Category Archives: teens

His Sister Loved Her Windfall

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I am being driven slowly insane by a condition known as Having Children. It’s a vicious circle – The kids drive me crazy, which stresses me out and makes me less tolerant of their nonsense, which stresses them out, so they act up more, which stresses me out even more, and so on.

I have been harassing the boy to get room clean once and for all. Every time he cleans it, he ends up sitting there doing nothing until he hears you walk up the hall, then he looks busy. This goes on for hours until those 2-minute bursts of activity result in a room that is “clean” rather than clean. Things in drawers, under the bed, in the closet – whatever it takes to make it look clean. And by the time he’s done, it’s late, I’m tired, we have somewhere to go, I’m stressed – a million reasons to just let it go.

But a couple of weeks ago, I reached my limit – that room was getting cleaned no matter what. He had to go to play in the pit orchestra for the school musical that evening, and he was supposed to have a friend stay over afterward, so I told him he needed to get the room cleaned before he had to leave or his friend wasn’t coming. He started off in his normal, sitting on his ass way, until I made it clear that his friend would not be allowed to come over if he didn’t get it done. Suddenly he kicked it into high gear.

He was working and cleaning and doing what I asked. The girl was even helping him. I gave him garbage bags to get rid of the 600 pounds of paper and crap and broken stuff that he had been shoving in the closet and in drawers and under the bed for the past god knows how long. I was happy to see the first bag come out of there. And the second. And the third. I praised him and said, now doesn’t it feel good to get that done?

He admitted that it did and kept on going. And then another bag came out. And another. And I started to get suspicious. I asked him if he was just throwing stuff away because he didn’t want to clean it. He insisted he wasn’t and that he was only throwing out old, broken stuff and garbage. I was skeptical, but given the amount of stuff I had recently seen under his bed and in his closet – it was possible. Finally, after many hours (and seven bags), he was done. He got ready and we dropped him off at the school.

After I got back, I happened to glance into the last bag he brought out, which he hadn’t tied shut. And my head exploded into a million I-Will-Kill-That-Kid shaped pieces. Right on top, I found a game. A game that had never been opened – that still had the plastic shrinkwrap on the box. And a science kit. And a sculpting book & set. And a set of good (and very much not cheap) artist pastels. And a robot-building kit. None of which had ever even been opened. Some of these things, I tried to donate to Toys for Tots the previous year, since they were still brand new, but he insisted he was going to play with them, so I didn’t.

By now, it was clear that I was going to have to go through every single bag. I understand if he had outgrown something and didn’t want it anymore. But there is no way in hell I was going to let him throw away a bunch of perfectly good stuff that we could donate or sell, or give away to someone who would love to have it. So this week, I spent hours going though those bags. And oh the things I found.

In addition to the previously mentioned items (and lots of broken stuff and garbage), I also found: the remote control car we paid about seven bajillion dollars for him to build, another remote control car, a set of air hogs helicopters, a paintball gun, a sweater, two t-shirts and a hat that he just got for Christmas (that still had TAGS ON THEM!), Several other articles of clothing – some outgrown, but in pristine condition, and some which still fit – including brand names like American Eagle, Gap, and Calvin Klein. Several baseball hats, including two scout hats and a Gap hat with the tags still on it. A favorite pair of MY sandals that have been missing for a couple of years. One of my hiking boots. A pair of his father’s shoes. A couple articles of his sister’s clothing. Approximately 1,000 marbles. His entire keychain collection (which his sister has been eyeing for years). A pair of roller blades. About a dozen books, including a boxed 3-book reference set. A Lion King collectible. A Pirates collectible coin book with several coins. The same with Steelers coins. A Sidney Crosby trading card in a protective case. A huge box of trading cards, including sports, pokemon and yugioh. Three brand new packs of pencils. A brand new pack of pens. A stapler. A calculator. Several scouting/camping items. Two scouting books. Two souvenir baseball bats – one from the final game at Three Rivers. A small piggy bank (with some money in it). A brand new set of markers. A brand new set of colored pencils. An electronic door alarm kit. A Steelers sign. Karate pads. A giant ear of corn hat (a treasure that should never be thrown away). And a whole bunch of other things that have no business in the garbage.

