Being really honest with yourselves :-)

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Being really honest with yourselves :-)
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Fri, 06-06-2003 - 11:48am
what do you think?

My sister and I have vastly different ideas on parenting a teen. As a teen, she feels she made a million mistakes she hates to even think about. She has 4 great kids heading towards their teens and has very idealistic ideas on raising a teen. examples: no dating, EVER; courtship is the way it will go. Complete restrictions on music they listen to, now or in their teens & that if music is being played she disagrees with that they WILL come home immediately. Consequences only for noncompliance behaviours, *why* is not relevant. My parents were pretty lenient with her (she's the youngest of 4) and strictest with me (oldest). They think it's because of that that they had the fewest issues with me. I disagree with that completely; they just didn't *know* the issues with me. My sister thinks the leniency she was given - in spite of their never knowing at the TIME what she was doing - was wrong. She is very afraid her teens might repeat the mistakes she made and is determined that it will not happen. And she basically is not at ease with teens, period.

I wasn't a perfect teen. My parents were very strict. I had the 'no dating till 16' rule that was enforced & that I did abide by, but it sure didn't protect me in any which way when I did start dating. In fact, I think that worked against me and my parents; by 16, with that rule so enforced, I figured I was then old enough to know what I could and couldn't handle but that doesn't change with a birth date. Whereas if a guy had been expected to spend his time with me WITH my family only till at least 16, I think I might have learned more about relationships & myself (at least that worked with my older dd). I did lie. I did smoke. I hated hard drugs. I wasn't into parties. I moved out at 17, 18, 19 and for good at 20. However, in spite of all the things I did wrong, I don't really *fear* what my kids might do and I do believe that they will get through whatever they go through. It doesn't mean I don't suffer if my kid is hurting - I DO, at times unbearably -but I KNOW that they will pull through.

As a parent, *how* I parent has been definitely influenced by how I was raised, what did and didn't work. I have only three iron-clad rules: attitude, how they treat others and NO lying. Everything else is taken on a per-situation basis and dealt with accordingly or decided on accordingly. I don't think every kid is 'academic' and that grades are the be-all and end-all altho doing your best IS what's expected (altho my parents did raise me this way). I think learning to successfully navigate relationships and becoming a successful *person* is at least as important, esp in the teen years, when THEIR emphasis IS on relationships of all kinds.

So question: do you think you're as strict or as relaxed as a parent to a teen as you are because of what you were like as a teen? If you made all kinds of mistakes growing up, do you think you fear more what your teens will do and put lots of restrictions into place? How much of what you were like as a teen & how your relationship was with your parents influences how you parent your teen now, do you think?

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 06-06-2003 - 1:53pm
Our parenting styles are very similar, kkiana, including your iron clad rules. My parents were stricter with me than I was with my three and they knew nothing about a lot of things I did despite their rules. I'm sure there are many things my kids did as teens that I knew nothing about as well but I think they were better prepared to handle certain situations because of the "freedom with responsibility" refrain DH and I hammered into their little heads. For example, none of our kids has ever had a curfew - they were expected to tell us where they were going and with whom and when they expected to be home. If they were going to be late they had to call to say when they would be home. None of them has ever been in any kind of trouble, all were honor students in HS and paricipated in athletics and other activities. We always held them accountable for their actions and doled out punishment when necessary. They have all made mistakes, learned from them and moved on. That's life. The biggest difference between my parents' style and my own is that I talk more with my kids about just about everything. My parents made many decisions that affected me without my input, something that influenced me to share more with my kids about the decisions I made that impacted them.

From the time our kids are born we begin teaching them the lessons they need to know in order to function successfully in the world. At the same time we gradually let go of our every day influence and involvement in their lives. It's only natural that they will make mistakes and do things we may not approve of, that's part of figuring out their place in the world and what kind of people they want to be.

It will be interesting to see if your sister's ideas about parenting teens change as her kids get older!

Lynne

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 06-06-2003 - 2:19pm
My folks were pretty strict (at least, my dad was, and my mom submitted to him in every way.) I wasn't allowed to date until I was 18 and out of high school, and when Mom and Dad said "Do Something", I had better do it (and with a respectful and willing attitude to boot, at least on the surface!) or else. Even once I was 18 and they told me "you are now a legal adult" and started loosening up the apron strings, that didn't stop Mom, who was EXTREMELY nosy, from rifling through purse and looking my checkbook to see what the account balance was, or from reading any personal letters I received that weren't destroyed when I finished them!

