Tag Archives: teenagers

An Open Letter to the Parents of Teenagers

Last week, I found myself parked in the pick- up line of the local high school.  I’d gone to meet my daughter to give her some money for a baseball game.  Our schedules didn’t mesh exactly and I ended up waiting for her for several minutes.  I pulled up and out of the way of the parents picking up their children, put my car in park, and waited for my daughter.

While I sat there, I checked emails and Facebook and occasionally, looked around to see if my daughter was approaching.  This was when my jaw dropped to the floor boards.

Sitting a mere ten feet from me was a young girl who apparently, tried to sit on a bench, but missed.  Instead, she found herself seated upon the lap of a young man I can only assume was her boyfriend.

Their arms and legs were intertwined and from where I sat, it was nearly impossible to discern where one appendage began and another ended.

But wait.  It gets worse.

I couldn’t see this girls face.  Whyy, you ask?   It was because her face was firmly in the crook of her boyfriend’s neck so she could suck on it.

Now, this was no occasional kiss or nibble.  The behavior I witnessed was barely appropriate for any public setting, let alone the bench of the high school pick up line.

Let me be clear.  I am not a prude.  I have two children of my own, which means that if my math is correct, I’ve had sex at least twice in my life.  However, I will go so far as to tell you that I’ve never had sex on a bench in a public setting or displayed any such behavior like I was seeing at that moment. Even at that young age, I knew that if my parents were to see that display, I would be, at the very least, grounded and, at the worst, beaten to within an inch of my life. Of course, in my day, a “beating” didn’t have the same connotation it has now. Back then, a “beating” meant a swift kick in the pants or something of the like. And no, I didn’t threaten my parents with calling social services, nor did my neighbors call on my behalf. I knew I’d done something wrong and was being appropriately punished. I can assure you, the offending behavior was never done after that point.

As I sat in my car staring, mouth agape, at these two kids, I tried to figure out what bothered me so. I came to realize that what was so startling to me was that not a single person stopped to stare, point, or jeer at the couple.  Human nature dictates that we stop and stare at those things that are foreign and/or different to us.  The only person who seemed bothered by this behavior was me!  Apparently, I’m not accustomed to two people pawing at each other during high school dismissal time….yet a bunch of high-schoolers are.  And what does that say about today’s youth?

What is your reaction to this?  Would your reaction be any different if I told you that the child – yes, she is a child – was your daughter?  Or your son?

Because let me tell you something, if it were my daughter sitting on that bench, I would have gotten out of my car so fast it would have made her head spin.  Would I have embarrassed her?  Absolutely.  But, quite frankly, a little embarrassment when you’re doing something stupid, in my opinion, goes a long way.

Parents, take a stand.  We’ve all got to have those discussions. I know they’re awkward and uncomfortable – all the more reason to have them!  Tell your children in no uncertain terms that that sort of behavior is inappropriate in such a public setting!

Am I foolish enough to think it doesn’t happen?  Of course not.  I wasn’t born under a rock.  Kids are going to do things we don’t like.  They’re going to push their limits, and our buttons in the process. But here’s the issue:  It’s the audacity in which the action was performed that really got to me.  It was like the two kids sitting on the bench were just daring someone to come up to them and stop them.

And let me be abundantly clear on this:  It’s the setting of the behavior that’s inappropriate.  By this I mean that I don’t want to see anyone going at it like that on a public bench!

When did all sense of decorum leave us?  Have we gotten to the point that we are so afraid of confronting an issue like this one that we just ignore it? Or have we become a group of parents who feel they can’t punish our children unless we’ve specifically laid out the “bad” behavior and the corresponding punishment? Sorry, but there is no way humanly possible for us to think of and explain every type of bad behavior our children may explore. At some point, they’ve got to think on their own and develop an innate sense for what is right and wrong. This business of laying out every consequence and not punishing behavior that we haven’t expressly forbidden has gotten out of control. Come on, parents! Let’s teach our kids the basics and then let them figure it out as they go. And this means telling them in no uncertain terms that their choice was stupid and inapprpriate if the label fits. Stop being afraid of hurting your child’s feelings; stop wanting to be their friend.

You are their parent. It’s your job to raise a fully functioning adult. One that knows it’s not in their best interest to be sucking on their boyfriend’s neck in the middle of the high school pick up line. It’s called such because it’s where the parents pick up their kids – not where the kids get to “pick up” their next conquest. Zip up your dress, folks. It’s time to be parents again.

Oh! And if anyone knows whose child I saw that day on the park bench, call her parents.

Donna Small is tha author of three novels, Just Between Friends, A Ripple in the Water, and the forthcoming Through Rose Colored Glasses. Her books can be purchased here: http://www.secondwindpublishing.com/#!donna-small/c1ewn


Filed under life, musings, writing

Parenting teenagers: any advice is welcome

First I have to brag on my kids a tiny bit. Despite being teenagers, they are good kids who make me proud. They both made straight As this last quarter, and they are involved in wholesome activities, like marching band, soccer, yearbook and dance. They’ve never done anything to break my trust, but some things make me wonder … so I ask a lot of questions. As a result, my son, 15, and my daughter, 13, recently told me I was too nosy. Is there such a thing as being too nosy when you’re a parent and your children are the object of your nosiness?

A few things that make me pause:

My son recently told me that a friend, a girl (but not girlfriend) has a nice sound system in her bedroom. Should I be suspicious?

