud

“It won’t be one of mine”. That’s what one mother said about her child being bullied. That’s what we all say too, but even when we do everything right, what assurances do we have that the same thing won’t happen to our children? It’s a cruel world they are living in. The boundaries that hemmed us in when we were younger are now blurred and even more so when you throw in the anonymity afforded by technology. Some kids (and some adults too) are emboldened when they think they can hide behind aliases and anonymous personas on the internet or through texting.

Growing up and being a teen is hard enough without adding bullying into the mix. It seems that we hear more and more cases of young kids taking their own lives because of alleged bullying. Just today, I read about two cases. One is of a mom in Philadelphia who risks jail time to avoid subjecting her child to bullying. The other, more severe case is of a 12 year old Japanese girl who hanged herself because of bullying. After hearing of the later case, could you blame the Philadelphia mom?

It breaks my heart to hear of these cases. I feel bad for the young lives cut short. I feel bad for their parents left behind. But most of all I am terrified that it would happen to us. It’s easy to become complacent, to think that it would never happen to us. But as we all know, there are no guarantees in life, only hope. Hope that we have done enough to create a secure sense of self in our children, that we have done enough to make sure their exposure to the unpleasantness in life is at most minimal. We hope that we’ve loved them enough that they don’t need anyone elses. We hope that we’ve armed them enough to fight anything thrown at them. We hope that they are strong enough to withstand hopelessness. We hope…

But the most important thing that I hope we have imparted in our children is to not be afraid to be wrong and to not afraid to be loud. I know. Wrong and loud does not seem to be characteristics that we ought to be teaching our children. They seem more traits fit for the bullies we are fighting against. But I do believe that the people involved in just the two cases I mentioned above, the people who had knowledge of the bullying, were afraid to be wrong and were afraid to be loud and stand out. They didn’t want to be the first one to step out of line to say, ‘stop!’. They didn’t want to be labeled as loud for speaking out.

In the Japanese case, “After an initial denial, Niisato Higashi Elementary School admitted Monday she had been a frequent target of abuse by classmates.” They admitted after the fact and after a ‘survey’ has been conducted. If only just one teacher had ventured to be wrong and found a loud enough voice to say ‘Enough!’

In the Philadelphia case, there is still hope. The kids are still alive. There are still here so that administrators can still bicker whether enough documentation is available to warrant protecting these kids. If only one administrator in that school district would risk being wrong by going against protocol and instead listen to this individual case and be the one to be loud enough for them so they can attend a safer school.

When my daughters entered school, someone told us that we had better teach them to stand up for themselves. That we should teach them to take no crap. That we should teach them to hit back. It sounded right. We wouldn’t want our daughters to be anyone’s victims.

Except that I wasn’t too comfortable with teaching them to fight. Instead, we taught them to avoid being in situations where they would have to hit someone back. We told them that crap is crap and they don’t have room within themselves for crap so leave others to theirs.

We taught them to stand up for someone else who is being taken advantage of. We told them to sit with the person sitting alone. We told them to be the first to help someone up when they have fallen. We told them to be the first to offer a kind word when someone is sad and be the first to say hi when someone is new to the school.

Are our girls perfect because of what we’ve tried to tell them and teach them? Of course not. I’m sure they have had their mean moments. I am sure that they have inadvertently laughed when someone stumbled. They have probably said some unkind words about someone else. They may have even hit back when someone shoved them. That’s alright. None of us are perfect.

My hope is that when it counts, I hope that they will have the courage to be wrong. To go against their friends to stand up for someone else who can’t do it for themselves. I hope they find their voice and use it as loud as they can to speak for someone else who can’t. I hope…

Finance: A Family Lesson Not to be Missed

I’m sure you all have seen this commercial.

I have gotten very good at tuning out commercials or I just switch to another channel whenever they come on. I have fallen in love with TiVo just because I can watch pretty much anything now commercial free! But I digress.

Today, this commercial is the topic of discussion at the Simple Dollar blog on his post, COMMERCIALS, KIDS AND MATERIALISM.

I usually read the Simple Dollar via email subscription so I don’t get to see all the comments. Being a parent though and this being a subject close to my heart, I knew that this post would generate some comments. So I headed to the site and I was not wrong. There was a long list of comments basically agreeing with what Trent had to say, which basically comes down to his last point being:

… if my child had a routine habit of calling the things we did “dorkiness,” referring to us as the “Geek family,” or directly calling his parents names, that child wouldn’t be headed out for a fun afternoon with his friends.

Absolutely! The situation may have been amusing for a TV ad but in real life, with real parents, that boy would be back home scrubbing that lame ol’ van instead of going out with his friends!