I gathered up all the goods and waited until he got home. Then I watched while he noticed the huge bin of cool stuff and approached it. And then I attacked: “BACK OFF! That is not your stuff!”

“What? This is stuff from my room!”

“No – that is stuff you threw away, so it isn’t your anymore”

“No way! That’s not fair! I didn’t mean to throw that stuff away! Come on, Mom!”

“Forget it, Pal.”

And then I happily gave a bunch of the stuff to his sister while he watched. Sometimes I love being the mean mom.

PS. I know that he didn’t throw this stuff away out of pure ungratefulness – he was in a panic that he wouldn’t get to have his friend stay over so he started throwing stuff out without even looking at it. But it’s still no excuse.

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Teach Your Children Well

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Yesterday, a friend of mine checked her 13 year old daughter’s text messages and was shocked to find some sexually explicit texts from a boy. Apparently, he had broken up with her and it started with him basically saying that he just “didn’t want a relationship”, etc, and her not really understanding why. But then he told her he would still be “friends with benefits,” but it had to be a secret – she couldn’t tell anyone. Now here is where the rest of us (not being a teenage girl in this horrible-to-girls society) start hearing the DING DING DING of warning bells going off. Because if a guy wants you to keep your relationship a secret for ANY REASON – he is not the guy for you. But she is a teenage girl, and sadly didn’t tell him to fuck off.

He went on to say that if she didn’t keep it a secret, he would “spread some dirty secret around school that will make everyone hate [her] guts.”

Next, the conversation turned to pretty sexually graphic (especially for 13-14 year olds), and included him trying to pressure her into doing things she clearly is not ready for and that her mom was shocked to read.

Delightful kid, huh?

But the big issue her (for me, at least) is not how much of an asshole this kid is (for the record – big, HUGE asshole), but why on earth would a smart, cute, nice girl like her not see how much of an asshole this kid is? And I think the answer says a lot about teenage girls (and boys).

Teen boys are desperate for sex. Teen girls are desperate for love. This is a dangerous combination. All peppered throughout this conversation was “I love you.” He said it in nearly every text. I love you babe. You can’t tell anyone about us. I love you. I’ll make everyone hate your guts. Baby, I love you. I want you to [insert city sexual act here]. I love you. And sadly, a teenage girl will rarely ever see the threats and pressure and cruelty because they are so blinded by the “I love you.”

And when she put herself down, calling herself fat and ugly, he didn’t tell her she was thin or pretty. He said “I love you.” Which translates to teenage girl speak as “You ARE fat and ugly, but I love you.” Which translates into teenage girl thoughts as “I can’t do better than this guy, so I’ll put up with anything (or DO anything) to keep him. And this makes me so sad.

This kid isn’t bright enough to even realize what he’s doing. Sure – he must know that he is being cruel to her, but I don’t think he could even begin to hatch a plan that involved answering her self-deprecating comments with I love you instead of reassurances, and yet he somehow knows to do it.

Where do boys learn it?? I might be in the dark here, but I am pretty sure there’s no Academy of Manipulation and Cruelty for Teen Boys. And actually, that idea is less offensive to me than the reality – that it comes naturally.

My own Asshole Teenage Boy Story ended OK – but only because I had luck (mine), drunkenness (his), and anger (mine) on my side. But I know that there are many, many girls who have similar stories that didn’t end so well.

Everyone’s first reaction on hearing this kind of stuff is “I’m locking up my daughter!” and understandably so. But what about our sons? Maybe because I have a son this age it hit me, but my first thought was, “I need to talk to my son about this.” We have talked to him about sex, but we need to do more. We need to teach him to be respectful and kind. No matter how uncomfortable it may be to do, we need to teach him whatever it takes so that he is never EVER that kid.