Saturday, March 14, 2015

Getting Through

I often wonder how effective my parenting is.
To be honest, I still don't feel like I am old enough to be a parent.
I mean, I AM old enough, as far as my age goes....but I certainly don't feel like I am old enough to know what the heck I am doing.
Even though my hair is turning undesirable colors, and my eyeliner no longer goes on flawlessly, because of those damn wrinkles....I still feel like a kid most of the time.
Most of the time.
Until I am in a room filled with teenagers.
Then I know I'm not a kid anymore.
Because I find being in that situation extremely annoying for the most part.
Especially if it happens to be an event where cheering is involved.
Teenagers don't cheer.
They scream.
And their screams are deafening.
I was at my kids show choir competition last weekend, and there was a high school girl sitting behind me.
Before the kids even stepped onto the stage, I knew I was in for 25 minutes of hell.
She happened to be sitting next to a friend of mine, so I oh-so-subtely turned to her (after this lovely young lady let out one of her ungodly high pitched screeches) and said "Oh my God....I am going to go deaf!"
I thought that might be a HINT that she was TOO DAMN LOUD.
Each time she screamed, I would VERY obviously hunch my shoulders to try to protect my ears (as I was taking pictures) or make other movements to make sure my obvious disdain with her ear blasting vocal stylings was BLATANT.
It didn't help.
You may recall I already have horrible ear issues.  
One of them being tinnitus. (Ringing in the ears.)
Well, thanks to this little gem of a gal, for the next week, it sounded like there was a bell ringing in my ear...on top of the already annoying ringing that was always there.  Imagine the sound of a cat collar with a bell on it...that kind of bell.  Every few seconds...ding-a-ing-a-ling.....all day long.
Thank God it went away.  
Otherwise, I may have collared that kid with her own damn bell.
Anyway.  Back to my parenting.
1. I do not allow my kids to be rude, annoying and loud.  At least when I'm around.  I have no idea what kind of hellions they turn into when I'm not present, however.
If you ever observe them being annoying or loud or have my permission to put them in their place.  I beg of you....put them in their place!

Evidence of their "dark" side.
On Friday, I met with my daughter's school guidance counselor to discuss her senior year classes, and prepping for college.
(I am so not old enough to have a kid in college.)
As I sat there in this surreal situation, I started thinking: "Is she just nodding politely while he talks to her...or is she really listening and taking this to heart?"
We talked about GPA, and class rank.  We talked about what colleges look for.  We talked about how important these next 5 quarters of her high school career are.
And then, I asked her "Did you talk to that teacher about your bad grade on your mid-quarter report?" (I have been hounding her to meet with this teacher for over a week.)  She replied....quite meekly..."no."
That was it.
Did this kid even realize that this wasn't a joke?  She wasn't going to get into to whatever college she wanted to, just because she is cute, and has a nice voice.
Later that night, we went to a talent show she was performing in.
It was lovely, she did a fabulous job.
We said she could go to the party for all the participants afterward, and said "just be home at a reasonable time."
We have not been strict with a curfew, because it has not been an issue.
She has been responsible, and so we have trusted her to not push boundaries.
She walked in the door at 3am.
Needless to say, I was livid.
Both Mark and I had early morning events to prepare for, so we went to bed hours before.
But, my mother's intuition kicked in...just as it always does, and woke me up 2 minutes before she walked in the door, so I was ready to greet her as she made her way to her room. (Much to her chagrin.)
I informed her father....and since I would be gone in the morning....told him to read her the riot act.
And now....we are finally to the heart of my post.
I married a parenting genius.
Actually....he is a kick-ass teacher, which lends itself SO beautifully to parenting.  
Especially when it comes to teenagers.
I am sharing this with you, because you may want to add it to your arsenal.

First of all, I am a firm believer that no good occurs after midnight.
In fact, an old college friend is the one who told me that.
(He found God....and at that point, never allowed himself to be alone with a woman past midnight.) As a parent....I think it's probably pretty good advice.

We were quite certain that the party didn't last until it was time to get some information.
So, Mark took our daughter for a drive.
As they drove, he asked what she was up to last night.
She told him one version of the evenings events.
He knew it was a bunch of bologna.
So, he said "Great!  So, I can call these kids, as well as their parents, and verify that everything you are telling me is true then."
Then came version two of the story.
This one was more believable.
Then she asked where they were going.
At this point, he had turned into an unsavory part of town...where there are lots of row houses, and sadly, lots of poverty.
Little kids running around in clothes not warm enough for the weather.
Parents on the front stoop, smoking cigarettes, looking disheveled.
In other words....this wasn't a place that anyone would choose to end up.
He said to her "I want you to look around.  Every decision you make at this point in your life is crucial.  If you continue to make bad decisions, this could be what your future looks like.  My guess is that this isn't the picture you have in your mind as to what you want your life to be....but that is all up to you.
One big mistake, and your hopes and dreams could all go down the drain...and this could be where you end up....or you are living in our house, in your basement bedroom until you are 30." (If I let her!!)
He let that sink in for awhile....and then took her phone, the car keys, let her know she was grounded for the weekend, and that her room would be spotless by the time her grandparents arrived on Thursday.
He also mentioned that while we don't like to have to take things away from her....we are doing it to save her from herself....because apparently she is currently unable to make mature and responsible decisions.
I asked if she stomped down to her room and slammed the door once they returned home.
Nope.  She has actually been quite pleasant.
Good Lord....I think this just may have gotten through.

Oh...and he makes dinner too. :)

I will hire him out...for a small fee, of course.
Or chocolate.

(P.S.  I will be back to my "regularly scheduled blogging" after Easter.  I have found myself in the middle of lots of projects....and since I haven't been able to stop eating candy or swearing....I seem to have given up writing regularly for Lent.  So, there you have it.  Eh, life is crazy.)


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