Archives For Parenting Teens

I can hear the collective Gen X howl of protest echoing off all the Subarus at the Trader Joe’s parking lot.  Maybe YOU believe that honesty is the best policy, but maybe YOU didn’t spend your 20’s fucking bands like it was your job. No need for YOU to come clean about the dangers of contracting anal herpes from uncircumcised European guitarists which incidentally (fun fact!) can be transmitted even with the use of a condom.

Raising children is an intricately constructed, highly delicate web of secrets and lies. In order to raise productive members of society, we must subscribe to the “liar, liar, pants on fire” method of parenting.

Would honesty have stopped my kid from excavating Peter Dinklage-sized boogers out of his nose? NO. What worked was telling him that if he continued to mine his nasal passages for soft jade, his skull would collapse.

Let’s make a pact, here and now, to keep our big, fat cake holes shut about how much cocaine we shoveled in our faces back in the day, okay? My 8th grader already knows more about drugs than most street dealers. The middle school curriculum educates our kids so thoroughly on drug lingo, they can score in any neighborhood in America and several in Tijuana and not get ripped off.

All he needs is my credit card number in his sweaty little hands, and bingo! He’s able to purchase the Meth Lab Starter Kit off Amazon Prime. He doesn’t need even a tiny shred of encouragement from me that drugs are anything but BAD.

Are you really naïve enough to think that if you have a heart to heart with your kids about how you many opportunities you threw away because you spent the 90’s zooted, they’ll hear it as cautionary tale? That’s not how this works.

Kids have the highly selective hearing of a Jack Russell terrier. I’m not going to tell my kid about the time I heard the phone ringing through a haze of homegrown Thai stick and jumped up to answer my bong, breaking my foot. He’ll completely tune out the part where I spent half my freshman year of college on crutches. All he’ll hear is hear “MOM TOTALLY HAD A BONG.”

Your kids will use your past drug use as an example of how it’s possible to survive stupid behavior. Need I remind you how different things are today? When we went to college, we didn’t have to sell a kidney to pay tuition. It was perfectly FINE to eat shrooms until we broke the time/space continuum. But I’m not going to spend my golden years eating cat food because my kid racked up half a million dollars in loans reenacting Pineapple Express.

 

And you, Mr. “I’d rather teach my children how to properly use and respect mind-altering substances,” you need to CALM THE FUCK DOWN. It’s bad enough that parents want to disclose past drug use, but wanting to partake of them with your children truly signals the decline of western civilization.

Who told you that you could schlep your kid to Burning Man? Surely the child would rather go to Disneyworld, or soccer camp, or just lie in a crib and drool that attend this debauched, drug-addled shit show.  I don’t care how ‘mature’ Perseus is for his age, or that he’s on a beautiful spirit journey, 7 years old is too young to smoke DMT. Do you really need to tote your offspring to the Black Rock desert so they can witness you getting so high on molly you shit yourself?

Statistics I probably made up show that kids who do drugs with their own parents are more likely to become addicts. So, marinate in that a little before you pull out a pookie and torch that shit with your middle schooler.

I get that you need a little ganja, a toot of blow, maybe a smidge of heroin to take the edge off. But the only reason you think it’s a good idea to do drugs with your kids is because YOU’RE HIGH.

I can have an honest relationship with my son without full disclosure of every sordid detail of my drug history. In fact, I highly recommend using scare tactics to frighten your kids into sobriety. It worked for a lot of teens in the late 80’s, when one of the most iconic PSA campaigns of all time likened our brains on drugs to a fried egg sizzling in a pan.

Of course, no one has ever understood why the egg wasn’t scrambled, which is a lot MORE like your brain on drugs, or who the man in the commercial was supposed to represent, and why use an EGG, which is in fact one of the most perfectly nutritious foods in existence, and why make that sizzling egg look so damn good, perfect if you have the munchies and add a side of toast and bacon to those brains, but the point is DRUGS ARE BAD. BAD.

Also, breakfast is delicious.

Any questions?

 

Are you one of those honest parents, ruining it for the rest of us???
Talk to me. I’m listening. 

 

Come hang out with me on Facebook and Instagram so I can have friends without leaving the house.

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Is your middle schooler one of the popular kids? Then he’s an asshole.

Oh, not YOUR kid. YOUR kid is popular because he/she is a genuinely nice person – supportive, generous, always has a kind word for other kids, particularly the socially inept. He/she never makes fun of anyone for how they look – they know it’s what’s inside that counts.

