I'm going to post about something unrelated to writing, but something I think needs to be discussed, and this is the state of teenagers today. I have a fifteen yr old son, whom I adore! He comes home from school with horror stories about kids in his classes and how rude, crude and disrespectful they are. The bus is a nightmare. Kids use foul language, tell dirty jokes, talk back to teachers, swear at them in class etc... It's appalling. And you know what I think? I think it boils down to their parents. (90% of the time)
I'm sure there are those who completely disagree and that's fine. I don't need people to agree with me to feel validated, but if parents actually parented, maybe we wouldn't have such difficult kids out on the streets.
Lately, I've actually had a few people tell me not to be so hard on my teen son. One was a teacher at his school! (Not you, Shannon =) I don't think I am too hard on him. But when they find out our family rules, they think we're too strict. I don't. I think the reason my boy is so awesome is because we are strict with the little things. We don't wait until big things happen. And for those of you who don't think I don't know my son or what he's really doing, well, you're wrong.
First off. He doesn't own a cell phone. I don't believe kids should have one full time. I think it creates more problems than benefits. When he needs to take a phone for what ever reason, he borrows mine. He plays lacrosse and LOVES it. But he can't play lacrosse if he receives ANY grade less than a B. He also can't play or go to practice if he hasn't practiced the piano. He also does not have a TV, phone or computer in his room.
He loves to play a certain computer game which is fine with me as long as his room is clean (that includes a made bed, which he doesn't seem to understand =), his piano is done, he has done a job that helps clean the house, and as long as he has no grade below a B. So far he has straight A's with the exception of one B. He's doing awesome. He's busy. He's smart. He's fun, and he's happy. He says, "Yes mam, yes sir," (sometimes) and is obedient. (most of the time.) He can't date until he's sixteen and if he doesn't kiss a girl until then, he earns a big reward. There is also no single dating until he's eighteen. Sound strict? Yep. But we're loving too, which counter balances those other things. I take my kids to the movies and out on regular dates. They get to hang with friends when ever they want. (If their stuff is done.) =P And we try to have fun family activities often.
Now, I'm not living in a world of denial. I'm perfectly aware that there are things he doesn't tell me. He makes bad choices sometimes. He lies to me sometimes. He's a normal kid. But I crack down on him when those things happen. I drill into his beautiful little head that integrity is #1. ALWAYS. I tell him that it isn't my job to be his friend. My job is to be his mother, and as his mother, it is my job to teach him to become a great man. Period. I have other kids growing up who have not reached their teenage years. I may have to revamp things when they get there. Who knows? I'm not saying I know everything. But so far, what we're doing is working.
My son (and my other kids) are very close. He feels like he can tell me anything. (almost). The point here is this. PARENTS! Don't be afraid to parent. Don't be afraid your kids won't like you if you ground them, make them clean their rooms, or enforce rules and punishments. Kids need guidelines. It makes them feel secure, and if they know there is a serious consequence for bad behavior, they'll hopefully be more likely not to choose bad behavior. Take it from me. I'm a professional parent. I even have a certificate that says so! LOL Seriously. (We were foster parents for a while)
Okay, I'm getting of my soap box now.