Teenagers, Romance and Balance

Welcome to the Tuesday guest blog. Every Tuesday "On Balance" features the views of a guest writer. It could be your neighbor, your boss, your most loved or hated poster from the blog, or you! Send me your original, unpublished entry (300 words or fewer) for consideration. Obviously, the topic should be something related to balancing your life.

By WorkingMomX

About two years ago, my stepdaughter, then a senior in high school, announced that she had decided to move in with her boyfriend (also a senior) instead of attending one of the many colleges to which she'd been accepted. Our initial reaction was anger and disbelief, followed closely by pleading, and then by despair. We realized that since she was going to be 18 soon there was little -- if anything -- we could do to save her from herself.

Six weeks after they moved in together, their relationship exploded in a blaze of glory that involved the police, her previously-estranged mother and her boyfriend's trash-talking family. (I felt like I was living an episode of the Jerry Springer show.) She moved back in with us, got several jobs for a year, and thankfully has enrolled full time at a local university where she seems to be doing well.

Last month, I heard of two other children who made similarly poor decisions. The oldest daughter of a very large family who had earned a full scholarship to a prestigious college informed her parents that she and her boyfriend were unable to bear the five-day separation they endured between weekends. She was dropping out, she said, and would try to take courses at a nearby community college while she lived at home and saw as much of her boyfriend as she could. Her parents begged her to reconsider: Her scholarship was priceless in their eyes, since they were financially unable to contribute a dime to her college education. She refused and is trying to line up scholarship money for her education elsewhere, at institutions that are not comparable to the original.

And then there's a friend of my stepdaughter's, a football champ from the local high school who earned an athletic scholarship to play for a Division 2 school. He dropped out last spring and returned home to be near his girlfriend, a senior in high school. He is trying to get accepted at her first- and second-choice schools and hopes to go wherever she goes.

There are almost no words to describe the helpless feeling of standing by and watching your of-age or soon to be of-age child make choices that are not, to put it mildly, in his or her best interests. The situations I have described above are not unique, and though I would hope they are extreme, I know better. During her high school years, my husband and I watched as my stepdaughter -- and her friends -- repeatedly traced a sad pattern when it came to relationships: Fall madly in love with a boy, stop seeing your friends, fall out of love/cheat/be cheated on, suddenly realize your friends are your life and that you've wasted x weeks/months (hopefully, not years). With so many of them, it seemed like all or nothing, no happy medium. Parents' attempts to persuade children to balance their lives seemed largely futile.

Here's my hard-earned advice: From a very early age, encourage your child to have many friendships with members of the opposite sex. Encourage participation in group activities at school, in sports and elsewhere. This allows a child to maintain a support network that doesn't involve parents and may not involve the boyfriend/girlfriend du jour. Do not refer to your child's friends of the opposite sex as "your boyfriend" or "your girlfriend" until a child is engaged. (This was one of my father's tactics; he also used to refer to every guy my sisters and I dated, no matter how seriously or for how long, as "Bruce.") I used to think that this was parental denial: I see it now as an effective tool to keep your teenagers grounded in reality.

As soon as a girlfriend or boyfriend appears on the horizon, this is a good time to start encouraging or allowing your child to have "gatherings" of other friends -- for dinner, for a hike, to go swimming, etc. Do not seek to become friends with your child's boyfriend or girlfriend. If you are a single parent and dating, demonstrate a good balance for your child(ren). And make sure you continue to spend time just with the kids. No matter your circumstances, never drop the role of active parent.

Have respect for others and for yourself: Teach it, live it.

WorkingMomX lives in Raleigh, N.C., with her family. She has more than 15 years experience in human resources training and education.

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  July 10, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Guest Blogs
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Comments

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And very well said.

Posted by: First | July 10, 2007 7:17 AM

" . . . he also used to refer to every guy my sisters and I dated, no matter how seriously or for how long, as "Bruce.")

This is brilliant! this kind of concrete, specific advice is priceless to me. Thank you!

Posted by: Jen S. | July 10, 2007 7:24 AM

As the mother of a 14 yo DD who at the moment thinks all boys are stupid, thanks to her younger brother, I think your advice is great! We encourage her to go out with groups of friends - male and female. Right now she has a tight circle of boys and girls that hang out together - they have known each other since kindergarten. I pray that when she does start noticing boys that she can remain level headed and find the right balance.

Bruce, I have to remember that one!

Thanks for sharing your insight!

Posted by: MDMom | July 10, 2007 7:37 AM

What I want to know is why so many teens these days make such bad decisions when it comes to relationships? Yes, back when I was a teenager (a few years ago...), there were these kinds of situations, but not as many and not as traumatic. Is it lack of honesty, too much parenting (as in helicopter types), not enough parenting, or what?

Posted by: John L | July 10, 2007 7:41 AM

Your advice and motives are questionable.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 7:41 AM

Your advice and motives are questionable.

Posted by: | July 10, 2007 07:41 AM

No more than yours.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 7:46 AM

If the young one moves out at age 18 and then their relationship explodes, that's their problem. Inasmuch as it is a parent's job to care for their children, the child who moved in with their boyfriend or girlfriend made a decision to move past the "parents taking care of everything" phase of life. Eighteen is young but obviously not young enough that they felt uncomfortable living with a boyfriend or girlfriend. If that relationship ends, it is up to the child to pick up the pieces; Mom and Dad should not swoop in and save them. This is all part of growing up and will force children to seriously consider what they're doing before they do it.

Basically what I'm saying is that parents need to set and stick to tough boundaries. Why is it that when a broken-hearted child comes running back, parents welcome him or her with open arms? This is the same child who disappointed you by leaving and not pursuing the type of life (in some instances) you wanted. Eighteen year olds are not prepared to make the types of decisions 20-somethings and 30-somethings make daily; i.e., how to manage finances, balancing work and home life, etc.

Posted by: driver guy | July 10, 2007 7:46 AM

"There are almost no words to describe the helpless feeling of standing by and watching your of-age or soon to be of-age child make choices that are not, to put it mildly, in his or her best interests"

Including the feeling of seeing your first grandchild put up for adoption.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 7:53 AM

But what if the guy's name is Bruce?

I am so glad that my girls are past this age. It was a struggle but not as serious as with WorkingMom X.

This is a great guest blog with good advice.

As for driver guy's advice, what should a parent do? Let the child starve and be homeless? We all make mistakes big and small. Unless the child has completely burned all the bridges, I think that the parents can welcome the child home again but terms and conditions for that young "adult" need to be outlined for both parties.

Posted by: Fred | July 10, 2007 7:56 AM

"Why is it that when a broken-hearted child comes running back, parents welcome him or her with open arms? This is the same child who disappointed you by leaving and not pursuing the type of life (in some instances) you wanted. Eighteen year olds are not prepared to make the types of decisions 20-somethings and 30-somethings make daily; i.e., how to manage finances, balancing work and home life, etc."

Sounds to me as if you're contradicting yourself there. First you say "why welcome them back" as if that's a bad thing, then you say they aren't prepared for making those kind of decisions. To which I say, why not welcome them back? They made a mistake, and as long as the lesson appears to have sunk in, I see no reason why parents shouldn't be able to accept them back into their homes.

Posted by: John L | July 10, 2007 8:00 AM

Fred: "I think that the parents can welcome the child home again but terms and conditions for that young "adult" need to be outlined for both parties."

Why set boundaries only after the child has failed? They should be set and adhered to throughout the child's younger years so these issues don't even arise.

Posted by: drivery guy | July 10, 2007 8:03 AM

driver guy


"Why is it that when a broken-hearted child comes running back, parents welcome him or her with open arms?"


For the same reason that the Prodigal Son was welcomed back.

Posted by: Elaine | July 10, 2007 8:04 AM

Driver guy (7:46 a.m.) has clearly never walked in WorkingMomX's shoes. The unfortunate fact is that good parenting does not insulate you from problems of the type that she described, and ineffective parenting does not mean you will encounter them. Life is real unfair. Driver guy admits that 18 year olds are not prepared to make some of the decisions they are allowed to make, but then advocates they if they do screw up, they should be tossed to the wolves. You shouldn't be an enabler, but unless you think you are perfect yourself and or would not expect help from anyone when you screw up royally (as we all do from time to time), then its not unreasonable to provide support for your child while they right themselves from a mistake. After all, the definition of home is "when you have to go there, they have to take you in."

