Parenting is a blast.
It’s sooo much fun right up to the point that it isn’t!
Any parent who has raised a teenager has to know exactly what I mean. Parenting is widely entertaining until the kids grow up and suddenly have a mind of there own. Sure, there are glimpses of pleasant family time, but “good ole fashioned parenting” is no cake walk.
Parents who have been there, done it, got the T-shirt and the war wounds to prove it…congratulations…well done fellow soldier!!! Some of us are still on the battle grounds knee-deep in the eye rolling teenage trenches! We are in the fine line fox hole of not knowing how many questions are too many, how much encouragement is too much, and does the punishment fit the crime phase?
Sure our social media pages display a gallery of a smiling, cohesive, loving family by the Christmas tree or dressed up for Easter Sunday but trust me, these pictures are only preludes to opportunistic family squabbles. The photos can’t possibly capture the pre or post disagreement that originated out of thin air. The family dispute, over nothing at all, that suddenly escalates from bad to worse in 0.5 seconds. We have ourselves a full on futile combination of teenage and adult attitude brimming over. Each with the mind-set of “I will win this match,” and all I wanted was one nice family picture. What social media might deem as the “all american family” is really just non-stop negotiation, banter and prayer.
What I do know is that you can’t just wing being a parent. I mean, I guess you can and people do it BUT, it takes real strategic guidance to keep kids in the fairway. Parenting takes a ton of muscle. The kind you have to put your back and bank account into. It’s not an every other day when I feel like it. It’s every day…
Were you warned? Were you ready? Because I wasn’t.
I mean yes, I heard people talk about it but until you’re in the actual teenage ditch, until it actually happens you can’t really express the toll parents pay. I didn’t fully grasp that as a mother of a teenage daughter I would need strategic FBI questioning techniques to navigating the teen shark infested waters. I didn’t think that “MY KID” would cause me to act like a crazed lunatic. I didn’t grasp that I would have to devise plans to protect, communicate and even investigate imperative matters pertaining to my brown-eyed blonde bundle of joy. I had no clue that I would be met with esteemed resistance, silence and even secrecy. That being two steps ahead isn’t enough.
There is no improvising with teenagers. As parents what this means is we actually have to lead. “You mean after I teach the baby to walk, sip from a straw, talk, and recite the alphabet there is still more to do?” Yep, that’s what I’m saying.
Isn’t this why we send them to school?
Folks if you want your kids to be raised by You Tube and Insta and Snap Chat and have the morals of a monkey then go right ahead.
Ultimately it is our moral obligation to instruct these young teens in some strategic fashion, or else they will never fully get it! That is until it’s their turn and twice the amount of gadgets and devices to manage. Twice the technology to gauge and potential hazardous mind suffocating crap we fall for.
We have to put our best parenting foot forward and teach these kids the “WHAT IF” way! They have to be taught…because there is nothing instinctive about a teen’s brain. Science has proven that the frontal lobe of a teen is under developed. The seratonin levels and hormones make the average teen do some really stupid stuff . It’s our duty to drill down and talk. They need to be told and told again and told every single day in a repetitive Charlie Brown mom’s voice the truth of consequences and possibilities. There are repercussions for doing dumb stuff! It may not work for your kid. They may actually need hands on DIY experience but at the very least you can say that you warned them.
A few examples:
If I smoke pot I could potentially:
go to jail because marijuana is ILLEGAL
get in big trouble at home or school
get expelled from school
ruin future opportunities
cost my parents a ton of disappointment and money
lose all car, phone and social privileges
could lead to other drugs, habits and bad behavior
If I have pre-marital sex I could potentially:
become pregnant or get someone pregnant
contract a sexually transmitted disease (forever)
be shunned and shamed
be caught on camera without consent
forced to change or quit school to have a baby
lose college options
block blessings from Jesus
lose my teen / college privileges
endure physical labor of pregnancy
If I try cocaine or other hard drug / substances I could:
have a bad reaction
become addicted the first time
harm myself or someone else while under the influence
go to jail for consuming an illegal substance
If I underage drink and or drink and drive I could potentially:
hurt myself or someone else while under the influence
have a car accident and hurt someone else (an innocent someone else)
go to jail
face criminal charges
be recorded by someone who I don’t even know
make a bad decision under the influence that might lead to something worse
lose job, scholarship, position in sports, etc
be expelled from school
lose my position in extracurricular activities
cost my parents a ton of money and disappointment
criminal record which will never goes away
lose my inhibitions leading to further bad decision-making
If I cheat on a test or exam I could:
potentially get caught
expelled from school
flunk the exam
face trouble at home and privileges lost
If I hang out with the wrong crowd I could potentially:
risk my reputation
get caught up in their trouble
guilty by association
be recorded without consent
If I choose to legally drink but not responsibly I could potentially:
get sick and vomit
at risk for rape/ pregnancy/ disease
lose credit cards money and memory
get behind the wheel and have an accident
If I go somewhere alone I have to:
be aware of my surroundings at all times
be on guard at all times
let someone know where I’m going
have an exit strategy
If I go to a party/event with friends and I become uncomfortable I can?
