Tuesday, May 24, 2016

What Your Teen is REALLY Up To

what your teen is really doing when she's studying
We were probably (okay, definitely) stoned. 
My 20th high school reunion is next month.  Setting aside the fact that I am SO FREAKING OLD, let me just point out that when I was 16, the state-of-the-art technology for teens consisted of a pager.  I don't really feel equipped to parent kids in the digital world in which we live.  Sure, vinyl may be "back" but in between spinning vintage 45s of Fleetwood Mac and Led Zeppelin, the kids are Snapchatting, sexting, and snorting each other's ADD medication.

Now that I'm a parent myself, I have a lot more sympathy for all the sh*t that I put my own Mother through.  I was a terror, and while my Mother always says, "you weren't that bad", I think that she may simply have selective memory loss from the PTSD she sustained while raising a teen.

Despite the technological advances, I don't think that teenagers are that different today than they were 20 years ago.  In the end, all teenagers want is to rebel against the establishment (their parents) and get some (any) sex.

Which leads me to ask: What the F*ck was my Mother thinking?  

The car.  I had my own car - a beater Chevy with 110,000 miles on it - that broke down more often than it ran.  As far as I'm concerned, no flighty 16 year old has any business piloting a metal cylinder of death down public thoroughfares.  While I'm sure that providing me with a car was well intended, I can tell you that I was not up to anything good while behind the wheel of that automobile.  When I wasn't hotboxing said Chevy, I was either driving slowly past my recent crush's house or committing minor criminal offenses like stealing traffic signs.  Even if I hadn't been up to no good inside my Chevy, I backed into a pillar on my way to my driving test, so I can't imagine why my parent thought it was advisable to hand me a set of keys and send me on my way to terrorize the pedestrians of Marin County. 

The clothes.  Let's just be blunt: teenage girls like to dress like hookers.  Hey, I get it: if I still had perky boobs, a flat stomach, and an ass free of cellulite, I would walk around in as few pieces of clothing as possible without risking being arrested.  However, that doesn't mean I think it's appropriate for preteen girls to strut down the street with their ass hanging out of a strip of cloth being marketed as "shorts".  My Mother wasn't strict by any stretch of the imagination, so I can count on one hand the number of times she forbade me from wearing some slutty piece of attire, but I also remember that I simply took the offending garment with me and changed into it once I got to school.  I mean, come on, we all did it.  When the handicapped stall wasn't being used by an actual kid in a wheelchair, it was basically a Wet Seal dressing room.

The phone.  I had my own phone in my room because I was a spoiled only child, but back in the old days, that was pretty normal.  How else was your teenager expected to have important conversations about who is the cutest boy at school and whether or not the dumb kid cheated on the math test?  In hindsight, I don't think that teenagers should have any privacy, save for the one or two times a day they are taking very long showers.  Do you know what happens when teenagers have privacy?  Nothing good.  I was smokin' dope, talking to weird (older) boys, and sneaking out my bedroom window at all hours of the night.  Remove their bedroom door from the hinges, seal the windows closed, and don't give them an iPhone.  Teenagers don't need any contact with the outside world - Nell turned out just fine in the end!

The sex.  For much of my high school career I was hideously ugly, so I didn't actually have sex until much later than many of my peers.  This certainly wasn't due to lack of trying - I threw myself at any number of dudes who refused me point blank (their loss) - so I would assume that given the opportunity I would have gained a reputation for being "loose".  Once I did get down and dirty with a member of the male species, all bets were off.  I wonder, sometimes, what my parents thought I was doing when I stayed out so late studying.  I may have gone to private school, but no class was so hard as to warrant six hours of studying, unless you would classify making out as boning up on human anatomy for Biology class.

At present, I'm considering becoming Amish before my kids are teenagers.  Sure, the outfits aren't very flattering, and my Husband looks terrible with a beard, but it has to be better than laying awake at night hoping my kids are remembering to use birth control after they sneak out of the house.  

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