Posted by: mommywarvet | July 10, 2007 8:05 AM

I remember being 18 and almost making the same mistake. I was seriously considering transfering to a local (to my hometown) univeristy to be closer to my boyfriend who was still in high school. Looking back, it wasn't just him, it was general homesickness and difficulty making new friens. I'm so glad I did not do that - I stayed at Virginia Tech for all 4 years and even went back for a second 2-year stint. But, its so hard to tell teenagers anything, since no one else can possibly understand them and they know best.

FWIW, I'm now married to the same boyfriend. But I was 31 when it happened, and there was a *long* break in between where I didn't even know if he was alive.

His brother, on the other hand, got married at 19 to the girl he had dated since 8th grade. To everyone's surprise, they are still together, in graduate school, and with a happy, well adjusted kid (born 5 years after they married).

Posted by: RT | July 10, 2007 8:06 AM

To John L: the point I was attempting to make is that parents need to be proactive about teaching their kids certain things. A well-educated (not necessarily school educated, but otherwise educated, too) child (18, younger, or older) will know that moving in with a boyfriend or girlfriend is not a good idea, financially, emotionally, etc. (Again, not necessarily true for all, but for most.)

The latter part of your argument ties in with my initial statement - that you should not welcome them back when they fail because they chose to leave and welcoming them back shows them that you're there to clean up every time they make a mess. This clearly is where we divide - you must think that parents should rescue their children every time they fumble. I think it is important for children to mature on their own, especially if they chose to leave the home at the not-yet-ripe age of 18.

Posted by: driver guy | July 10, 2007 8:11 AM

Caveat that this comment comes from someone childless, but I think parents can promote a happy medium between friendship and romance in the teenage years, and though I understand where the advice here is coming from, I wonder about going to far in either direction. My parents somewhat firmly discouraged boyfriends during high school, telling me it would distract from school and that romantic relationships would come "later." Years later, I struggle with intimacy and have long pondered the effect of not getting the relationship "practice" I needed at a key time in my personal development. No one wants a "boy/girl-crazy" teen, but inadvertently making your kids feel as if the romantic feelings they naturally have are somehow "wrong" has its own pitfalls.

Posted by: gmg22 | July 10, 2007 8:12 AM

"...They should be set and adhered to throughout the child's younger years so these issues don't even arise."

You are correct in this. Let me clarify my comments. Boundaries should be set in childhood but when a child is in later teen years and in transition to adulthood (18 to 55 or so) the dynamics change and boundaries should change. I do not expect my 24 yr old to act and have the responsibilities of my 15 yr old.

What I am saying here is that if a adult child (18 to 55 or so) returns to the home clear conditions and responsibilities need to be set forth and agreed by both parties.

As far as these issues not arising when a child grows up, you can set all the rules you want or as few as you want, at some point the child will act contrary to his own best interest. You will not be happy with it and the child later on may not be happy with it. It happens all the time. Maybe not with the severity of this example but it does happen. There are things I did when I was that age (18-19) which weren't in my best interest but I managed to survive.

Posted by: Fred | July 10, 2007 8:13 AM

John L -- I don't know why teenagers are more prone to making bad decisions these days. It is a frightening trend. There was drama with certain kids when I was growing up, but it seems more commonplace and extreme now. Very strange and scary.

Driver Guy -- We didn't even stop to think about whether we should pick up the pieces, we just went up and got her. She was 18, no skills, broken common sense, and she was 4 states away near her mother (who I would say is a toxic parent and who was refusing to help her out when she was literally on the street with nowhere to go). She is at school now, but she is paying for most of it and it's not easy for her. She could have had it another way. But she's made her choices and that's life.

Fred -- None of us ever looked twice at a guy named Bruce. My dad just killed that name for all of us. :)

Thanks, everyone, for the great comments!

Posted by: WorkingMomX | July 10, 2007 8:14 AM

"This clearly is where we divide - you must think that parents should rescue their children every time they fumble."

Just as I expect Jesus to forgive me.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 8:15 AM

Wow, I am really dismayed by the presentation of the topic today.

It is not a parent's job to decide what is best for their 18 and older child and try to manipulate them into "choosing" that path. People learn what lessons we need at a given time - often as many times as we need to learn them. Can this be painful for a parent to watch? Of course. Can parents do things to help adult children learn a given lesson more quickly? Sometimes, but not very often.

Ignoring/being rude to/maintaining distance from your children's dates more often than not leads to your children choosing more distance from you, the parent, rather than choosing more distance from their date.

Sometimes (often) teenagers just don't have much balance when it comes to dating. The best way to support them in gaining balance is to maintain open communication lines, even if that means talking about and/or to the individual throwing your child off balance. In other words, keeping your own sense of balance about your teenager's dating patterns is critical. Remember: most people end up okay. So will your teenager.

Karen Rayne
http://www.adolescentsexualitytoday.blogspot.com

Posted by: Karen Rayne | July 10, 2007 8:17 AM

As long as I have a roof over my head, I will always be willing to share it with my children.

It's part of the unconditional love they were granted when my wife and I created their life.

Posted by: Lil Husky | July 10, 2007 8:21 AM

"This clearly is where we divide - you must think that parents should rescue their children every time they fumble. I think it is important for children to mature on their own, especially if they chose to leave the home at the not-yet-ripe age of 18."

Thanks for trying to read my mind; I never said parents should rescue their kids every time they made a mistake. Did you not see the part where I mentioned the lesson sinking in? I do disagree with just abandoning an 18 yo that made a mistake, as you advocate, though.

Posted by: John L | July 10, 2007 8:22 AM

My kids are very small but I think a lot about instilling in them an ability to make good choices. My teenage years were very stressful for me because I had difficulty fitting in and making friends. As a result, I focused exclusively on academics and my mother had it pretty easy. However, this is NOT what I want for my kids. As a side note, I live in the DC suburbs where every kid seems to be in a advance placement class of some kind with zillions of after school activities. The teenage angst seems to be about getting accepted to the "right" college/university.

Posted by: fedmom | July 10, 2007 8:24 AM

Lil Husky AKA Father of 4


"It's part of the unconditional love they were granted when my wife and I created their life"

Right! During the whole 2 minutes of "creating their lives". What a putz!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 8:24 AM

I was that teenager that dropped out of college, on full scholarship, and moved in with my loser boyfriend. We even moved across the country. I am now a well adjusted 31 year old with a fantastic husband (met him across the country), 16 month old daughter and master's degree. My parents did everything right - supportive but not overbearing, welcomed me home when the relationship exploded. I did not go home; I was determined to prove my choices were my own and went back to school with a lot of loans and full time job. The point...some people need to learn/do things the "hard" way. I do fear that my young daughter will have the same *independent* streak, but at least I know things can work out. Also, I believe you can only shield your children from so much heartache. Nice blog entry, thanks for writing.

Posted by: AL | July 10, 2007 8:26 AM

John L - I lived in my teen years in south Louisiana (across the lake from New Orleans), and I would disagree that teenagers make more bad decisions these days. It may just be more visible these days, or it may just be that it's more visible to you (the generic "you", not you, John L, in specific).

I graduated from a public high school in a class of 64. Of those, three girls had already had babies and two more were pregnant (only two were married). At least four of the boys were fathers. We started senior year with 76 students; we had lost 12 during the year, mostly dropouts.

A good friend of mine was an outstanding athlete; he was drafted in the later rounds by the Phillies. He never signed/went because his girlfriend was pregnant and the term "shotgun wedding" was popular among a certain crowd back then. (He also had athletic scholarships to colleges if he'd preferred that to the pros, but those were out, too.)

There were a number of extremely bright, talented kids in the area, but it was fairly common to do something stupid and have it impact the rest of your life. Watching my own kids (one just graduated high school, two more in high school and a middle-schooler) and their friends, it doesn't seem that much different to me.