call a friend, family member or parent
SCREAM, bite, hit, kick and make a big scene
politely excuse yourself and phone a friend (trusted parent) call a cab or uber
Sneak out and leave
BUT…I don’t want to leave my wing man?
and my wingman / friend doesn’t want to go…(who may be under the influence) I don’t want to look like a narc, or dramatic or a good goody? Now what?
If your friend isn’t in a dangerous position and has the wear with all to make educated decisions then by all means leave. But if your friend is drunk or high and you don’t feel comfortable leaving her…ask for help?
Call an adult? call the police?
But I don’t want to get myself or anyone else in trouble? Weigh the options.
Could you or your friend be hurt, raped, drugged, injured,harmed, or arrested if you stay? If the answer is yes, then you take the risk because the potential for trouble is either way. Better safe than sorry.
SEE SOMETHING SAY SOMETHING
If you think your friend is making bad choices, say something to someone. An adult will be able to access the situation without turning you into the bad guy.
If I text nude photos or semi-nude photos to my boyfriend/girlfriend under the age of 18, I could:
face criminal charges and go to jail for child pornography
be expelled from school
pictures could spread and go viral
If I write something in a text, email or picture format (even to a friend)
can be used in a court of law
If I text and drive I could:
have a horrific accident injuring myself and or someone else
cost tons of money in hospital bills
damages to my car
face criminal charges
If I don’t wear my seat belt I could:
get stopped for a traffic violation
cost money to pay the ticket
take a drivers course
fly through the windshield if accident happened
If I participate in HAZING/Bullying I could:
be caught on camera
face criminal charges
get expelled from school
cost tons of money and disappointment
lose credibility and trust
If I drive don’t obey the traffic laws I could:
get a ticket
go to court
pay an expensive fine
take a defensive driving course
have a violation on my record
risk being filmed on camera
possibly revoke my license to drive
lose car and driving privileges
Face trouble and issue at home such as social and phone privileges
If I drive illegally I could:
my friend could rat on me
film me without my knowledge or consent
get a traffic ticket pay a hefty fine and go to court
lose all privileges at home
Sure some of these are far-reaching scenarios but maybe just maybe they will resonate with your teen. What also might work is random drug testing. I like this idea because it gives the kid an honest to goodness out! An excuse not to participate in illegal drugs because they could potentially be drug tested.
It’s also a fine idea to be a phone a friend. I tell my teen queen that we can have a “no questions asked” policy. At anytime I will come pick her up to prevent her from driving with friends or getting behind the wheel intoxicated. We Parents want to be the safe place to land! Which is so hard because what we really want to do is rage!
Most kids think they won’t get caught and most don’t or won’t but this list might prohibit them from doing some really stupid stuff. This could open the door for broader thinking than just right here the right now. They may be able to process two questions ahead leading to their safety.
The world hasn’t changed much but the rules have changed. Today, one mistake behind the wheel or getting caught with something stupid in the car or backpack can have grave consequences. Technology is smart but teenagers misuse and abuse it. We have to open our eyes to open their eyes and do the work.
Maybe if you print this out and paste it to their wall or on the bathroom mirror it will make an impact!!!
It’s dirty work. It’s labor intensive and doesn’t ensure a perfect teenager because I’m positive that doesn’t exist. Get low, stay low, talk a lot and be there to catch them when they fall.
Love, talk and talk and talk! We can laugh about it all later when they have teenagers!!!
Ps is curfew even a parental worry in 2018?
3 thoughts on “Strategic Parenting”
This is well thought out and well stated. An excellent article, Angi.
Thank you for the positive feedback. Stop by and make a comment anytime. Xoxo.