Raising Teens

A site for parents of teens striving for sanity

Page 10 of 26

I survived an “ULTRA ” Weekend!

Well, after 2 years of saying “NO” to my daughter to go to a 3 Day ULTRA MUSICAL FESTIVAL in Miami, this year I finally approved and allowed her to go under certain conditions:

1. Grades had to be GOOD

2. She must come home by her curfew

3. She must check in when she arrives, during festival and on her way home.

4. NO drinking or drugs

I’m happy to say she did ALL 4 PLUS her boyfriend’s dad paid for a car service to take them to and from the festival so they wouldn’t have to drive. That was a HUGE peace of mind for me and her dad to know she was safe.

I was VERY anxious and nervous as I was trusting her to go this festival but knew how much she LOVES EDM (electronic dance music) and the DJ’s. Heck, I like them. I knew people from my work who were going and they were very good kids, so I felt good about my decision. Olivia is 17 and will be turning 18 before I know it. When she’s in college, I won’t be there every day to make sure she gets home safe. I had to trust her.

I knew how much she changed in a year and was going to the festival because she truly loved the music NOT the craziness around it. Nevertheless, I was still worried as any normal sane parent would be.

She had purchased what she was going to wear each day and decorated it with flowers and glitter. I was truly impressed by her outfits.  She wore beautiful flowered head bands and decorated flowered tops and of course comfortable tye-dyed Keds. She was set and she was excited.

One night, Saturday to be exact, I was coming from Miami visiting family and got caught in rain heading home, so I texted her to warn her rain was coming. Well, about 30 minutes later around 9 p.m., as I walk in the door, she texts me ” Mom, can you come pick us up (her and her boyfriend), it’s raining, we are cold and wet?”  Of course, I said I would.  For my selfish reasons, I was thrilled she wanted to come home early. So, off to Miami I go again but to ULTRA!  This was going to be an experience for me and her dad. We had no clue what we would be driving into, but I  was kind of excited. I would be able to see what all the hype is and see what Olivia loved about it.

We picked her and her boyfriend up and gave them blankets. As I looked around, it wasn’t bad at all. Kids were having fun listening to music and just hanging out and walking around.

The last night of ULTRA, Sunday night , I couldn’t wait for her to come home. When she texted me at 10:30pm, “in express lanes, heading home” I was like YAY!! ULTRA is over. I SURVIVED with no drama or incidents! Woo Hoo!!

When she got home, I asked, “So, how was it?” She said, “It was the best time of my life mom. It was what I expected and more.” I was so happy for Olivia because she got to hear her favorite DJ’s and be a part of a “Woodstock” like event something she will tell her kids and remember for the rest of her life.

And I will remember that “I survived 2014 ULTRA  Music Festival  weekend!” But more importantly, I will remember that I trusted my daughter and she came through with flying colors.

As college approaches, mom gets panicked

I can’t help myself. I’m in a panic.

As the idea that my teen daughter will soon be leaving for college sinks in, I’m in lecture mode.

Every chance I get, I slip in another lecture based on my worry of the moment.

Don’t drink from a cup you put down at a frat party!

Don’t walk around campus at night by yourself!

Don’t be fooled into think a guy wants you to watch TV at his apartment (He always wants more!)

Don’t take a shower in the dorm without shower shoes!

Don’t get busted with a fake ID!

I have a new “don’t” for her as each week passes. What’s wrong with me?

I want my daughter to enjoy her college experience. I want her to become independent and make new friends. But I’m overtaken the need to squeeze lectures into every free moment of our time together.

I’m really not sure how I went from “get rid of that pacifier” to “always carry around mace.”

Do all parents of high school grads get this crazy? Please tell me I not the only one.

Meanwhile, I’m off to give another lecture….


Mom shops at Victoria’s Secret

If you recall, I wrote a blog a while back about shopping at Hollister with my daughter and how she felt I was too old to be shopping there and that  it wasn’t appropriate.. blah blah blah.