On the one hand, I am really grateful that my Dad WAS so strict. My sister and I were (and still ARE, I think) the ONLY ones to attend college and get baccalaureate degrees and to have productive careers; the rest of the relatives on my maternal side of the family smoke, drink, marry right out of high school and have a million kids, sleep around, get into trouble with the law, and just generally are lower-income, lower-class people. (Mean though it is, I'd almost have to term them "white trash.") On the other hand, I still have a lot of trouble socializing with others and forming supportive networks of relationships, because of the stoic "never let 'em see you cry" and "we take charity from no one and nobody" attitudes Dad drilled into me.

I DO expect my teens to A:) do their best. If you can prove to me that you worked your hardest for a C, that's fine. But if you got that C just because you didn't do your homework and you COULD have gotten an A or B instead, heads are gonna roll, baby. I also expect them to B:) treat me with respect. If they don't agree with me about something, if they can give me a logical argument that proves their point, I may change my mind and OK something I've said "no dice" to. But ONLY if you're respectful and logical. Whining and nagging and pouting just makes Mom dig in the heels and turn the hearing aids to OFF. I think I give my kids quite a bit of freedom, but I do expect to C:) know where they're going, what their plans are, what time they'll be home, and who they'll be with. And if I find out any of the above is false, and they break curfew or they're not where they said they'd be or with who they said they'd be, again, heads are gonna roll. (I tend to subscribe to the old adage: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on ME.)

Dad died at 94 years old in August 2001. He lived with us for a year and a half before finally entering a long term care facility about 8-9 months before his death. I know he didn't approve of how I chose to raise the kids and thought I was way too easy on my teens, but he never did come right out and say so. Ditto my f-i-l, who's 90 and lives next door. (Although f-i-l was a LOT less strict than my dad; dh dropped out of school at 16 and went to Woodstock and worked in the rock and roll business for a few years before going back to night school and gettng his diploma. My inlaws didn't approve, but they supported what he did anyway, because he was their only kid and they didn't want to lose him.)

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 06-06-2003 - 2:45pm
Actually, Drei, if I expanded on my 3 rules, I'd have outlined them much as you did. Absolutely - I never imposed a curfew, but my dd HAD to let me know who was going, what they were doing, and check in with me during the course of the evening. When she didn't need to me drive her all the time, then a kind of curfew was set; if she wasn't going to be home by that specified time, she had to let me know by 11 so I didn't wait up or wake up worried where she was and to come & wake me to let me know she was home safely, and she adhered to all of this without fail. (Actually, I had to tell her about a month ago that I was no longer waking up worrying and to PLEASE not come in and wake me when she got in; that if I woke up wondering, I'd take the blame on myself and get up and check on her ;-) And when I said 'how they treated others', oh yeah, you bet, that includes me. My motto has been, 'you can say anything you like but it has to be said with respect'. I also hate whining and begging or inability to accept no as an answer sometimes - altho I'm fighting a MAJOR UPHILL BATTLE on that one with my 11.8 yo right now. (It's driving me BONKERS ... have you ever read The Difficult Child? When she was 5, i read it. She fit the profile of 'negative persistence' to the letter ... "no" seems to trigger this automatic and escalating response in her for the sheer principle of it I think).

You know, 'don't let 'em see you cry' - wasn't so much instilled in me via parental teaching as it was through the consequences of being vulnerable with an alcoholic parent the few times i left myself that way. As a result, I have always had a difficult time sharing a problem while it's *happening* with even closest friends and yes, that does lend itself to troubles in being emotionally intimate with a person in all different ways. I've gotten 'better' at it over time but when it's a big issue, I still deal with it alone until I've figured out what I'm going to do.

How are all your kids & their various situations going these days? And you and your dh? HUGS Drei!

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 06-06-2003 - 3:02pm
I notice in your profile that you have a 19 yo dd :-) - my dd is turning 19 in a couple of weeks. I LOVE this age!