My daughter informs me of her boyfriends though facebook. Should I be insisting that she tell me in person?

They are both voracious texters. How do other parents of teenagers feel about looking at their kids’ cell phone texts? I sneak a peek once in a while, but don’t do it openly. If I did, I imagine the nosy complaints would get much louder. AND, they’d be erasing the good stuff. So far, I haven’t found anything too shocking.

A few things that drive me nuts:

Housework. How much housework do other parents make their teenagers do on a daily basis? I find it interesting that they can remember anything related to their social life, but whose turn it is to empty the dishwasher is impossible to remember. I’m about to assign odd/even days for things, so that I can easily keep up. Anyone have any other good ideas on how to make teenagers remember household chores?

TV. Is anyone in favor of getting rid of the TV? Has anyone tried it? My husband is the biggest hindrance to this plan in our house, so it will never happen. But I remember when I was growing up, we didn’t have a TV for a while and it made me read. I might never be the reader I am, if it hadn’t been for that period of TV-lessness.

Clothes: Suddenly the consignment store clothes aren’t good enough.

Attitude. I officially know much less than they do. And I don’t dress well enough. And I’m weird about what foods they should be eating. And if I stray outside the rigid norm, I am an embarrassment.

A few things that hurt:

Volunteering at their schools is not encouraged anymore.

I’m a chauffeur now, rather than someone to do fun things with.

The dancing-around-the-house-for-fun is not something they do with me anymore.

The goodnight hugs aren’t as intense as they used to be.

But I understand … they’re growing up!

I SO appreciate the time I have left, especially when I think that:

Some 15-year-old boys signed up to fight in the Civil War.

Some 13-year-old girls were considered marriageable in eras past (perhaps in some cultures today, too).

As much as they annoy at times, I already know I’ll hate the empty nest.

But, from what I hear, there’s a good chance they’ll move back home eventually. Then I’ll be asking for advice on how to deal with adult children. LOL.

Lucy Balch

Love Trumps Logic

Available at Amazon and through Second Wind Publishing


Filed under writing


My oldest child is technically an adult. He isn’t the kind of adult who is legally old enough to drink or gamble, but he is old enough to vote.

This adult lives in my house because technically, he’s still a kid too. MY kid. This man-child doesn’t have a job, but he does go to mechanics school at night. He also doesn’t drive because neither my husband nor I will let him near our vehicles. This “adult” has issues with responsibility.  Come to think of it, I know a lot of thirty-something adults who have problems with responsibility.

Anyway, back to what I was saying. My son, my child, my spoiled rotten brat. He isn’t allowed to drive our cars. There’s actually a car sitting in the driveway and we told him if he got a job and paid for the gas and the insurance, the 95 T-bird would be at his disposal. He’s never driven it. Not once. The tags on it expired last year. I didn’t bother renewing them.

Where was I? Oh that’s right. I remember. So, four days a week, as soon as I walk in the door from work, my husband leaves to drive our young adult son to school. Every night at 11:00, I am in the parking lot waiting to pick my son up and bring him home. Sometimes I don’t fall asleep until after one in the morning.

There are two alarm clocks in my bedroom. The first one goes off at an ungodly 4:30 am to wake up my husband who has to be at work at 6 am and the second alarm goes off at 6 am so I can get my tired ass to work by 8 am.  Both alarm clocks wake me up. We both push the snooze button as long as we can. I’ve learned to sleep in 9-minute increments.

Back to my son. Before summer vacation started, I would wake up the three younger children and get them all ready for school before I went off to work and the oldest child (adult) stayed in bed until after we’d all left.

Now the younger kids are out of school and summer vacation has begun! The older two are responsible for watching the younger two. Let the good times roll!

Except, I called home at eleven in the morning a couple of days ago and discovered that the older two children were sleeping. I gave the younger children permission to beat the hell out of the doors until their brothers woke up.

I have no idea why the adult in my house was irritated when I spoke to him on his cell phone that I pay for. Employer’s are supposed to be calling that phone, not girls. No potential employer has called that phone. Ever.

I was on the phone at work, speaking with my grouchy, irritable, spoiled rotten son of a… um me. Uh. yeah.

Anyway, While talking to my son, he complained to me that he was tired.

HE was tired.

Poor baby.

I had a moment of inspiration while I was sitting there with a pile of work threatening to collapse and bury me. The light bulb over my head zapped then lit up with a blinding realization as I spoke to my adult child on the cell phone I pay for. And  I KNOW he was lying on my living room couch, staring at my big screen tv, eating the last brownie that I was saving and complaining about how tired he was.  

I get him from school. We ride home together. We enter the house at the same time of night. I drag my tired ass to bed and he stays awake. I drag my tired ass out of the bed and he stays asleep.

So I’m a little slow sometimes. It’s because I’m SO DAMN TIRED.

But.. I got it now. Guess what, kid. Son of mine. You’re about to be tired too, because your ass is getting up every morning when your dad’s alarm goes off.

Okay, maybe not when the alarm goes off, but once dad stops pushing the snooze button and actually gets out of the bed, you’re getting up, too. You better be awake when I stumble out of the bedroom on my way to the coffee pot. If you aren’t, you can kiss that cell phone goodbye.

Tell me how tired you are then. Welcome to adulthood, Son! 


Filed under Humor, life