My brother married his wife when they were both 18. Her parents kicked her out, because they believed that an 18 year old high school graduate was an adult; they had no responsibility for her and she was on her own. Their suggestion to her was "join the Army"; it's what her older brothers had done. Given that she didn't want to do that, she really didn't have any options - how was she supposed to make enough money to have a place to live, food to eat, etc? My brother figured out that if he married her, his parents would take care of the two of them - and he was right. I was shocked when the marriage actually lasted 14 years.

Posted by: Army Brat | July 10, 2007 8:31 AM

Karen, I think you are naive. No one said anything about not keeping open communication lines. Theres a big difference between that and treating your child's girlfriend like one of your peers. I think you need some balance!

Posted by: NC Mom | July 10, 2007 8:34 AM

Army Brat,

I hear you; when I graduated there were three girls who had babies already in our class, so I understand what you're saying. This was out of a class of 1000 though, back in 1978, but most of my friends ended up going to college. The bad decisions I tended to notice, were made later on in college or afterward.

Posted by: John L | July 10, 2007 8:43 AM

My cousin received a full scholarship for 4 years; instead, she devoted herself to a guy we all knew was Trouble. She got pregnant, terribly physically abused (we knew and supported her as much as we could), and four kids later was able finally to "escape" him. (I say "escape" because he still tries to get the kids even though it's been demonstrated he has abused them and still tries to alienate them from her. It's been a nightmare.)

She just finished graduating in her mid-thirties with a degree in education. She got lucky (her mother inherited some money and put it towards her education). She loves her kids but wishes we had stopped her. OTOH, it would have taken a psych exam or prison to keep her from going down that road. Some lessons are hard.

Posted by: Somewhere | July 10, 2007 8:44 AM

I agree with mommywarvet and Fred -- good parenting doesn't shield you and your teenager from his or her own bad decisions. You can teach and live all the good values you have, consistently and honestly, but there comes a point that it just doesn't matter. From a developmental standpoint, peers become far more important than family in early adolescence.

You can send your children to the nicest schools, with the nicest families, but if your child feels 'different' for any reason -- maybe your child is beginning to suspect he's gay, for example -- he will migrate to the group of unhappy, disaffected students in his school. And if his peer group uses drugs and drinks a lot (which happens pretty often within the disaffected groups), and you or your spouse has a family history of addiction problems, all bets are off. Your child might go off to college, party too much, nearly flunk out, get caught with a small amount of pot, and be forced to start over at a community college -- which you agree to pay for, provided all the grades are A or B, and said child stays out of trouble.

Then, AFTER your child's series of poor decisions has put him in a one-down position, he might announce that he wants to get an apartment with a friend (female, non-romantic friend -- remember, he's gay) from middle school who was kicked out of a military service academy for violations of the honor code (academic dishonesty and illegal substance possession). Of course, he can't afford it, because he still owes money out the wazooby for the attorney his grandfather provided, the court costs, and the repairs to his car (that are needed because he ignored everyone's advice and didn't change his oil for 9,000 MILES), but he's going to do it anyway.

And, oh yes, if he's gay, he won't talk to you about his relationships. At all. In fact, you won't know for a fact that he's gay until he's out of the house, one way or another. You have no way of knowing what he's doing, and of course you have no real expert advice to give; all you can do is give him the same generic advice about dating honesty, fidelity, and the danger of serious commitments at a young age that you would give any young man.

You and your younger son, who plans to double-major in football and girls and minor in his own stylish fabulousness, just cannot get over how dumb a smart person can be.

Posted by: educmom | July 10, 2007 8:49 AM

My brother's daughter has just moved in with "Mr. Wonderful." Daughter is off the payroll but brother makes sure that daughter had all the birth control needed.

She will be back in the house sooner than later.

Posted by: A Word of Advice | July 10, 2007 8:50 AM

3 girls pregnant in a high school class of 1000. There have been at least 5 girls in DD's homeroom class who have been pregnant by the 8th grade!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 8:50 AM

educmom

You really need to get a life of your own...

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 8:56 AM

"3 girls pregnant in a high school class of 1000. There have been at least 5 girls in DD's homeroom class who have been pregnant by the 8th grade!"

That was exactly my point in my first post. While I didn't go to school in a major metropolitan system, my high school was for the entire county and there were a LOT of bored, sexually active teens in it, but only three girls ended up pregnant in my class.

One of the girls, in fact, was a year behind my class, but with in home tutoring she jumped ahead a class and graduated a year early with us, even though she was raising a child alone.

Posted by: John L | July 10, 2007 8:58 AM

"brother makes sure that daughter had all the birth control
needed."

It seems so creepy when a father gets involved in his daughter's sex life. Eww!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 9:00 AM

educmom

You really need to get a life of your own...

Posted by: | July 10, 2007 08:56 AM

And you really need to take your little troll brain back to your little troll hut under your little troll bridge.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 9:00 AM

Hooo-boy, this brings back some memories. I nearly pulled something similar when I ws 19. I thought I was in love and wanted to marry this guy (we'll call him "Bruce" ;-)), so I moved in with him.

Lo and behold, things fell apart and I realized I was in love with the IDEA of being in love and engaged, but not so much with Bruce.

All the while, I knew my mom didn't like Bruce (lack of potential was her problem with him), but she kept a close mouth and pretty good distance and let me figure this mistake out for myself.

In the end, I came out ahead -- I was able to keep our tiny apartment because of my part-time job, and I continued attending college.

In looking back, the reason my mistake didn't "ruin" my life (or ability to go to, and graduate from, college) was because my mom instilled in me at a very young age how important education was. This, in turn, made my want for an education to supercede any other life event. So, when Bruce and I were together, college was always a priority. When we split up, college was still a priority. When I've made other decisions in my life (good or bad), getting that education and a strong work ethic has always pulled me through.

The end point to my semi-shaggy dog story is if parents pound core values into their children's heads (whatever they may be), I think that will direct them far more than whatever other little 'side projects' life has to offer.

Posted by: Just wonderin' | July 10, 2007 9:01 AM

John L, only three girls that you KNOW of.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 9:03 AM

"That was exactly my point in my first post. While I didn't go to school in a major metropolitan system, my high school was for the entire county and there were a LOT of bored, sexually active teens in it, but only three girls ended up pregnant in my class."

You don't know how many ended up pregnant but aborted.

I graduated high school in 1974 and there were just as many, if not more, stupid decisions by teens then as there are now. I came from a lower middle class blue collar area. There was still a feeling that you should get married if you got pregnant. Families did not encourage their daughters to get abortions so as not to interfere with college, which wasn't in the future for 80% anyway. i find that some today's girls get abortions because the Parents don't want the pregnancy to interfere with the girls' futures. These parents have worked too hard on their master plans for their children to let a child get in the way.

Posted by: lurker | July 10, 2007 9:05 AM

It seems so creepy when a father gets involved in his daughter's sex life. Eww!

Posted by: | July 10, 2007 09:00 AM

He never asks, just make sure that she has the scripts paid for.

Would you rather have an unwanted child?

Posted by: A Word of Advice | July 10, 2007 9:06 AM

I graduated in a class of about 550, and we had several girls who had babies. I felt sorry for them -- even then, I realized that they had done something that severely limited their life choices.

My parents never discussed sex with us. In the 1970's, sex education in public schools was actually a lot more informative and comprehensive than it is today, so I guess they figured I learned what I needed to know.

The joke for my sister and me is the little speech from Dad: If you're out with a boy and you start doing things that feel good, it's time to stop and come home. When I started college, he trotted out the milk/cow analogy as well.

Posted by: educmom | July 10, 2007 9:07 AM

"brother makes sure that daughter had all the birth control
needed."

It seems so creepy when a father gets involved in his daughter's sex life. Eww!

------

It's a health issue. Grow up.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 9:08 AM

"My parents never discussed sex with us. In the 1970's, sex education in public schools was actually a lot more informative and comprehensive than it is today, so I guess they figured I learned what I needed to know."