Yes, we do have very similar parenting styles, lynnemar. I never had a curfew either, outside of telling her she had to call me if she was going to be late, like your rule. I also spent WAY more time talking to her than my parents did with me. I agree that the idea of parenting is to get them to be able to take responsibilty for their actions (that's a BIG one) and to teach them how to become independent successfully one day (which isn't going to be overly successful if a parent constantly intervenes, makes all decisions w/o input or fights their kid's battles for them). I remember my older dd's gr 6 teacher telling them that they had to 'take ownership' of their homework; parents could help if they were REALLY stuck but otherwise, they were expected to figure out how to deal with it and get the help they needed as needed. In gr 7, there was ONE instance of a situation where two of her teachers called me and said there was a problem with her attitude (I'd never before or since gotten any kind of call from her schools). I arranged for a meeting. My dd had to attend. I set the 'groundwork' at the start of the meeting, asking the teachers to state their concerns and that while one was talking the other 3 of us remained silent. I said my dd would then respond and state her concerns with the same respect shown to listen; that I was there as her advocate because of the inequality of her age vs their position of authority, but that I first advocated truth. The meeting went exactly that way. My dd was SUPER nervous when she spoke but gained confidence and managed to say everything she had already told me. The teachers apologized for a couple things; and clarified something else for her. My dd apologized for exhibiting an attitude instead of trying to deal with the issue. Lessons learnt :-) - and I've never had to do that again. If there was something she needed to address, she's done it on her own without negative repercussions.

I also agree; decisions that get made by parents that will ultimately mostly impact their teens should have their input or at LEAST the parent should offer an explanation for his/her decision. And it's funny - but so many kids I know who have had really strict parents HAVE gotten into more trouble. Maybe there's just more to fight against?

I have actually told my sister (smilingly) that when she has teens, she's bound to change some things. She adamantly says not a chance. I'm more concerned that she won't find a minute to enjoy her kids if she doesn't relax and has to feel so hyper vigilant throughout their teens than I am about their doing something really stupid. They are genuinely great kids and have genuinely a wonderful set of parents. I guess time will tell :-)

Thanks for sharing :-)

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 06-06-2003 - 3:51pm
My parents weren't very strict. I could pretty much do what I wanted. Why they trusted me, I'll never know. LOL! I'm tending to be more strict with my ds, especially regarding homework. But I would never try to restrict the music he listens to or buys.
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 06-06-2003 - 3:58pm
lol ... sooo - do you think you're stricter with your ds than your parents were with you because you know what you did as a teen that you also know THEY didn't know?? LOL

I don't generally restrict the music my kids listen to, but there is the odd song I outright DESPISE and refuse to listen to. One was that song by Shaggy who sang all the way thru in this happy, sing-songy way about cheating on his gf, getting caught 'buck naked, bangin' on the bathroom floor' - do you know that one? Omigosh, did I hate that song. Or songs that make something really grotesque or blatantly violent appear appealing gets shut off. My kids never object when I turn the song off maybe because I so rarely do. But if they hear it elsewhere, I'm not worrying about it.

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 06-06-2003 - 6:39pm
Well, let's see. Oldest dd will be home either Monday or Tuesday from college. She is still planning on doing the exotic petting zoo/birthday party job; for how long is anybody's guess though. I only hope she DOES do three parties a day, or she'll never save any money this summer! Middle dd was right, and the office was mistaken. She talked to both the principal and dean of students to clear things up. Public Law and Consumer Ed are what comprises the "Careers" class she's been taking all year, so as long as she passes the final exam in that next week with a C or better (and she been holding a B average in the class) she will graduate as scheduled. Ds has been going to school faithfully without a peep over any of Mom's restrictions. I guess he realizes the seriousness of his infraction. One can only hope. And I am scheduled to have a laparoscopic oophorectomy this coming Monday, June 9, at 11 AM. Wish me luck!
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 06-06-2003 - 7:03pm
LOL - your son spread his wings just a bit too far ... but at least he knows when to stop :-) That's one of the beauties of your kids, Drei ;-)

I KNEW your middle dd would be in the right, I'm soo glad! And good for her for going on her own and straightening it out.

And you just have to let me know how those first parties go with oldest dd. I can soo totally picture her doing that and having fun - at least with the idea if not the actual reality, but I bet she'd be great at it, LOL.

Absolutely Drei, I will keep you in thought and prayer for Monday. I hope this totally resolves the issue with NO further problems. HUGS!!