He’s a goddamn Unicorn Kid, and your child is the only one in middle school who is popular for the right reasons.

Because for the most part? Show me a girl who’s popular in middle school and I’ll show you a backstabbing bitch whore from hell.

 

Jocks have the best shot at popularity. This does not mean all middle school athletes are assholes. It merely provides the platform. From there, a child must use true dickish behavior to catapult themselves into preeminence.

Middle school has a social structure closely paralleled by that of wolves. Popular kids maintain social order by establishing pack dominance. In the wild, fighting to the death is the time-honored way to express dominance. However, it is frowned upon in today’s suburban world.

Instead, here’s how the popular kids get and stay popular in middle school:

  1. Ridicule less popular kids; zeroing in on undesirable physical traits like being overweight or short.
  2. Make fun of kids who aren’t as wealthy.
  3. Bully kids on social media; gather groups together to do this as shitty little collective.
  4. Jeer at smart kids because getting straight As is lame.
  5. Disrespect teachers.
  6. General dickish behavior towards everyone but those exalted members of their clique.
  7. Taunt kids who love Lord of the Rings so much they perform traditional Dwarven Mining Songs for their music class project (okay, I probably had that coming).

 

Here’s other obnoxious behavior that makes kids popular. These traits don’t necessarily make them assholes, but SERIOUSLY WHY ARE THEY GETTING AWAY WITH THIS? ARE YOU HIGH?

  1. Not giving a crap about school.
  2. Get into LOTS of drama with other kids constantly.
  3. Hidden Instagram accounts with sultry “come hither” pouts. (we’re talking about 13 year olds, remember?)
  4. Drinking; doing drugs.
  5. Sexy times.

 

 

Little Dude has always been firmly tucked into the “Nerd” category at school. He was popular among the nerds, if such a thing exists. I was comfortable with him there. I knew these were the kids whose parents would not be getting phone calls from the police station.

This year, in seventh grade, he somehow stumbled into a friendship with a popular boy.

This boy, let’s call him “Dylan” because that’s his name, engaged in behavior that I found anywhere from annoying to appalling. He watched YouTube videos in class because he found the curriculum boring. He was always in a confrontation with SOMEONE. His idea of being entertaining was to make fun of other kids.

Gradually, LD grew disenchanted with Dylan. He didn’t find it funny that he openly mocked their Spanish teacher’s attempts to teach them. He wasn’t thrilled that Dylan was constantly ribbing him for only having 4 pairs of sneakers when he had 40.

Things went downhill from there.

LD came home one day, upset because he and Dylan had gotten into a fight. Dylan had amassed a posse of kids to harass an unpopular kid on Snapchat – for no reason at all.

OH HELL NO. Not on MY watch.

Their friendship ended that day. Kids KILL THEMSELVES over being tormented on social media. I didn’t bother calling this kid’s parents. I knew from prior experience that they had – let’s call it – a different world view than I did.

I went scorched earth on this little penis wrinkle. I notified the school, the school board, and the superintendent. He was suspended, which of course makes him even more popular among the losers  popular kids.

 

Things are a bit tough for LD socially right now. He finds himself stuck “in between” – not cool enough  to hang with the popular kids (thank GOD) but not quite content with the (lack of) social life of his nerdy friends.

I do what any responsible mom would do – I lie to him, and tell him it will get better in high school. I don’t want to scare him and tell him he might be like his mama, and have to wait until he’s middle-aged to hit his stride.

 

 

I wasn’t the least bit unhappy to find out that the “cool” kids in middle school are more likely to turn into adult losers. Being cool requires edgy, unpleasant behavior that doesn’t bode well into adulthood

If your kid is one of the popular middle school kids – observe their behavior in a pack when they don’t think you’re watching. You will be VERY surprised, and not in a good way. I’m sorry, and you’re welcome.

In the meantime, you may want to dismantle the pedestal they have themselves on. Once they enter the real world, it’s a long, long way down – and the splat at the bottom is a bitch.

 

How bad was middle school for you?
Are your kids in middle school now? Can I offer you a Xanax?

 

Come hang out with me on Facebook and Instagram so I can have friends without leaving the house.

 

 

I was engrossed in a ‘Sons of Anarchy’ episode when I heard the rustle of paper sliding under my bedroom door.

