Does your teen talk to you?


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I know every kid is different. But it can get frustrating when you have one child that tells you everything and another that’s tight lipped.

My son and his girlfriend broke up last weekend. I’ve been trying for days to find out what went on but when I ask, he tells me he doesn’t want to talk about it. I really don’t know how to respond to that.

Why wouldn’t he want to spill his guts to his mother? Doesn’t he realize that mothers need to know what’s going on in their kids’ lives — every sordid detail of it? Doesn’t he realize that a mother’s advice is the best advice any son could ever get since mother knows best?

I’m ashamed to admit in my quest for info, I’ve resorted to stealth tactics that would make James Bond proud. I’ve tried listening outside his door when he was talking to a friend. I’ve tried searching through Facebook for clues. I’ve tried sending my younger son in to see what tidbits he could learn. I’ve even tried stretching my eyes to catch a glimpse of his text messages.

Finally, I gave up. I gauged my son’s mood and he seems okay so I decided he would share what he wanted with me when he felt ready.

A friend of mine with adult children gave me this advice for raising teens: “stay available.”

Last night, my son was in a pretty good mood and I asked him if he had spoken with his ex-girlfriend lately. I almost fainted when he responded with a small conversation and some details rather than a grunt.

By now, I know better than to give advice. Telling a teen that hurt feelings will pass is not effective because they live in the present an their pain is immediate. The only thing I could say to him was “breakups are a learning experience.”

By now, I would have known every sordid detail if the break up would have happened to one of my other kids. I have no choice but to accept that my son is more private. It makes me think about how tough it must be on parents whose kids keep bigger problems to themselves.

One mom says her opportunity to learn what’s going on happens when her son’s friends are over or in her car. “I just keep my mouth shut and listen.  My kid knows I’m there but he is more willing to say things than if I was speaking to him directly.”

How important to you think it is for parents to know what is going on in our teens’ relationships and friendships? Parents, how do you get your teen to open up to you? Do pointed questions work for you?


Coping when your teen leaves for college


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My world just shifted. I took my daughter to college hundreds of miles away from home.

The reality of this life event is something for which a parent never can fully prepare. It is bittersweet realization: I have one less child to cook for, one less lunch to pack for school and one less schedule of activities to coordinate.

As I kissed my daughter goodbye, I reminisced about the night I got stuck working really late at the office and cried because my babysitter had put her to bed before I had returned home. I felt guilty and crushed that I had missed an entire day of my infant’s young life. If only I knew then that work life balance was less about one day and more about the next 18 years.

The truth is I enjoy the chaos that has ruled my life as I have juggled writing deadlines with chauffeuring her to soccer practice, sleepovers and movies with friends. It was through that chaos that I built a bond with her that will only strengthen as it evolves.

Now, I face a new reality: My daughter becoming independent doesn’t just mean that I suddenly have more free time. It means that my entire home life has changed in ways I had not anticipated. Walking past her quiet bedroom, I miss her and know it is  going to be a tough adjustment for me. But watching her explore her passions in life is going to be exciting. She already sounds happy, meeting new friends and exercising her independence.

With two children still at home, I am savoring the daily chores that I used to consider annoyances. I am packing lunches with a new appreciation and giving homework help with more enthusiasm. Suddenly, I see a future where my mom duties less needed. It’s scary. I’m not sure I will ever be prepared for that life transition. For now, I’m trying my best to shake off the feeling that my chest is a bit heavier and my house a bit emptier.



Ugh! Is anyone else dreading “Back to School”?


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Well the time has come.. it’s “BACK TO SCHOOL” time! The time of year I dread! I dread it because I feel like I AM IN HIGHSCHOOL AGAIN and because of the following TOP 10 reasons:

1. Fighting moms  at the mall with back to school shopping clothes

2. Buying ALL the supplies for school and then having more to shop and hunt for after the first day!

3. HOMEWORK!! who do you think helps? Moms and Dads ! and trying to get it all done before soccer practice!

4. TEST! EXAMS!  again, who do you think helps them study??

5. Traffic will now double in the moring and afternoon! as well as we have school zones to slow us getting to work.

6. Keeping up with all the school meetings!

7. Early morning wake ups! Love trying to get everyone up and  out on time.

8. Driving them to school.There goes that extra time we had in the morning to ourselves.

9. Crazy rushed mornings getting everything done.

10. Last minute runs to buy items for a school project that is due the next day.

So, I ask you, Is anyone else dreading it?

