Kids don’t need to be the most popular or accomplished — they need to have grit. This is Robin writing about a subject that Jennifer and I have been discussing forever, both its necessity and resounding absence in many of the children we encounter.
Banning sex from a hormone-addled adolescent is like ordering a monkey not to swing from a tree branch. While both acts might cause disobedience, the first can create havoc in the parent-teen relationship.
Parental prohibition is basically a control play, and the reality is, it doesn’t work. When children are little, they will find sugar even when their parents “censor” candy. Kids will find access to alcohol regardless of whether or not their parents forbid them to drink. And, teenagers will be sexually active despite their parents’ rules.
Chewing gum helps people concentrate, and by people, I mean kids. Japanese researchers have recently completed a study confirming that gum chewing increases reaction times in human beings by up to ten per cent and that as many as eight different areas of the brain are affected by an “affectation” that has been described as gross, rude, disgusting, cow-like and generally unacceptable in school.
I used to call my mother the human calendar, so comprehensive was her memory. My parents have always lived with my family and many years ago, when my children were little, my mother watched them for me while I met with clients in our home, and kept track of all the minutiae of our lives. She remembered not just my appointments but every Crazy Hair and Pajama Day at my children’s school, not to mention all their extra-curricular activities. She was my talking calendar and saved me more times than I can count.
How can a parent effectively help when her child realizes there will be life after high school? I remember when my friend, Louise, called me last fall, sounding as if she’d just run over a squirrel. You know how it is with squirrels – they annoy you by wrecking your garden, but you still don’t want to see them squashed. That’s kind of how it is with teenagers too, and Louise was feeling terrible because she’d dragged her usually inscrutable sixteen year-old son, Stephen, to a “Parent Information Night” about post-secondary education.
A few Saturdays ago, my eight year-old daughter—let’s call her Dervish because she whirls—came huffing up to me as I sat with my morning coffee catching up on emails and paperwork that had risen on my desk like an angry blemish.
A client reports: my son (he is sixteen) was offered alcohol by his friend’s parents at their house, last weekend. He told me he felt it would have been rude to decline – ha-ha. The friend’s parents believe that since kids are going to drink anyway, they are happy to have their kid and his friends drink in their home where the boys are safe. I guess that makes sense . . . “
I took my teenage children to see the documentary, “Bully." In the USA, much discussion ensued about whether or not kids under the age of eighteen should be allowed to see a film that depicts actual bully violence, uses foul language and is upsetting to behold. In Canada, common sense seems to have prevailed although at the screening we attended, the audience was comprised of primarily adults. Perhaps, this will change if and when the film goes into wide release. I hope so.
We were packed into the car on our way to a long awaited holiday at Mt. Tremblant. It was my turn to drive and at about the halfway point, I was struck by the peacefulness in the car. In fact, it had been forty-five minutes since anyone had uttered a word. Something was wrong with this picture.