I picked it up. It was a note from my son: “I can’t find my band hoodie.”

 

In my house, we have a rule. I mom the fuck out all day and night – until 9 pm. Then, I officially close shop. I go into my room to chill. If my kid needs to speak to me, he can slip a note under my door.

Don’t judge! I got this idea from my therapist.

She also is responsible for me letting my kid have ice cream with all the toppings for breakfast on Sunday mornings – as long as HE DIDN’T WAKE ME UP.

Little Dude used to wake at the ass crack of dawn. To keep him occupied for a few hours on a weekend morning, he was allowed to fix himself an ice cream sundae for breakfast. When I got out of bed at 8 am, the kitchen was a disaster and it was worth EVERY BIT OF MESS.

 

My kid is a chatterbox, and that can be exhausting. By 9 pm, I’ve been up for 15 hours, dealing with all the interactions that are necessary to make it through a day of being a human. I’m spent. By 9:00 pm, I find myself getting irritated by conversation, unless it’s “mom, you’re so pretty.” While other jobs have a more clearly defined endpoint, the mom gig does not. It’s 24/7. Which makes it the shittiest paid job in the multiverse.

So began our 9 pm rule. At 9 pm, I need to relax to Gemma Teller stabbing Tara in the head with a carving fork. If you absolutely must speak to me – slip me a note.

 

I should have said, my kid WAS a chatterbox. Because the times, they are a changin’.

At 13 and a half, Little Dude is firmly entrenched in his teenage years. He’s changing, and it seems to be happening at warp speed.

He sleeps later now, sometimes til 9 am on a weekend.

His hair is cut in a trendy style, shaved down on one side with a deep groove cut into it.

He is obsessed with sneakers, and how he looks at school.

He’s really into basketball. Hashtag Ball is Life. He plays on the rec team and we watch it a LOT. This is one thing we have in common, although he makes fun of my Big Love for the Knicks, because he wasn’t alive for the golden era of Patrick Ewing.

He uses Axe body spray, which is nauseating. I won’t even buy it. It’s like an insidious Google redirect virus; it just keeps showing up no matter what I do.

He speaks in slang. (“Okay mom, that’s Gucci.”)

He hangs out with co-ed groups now. They go to the mall, to someone’s house. Often mine.

He’s on his phone constantly, face timing, often with girls.

He isn’t so anxious to talk my ears off every night. Many nights, he’s in group chats and laughs uproariously at the ridiculous memes they send each other. (Yes, I look. Hell yes.)

He has a girlfriend. 

This one really threw me for a loop. A few weeks ago, he asked my permission to start dating.

I was happy he chose to ask me, but all I could think of was how this truly is the end of his innocence. Will she break his heart? I’ll KILL her. How long before they start exploring sexually?

I told him that I prefer he see her in group settings; that he respect her and not take it to a physical level yet. I told him he is not allowed to go to the movies with her BECAUSE THAT IS WHERE ALL THE KIDS START GETTING BLOW JOBS okay I didn’t say that, but that’s where it happens. Ugh, my head hurts.

He was always a reluctant tooth brusher and his breath could melt my eyeglasses. Saturday, when he left to go to the mall with his friends, he breathed on me and asked me if his breath was fresh.
It was.

“Fresh enough to kiss a girl?”
Ugh why why whyyyyyyyyy

 

When my kid was little, we used to cuddle at bedtime and he’d share with me his “sads and glads” that day.

Now his bedtime is around 9 PM. As a lingering vestige of that ritual, he’ll occasionally ask to snuggle with me and tell me a tidbit or two from his day. 9 PM be damned, I want those moments now. So as of last week, I officially lifted the 9 PM rule. I’ll let him watch a little SOA with me, while he remarks on all the ways in which I remind him of Gemma Teller Morrow.

He’s got one part of that right (besides the similarity in our wardrobes and our love of tats) – like Gemma, I’ll go to any lengths to protect my son. The irony of that is, at the exact time when I feel the need to protect him more than ever, he wants to take care of himself.

We’ve always been a tightly knit unit; he always chose to be with me above anyone else. Now, he would rather be with his friends or even alone.

My son is more his than mine, now. I know this means I’ve gotten it right so far, preparing him for independence.

But who prepares me?

 

Is your kid growing up way too fast?
Talk to me. I’m listening. 

Come hang out with me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, so I can have friends without leaving the house.