Should you stalk your kids on Facebook, Instagram?


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My daughter is a summer camp counselor and LOVES every minute of it. I know this because she has been posting photos on her Facebook page of herself with other counselors doing a group high 5 or dressed head-to-toe in blue for color war. Peeking at her Facebook page gives me a glimpse into her world without having to bombard her with questions when she comes home. Sometimes the comments on her status updates are the best part! For parents, the key definitely is to refrain from asking you kid anything about what she posts.

Admit it. If you’re a parent, you have looked at your teen’s Facebook page, Instagram or Twitter update for the sheer purpose of knowing who your kid is hanging around and what they are doing or saying without them knowing you’re as interested as you are. God forbid they think we’re nosy!

In the fall, my daughter will be off to college and you can bet I’ll be trying to sneak a peek at what she’s up to by checking her social media pages. At the school’s recent orientation, they showed parents a YouTube video to warn us not to go overboard stalking our kids on social media. The video, a satire, is pretty hilarious.

In the video produced by The Onion, E-Mom’ Gloria Bianco shows two TV news anchors how geographical distance is no longer a roadblock to shamelessly interfering with the lives of your children.

It cracked me up so I  had to share it with all of you.  Whether you have a kid going to college or not, I hope you’ll find it as funny as I did.


Time for the permit..give me strength


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My daughter Olivia, turns 17 today. I know she was hoping by now she would have her permit and possibly her license, but circumstances stopped that from happening because of her poor choices. I have to admit, I am very relieved she hasn’t been driving. However, I know its time for her to get her permit… UGH.. the one thing I am dreading!

I signed her up this summer at a high school to take Drivers Education  for 4 hours a day for 3 weeks. She loves it. I want her to be taught properly the rules of the road and the law as well. She is really enjoying it and is getting school credit as well.

She is suppose to have a driving log, which means I am suppose to drive with her weekly. I told her that I don’t think I could do it. It just freaks me out the thought of her in that crazy traffic world. It’s scary for me. She has not clue how crazy and stupid other drivers are and that if she doesn’t drive defensively she could end up dead. I know she is excited and this is a big stage in her life, but Mom doesn’t like this stage of life. Mom wants her daughter safe at home. I know that isn’t realistic. Sooner or later, Olivia has to be able to live and deal with the real world.. ugly as it may be at times.

I told her I would pay for a driving school because I simply can not teach her myself. I am a nervous wreck and that will not help her while she is driving.

Funny thing is, now she corrects me when I drive. Maybe I need to go back to drivers ed?

Do you drive with your teen? Do they make you nervous?  Did you teach your teen to drive or do you think Driver’s Ed is the way to go?


A mother’s thoughts at her daughter’s high school graduation


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(Me and My Graduate!)



Years ago, I was driving home from work late at night and tears came to my eyes. A late-breaking news story had kept me in the office and I had missed the entire day with my baby daughter. As the sitter filled me in by phone on my baby’s day, I was overcome with guilt.

Eighteen years later: My daughter, wearing a cap and gown, enters the auditorium to Pomp and Circumstance to say goodbye to high school. That one day I missed with my baby long ago has become far less important, overtaken by a series of bigger moments that became the basis of our close relationship.

Around me, other parents also silently marvel at the swiftness of time and wonder if we have properly prepared our kids for their journey into the real world.

As mothers, our parenting “jobs’’ perhaps have been more complicated than those of generations past. Today, 68 percent of married mothers work outside the home (and among single, divorced or separated moms, it’s 75 percent).

Almost all working mothers and fathers, including myself, harbor some regret with our kids — a recital or tournament we missed, a day we sent our child to school with sniffles, that time we lost our temper after a difficult day at work. I regret field trips I couldn’t chaperone because of deadlines and car rides I spent on my cellphone with work instead of talking with my children.

As I surveyed fellow parents of graduates, I found that I wasn’t alone. The biggest regrets came from those who felt they shortchanged themselves by working too many hours, or sharing too little down time with their kids. Yet those at the other end of the spectrum who had devoted most of their time to kids also expressed angst; what will they do now?

If we have been good role-models, our success at combining work and family will inspire our children.

Dads like my husband, who balance work and coaching their children’s sports teams or sitting through recitals, face their teens’ graduation day with similar introspection. More fathers today want to be more involved with their children than in past generations, but they struggle to break free of the constant electronic communication that keeps them tied to their work. On this day, they tuck away their devices to relish the seemingly-fleeting time with their children.