Well… we had a similar experience last weekend when Mom, that’s me, had a coupon from Victoria’s Secret for a FREE Panty/Thong and went into the store with my daughter Olivia  to pick out  my FREE panty/ thong. I decided as were  looking through the panties and thongs to give my daughter the coupon and let  her pick out what she liked. As I was showing my daughter  panties and thongs , she turned to me with this look of bewilderment and said ” Mom, these are mom panties and thongs, I don’t wear these!”

EXC– USE ME?? This is Victoria’s Secret there is no GRANNY Pantiess here !! I looked at her and said “Olivia, they’re thongs! What’s the difference??  Are you kidding? This is not Hollister. This is MY store and these panties and thongs are not OLD they are not teen like PINK , but hey they are no GRANNY Panties!”

I was so taken back but, I have to admit, I did laugh because here my daughter is picking out a hot pink thong that is okay for me to wear, but not her, and I actually love  what she picked.  She’s got good taste.. I’ll give her that.

I was happy at the fact that we were spending time together and more importantly that she cared about what kind and color thong I was wearing!

Some day I may be wearing the Granny Panties and most likely they will be purchased by  my daughter and they  may even be hot pink so, until then, I’ll enjoy the adventures of shopping with a teen and love the laughter along the way.


Is it okay for boyfriend/girlfriend to sleep over each others house?

My daughter recently went over her boyfriend’s house last Saturday night to hang out like she has done in the past. I fell asleep and realized she wasn’t home and it was past her curfew. I looked on my phone and found messages from her saying she is sleeping over her girlfriend’s house.  I am a bit upset over the fact she didn’t ask permission and I know she is lying!

I asked her why she didn’t ask me prior to now and she said she fell asleep. More lies. I decided I would let her stay over her “girlfriend’s” house  knowing very well she is probably at her boyfriend’s. I knew arguing at this time of night wasn’t going to get me anywhere so I said we would talk about this in the morning when she comes home. 

Next morning comes around and like I suspected she stayed at her boyfriend’s house! I was extremely upset because we had this discussion before and I am totally against it as well as her father. She tells me that she doesn’t understand what the big deal is? Lots of parents let their kids stay at the boyfriend’s house.

I said, ” Well, it’s not okay with this parent.” She said my reasoning did not help her understand why it was wrong or inappropriate because she found nothing wrong with it. They weren’t doing anything and they are 17.”

How do I talk to a teen rationally about this? I am spitting nails and fuming. I think at one point I saw Jesus and asked for help because I’m gonna need it.

My daughter would not let go of the fact that there is nothing wrong with the sleepover and that it’s not wrong.

So, I am asking .. Am I wrong? Do you allow your teen to sleep over their boyfriend/girlfriend’s homes? Have times changed THAT much? I need someone to please help me understand this or at least help me make my daughter understand.

I did explain to her that sometimes in life, just because we don’t think it’s not inappropriate or wrong, doesn’t mean it isn’t. There isn’t always a logically reason.

That same day my husband called my daughter’s boyfriend’s dad and told him that she was not allowed to sleep over  and unless he hears it from us, don’t believe it it is okay with us.

I mean really? These teens now a days have found a way to basically make everything a battle. sleepover with boyfriends? Yay or Nay?

What exactly is cyber bullying?

Today, I read that cyber bullying is an epidemic.

An epidemic? Is it really an epidemic? Don’t get me wrong. I’m completely against taunting on social media sites. And, I agree that teens sometimes are cruel on social media and it leads to horrible consequences. But is it really an epidemic? My problem with this intense attention on cyber bullying is that I’m not sure any of us know what that word really means. It’s really hard to know when teens online are crossing the line because it seems to me they are always crossing the line. 

Today, most teens aren’t reluctant to post anything on social media. They play out their entire lives online. One girl posted horrible things on my son’s Facebook page because he wouldn’t help her jump a fence and cut class. He just wrote her back an equally obnoxious post. I forced him to take the entire conversation off Facebook. He told me I was making a big deal out of nothing.