I guess it depends on where you went to school. There was never any sex ed in school for me.

My daughters have received extensive sex ed in school, including information about homosexuality. There are openly gay students who don't seem to have the problems you referred to.

Posted by: lurker | July 10, 2007 9:10 AM

John L - we're probably from somewhat "different worlds". I graduated from high school in 77, and was one of only about 10 of us who graduated that year who went on to a four year college.

In that part of Louisiana at that time, the culture was not slanted toward education. If you didn't go in the service, you went to work for an oil company, usually on an offshore rig. You usually started as a roughneck; if you had skills you became a welder or electrician or whatever. With the overtime and other pay, you usually made more than your high school teachers did by three months after graduation. So it seemed to make sense to some of those folks to drop out of school, or pass up the college scholarships, or not to wait to have kids or get married, or whatever.

Now, there were some success stories. There's the guy who went into the Marines, became a pilot, and flies for a major airline while also being a highly-decorated Colonel in the Marine Reserves. There's the AF Academy grad who recently retired as a Brigadier General. One guy is a very successful OB/GYN.

Then there's the woman who had her first abortion the day after graduation. She went to a CSS as an undergrad (had her second and third abortions there), then got her PhD from Yale. Started a software company in Silicon Valley. Did very well in the dot-com boom. Had three kids. (At least two fathers; I understand there's some question as to whether it's two or three.)

And two years ago, moved back to the same little town in Louisiana because she wanted her kids to grow up in the same environment as their mother.

Posted by: Army Brat | July 10, 2007 9:11 AM

I think a big issue is also pressure on these young adults. Europeans notoriously have a break year in between University and high school - I fully believe American kids should do the same. What these kids most likely want is a break and if there's a boyfriend/girlfriend involved it kind of gives an excuse to do just that. the kids in Workingmomx's blog appear to be intelligent kids who got accepted into good schools. so something else is obviosuly going on with them.

I did the gap year thing and it was the best thing I have ever done. I didn't travel as much as I wanted (I should've saved more money), but I worked a couple different jobs, kept house for my family (this was a condition of not going to school right away. I did the grocery shopping, most cleaning, laundry,etc)

By the time summer rolled around I was just waiting to start school. I transferred to my dream school 1 year later on an almost full scholarship.

I plan to support my daughter fully if she wants a gap year. It can be a great transistion into the "real" world.

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | July 10, 2007 9:14 AM

I don't know if the blogger could have prevented the situation, but I do think having a back-up plan and a few alternatives would have helped in this situation. Had the daughter wanted to move in with the boyfriend and stay local, maybe they should have had a local college/university on the list of places she applied to. There's the possibility they could have come up with some kind of deal - she gets gas money as long as she agrees to attend local college/university.

My situation was more the reverse (without the boyfriend) and similar for my sister. We both had out of state universities that were our first choices and that we preferred to attend. However, Mom & Dad couldn't afford the room and board for these institutions and therefore refused to cosign on any loans we might have needed to go to these colleges because it was important to them that we get our education without going into debt. In my case I did not get into my first choice so my decision was made for me, and my sister struggled for a while with accepting our parents' decision. They knew what they wanted, and they made sure we only had the means to do that. I would say we are both happier as a result since we both met our husbands in the college years.

I also know someone who commuted from home 1.5-2 hours each way to go to the same university I went (20-40 mins for me from home). So it is doable if you can get your kid a car, better that they do that AND get to stay with the boyfriend then give up completely.

Posted by: Miles | July 10, 2007 9:16 AM

"In the end, I came out ahead -- I was able to keep our tiny apartment because of my part-time job, and I continued attending college."

Were your parents paying for your education? We have told our daughters that we will provide education while they are our dependent children. Once they decide that they are adults who will live with or marry someone, then they will be treated as adults with full adult responsibilites and will no longer be supported by us. No, that doesn't mean we are overly controlling and monitor every move they make and make every decision for them. We would treat them as fully independent adult children - part of our family who we would help out in a pinch, but full support would be over. If it didn't work out, they could move back home, but would have to work and pay for school themselves.

Posted by: to Just wonderin' | July 10, 2007 9:16 AM

Lurker,

I suppose it does depend on where you went to school. In Baltimore County in the 70's, it was taught very well. Of course, there were still only two sexually transmitted diseases (still known as VD -- and doesn't THAT date me right there), and nobody discussed homosexuality.

My son didn't have major problems in high school; middle school was much harder. He didn't understand what was going on, and he didn't discuss it with us. His high school guidance counselor was great, apparently. He came out to his friends in his junior year, and most of them are still his friends.

I think he had problems in college (small college in the Southern Baptist belt), although he has never discussed them, and I think that's at least part of the reason he allowed himself to nearly flunk out.

Posted by: educmom | July 10, 2007 9:20 AM

-- "In the end, I came out ahead -- I was able to keep our tiny apartment because of my part-time job, and I continued attending college."

Were your parents paying for your education? --

In short, nope. They let me live at home rent-free pre-Bruce, but once I moved out, I was on my own for bills (and I was already paying tuition on my own).

Which was fine by me -- I realized I was out of the house and I didn't expect them to pay for anything.

Posted by: Just wonderin' | July 10, 2007 9:23 AM

Funny, I did go to school in Balto county - graduated 1974. No sex ed in school, at least no formal education :). Maybe it was later in the 70's or only at certain schools.

Posted by: lurker | July 10, 2007 9:26 AM

"Now, there were some success stories."

Be careful, you sound like a true elitist snob. It's possible to become a successful electrician, welder, or SAHM.

Posted by: to Army Brat | July 10, 2007 9:28 AM

All I wanted was to move out of the house far away, so there was nothing that was going to stop me from going to college since I knew I couldn't afford to live on my own.

My sister had moved back after college and couldn't afford to live on her own, what made me think *i* could do it? It amazed me at college, even, when girls said things like: oh, I have a boyfriend back home. It was just weird-i thought-youre young, live your life here-why worry about some guy who's not here. Invariably, said boyfriend had a girlfriend at college too.

I know someone who gave up a scholarship to an ivy league to attend a univ close to home and girlfriend. He knew after a few weeks that he made the wrong decision. That lesson stayed with him.

I definitely want my kids to be independent, but want them to know that I will always be here for them whenever they would need me. That might mean taking them in, but might not-but whose to say I wouldn't charge them rent? They'd also be required to do what they had been required to do before. No one would be waiting on them.

Posted by: atlmom | July 10, 2007 9:34 AM

"Why is it that when a broken-hearted child comes running back, parents welcome him or her with open arms? This is the same child who disappointed you by leaving and not pursuing the type of life (in some instances) you wanted."

Posted by: driver guy | July 10, 2007 07:46 AM

Our children are not there to "pursu[e] the type of life [we] wanted." But they are our own flesh and blood. So when they take a wrong path or make a mistake or mess up, we take them back "with open arms" and encourage them to try something else. It is our duty to do this, and we take our duty seriously. And our children -- O fortunati! O terque beati! -- are lucky and thrice blessed to have parents like us.

Myron Magnet's book, "The Dream and the Nightmare: The Sixties' Legacy to the Underclass," elucidates the difference between the "hippie" children of the 1960's, who had parents with a sense of duty, and the children of what he calls the "underclass," who were likely to have dope addicts for mothers and absentees for fathers, neither with any sense of duty. The "hippies" could experiment with sexual freedom and dope, get themselves arrested demonstrating against LBJ's Vit-nam war, drop out of school to attend the "free university" of the streets -- but in the end, when they saw where their stupid decisions had led them, they were able to turn to their parents to bail them out and get them started on the path to responsible careers in Corporate America. The children of Myron Magnet's "underclass" thought that they, too, could experiment the same way the "hippies" did. But with no responsible, loving parents to bail them out, no one to "take them back "with open arms," they went down, down, down in a ring of fire, a ring of sex, drugs and crime -- and passed that legacy down to their own children.

Would "driver guy" really want his children to suffer the full consequences of their stupid, youthful mistakes? Would he want them to become part of Myron Magnet's "underclass"?