I think about the candy sales, the mad dash to sports practice and the parent-teacher conferences that have been so much a part of my life in years past. As some of those activities fall off my calendar, I realize that my daughter and I are both moving on to new adventures and adjustments.

As she flips her tassel and heads off to college, I hope my daughter remembers not to accept what other people expect of her, to explore all options and do what she finds fulfilling. I have impressed upon her that hard work will beat out talent, that life never goes exactly as planned, and that it’s okay to make unpopular choices if she thinks they are right for her.

We all walk away from graduation with something. For some, it’s the lessons learned from juggling parenthood and careers. For me, it is motivation to appreciate the career and life choices I made and look ahead. The ultimate reward of working motherhood will be to watch my daughter pursue her passions — as I have mine — and to marvel at where the journey takes her.


At what age do boys notice girls?


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This past weekend, I was the water mom for my son’s lacrosse team. As I sat on the bench refilling water bottles, I listened as the 13-year-old boys were dissecting each play and how much game time each player was getting on the field. They were completely focused on the game — until a group of girls they knew came up behind them.

Because the bench was pushed back against a fence, the girls came up in a cluster and began flirting with the boys, urging them to come see their game. The entire bench of boys turned around to look at and talk to the flirty girls.

I found it amusing. The coach did not. “Girls, leave! You’re distracting my players,” he shouted.

My youngest son has noticed girls practically since birth. When he was only about three years old, I had to tell him to look older girls in the eye and not their chests. My older son really didn’t show an interest in girls until he was about 13. For him, that was the age when girls became less of an annoyance and more of a species that smells good and laughs at his jokes.

On the few forays I’ve had into relationship conversation with my older son, I’ve violated every basic rule of parental control, starting with “don’t give love advise to a teenager” and “keep the mood light.”

Some mothers will tell me their maturing son shows no interest in girls and wonder at what age that will change. They ask me if they should bring it up. I’m sure each kid is different, but when it happens, moms usually figure it out. All of a sudden, your son is putting on the Axe, brushing his hair and staring when an attractive girl walks by.

I’m worried that there’s some secret love advice I should be passing on (Be a gentleman? Don’t be patronizing? Text? Call?) 

Frankly, I‘d like my 13-year-old son to stay young, focused on the game and facing forward on the bench for many more years. But reality has hit and there’s no going back. He notices girls and so do most of his friends and teammates.

What age do you remember taking an interest in the opposite sex? Was there any love advice your parent gave you that you plan to pass on?


World’s Fastest Texter is….a teen of course!


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I’m out with my son and we’re stopped at a red light. I’m trying to send a text message to a friend when I hear, “Oh my god mom. You text soooo slow.”

“What? I think I’m pretty fast!” I tell him.

Of course, now the light turns green and I hand the phone over to my son to finish the  text for me. In two seconds, he zips off the rest of the text.

Okay. I’m no match for a teen texter. What is it about their finger-brain coordination that has given them the edge?  They can type under tables or desks without even looking at the screen. They can text with their phones in their pockets. They can text regardless of the obstacles — angry teachers, pesky parents or even a few beers in.

So, it should be no surprise that the World’s Fastest Texter is a 17-year old Brazilian teenager who competed for the title in New York City and typed a 26-word message perfectly in just 18.19 seconds, beating the previous champion’s record of 18.44 seconds.

CNET reports that to become the Guinness World Record holder for texting, Marcel Fernandes Filho, had to text the following sentences and get both the spelling and punctuation right: “The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human.”

Personally, I’m just surprised the kid knew how to spell and use punctuation. That’s a feat in itself.

Filho broke the record on a Samsung Galaxy S4 with the Fleksy keyboard application installed. That the same phone my son owns. Maybe I won’t be so annoyed next time I find him texting under the dinner table. I guess he’s just in training to break the world record!


Photo of Marcel Fernandes Filho, courtesy of Fleksy

What’s up with teen obsession with selfies?


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Have you noticed that if you spend a day with teens, particularly girls, numerous selfies will be taken? You will be driving along minding your own business when a flash goes off in the back seat . You will be startled, but then you will remember you are transporting a teen or multiple teens so that streak of light isn’t a siren or a UFO — it’s merely another selfie.

Yes, we are raising the #selfie generation. Our kids may be future doctors or lawyers or even nuclear scientists but only if they’re not too busy posting selfies  on Instagram to worry about a career.