It’s pretty clear that social media is transforming the teen experience. It has provided a platform  for practices that are good, bad, and ugly. What’s really different today is that those practices are far more visible because they leave traces and more people see them. But when you look at what teens are doing online, they’re doing what they’ve always done at this stage – socialize, gossip, flirt, joke around. Sometimes, what I think is bullying or offensive, my kids just view as normal teen interaction. I’m always asking questions, trying to figure out this “connected” generation and their different way of thinking.

I just learned what a subtweet was on Twitter. It’s directly referring to a particular person without mentioning their name or directly mentioning them. Basically, it’s talking about someone behind their back but sort of in their face on Twitter!  Example, “wearing mini skirts is so geeky #dressbetter.”  Would you consider that cyberbullying? I find it cruel but teens find it normal online conversation.

 A new survey from FindLaw.com says nearly one out of twelve parents report their child has been a victim of cyberbullying.  FindLaw defines cyberbullying  as threatening, harassing, hateful, hostile or reputation-damaging messages or photos that are sent though text messages, social networks and emails.  According to FindLaw.com, 7 percent of parents surveyed say that their child has experienced cyberbullying. 

Danah Boyd, author of The Social Lives of Networked Teens has studied teen online interaction and said, “I expected bullying to be much worse because of the Internet but I’m confident in the data that shows that it’s not.”

There’s a chorus of adult voices — online and off — who are scared by teen’s heavy use of technology. So, I say, parents: don’t be frightened, be involved. Let your teen teach you how and why they’re using social media, ask a LOT of questions, even if they are annoyed by it. When you get a glimpse into the complex teenage online world, you can make your own mind up about cyberbullying. Yes, it definitely exists and if you suspect your kid is involved, you definitely should step in. But I think we all need to try harder to figure out exactly what cyberbullying is today before we call it an epidemic. 

Parents, what are your thoughts on cyberbullying? When do you thinking normal teen online interaction crosses the line into cyberbullying? Have you ever asked your teen to remove something from his or her social media sites?



Getting rid of Valedictorian?


When my daughter told me her boyfriend was his high school valedictorian, I was impressed. But should I be? Does high school rank have an indication on career success?

Lately, I find myself saying over and over that the pressure on teens to perform well in high school to get into a good college has gotten insane. If fact, it’s so insane that my kids and high school teachers I have talked to about it tell me that cheating has reach epic proportions.

So, I found it interesting when I saw in today’s Sun-Sentinel that the county I live in, Broward County, may eliminate the practice of awarding the top two high school students the titles of valedictorian and salutaorian. Instead, the top 15 percent of the students would be honored as either cum laude, magna cum laude or summa cum laude — distinctions typically awarded at colleges.

The Broward School Board feels the change would curb the nasty competition that often brews among students and parents and reflect what colleges are looking for, which they claim is “the total package”.

The other night, I walked into my son’s room and he was face down in his AP history book at midnight. I  love that he wants to do well in school and get into a top college. I know not every teen is motivated by good grades. But there’s even more than grades for these teens to worry about. Teens are under enormous pressure to have “the total package” — good grades, good test scores, extracurricular activities and leadership skills. I got to admit, as a parent, I get stressed by it. 

But, even if you get rid of Valedictorian or Salutatorian, I don’t think the competition would get any less intense. My son and the rest of Broward County high school students would still have to compete with thousands of seniors who are applying to colleges from counties all over the U.S. and they would still feel the pressure. While I admire the school board attempt to do something, I’m not sure there is an easy solution.

 Parents, what are your thoughts? Do you think they should get rid of high school rankings?


How one teen told her grandmother she was gay

My friend’s daughter is one of the most courageous teens I know. She had come to terms with her sexuality and doesn’t try to hide who she is, regardless of what others think or say. She told her parents she was a lesbian many months ago, but over the weekend she decided it was time to tell her grandmother, a spunky 70-year-old Holocaust survivor.