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | July 10, 2007 9:38 AM

"Be careful, you sound like a true elitist snob. It's possible to become a successful electrician, welder, or SAHM."

Good point, and I certainly don't want to put down the skilled tradespeople (or SAHMs for that matter). My best friend from high school never went to a day of college, and is one of the most successful plumbers on the north shore of Lake Ponchartrain - runs a large business, has a bunch of people working for him, does what he wants, etc. And after Katrina, he's pretty much set (he lives far enough away from the lake that his house wasn't wiped out, and he told me recently that he could keep every person in his company working every day for the next two years without a problem).

Not everybody is cut out for college and it will likely always be possible to make a decent living as a skilled craftsman, but the level of skill required will continue to rise with technology.

Posted by: Army Brat | July 10, 2007 9:39 AM

Matt in Aberdeen

"Would "driver guy" really want his children to suffer the full consequences of their stupid, youthful mistakes? Would he want them to become part of Myron Magnet's "underclass"?"

That seems to be driver guy's whole point...

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 9:41 AM

I loved the Bruce approach. Funnily enought I had a very good guy friend in college who approached my misguided relationships the way Cato did Carthage: he ended every conversation, no matter the topic, with "Bruce must be dumped." He was, of course, right.

Posted by: must be the name... | July 10, 2007 9:41 AM

I know someone with a daughter who left home to move in with boyfriend when she turned 18. Since she has a February birthday, she left while still in high school. Didn't finish, but is very bright and should be able to get GED as soon as she decides to do it.

It's been a year now with no indication that she will be coming home or going back to school. Her mother has decided to use the college money to build an addition on her house.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 9:42 AM

One of the things I don't think has been mentioned yet is having open lines of communication with the significant other of your child.

Posted by: David S | July 10, 2007 9:44 AM

There is a world of difference between rescuing your kid every time he fumbles, and responding to a call from one of your kids when she has gotten herself into a relationship she can't safely and/or efficiently exit. It takes a great deal of maturity to admit to your parents, even tacitly, that they were right and you were wrong about a romantic partner. If one of my children (or frankly, any of their close friends) gets to the point where she is able to swallow her pride and make that call to say, "Mom, Please come get me," I will reward that maturity with a swift response.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 9:44 AM

" . . . he also used to refer to every guy my sisters and I dated, no matter how seriously or for how long, as "Bruce.
- - - - - - - -

Too funny, my dad used to call all of my boyfriends "Jabo." Never knew where he got that from. First one he chose to call by name, from the start, is my husband.

Posted by: AFBrat | July 10, 2007 9:45 AM

I agree with "your advice and motivates are questionable"

Kids have to take their own paths.

This seems more like parents agonizing because their own goals for their children are being derailed by those very children.

If a relationship is more important to a child than college that tells you something about how they're going to approach college.

Certainly you don't want to make your child feel that they are worthless without a relationship, but why not respect their feelings?

Trying to derail high school relationships is just as likely to push them underground. Then you miss the opportunity to know who your kids are seeing and to have that all important talk about family planning and responsible sexual behavior.

I say, back off. A lost college scholarship is not the end of the world. It is your child's life, not yours.

Posted by: RoseG | July 10, 2007 9:45 AM

"Funnily enought I had a very good guy friend in college who approached my misguided relationships the way Cato did Carthage: he ended every conversation, no matter the topic, with "Bruce must be dumped." He was, of course, right."

Ha! Reminds me of Dickens' "Barkis is willin'".

Posted by: Elaine | July 10, 2007 9:46 AM

Her mother has decided to use the college money to build an addition on her house.
- - - - -

Good for her!

Posted by: AFBrat | July 10, 2007 9:48 AM

Karen Rayne
http://www.adolescentsexualitytoday.blogspot.com

Posted by: Karen Rayne | July 10, 2007 08:17 AM

Just what this blog needs, another person whose sole purpose is to use this blog to drive traffic to her own blog.

Leslie, please consider deleting blatantly commercial posts.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 9:49 AM

So what's wrong with a good old fashioned whipping?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 9:53 AM

Obviously Rose G doesn't have kids.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 9:53 AM

Her mother has decided to use the college money to build an addition on her house.
- - - - -

Good for her!

Posted by: AFBrat | July 10, 2007 09:48 AM

Like the "Friends" episode where Monica and Chandler learn that her parents have spent the money they'd saved up for her wedding on themselves instead, because they'd figured Monica would never get married.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 9:54 AM

WorkingMomX,

Thanks for a great, practical guest blog. I can only imagine how challenging it must have been for you, as the stepmom, to deal with this drama -- and show a united front -- with your spouse.

A Word of Advice - Your brother is a wise, wise man. Be patient but, whenever possible, smart parents encourage their kids to limit the severity and duration of the consequences of their foolishness.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | July 10, 2007 10:00 AM

Here, here, RoseG. People actually get angry with me when I say if my kids don't want to go to college, that's fine with me. They'll figure out how tough it is without an education (heck, it's tough *with* an education).

I saw people in college who did nothing but party and flunk out. I thought- I'm not about to throw away this opportunity.

But I've learned that there is more than one way to do things, that if you're not mature enough or motivated enough you're not going to get much out of college, that I don't want to waste my money if my did doesn't want to go.

Educmom-tough stuff. I learned as an adult that my mom had helped my sister's friend get an abortion during college yrs since friend's mom was a little off. I was shocked, actually. I never would go to my parents ever with any issue because I figured what was the point. I'm sure you wish your DS would speak with you about all this. I hope we can keep the lines of communication open when my kids get older. Having not had that as a kid, I hope we can do it.

We had sex ed in middle school and high school. My mom even said something to me about it once as in she was glad she didn't have to discuss it cause she knew we were getting it in school.

Posted by: atlmom | July 10, 2007 10:00 AM

I have two kids who've managed to do just what they want to do despite my best efforts! My take is that you can either agonize about it or you can accept it. Acceptance is a whole lot less stressful and more likely to maintain a good relationship with your child -- and that's all that really matters in the end.

Another option, knowing these romances are likely to self-destruct, is to encourage your child to "defer admission."

It's my understanding that after being admitted to many colleges you can write a letter and request your admission be deferred for a year. Don't know if that will maintain financial aid or not, but it would keep your hand in the door.

Posted by: RoseG | July 10, 2007 10:02 AM

RoseG, are you advocating that a parent stand by while a child self-destructs without trying to help out in any way? I'm not trying to start a fight, I'm curious.

Also, we did think about deferrment and encouraged her to look into it, but she was delusional about what her life would be like with her boyfriend once they lived together.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | July 10, 2007 10:10 AM

"It's my understanding that after being admitted to many colleges you can write a letter and request your admission be deferred for a year. Don't know if that will maintain financial aid or not, but it would keep your hand in the door."

They won't. Your admission can be deferred, but financial aid, grants, scholarships are granted with respect to a particular academic year.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 10:11 AM

The wisdom that comes from experience cannot be denied, but is not infallible. My parents did a great job guiding me (kid 1 of 4) to put education and career first, then "boys" second. It worked-- a few years after I earned my degree and established a great career I met the guy who is now my husband. They tried to do the same with my sister (kid 3 of 4), but instead she got married at 19 and basically divorced herself from my parents rather than deal with their constant disapproval. Where I think my parents messed up is that they assumed my sister ruined her life-- my mom thinks my sister is unhappily married to a man she merely tolerates and is now stuck with, lonely, and destined to be "nothing but a SAHM for the rest of her life". In reality, my sister just finished her BA, loves her husband, and looks forward to raising her future children (and yes, being "just" a SAHM) someday. Sure she hardly talks to our mother, but I can't blame her-- my mother is constantly fishing for signs that my sister made a mistake so she can point them out and try to talk her out of the marriage. I wouldn't want to deal with that either.

Parents should help their children make good choices, of course. But sometimes a teen or young adult will choose a path their parents would not have chosen for them. When this happens, parents should recognize that this new path might be okay too, even if it isn't the path they would have chosen for their kids. There are many ways to live a good, happy life.