Trent’s first point is especially true when it comes to family financials: “if you’re a parent, your kids shouldn’t have any influence over your buying decisions

I was just having this discussion with my co-worker yesterday because she saw that my daughter was driving when I got dropped off. Yes, my second daughter is practicing her driving so she can get her license. No, she won’t be getting her own car much less a brand new one like some of her friends are. Although there is a tiny part of me that feels bad we can’t afford to buy her a car new or used, that guilty feeling doesn’t last too long. She just got a job and if she chooses, she can save her earnings and maybe buy a used car. We’ll help her with the insurance, which is going to be hefty, we’ll help with the maintenance and of course we’ll be there for incidentals. However, she knows that she is in no way entitled to get a car just because she’s old enough to drive and have a license. Some of her friends feel that way; but we’ve talked about this and I am very open with her and her sisters about our financial situation.

Now if maybe I was a millionnaire and a new car would equate to me buying a new outfit, then of course I would get her a new car. What parent wouldn’t want to be able to do that for their kids?

But I happen to think that there is something to be said about having to work for the things you have. When you work for something, it is more valuable to you. You take better care of it and you are more aware of how other people may feel about their personal property.

Having your first car is definitely one of the highlights of a young person’s life, but learning about how to manage your money early on is a bigger lesson that must not be overlooked.

Summer Activities for Teens

It’s been two weeks since the girls got out of school and my car has finally stopped trying to turn for the kid’s school every morning. It feels strange but at the same time very relaxing to know that when I leave the house in the morning I go straight to work. I don’t have to drop off at the school or run to the grocery store for unexpected items that they were supposed to bring and forgot to tell me the night before; I don’t wake anyone else up but myself; I can take my leisurely time in the bathroom without someone knocking at the door; I don’t have to do any last minute ironing and I don’t have to remember to remind people to pack their homework so I don’t get a call in the middle of the day for homework deliveries.

In the meantime, my girls have turned their clocks totally upside down. I’ve been letting them do it since they had just gotten out of school and they needed the break. But I think the break is nearing its end. They have been staying up all night and sleeping all day. That is ending this week. They’ve been told to find something to do during the day or I will find something for them.

I’m not too worried about them keeping up with their academic skills. They do that naturally. Some of the things they do already:

  • Read
  • Write short stories or journal. They also blog.
  • Crafts – they like to crochet and knit. They also like to sew.
  • Draw & paint
  • Notice something missing? All these activities are done indoors and there is no physical activity of any type on the list.

    I am not the most active person, I’ve never been into sports, but that’s no reason that my daughters should be just like me. In fact, they are not. They’re still not as much into organized sports, except for one daughter, but they do like being outdoors when they get the chance.

    Well, I’m giving them that chance.

    My daughter who’s into sports, she plays field hockey, is trying to stay in shape before formal team training begins in August. So she walks and runs and when she goes on her run, her other two sisters and I go along albeit at a much slower pace. She’s also taking a jazz dance class once a week so I don’t really have to worry about her.

    The other two, they’ve been sleeping until noon at the earliest, they stay up all night playing on the computer or reading. So, they’ve been given notice that schedule ends this week. They will get up before noon, clean the house, prepare what they can for dinner (preferably something healthy), and when I get home from work we’ll go for a one hour walk. Everyday. On weekends, we’ll go on longer hikes. They will also be going swimming as soon as they find a place they want to take classes in. They don’t like our local pool as it’s indoors and during the summer it gets downright stuffy in there.

    Swimming is something that my girls love doing. I think this would be a great way for them to get involved in a more organized sport. As my other daughter has learned since she started playing field hockey, not only has she made new and lasting friends, she has also learned to be more disciplined and responsible about her health and fitness. She’s learned to be more diplomatic in the way she talks, she doesn’t come right out and tell someone they suck, instead they work together to improve their skills. These are some of the qualities that I’d like my two other daughters to pick up on. So off to swim camp they go and hopefully they will be able to join a team before the summer is over.

    How about you, do you do anything specific to encourage and reinforce sports in your kid’s life or are you one of the lucky ones who have naturally athletic kids who go find their own interests and cultivate it?

    If you’re looking into sports programs for your children, look into the Liberty Mutual Responsible Sports Program at www.responsiblesports.com. It’s a program created by Liberty Mutual in partnership with Positive Coaching Alliance, US Youth Soccer, USA Hockey and the Amateur Softball Association. “The Liberty Mutual Responsible Sports program provides resources for parents and coaches to help children reap the full benefits of playing a team sport. The online community incorporates blogs, videos, and best practices on youth sports topics that provide practical, real-world advice. Parents and coaches also can complete coursework on positive sports mentoring that offers best practices for handling challenging sports scenarios.”

    This post is for a contest sponsored by ResponsibleSports.com and TwitterMoms with the opportunity for an Amex Gift Card of various denominations depending on content, comments and Twitter discussion.