Her version of the interaction is so entertaining that I had to share it with you. Parents, would you encourage your son or daughter to talk openly with their grandparents about their sexual preference for the same sex?


By Shelby Curran

If you know me personally, you know that I am probably the most open person in the world. And if you don’t know me, you probably still assume that I am because I have an internet blog based solely on the fact that I am Jewish and gay. Let’s be real.

However, no matter how “out in the open” I am about my sexuality and my life in general, my grandmother has always been a touchy subject for me. She’s your average, adorable, matzah ball soup making, clothing misplacing, slightly over bearing, and even sometimes embarrassing grandma. A Holocaust survivor and someone deeply rooted in her Jewish religion, she has always inspired me to live life to the fullest and cultivate my own Jewish lifestyle and identity. But, as suspected, traditional values often combat and question the subject of homosexuality.

Naturally, I kept putting “coming out” off. I could never find the right time and place, and my family was always afraid of what she might say. But almost four years later, it felt awful keeping a huge part of myself hidden from her, and to be honest, I figured I might as well jump the gun before someone else let it slip.

 Read more

Depression and Suicide among teen athletes increasing?

I went on Facebook today and saw an article from The New York Post that a friend shared about a 19-year-old track star from U Penn who killed herself over the stress of her grades. She jumped to her death from a parking garage. She was a happy teen who did amazing in high school but once she got to U Penn, a great ivy league school, the stress of school and getting good grades was too much.

She lost confidence in her school work and her track abilities. She told her dad she was under a lot of stress so he told her to go see a therapist that can prescribe antidepressant  medication. Well, that didn’t happen.  She took her life rather than face the stress.

When I read these article, it chills me to the bone because my daughter always tells me that she is under a lot of stress and that I don’t understand the stress teens are under now a days. I use to think this was her being dramatic. But, I have to really be careful and take what she says to heart. We all should! Olivia lost a friend to suicide last May who was the soccer star and very smart in school. Everyone thought she was happy until the day she killed her self. I blogged about this last year and as you can see, this is a problem we need to address.

I don’t have the answer to how to get teens to survive stress because life is full of different stresses. It’s how you handle it that really matters.

This blog is for you Madison Holeran. May you rest in peace sweet girl. I am so sorry for your pain and am so sorry for your family’s loss.


How not to raise assholes

I just read a blog post that might be the best piece of writing since Grapes of Wrath.  While this post applies to all mothers, it’s especially apropos for mothers of boys. My daughter constantly is lecturing my younger son on how not to be a d-bag. It’s quite entertaining to hear, but I think the advice she offers her brother is summed up in this post. So, my fellow parents of teens, I hope you heed the advice that this mother  of four boys,  shares. I know I’m going to take it to heart.


How Not to Raise Total A$$holes

Being the mom of 4 boys is not without its challenges.Understatement of the century! Every parent says they wish they had a handbook for these male beings that possess our hearts, yet test our patience daily. How in the world will we make it through childhood and teen years without raising a serial killer? Wait….you never asked yourself that question?

Well then, maybe you need to be writing this blog.

