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parenting a teen

teens, sex, first love, helicopter mom

When I was a kid, my biggest fear was growing up and turning into my mom. Not because there was anything “wrong” with her, she was just so uncool. I felt like she didn’t let us do anything. We never got to sleep over at friend’s houses or do the lock ins at the Roller Dome, we had a curfew and weren’t allowed to go with our friend’s family to the Wisconsin Dells. I thought she was so mean. I knew since about the age of 5, I was going to be different when I was a mother.

I grew up riding in the back of my uncle’s pick up truck, never wearing a seat-belt,  shooting my brother’s B.B. gun and staying out riding my bike until the street lights came on, with no supervision at all. I ate raw hot dogs and cookie dough, played with sparklers and never swam with floaties. I roller skated with no pads and learned to ride my bike without a helmet. I was reckless.

Today, my girls are buckled into their five-point harness car seats at all times for fear the unspeakable might happen. I will never let them ride in the back of a pick up truck because, hello, there are no five point harnesses back there!

They will never shoot a B.B. gun because I think B.B. guns are segue drugs to much worse things like violence desensitization and shooting ones eyes out, just like toy guns. Hello, nobody wants to be a one-eyed Willie and it’s not going to happen on my watch.

They are NEVER unsupervised. Even when they think they are unsupervised, they are supervised. My kids have never eaten anything not cooked above 160 degrees, sparklers are forbidden and floaties were a must. When my girls ride their bikes, it is only on the condition that they are first wrapped in bubble wrap and always, always wear a helmet. What was my mom thinking?

I’ve not turned into my mom instead I am much uncooler. These days, we are made to feel like it’s lethal to even let our babies touch a doorknob or play in the yard. When I was a kid, I swore I would be so much more relaxed. I would trust my kid and let her have freedom. I wouldn’t be all crazy and never let her do anything. The thing is, I do trust my children. It is the rest of the world who I have issues with. I am constantly trying to make sure that the world doesn’t break my perfect little human being. It’s hard work. It’s a damn full-time job.

I don’t know if the world has become a scarier place, I am more aware of it thanks to social media or if I am simply hypersensitive to it because I have a bigger stake in it now because I have kids. All I know is I am not anything like the mother I thought I would be. I am a crazy lady, devoid of all reason and rationale when it comes to my kids. I am the ringleader in the wussification of today’s children. I gasp if someone else’s child falls. Yeah. I am that lady!

I have chewed up food and fed it to my baby. I’ve put my Christmas tree in a baby jail to make sure little people didn’t pull it over on themselves. When my girls were little I seldom let them run for fear they would fall, it still makes me cringe and I’m not too big to admit that I may have removed raisins from the diet indefinitely after an unfortunate near death experience. To my embarrassment, I have bought every keep-a-baby-safe gimmick they’ve had on the market and still there are some things, as a parent, that you just can’t save them from like the first heartbreak and sex. It’s going to happen and there is no way you can baby proof that. Well, you can but it’s called birth control and it is quite literally baby proofing. Lalalalalaa, I can’t hear you!

I read a post on café mom in which a mom was asking if she should let her 16-year-old daughter and her boyfriend have sleepovers together at her home. The crazy, sleep deprived woman I have become shouted, “NO!!!!” at the screen. I don’t have teenagers yet so I don’t know what will happen when the time actually comes but right now, the answer is hell no. Then the rational adult that I keep locked in the closet started playing devils advocate.

Would you really want your child to be having unprotected sex in the back of some crapmobile when she could be safely having conjugal visits in her bedroom? Wouldn’t you want her to talk to you about it before hand? Would I have preferred to have my parents’ blessing to have premarital sex? Would it have made me have sex at a younger age? More often? Would I have become a teen mother? Would my life have been ruined? I don’t know but I didn’t have sex until I was in college for fear that my dad would literally kill me.

Am I glad I waited? Yes. So the question remains, would I change anything my parents did as far as how strict they were with me? Don’t tell them I told you this and I swear I will deny it but no. I think they saved me from myself. I was too stupid and naïve to know any better. I was “in love” and if I would have thought I had their permission, I would have definitely has sex and that would have changed the entire course of my life and not necessarily for the better. I know it would have. It was their job to save me from myself and they did even if I didn’t like it then. I am grateful now. I guess we’re not so different after all, that crazy lady who never let me do anything and myself.

It’s hard to know what to do because teens are like giant kids with grown up bodies and all these hormones. They want to be adults but they just don’t have the experience and wisdom to know how to make the right decisions yet.It’s not their fault. They are going to do stupid stuff and it’s expected but at what cost? Which consequences can they live with and which ones can they not?

teens, love, sex, firsts, safety, helicopter mom

Would you give your child permission to have a sleepover with their boyfriend in your home?


Photo Source: BlueGrassAnnie

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