Posted by: Regan | July 10, 2007 10:14 AM

AL: I also was one of the kids that needed to learn the hard way.
I didn't drop out of school but I did move in with my boyfriend at 18, and then went through a spectacular split-up with lots of drama.
I wouldn't trade any of it. I did lots of stupid things, but they were _my_ stupid things. I don't recall my parents offering to let me move home but I would not have done so in any case. The feeling that I was finally alive, that I was living my own life on my own terms, was greater than anything.
To this day I thank my parents for what they did--they listened to me when I needed to talk, stayed out of my way, treated Crazy BF with admirable politeness and treated me like the adult I almost was. It was the year I grew up.

Posted by: worker bee | July 10, 2007 10:15 AM

I think that many people consider 18 year olds adults, and make the mistake of expecting reasonable, adult behavior from the. Eighteen year olds may be adults legally, but many of them are not there yet, emotionally or financially. And they make dumb choices. Sometimes really dumb choices. And then we act surprised and disappointed, when if we were really smart, we would be prepared.

Which does not mean that we need to shield them from every dumb mistake they make. But it does mean that we can mitigate the consequences while still allowing them to learn life's lessons. Letting an 18 year old come back home to live is not a bad idea as long as you also make them get a job and help with the bills. Turning them out on the streets because they made some mistakes seems heartless to me. I also agree with the person who talked about the wisdom of some kids taking a break between high school and college. Not all kids are ready to go to college right after high school. If you feel that your child is not ready, why not let them live at home for a year and work? This may just do the trick and motivate them to go to school so that they won't be stuck in that rut indefinitely. Or if they are not ready to go away, I think a couple of years at the local community college may also be a good idea. Not all kids are ready to move away from home right away, and need a little time to mature.

In any case, I think these decisions have to be tailored to the individual involved. While one kid may be ready to charge full steam ahead, another may not, and waiting a year or two to let them mature fully may be the best decision you can make. Sometimes, as parents, we compete through our children and feel like failures compared to the Jones' if our children don't do as well as theirs. Which is stupid. As an adult, I know all sorts of people who did not go to college right away, or went, dropped out, and went back later. And I know quite a few who did not finish and still ended up doing well in life. And all these folks are fine, responsible, self-sustaining adults today. Sure, we make stupid mistakes when we are young adults. It's part of the maturing process. But chances are we will get through these bumps and turn out okay. A few mistakes, especially when we are young, are not necessarily such a bad thing in the long run.

Posted by: Emily | July 10, 2007 10:17 AM

Oops-i meant, if my DS doesn't want to go...

Posted by: atlmom | July 10, 2007 10:20 AM

Anybody remember the one skit from "Whose Line Is It Anyway" where the tall guy pretends to be the bald guy's 15 year old daughter?

"You don't understand! I love him! You just don't want me to be happy! You never do! I wish you would DIE!"

*bursts into tears, runs off to bathroom and slams the door*

Oh, wait, excuse me, that was my little sister at 15.

I guess we all do the best we can and then we have to remember this:

Our teenagers will likely display the SAME behaviors they did between 2-4 yo. But bigger, with higher stakes.

The Wonder Years, indeed.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | July 10, 2007 10:24 AM

It is rude to insist that if a couple is not engaged, a significant other should be called by a generic name and the parents should not attempt to get close to them or be their friend.

Allowing interaction between a parent and the person your child cares about opens up communication in a way that is helpful to your young adult. In many ways a romantic relationship is at its core a friendship, and many last beyond the scope of the romantic relationship. It is immature to pretend that feelings don't exist, and I would find it very hurtful if my parents did the same to me.

I had a "boyfriend" for 5 years, who my mother referred to as "my friend" for the first couple years, which wasn't so terrible. But when it was clear that we were heading for eventual marriage (not everyone can be officially "engaged" the second they "should" be), that kind of reference would have been unwelcome, and inappropriate behavior for a parent. My husband appreciates the way my parents communicated with him, asked him questions, knew his background/future plans (Was every "Bruce" destined for nothing?), etc. Talking to him helped them trust him, and they knew that whether we stayed together or not, he was a good person to be around. If they ignored poor "Bruce," maybe they wouldn't have raelized that he was a self-mutilating, drug-addicted puppy-killer. How fabulous.

The idea that young adults should create and keep a network of friends through relationships is a big fat duh. No one wants to be "that guy" or "that girl" who only hangs out with the significant other, and when that ends, they end up alone and bored. Group activities are vital to the social interaction your child needs to thrive. But intimate relationships are also important to socialization and development, and hindering them by pretending they don't exist will be detrimental definitely to your relationship with your child, and probably to your child's ability to maintain such a relationship.

Posted by: marriedto | July 10, 2007 10:32 AM

" . . . he also used to refer to every guy my sisters and I dated, no matter how seriously or for how long, as "Bruce.")"

That's simply rude and disrespectful behavior.

If you want your teenage kids to show respect for others, you need to model that respect by treating them and their friends as worthwhile individuals. This includes knowing and using their friends' names both to their faces and behind their backs. Otherwise, they pick up on the fact that you're mocking them and their feelings, and that's hardly a good foundation for healthy family interaction.

You can hardly blame teenagers for being resentful when their parents play demeaning little games like this.

Posted by: pittypat | July 10, 2007 10:34 AM

Atlmom,

I do wish he would have talked with me much sooner. He does talk a little now, but only about the present, never the past. He said I get this frozen grin on my face when he talks about the person he's dating -- and I said it beats a yucky face; unconditional love is always there, but acceptance takes a little time. After all, he's known he was gay for years; I haven't.

I have this lurking fear that he did some realy dumb things before I knew what was going on, and, having no clue at all, I was not even able to give him any advice. Not that he would listen or anything -- he's very bright, and very arrogant, and I think he would have disregarded any advice I gave him anyway.

Lurker,
I had sex ed as part of the junior high home ec/shop curriculum in 1975-1977. Now that I think about it, maybe it was some sort of experiment or pilot program. Our school was not the best, and maybe they used it to test all sorts of social theories. For example, in seventh grade, all the boys took wood shop, metal shop and drafting; all the girls took sewing, cooking, and home arts. In eighth grade, shop and home ec were combined and co-ed. Everyone in the entire grade took wood shop, cooking, metal shop, sewing, drafting, and health.

I don't remember if the sex ed was that year or the next (junior high went through ninth grade), but I do remember the chart we had with all the birth-control methods and their effectiveness, and the filmstrip showing gestational development.

Posted by: educmom | July 10, 2007 10:35 AM

Another blog topic completely exhausted in a couple of hours...

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 10:40 AM

"Atlmom,

I do wish he would have talked with me much sooner. He does talk a little now, but only about the present, never the past. He said I get this frozen grin on my face when he talks about the person he's dating -- and I said it beats a yucky face; unconditional love is always there, but acceptance takes a little time. After all, he's known he was gay for years; I haven't."

Educmom,

A good friend of mine had this happen with his father.

I pointed out that it would probably take his father the same number of years to accept his child as gay, as it took HIM (the child) to get around to telling him.

So...if he knew for 11 years, he should expect 11 years before his dad came to terms. Less if he was lucky.

He was lucky.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | July 10, 2007 10:41 AM

Another blog topic completely exhausted in a couple of hours...

Posted by: | July 10, 2007 10:40 AM

With your keen insight, yea, it could be.

There is lots more to be intelligently commented on here!

Posted by: Fred | July 10, 2007 10:43 AM

"There are almost no words to describe the helpless feeling of standing by and watching your of-age or soon to be of-age child make choices that are not, to put it mildly, in his or her best interests."

I do have to wonder whose interests are being served here.

Is it possible that the scholarship to the prestigious school is what YOU want, not what your child wants?

Parents nowadays seems to be pushing, pushing all the time to get their kids ahead of everyone else's kids -- all geared to getting them into the best colleges that good grades and big money can provide.

Yet it's not clear that these choices are the kids' choices; often, they seem to be choices pursued for the sake of demanding parents.