With my eldest now almost 20 (gulp), I look back and see some things that I did right and I can pat myself on the back. But there are things that I slacked on or downright missed. Thankfully he is a great kid, but who’s to say his brothers aren’t growing up to be complete a$$holes. I’m doing everything in my power to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Below are things I have done, things I am trying to do, things I’m meaning to do and things I wish I did while bringing up 4 boys. I, by no means, am an expert in parenting, but these, I feel, are important to ensure you aren’t raising an a$$hole. Some are pretty obvious and some may take you by surprise.
  1. Teach them manners. There is a lot to be said for not just for saying “please” but also in my house, “ma’am” and “sir”. It was how I was raised and how I expect my kids to respond. I have to admit it makes me feel old when I hear another kid refer to me as “ma’am”. I have a moment of turning around looking for an old lady, followed immediately by “What a nice boy”. If my kid offends you by responding to you with “yes ma’am”, blame me. Kids should at least know the basics of “please, thank you, and excuse me” even if “ma’am and sir” aren’t your parenting cup-o-tea.
  2. Teach them to look up when someone is talking to them. Be engaged. My 3 younger boys struggle with this ALL THE TIME. Whether it’s a boy trait, an inherited response (I was a very shy kid), and/or social anxiety of some sort, it’s something we continue to work on. Realize this starts with you, the parent. When they speak to you, be engaged. Show them the same respect you ask of them.
  3. Explain to them when receiving a compliment, to always say “thank you”. If someone goes out of their way to praise my son, he needs to acknowledge their words in appreciation with a simple “thank you”. I’ve seen my kids turn away in embarrassment/shyness/stupidity when receiving a compliment. Then I realized I had dropped the ball on something very simple in explaining the importance of acknowledgement and appreciation. Recently my youngest son has smartassedly started saying “I know” when someone compliments him. At this point I want to throw in the towel as a parent and crawl in a hole but instead we are now working on #4.
  4. Teach them not to be cocky. To my boys; you aren’t the greatest thing since sliced bread. Granted, I think you’re awesome, but it’s because I have to. Others may not think you’re all that and a bag of chips. Like most parents, I am proud of my boys. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t lazy, sloppy, moody, pains in the neck too. You wanna be cocky? Scrub your toilet, take the dog out in 9 degree weather every morning, empty the dishwasher & refill it, vacuum the basement, iron your clothes (all without being asked), make 100’s on everything, volunteer every hour you’d rather be playing Xbox, save all your birthday money to buy your first car, and use your manners 100% of the time. THEN you can puff out your chest, mister. In the meantime, it’s my job as your mom to bring you back to reality.
  5. Help build their confidence. (not to be confused with #4) It’s hard as a parent to instill self-confidence in your son, especially as a mom because, remember, they go through the “Mom doesn’t know anything” phase. Encourage your kids daily even if you think they aren’t listening. They are. Help them set realistic goals that they can achieve. Praise them when they do something well, yet give encouragement when they fail. Help them to focus on their strengths. Even work on the siblings to help out in this department, too. I’ve found my eldest son’s encouragement and praise goes a long way with his younger brothers.


Click here to read 11 more tips. I like #16 the best!

Surviving a teen break up

Apparently, my choice in outfit for the day is atrocious. Yes, that’s what my daughter has informed me. What was I thinking? I’m not sure what I was thinking when I put it on, but I can tell you what I’m thinking now. I’m thinking….”how do parents survive teen break ups?”

One way, is they choose better outfits. The other is that they brace for the grumpiness or moping that inevitably lies ahead. As a mother who has lived through two teen break ups, I can tell you that WHATEVER you say or do will be wrong. Whether you give sympathy, empathy or encouragement you don’t know what you are talking about. Whatever advice a teenage friend who has never had a boyfriend says makes much more sense than a wise parent with years of relationship experience. Just know that and you can save yourself wasted breath and clothing admonishment.

My other piece of advice for surviving a teen break up: Don’t ask questions. If you slip up and forget this piece of advice, get ready for shrugs and possibly even the cold shoulder. Oh, and don’t even try to get near  your teen’s cell phone, the center of activity post break up. The device will be guarded like a limb, just in case a parent like you wants to gather some intelligence. An extra layer of password protection likely will be added. 

Remember your first break up? This will be much more painful, regardless of whether you are the parent of a breakupper or breakee. The moodiness will go on for a least a week. And then, you will suddenly regain your ability to dress yourself to their satisfaction, or be considered somewhat less annoying. You will know you have reached this stage when you receive a text. It likely will be room-to-room communication and it may be a request for money but, hey, it’s communication. You will take whatever small, somewhat upbeat communication as a sign that your pre-break up teen is back and you are no longer an ogre. Then, only then, will you consider yourself a survivor!


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