Thursday, January 18, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Time to parent, not join in the party

“Mom, can I have some of your margarita?"

That's the instant when you know you're in the heart of teenage hell.

It's at that precise moment you begin to examine all of the decisions you've made to that point. You begin to wonder if you were ever qualified to take on this monumental stint of raising babies into proper adults.

You know their curiosity is piqued. You know there will be hangouts, sleepovers and parties.

How much control do you really have?

And worse than wanting to try a sip of your escape from reality, now some kids sell a pill at school called Molly, a pure form of the main drug in Ecstasy. They tweet about trying it, they post pictures of the pill on Instagram and they proudly share idiosyncratic videos of their modified actions on Vine.

On top of all of that, there's often an unlimited access to alcohol and marijuana at their parties, thanks to some negligent parents.

Yep, if you don't acquiesce to their request, there is always someone who might oblige.

When did it become commonplace to smoke pot or get inebriated with your teenagers? When did giving pot or alcohol, or something worse, to someone else's kid while you're supposed to be overseeing his or her safety become acceptable?

I'm no expert and I don't claim to have any statistical data, but I think a couple of factors are at work. Some parents haven't grown up since high school and they're involved in the same risky behaviors their kids experiment with.

Other moms and dads feel that they missed out on their party years in high school and naively want their children to experience all the good times that passed them by.

And I guess there's the perpetually aloof or apathetic parents.

I'm not perfect. I make mistakes. I allowed makeup sooner than I likely should have. I conceded to the leg shaving debacle. There were some things I just felt weren't going to make a difference when they were 25.

But it will never be acceptable to pop a Molly. Not at 25, 35 or 55.

And although you may not be able to prevent said tragedies from occurring, the longer you can delay them, the better the odds are that your children will evade them.

I stalk my kids on Twitter, Instagram and Vine. I don't particularly care that they say expletives or even complain about the way I raise or punish them. That's all par for the course.

But know this. If a kid, or the parent, shows up in a video or picture while my kids are doing something illegal, I'm going to show up at their house.

And if I don't like the response, I'm coming back with the authorities.

I believe we all take our own path, and my way may not always be the right way. But under no terms does another parent have the right to provide my children with alcohol or drugs.

You can be friends with them. I believe that to be possible. But they should still have respect for you as an adult and a fear that you will alter their social life quicker than they can blink if they step out of line.

The painful truth here is that the parents of my generation are lost.

We have nurtured an impatient, entitled and selfish generation by buying them every gadget in the world, even if it meant camping outside Best Buy.

So now they turn to the wrong avenues to feel loved.

We have to plug in, check up, set boundaries, dole out proper punishments and make them earn everything.

Except hugs and encouragement.

Give those in abundance.

Heather Tempesta is a Brandon wife and mother of a 16-year-old boy, a 14-year-old girl and a 9-year-old boy.

Comments
Plan your weekend Jan. 19-21: Gasparilla Children’s Parade, Jake Owen, Riverdance, Florida Orchestra’s Dvorak

Plan your weekend Jan. 19-21: Gasparilla Children’s Parade, Jake Owen, Riverdance, Florida Orchestra’s Dvorak

Plan your weekendGasparillaChildren’s Parade: A week before the more raucous pirate invasion, the G-rated version hits the streets. The Children’s Gasparilla Extravaganza and Parade kicks off Gasparilla season with a bicycle safety rodeo on Saturday ...
Published: 01/17/18
Top things to do this week: Steve Martin and Martin Short, Gasparilla Children’s Parade

Top things to do this week: Steve Martin and Martin Short, Gasparilla Children’s Parade

PICKING AND GRINNING: Steve Martin and Martin ShortThere wasn’t a lot of bluegrass being played around Hamilton, Ontario, when Martin Short was a kid. But his decades-long friendship with Steve Martin has made him a fan, which brings An Evening With ...
Published: 01/17/18

Tell Me About It: Mom needs reassurance of their gratitude

Mom needs reassurance of their gratitudeQ: Whenever my mother gives me or my family member a gift, she ends up asking about it several times afterward. Does not matter if it was $5 or expensive.We always thank her for gifts, and these comments feel l...
Published: 01/16/18

Tell Me About It: Sister-in-law’s gall is of epic proportions

Sister-in-law’s gall is of epic proportionsQ: I’m a two-time, currently-Stage IV breast cancer survivor. When I was told I needed a double mastectomy, I did the research and decided to "go flat."For dressy occasions, I wear prostheses, but they’re no...
Published: 01/16/18

Tell Me About It: Pregnancy makes move harder to bear

Pregnancy makes move harder to bearI’m 27 weeks pregnant and just moved to a new city for a great job, but I think I made a big mistake. I loved my old life and feel so homesick for it. But my husband and I bought a house, so moving is not a feasible...
Published: 01/15/18

Tell Me About It: Mom is floored by daughter’s pregnancy

Mom is floored by daughter’s pregnancyQ: I’m literally shaking as I type this. My 15-year-old daughter is pregnant. I can’t believe it. We had many good discussions about waiting until she was ready, using birth control when she was, but it all did n...
Published: 01/14/18

Tell Me About It: Social daughter pushes mom’s boundaries

Social daughter pushes mom’s boundariesQ: So I am an introvert, and it has taken me years to finally accept this and allow myself to be happy alone, rather than constantly trying to appease my extroverted family with attempts to socialize that ultima...
Updated one month ago
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of Jan. 15-21

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of Jan. 15-21

Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Celebrations happen all around Tampa Bay today, including the MLK Dream Big Parade in downtown St. Petersburg. It includes 110 units and bands, including Florida A&M and Tuskegee universities, and ends with a Family Fun Da...
Published: 01/11/18
Updated: 01/14/18
Here’s how to sing along to the entire Hamilton soundtrack at a Tampa library

Here’s how to sing along to the entire Hamilton soundtrack at a Tampa library

If you’re already singing along to the entire Hamilton soundtrack alone, why not meet like-minded folks and do it together?A Hamilton singalong goes down tonight at the Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library in Tampa. Fans will gather to sing the entire — y...
Published: 01/11/18
Updated: 01/12/18

Tell Me About It: Retiree searches for purpose and answers

Retiree searches for purpose and answersQ: I retired over a year ago from a fairly high-powered job that gave me worldwide recognition in my field. The decision to retire (in my mid-70s) was a very difficult one because I was not sure I could fill my...
Updated one month ago