Perhaps a college student coming home because s/he doesn't want to be away from her/his lover is another way of saying, "I don't like it at this school. I'm not comfortable here. I feel ("gasp!") out of my element."

There's a lot to be said for the system in the UK, where it's common for students to take a "gap year" after high school to get some experience, feel out different kinds of careers, get a sense of how they want to spend their lives.

Right now, in this country, it seems like it's the parents who are deciding how their children's lives should play out. Maybe parents feel they're entitled to dictate since they've got such a big financial investment in their kids. But ultimately, it's the kid's life. You've done your part. Now get out of their way!

Posted by: pittypat | July 10, 2007 10:48 AM

Fred

"There is lots more to be intelligently commented on here!"

What's the hold up? Bring it on!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 10:48 AM

I do wish he would have talked with me much sooner. He does talk a little now, but only about the present, never the past. He said I get this frozen grin on my face when he talks about the person he's dating -- and I said it beats a yucky face; unconditional love is always there, but acceptance takes a little time. After all, he's known he was gay for years; I haven't."

Educmom,

I am so horrified by your reaction. Does it matter that he's gay? You've known your SON his whole like and that's all that should matter.

"It beats a yucky face"????? You can't see my face right now, but it is about the "yuckiest" it can get - in reaction to the type of person you are.

Gee, I wonder why he didn't tell you sooner?? - because the only thing you can muster is a frozen grin and then telling him, "Well, at least I'm not puking over it"

What is wrong with people? Who care what gender your child is attracted to? Shouldn't it be about the type of person he is??

Question: what if you found out your son was quite the player and straight. He'd slept with tons of girls, never called them back, etc....Would you still have to plaster a frozen smile on your face? Or would you laugh it off as college boy hijinx?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 10:49 AM

Fred

"There is lots more to be intelligently commented on here!"

What's the hold up? Bring it on!

Posted by: | July 10, 2007 10:48 AM

We're waiting on you.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | July 10, 2007 10:51 AM

WorkingMomX:
I really liked your advice about friends--both to encourage group gatherings, and to mention that friends can be a support network for a kid who can't or won't be supported by parents.
I would add that parents who get to know their kids' friends can help the friends, too, sometimes in ways that aren't even visible at the time. My childhood best girlfriend told me recently how much she valued her times at my house, with my parents. Unknown to any of us at the time, her parents were having awful fights leading up to their divorce, and my parents showed my friend a safer and more stable family environment.

Posted by: worker bee | July 10, 2007 10:52 AM

My advice as a 24 year old? Don't let teenagers seriously date in high school. Group dates are great, but I saw too many friends make stupid decisions because of their HS boyfriends and girlfriends. One girl in my class actually tried to talk her boyfriend out of taking a fantastic scholarship to Princeton because he would be living 1000 miles away. Thankfully, he ignored her and happily graduated from Princeton a few years ago, but this is hardly an isolated incident.

Also, seniors in high school need to realize that 99% of high school romantic relationships end the first semester of college. Countless friends went home for Thanksgiving only to dump their significant others in favor of new college classmates.

One of the best parts of college life is meeting new people, and that is where I met my fiance and we could not be happier together.

Posted by: Caroline | July 10, 2007 10:54 AM

What is wrong with people? Who care what gender your child is attracted to? Shouldn't it be about the type of person he is??

Sad to say, religious right-winger Alan Keyes completely disowned his lesbian daughter. Even Dick and Lynne Cheney have more compassion.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 10:54 AM

Fred

"There is lots more to be intelligently commented on here!"

What's the hold up? Bring it on!"

I have already had my say. Maybe other have not had the opportunity to look at the "paper" yet today. And I am still looking for the quote of the day.

Believe it or not, I do not feel compelled to post a rebuttal to every statement that I disagree with or have the last words.

Posted by: Fred | July 10, 2007 10:55 AM

Even Dick and Lynne Cheney have more compassion.

Or maybe they recognize a good prop.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 10:56 AM

Even Dick and Lynne Cheney have more compassion.

Or maybe they recognize a good prop.

Posted by: | July 10, 2007 10:56 AM

You think it would be preferable for them to emulate Alan Keyes by disowning their own lesbian daughter? I think not.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 11:00 AM

You think it would be preferable for them to emulate Alan Keyes by disowning their own lesbian daughter? I think not.

Posted by: | July 10, 2007 11:00 AM

I'm simply saying that none of us know how they really feel about their daughter. We only know that they haven't publically disavowed her.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 11:03 AM

"For example, in seventh grade, all the boys took wood shop, metal shop and drafting; all the girls took sewing, cooking, and home arts. In eighth grade, shop and home ec were combined and co-ed."

What a difference a few years makes. When I was in grades 7-9, shop and home ec were separated by gender. In high school, you could take anything, but boys who took sewing and cooking and girls who took shop were teased mercilessly. And no public sex ed for either beyond girls learning about the menstrual cycle. I don't know what the boys were taught.

Posted by: lurker | July 10, 2007 11:04 AM

Question: what if you found out your son was quite the player and straight. He'd slept with tons of girls, never called them back, etc....Would you still have to plaster a frozen smile on your face? Or would you laugh it off as college boy hijinx?

Posted by: | July 10, 2007 10:49 AM

No. I'd ream him out. Using women as sex objects is morally reprehensible, and there would NEVER EVER EVER be ANY acceptance of that disgusting, despicable, UNACCEPTABLE behavior from me. EVER!!!!!

I certainly hope your spawn (is that what they call troll offspring??) never, ever come to you and say that they're not exactly who you thought they were, and that the person they are is at odds with what goes on in society in general, and that the variation forces you to actually think about your spawn's sex life (which, as a parent, you would prefer not to do, no matter if it was conventional or not), and puts you in a position in which you have to alter your expectations, your anticipated life scripts for your troll spawn, and you get SLAMMED by some anonymous NOBODY because you don't come to complete acceptance on that NOBODY's timetable.

You are vile. Go away!!

Posted by: educmom | July 10, 2007 11:05 AM

"I pointed out that it would probably take his father the same number of years to accept his child as gay, as it took HIM (the child) to get around to telling him."

I thought we were at least 30 years past this sort of thing. educmom's son knew exactly how his mom would react to this news and, sadly, he was correct. How very, very sad.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 11:05 AM

"My advice as a 24 year old? Don't let teenagers seriously date in high school."

I think that's bad advice, especially for older teenagers. Their romantic relationships tend to be really passionate, and you can't control how people feel about each other. Romeo and Juliet are archetypes for a good reason.

Teenagers will date and fall in love. That is a fact of life we just have to accept. It is possible to treat them respectfully without indulging them in ridiculous ways.

Posted by: Emily | July 10, 2007 11:06 AM

pittypat and the other childless know-it-all posters have now arrived to chastise WorkingMomX and anyone else who has raised children. Bring on the wisdom, you who have neither been there nor done that.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 11:07 AM

I think it's only natural for an 18-20 year old "adult" with newly-gained independence to make poor decisions, especially with respect to education. After all, a significant other makes you feel special and wanted, whereas at school, you are a number and you are judged harshly.

When I was in college, I certainly did not appreciate the opportunity that I had there. My grades were lousy, I did not apply myself, I drank and smoked and chased girls. It got to the point where I wanted to drop out and take some time off until I could appreciate college.

Thankfully, I had the good sense not to do such a drastic thing. What pulled me through was my job. I worked as a waiter in a restaurant, and while I was able to make what for a 20 year old was terrific money, I saw first hand what happens when 20 becomes 30, and 30 becomes 40.

I saw women getting pregnant and having babies with their deadbeat boyfriends. I middle-aged men who wasted their lives away, alone and unhappy (yes I'm aware that singles can be happy. These men were alone and definitely not happy.).

So I sucked it up. I stayed in school. My life turned out pretty well. I have no idea where I would be right now had I dropped out, but my guess is I'd probably have turned out ok in spite of myself.

Posted by: Bob | July 10, 2007 11:08 AM

Educmom-dont worry about people attacking you.

I took what you said to mean that you are thrilled that now your child is talking to you and wanting a relationship and wanting to be honest with you. I don't know how anyone could have interpreted it any other way.

