Monday, March 16, 2009

More Thoughts on Parenting

I mentioned to my daughter that I was blogging about sex talks with the young teens. She found this more hilarious, in an ironic doesn't even begin to cover it way, than I had anticipated. Apparently I am well qualified to tell people what not to do- and may in fact be uniquely able to describe how to be horrifying, inappropriate, and just all around gross- so that others may avoid my monstrous fate.
1) Remember that if you lie you will probably get caught. While I got very good results from my story that the break down lane on the highway was a place for parents who had lost all patience with sibling squabbles to get some back up from the state police- I did lose a small amount of credibility when it was revealed that sometimes the police were actually disciplining the driver.
2) At the same time, keep in mind that if you tell the truth you are probably setting a bad example. If your child asks you " did you ever try acid?" it is not a good idea to explain that mushrooms give a more interesting and organic high. Kids will ask specific questions- don't answer them. Use the question to find out why they want to know. What have you heard about acid? Then try to a science teacher approach to the facts. When asked " did you ever have sex with more than one person at a time?" the correct answer is " do people actually do that?".
3) If you are still friends with anybody who knew you well in those interesting and fun filled teen years, try to avoid getting into big remember when conversations when your children are within twenty miles. One fun story about how mom used to jump off the roof on a dare, just like that great pool scene in "Almost Famous" can undue years of discretion.
4) If at all possible, drive the car pool from time to time. If that is not possible volunteer to take the kids to a movie at the mall. Let them all sit in the back. You will be amazed, truly, to find out what your kids friends will cheerfully reveal if you keep silent and don't swerve the car off the road when you overhear something about blowjobs. Pretend to be singing along with the radio, keep your eyes facing forward, and you will soon know what level of sex and drugs and rock and roll awareness is present in your child's peer group.
5) Be aware that your kids and their friends are probably rummaging through your stuff. Try to be honest with yourself and remember how you babysat for your middle school science teacher and told everybody about the racy stuff in his bedside table ( no I did not do that, but I did things like it). Or how you smoked your dad's pot, or read your older brother's Hustlers. You did not do these things? Good for you. Maybe you kid won't either. But don't think you are any better at hiding things than a bored teenager is at finding them.
6) Don't make threats unless you are prepared to follow through. I made the mistake of telling my kids that if they , or their friends, ever drove drunk that I was taking them all down to the morgue to see some dead bodies. Soon after we saw a parent make a similar threat- only since this was CSI or some similar, he actually dragged his daughter to the morgue and showed her a dead body. This leads straight into - 6B- be prepared for statements like " that guy is even more psycho than you mom". This is a good sign that you are holding some sort of line.
7) Let you children compile a list of the ten worst things you have ever done to them as a parent- it is okay to even have subsets- meanest punishments, rudest comments, grossest attempt to normalize masturbation, ugliest outfit ( high waters with clogs was a favorite of my children) most embarrassing conversation with the teacher- and let them share it with you from time to time. It will make them feel better- and if you are doing this right, it will make you laugh really hard, especially later when they are all grown up and dealing with defiant children of their own( here is hoping we get there one day). Try not to laugh in front of the kids though- that just makes the list longer.


  1. I love you with a love that is more than love! LOLOL - there were many laughs aloud for real as I read this... :D

  2. LMAO, and very timely, I will take your advice when an old college friend comes to stay next week, AND I will get my kids to make up lists.
    Fasionwise, it seems to be my tie-dye Indian trousers that have caused the most problems