Saturday, May 26, 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.

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