And, now, the selfie has made headlines for its appearance at college graduation. The University of South Florida has forbid graduates to take selfies on stage during graduation. USF notified graduating students and placed an ad in the student newspaper this week asking them to refrain from taking selfies with USF president Judy Genshaft when crossing the stage for their diplomas. The reason, they claim, is that it will slow down the graduation ceremony. But can the selfie generation really refrain from such a prime selfie opportunity?

The selfie craze has affected high school graduation, too. My daughter recently informed me that graduates at her high school no longer want the prestige of sitting on the stage during graduation. Usually, a stage seat means you’re highly ranked in the class. But sitting on the stage now means you can’t use your cell phones during the ceremony — and that means no “here I am waiting for my turn selfies.” Even worse, it means no texting for a few hours. What American teen could survive that?

As selfies document every accomplishment in my teens’ lives, I’ve been wondering…Are kids today more self-absorbed than we were at their age?

It seems like vanity has become an obnoxious online preoccupation for teens reinforced by a burning need for “likes.”  What’s amazing to me is that very few poses are off limits for selfie-taking teens. One mom I know says the sharing of self-portraits on social networking has become such an issue in her house that that she has banned bathing suit selfies.

How many of you have witnessed a teen trying repeatedly to take the perfect selfie? It can involve posing and re-posing so many times that you find yourself saying “enough already!”

So, for  parents like me who are reeling from selfie obsession,  it’s up to us to shape the future of the habit. Tell you’re kid her or she is lovable and cool and doesn’t need a selfie to prove it. You might have to do it between camera clicks.




Sometimes ending a friendship is a good thing.


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During the course of your life you will meet many people who will have an adverse affect on you and will either stay in your life or go. Some stay for a short time and some longer and even very few forever.

I was talking to my daughter about how you will make so many friends in high school and college and throughout your life, but there will be very few who will be your “best friend” forever. I told her that I have lifetime friends that I can count on one hand and that’s enough for me. I have my childhood friend since 2nd grade Jackie, my college room-mate Suzanne, and my best friend Sally. These ladies are my true friends. Friend that wont judge me, turn on me, leave me or  be jealous of me. They are the ones that stick with  you NO MATTER what. And you want to know something, Jackie and Suzanne don’t even live near me. They live in other states. But, that doesn’t matter. We pick up like we never missed a beat. It was as if distance was never there. THAT IS FRIENDSHIP. They are my sister soul mates. I can tell them anything and they will love me forever and for that I cherish and adore them.

Recently,  my daughter Olivia told me about one of her “best friends” she had in 8th grade and 9th grade that her dad and I thought was a bad influence and NOT a true friend. Olivia soon realized in 9th grade her “friend” was betraying her, getting her into trouble and hanging around the wrong people.  At that time I told Olivia, that Monica is not your friend. Friends don’t get you in trouble. They want the best for you and protect you. Well, she broke off their friendship and it was the best  thing Olivia did.

I remember the day she told me “Mom, I told Monica  we needed a break. I just want to stay away from her. She hangs around the wrong people.” I was thrilled Olivia came to this conclusion on her own without my input.  I was so proud.  Olivia was actually listening to me! Constant communication does work. There is hope!

Recently, her friend Monica was arrested for selling ADHD meds. Olivia said she was expelled from school as well. Inside I was saying “I told you so!” I mentioned to her all the times I told her Monica wasn’t her friend and not a good influence. See where she landed… in jail! Her life will never be the same with a record and being expelled.

I remember that Monica had parents that were “cool” according to Olivia.  Her parents would go out late  and leave Monica at home and sometimes for a weekend which resulted in parties at the house and police! I told Olivia those parents aren’t cool. It’s much easier not to discipline and to allow things to happen. It’s easier to not be involved in your kids lives. These  parents went out all the time!

I told Olivia, its fine for parents to go out but it’s not okay to go out overnight and late so there is no adult supervision for a high school teen at home. I’m not naive enough to go out late or go away for a weekend and not expect parties at my house. You see what  that parenting style did to their child!

Olivia now realizes as she is growing up the importance of choosing friends carefully and surrounding yourself with people who will have a positive influence on you.  I told her about her one best friend Jared, who has been her friend since 5th grade and is loyal and there for her always. I said, “Olivia, Jared will be one of your friends on your one hand. ” She said “yeah, he will”.

Friends will come and go  through  your life and some friendships will end, but not by choice and that is fine because I guess they truly weren’t your friend after all then were they?


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