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 06-07-2003 - 9:55am
Well, since my ds is only 13 1/2, I haven't had to be too strict yet because he is still a relatively "young" 13 yo, if you know what I mean. Like he really isn't into the dating scene, parties or live concerts or things like that. Plus he wants to go into law enforcement, like FBI or CIA or something like that, and he knows that if he ever used drugs, they will never take him. He did a report on the FBI and watched a polygragh test of a potential recruit, and they do ask that question. I just think to when I was 15, which is when I think a lot of kids really start to, I don't know, get more independent or whatever, and the things that I did that my parents never knew about, and still don't, and I shiver. Like we use to hang out at Washington Square Park in NYC, smoke a joint, I had a hippie boyfriend. I would never let my kid go into the city alone. So far, he's been honest with me about his whereabouts. But at 15, who knows? I don't want to think about it. LOL!
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Sat, 06-07-2003 - 10:29am
My parents were SO strict with my older sister that when they finally LET her move out at TWENTY ONE, she went out with the first guy that asked her out, married him out of defiance and DID NOT live happily ever after. I don't know why they were so strict with her, except that she was born in the 40's, and I wonder if that wasn't pretty normal back then? They had a no dating rule in place for my sister and I, but it wasn't a big thing after our sister's strict rules!

Our parents let US earn our own grades in school. I don't remember them EVER getting upset over my *D* in Physics, or too thrilled when I got an *A* in it,either. Our grades were our own, I guess. Even though my mother was a teacher at one time, she didn't make us feel we HAD TO excell at school.

My father's ideas of a girl's future included getting married and having babies! I DID graduate from HS in 1972,ya know! HE was born in 1917..worlds of difference in how WE were raised! HE was farmed out at TWELVE years old, lived with his younger brother in a "room" in town, basically raised himself in a world where WORK was all you worried about! He graduated eigth grade..that was the norm back in 1931..worked hard his entire life..THAT was his schooling! I know for a fact that SCHOOL and dating were NOT important in HIS family!

MY MOTHER'S family..her parents sent her to HIGH SCHOOL..this was HUGE back in 1938 on the prairie. SHE even went on to college, and fulfilled her parents dreams of teaching until she married Dad. BACK in those days, women didn't teach after they got married! It was a big NO NO in HER society! Unfortunately, they didn't have money enough after "the dirty thirties" to even LET their other six children GO to school after eigth grade. I don't remember EVER hearing ANYTHING about ANY of those six girls dating in their teen years..I'll have to ask sometime! I'm sure they went to dances..but again, I really think WORK and SURVIVAL was MOST important in their lives!

I let my boys "date" whenever they felt they were ready..but we're talking BOYS now! The older one was probably sixteen..maybe seventeen..but HE has some social anxiety issues. My middle son was ready for afternoon movie dates at TWELVE! He always HAS loved being around females..so I was totally ready for that one! He didn't really DATE until he was about seventeen,either, but he was WITH girls more than boys ALL the time. I think HE has a better grasp of what women want,too! His brother..he's more of the caveman type! LOL Probably because he feels SAFE with other men. I don't know if the way *they* regarded dating came from ANYTHING *I* was raised with! I pretty much just let them BE who they ARE!

MY SISTER, now..SHE has ALWAYS obsessed over the way SHE was raised..and HOW her family WILL BE IDEAL. Well..THAT does NOT work! Her girls were never allowed to fight growing up..so they had to do ANY of that outside the premises..not even on the property! I know there WAS a lot of tension, but it was something my sister obsessed over, so they didn't go there! DID they try drugs..did they have sex when they were 16? YES..because their mother was SURE they were PERFECT..she couldn't SEE it! NOT until the older one was nearly arrested for possession in high school..and NOT until she told her mother that she MAY be pregnant, did sis have to face the fact that NO matter HOW hard WE try to shove something down our kids throats, they DO have FREE WILL..and WILL do what they want to do..IF they want to badly enough!

When I drove school bus, there was a boy that dressed in khakis and dress pants every day, shirts tucked in, NO tennis shoes, short hair combed down perfectly..we all had to feel sorry for him..he didn't even TALK to the other kids on the bus..he was SUCH an outcast! THIS was because his parents would NOT ALLOW any other way! I saw him a year after he graduated..IN A BAR..DRUNK..OR HIGH..with his HAIR down to THERE..piercings everywhere he could stick one..I didn't even recognize him! Talk about rebelling! I wonder how he gets along with his children? I wonder how he is raising them? I kinda doubt he has tried to stifle their personalities OR their imaginations!

Did I answer the question or did I just ramble like usual?

Hmmm?

Dee

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