Parenting Teens – Standing strong in times of trouble.

I wanted to follow up, explain, expand, perhaps clarify from my post yesterday. I’m glad some are actually discussing this huge problem we have around here, I’m saddened to hear that most are still burying their heads. But that brings me to my main topic today.

I have not been elected the police of Westerville among high school students. I am not some vigilante running around trying to find kids doing wrong or illegal things. I do not have some self-imposed moral high ground. Actually, if anything, from where I stand, I feel like it’s the opposite! Until Monday morning, I was the parent who would’ve said “My kid wasn’t even there!” or something to that effect. We have discussed these issues for years with our son. He’s taken the middle school and high school classes at church. He even attends church with us every Sunday! We have told him how alcohol, in his bloodline, is literally like drinking poison. But that’s a different story for a different time.

I want to use a very real example of parents burying their heads. If this sounds remotely true, please pay attention. Our schools have a Ski Club. Buses take the kids roughly an hour north to ski for a few hours, bus ride back home. It was reported by students to advisors, teachers, and parents that many, many students were smoking weed on the back ski trials. This was not a one time occurence. Not by a long shot. By the time it had finally escalated to some parents being told that their kids were doing this, what did they do? A big fat nothing. Oh they got a “talking to”. They asked their kids, who denied it and then it was over. How many of them searched their phones? How many searched their rooms? How many went to buy a home drug testing kit, handed their child the bottle and made them on the spot go fill it up??

I wouldn’t have. Not my son. He wouldn’t do that kind of thing. He knows better. We taught him better than that. Blah, blah, blah. The child who has the nurse for the mom. The child who has the successful junior executive for a dad. The honor roll child. The child who is involved in sports, or drama, or any other club or group. The child who has both parents working in their own business to afford all the good things in life, but not spending time with the child. The child who has a stay at home parent, like me, and I have no idea. You ask if they have done it, they say “Gosh Mom! Gosh Dad! How could you even ask me that?? Of course I would never drink! I would never smoke that!” And Mom and Dad want to believe soooo badly, that they do. Even if the signs are there. And those parents, even in light of what has been brought to light this week, are still believing their child.

Then we have the parents who do know what is going on. And they are fiiiiiinnnnnneeeee with it! Well, that’s just dandy. I am not your child’s guardian. Parent your kid your way. None of my business. But do not expect me to be ok with it when it comes to my child. We can agree that we have different philosophies, different ways of raising our kids. But my child won’t be with your child. They say “It takes a village” and I agree with that. But the village needs to at least have the same general guidelines or that village has chaos. Our world has enough chaos without adding in mixed signals of “Well, so and so’s parents don’t care the he spent the night at that girls house or that he drank, or that he smoked that weed” (Remember, I am talking about mainly about 15 year old Freshman in high school here!)

These parents are of the mindset that they’re going to do it anyway. Again, freedom to parent how you see fit. I am not of that mindset. Maybe I am the outcast, the strict one, the delusional one, the unrealistic one. I am not ok with standing by and allowing my child to do these things without consequences.

So please don’t paint me with a broad stroke brush that I am climbing up some moral superior tower spewing my own beliefs and expectations on all the good citizens of Westerville. I most certainly am not. And if you have a different opinion, I would love to hear it. The more us parents talk about this, openly, honestly, without fear of how you think it will look in the eyes of someone else, the better it is for our kids. We have almost 3 1/2 more years to go. Banding together, helping each other and leading by example will only make our wonderful community better and stronger.

3 thoughts on “Parenting Teens – Standing strong in times of trouble.

  1. Bravo! Thank you for opening the lines of communication between parents and promoting open, honest discussions. Our kids all talk to each other, so why shouldnt us parents do the same? Not the gossipy talk, but the talk that helps us keep our kids safe. Its never easy when our kids do things that disappoint us (we have had our own share of disappointing behavior). But its our responsibility as parents to not ignore it, sweep it under the rug, or deny it. So thank you for encouraging parents to talk with their kids. Our kids need us to be their parents.

  2. Brilliantly stated.
    I think anyone that knows you personally will agree that you are the last person to climb upon a “moral superior tower” and that what you say comes directly from your heart for the safety and well-being of your child and every other child.
    Parents want to believe the best in their child because to believe otherwise may somehow implicate their parenting skills. This is a big mistake. Remember when you were 15? Did you really do everything your parents told you to do an nothing that they forbade? Yeah, me neither. (I mean, of course I did, Mom – if you’re reading this.) Were your parents good parents? Most likely.
    Believing your child is basically a good kid, but understanding that he/she just doesn’t have a fully developed emotional maturity and the proper skill sets to handle these situations is crucial. These are not mutually exclusive beliefs. Sure my daughter is awesome. Will she make a boat-load of mistakes along the way? Oh yeah.
    In order to keep your child growing and maturing into the fully functional adults that you hope they’ll become, you must make these hard calls early and often. Would my daughter be grounded BIG TIME if she was at that party? Heck yeah! (She wasn’t there because we live in Chicago. If we lived in Da Ville, you can bet I’d be checking her phone & with all her friends.)
    So keep on preaching Chrissy! What you’ve said above is Gospel!!

    • Thank you for that!! Maybe if parents would stop trying to be friends and instead try to parent, or if they would stop looking the other way when their gut tells them differently, or maybe, just maybe, having the courage to say no when you should, things could change. Again, I’m not pointing fingers, I’m as guilty as the next. But waking people up to see what happened Saturday does my need to become the norm isn’t a bad thing.

      But for those who want to allow coed sleepovers or drinking at 15, that’s your right as a parent I supposed. I just want no part of it.

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