Posted by: atlmom | July 10, 2007 11:09 AM

Lurker: "What a difference a few years makes. When I was in grades 7-9, shop and home ec were separated by gender. In high school, you could take anything, but boys who took sewing and cooking and girls who took shop were teased mercilessly. And no public sex ed for either beyond girls learning about the menstrual cycle. I don't know what the boys were taught."

Ah, the joys of going to military dependent schools. Sex Ed was taught in 7th grade and was mandatory - no opting out for parents. We didn't have shop, but both boys and girls took fine art and home ec. The home ec classes were separated by gender, and we noticed that the boys' classes did way more cooking and minimal sewing, while the girls' classes did cooking, sewing, family budgeting, etc. ("Budgeting" on a military installation includes lessons in "the penalty for your military parent if you bounce a check in the PX is as follows".)

Posted by: Army Brat | July 10, 2007 11:10 AM

Typically, the more you try to exert wisdom on a teenager (aka don't give up your scholarship for your boyfriend/girlfriend) the more they resist. They seem to know everything. I remember how "much I knew" back then - I am THANKFUL to this day that I didn't get pregnant by a boyfriend who turned out to be a total loser; but I couldn't see it at the time. How differently my life would have turned out....

I went to the wedding of my 20 year old nephew a couple weeks ago - hard to appreciate the vows after observing their immaturity and knowing in the back of your mind.. this is not going to work out...Why getting married so young - he was resisting his mom - rebellious behavior.

People have to live and learn.. unfortunately.

Posted by: Mom of Teenagers | July 10, 2007 11:13 AM

"I pointed out that it would probably take his father the same number of years to accept his child as gay, as it took HIM (the child) to get around to telling him."

I thought we were at least 30 years past this sort of thing. educmom's son knew exactly how his mom would react to this news and, sadly, he was correct. How very, very sad.

Posted by: | July 10, 2007 11:05 AM

Please. I bet Educmom would have had a similar reaction if her son had come to her and said, "I got (name) pregnant."

When the life-script goes veering off into the unexpected and peoples' hopes, dreams and illusions are in tatters, it's only polite to give them some time to pull themselves together.

So, Educmom, did you contact PFLAG? Did you get some comfort from other parents? All of this will get easier with time and sunshine. So to speak.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 11:13 AM

I am so horrified by your reaction. Does it matter that he's gay? You've known your SON his whole like and that's all that should matter.

"It beats a yucky face"????? You can't see my face right now, but it is about the "yuckiest" it can get - in reaction to the type of person you are.

Gee, I wonder why he didn't tell you sooner?? - because the only thing you can muster is a frozen grin and then telling him, "Well, at least I'm not puking over it"

What is wrong with people? Who care what gender your child is attracted to? Shouldn't it be about the type of person he is??

Question: what if you found out your son was quite the player and straight. He'd slept with tons of girls, never called them back, etc....Would you still have to plaster a frozen smile on your face? Or would you laugh it off as college boy hijinx?

Posted by: | July 10, 2007 10:49 AM

*claps* *claps* *claps*

What a non-issue. My high-school friends who were gay came of age when there was everything to lose and no one knew it yet. I lost 2 of them to AIDS. One wasn't comfortable telling his parents until he came home to their house to die. Then he was gone.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | July 10, 2007 11:13 AM

"pittypat and the other childless know-it-all posters have now arrived to chastise WorkingMomX and anyone else who has raised children. Bring on the wisdom, you who have neither been there nor done that.

Posted by: | July 10, 2007 11:07 AM"

Well, it seems fair since all you married and child-hampered folks on the blog yesterday were advising singles on what they really want and how they should go about getting it.

You're right. I've never been a parent. But I sure have been a child, and, let me tell you, living up to parents' assumptions about who you will be and what you'll believe (much less their expectations about what you'll become) leaves some pretty big scars.

So, I do know something about what happens when you try to live your kids' lives for them. I'm suggesting that you avoid making that mistake.

Posted by: pittypat | July 10, 2007 11:14 AM

"What is wrong with people? Who care what gender your child is attracted to? Shouldn't it be about the type of person he is??"

The point is that no matter what the topic,IT IS ALL ABOUT THE VERY NEEDY FOR ATTENTION EDUCMOM.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 11:14 AM

And there is a HUGE difference between needing some time to accept that your child is gay, and disowning a gay child.

I simply cannot understand why on earth a parent would disown a gay child! Don't they LOVE the child UNCONDITIONALLY???

Some of us just need a little time to get our minds around the concept. I have talked to my son about this, and he really does understand. He knows I love him, I would NEVER disown him, and I will eventually be OK with it. I respect him enough to not make any effort to talk him out of his sexual orientation, and to not minimize it as a phase. I'm moving in the right direction -- I want to completely accept it, so I know eventually I will -- and he respects me enough to let me get there at my own pace.

Posted by: educmom | July 10, 2007 11:16 AM

educmom,

My friend found out that her son was gay, and it took years for her to be comfortable with it. She explained it as a loss of dreams - no wedding, no biological grandchildren - yes, it's his life and she wants him to find his own way and his own happiness, but we all have dreams for our children and may experience a sense of loss when they don't come true. Also, being gay carries a greater risk of AIDS and being beat up by gay-bashers (it happened to her son).

No matter how liberal individuals may be, in this country there is still a strong bias against gays. DC is not the rest of the country. It is somewhat sad to realize that your child could be subject to ridicule or worse for the simple act of holding hands with their life partner. straight people do not have to worry about that. Even if you are completey accepting as a parent, you don't live in a bubble. My friend's father was one of the biggest homophobe's ever born. She felt like she was constantly walking on eggshells around her family. Should she tell and risk alienating her father or hearing nasty things about her son? Should she not mention it and hope her son would forgive her? He was gay and proud and wanted everyone to know. She only saw her father a few times a year so it wasn't much of an issue most of the time. How do you handle the inevitable questions - single - does he have a girlfriend, is it serious, is he getting married?

So educmom, I do understand that finding out your child is gay puts you in a situation that most people don't ever find themselves in. They can only imagine how they would react, they don't really know.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 11:16 AM

Educmom,

Whether a troll wrote that or not, I completely agree with him/her.

I think your reaction to your son is vile.

Being gay is the least of my worries when thinking of what my child could be!

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | July 10, 2007 11:17 AM

pittypat, I find myself in a strange position today, disagreeing with you. I recognize that not every kid will go or should go to college, but I also know that there's a much greater chance of succcess on almost every level for a child who gets a degree. Given my stepdaughter's past, raised by an abusive mom who's been married many times, her best bet was to be able to support herself as soon as possible, and my husband and I are willing to work with her so she can do this. Are we enabling her by funding a small portion of her tuition/room and board? Maybe, but ask yourself whether it's in our best interests to do this. We don't want an adult kid showing up on our doorstep every 6 months looking for a handout. Boy, would that mean we didn't do our job as parents.

I fully expect that my other children will attend college. Maybe this is elitist, but it is what it is. It's how my parents raised my sisters and me, and we all turned out okay (even with the "Bruce" thing).

Posted by: WorkingMomX | July 10, 2007 11:20 AM

Atlmom,
You're right. Thanks!

Anon at 11:13:
No, not yet anyway. I know it's a good resource, and I do plan to tap into it. And you're right -- I would have reacted exactly the same way if he had announced he had gotten someone pregnant.

Posted by: educmom | July 10, 2007 11:22 AM

Isn't raising a child kind of like sport fishing in reverse? You keep them really close at first then gradually let out the line so they get a bit farther away and feistier but are still on the line. Eventually you get to see them up close for the beautiful creature they are and cut the line and let them swim away (and if you throw some chum off the back of the boat they will continue to follow you).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | July 10, 2007 11:22 AM

I actually understand Educmom. She is trying. That is all you can ask of anyone. I think my brother might be gay, although I am not at all sure. He has never mentioned it, and considering the fact that his father is as homophobic as they come, I imagine that if he is gay, it would be incredibly difficult for him to admit it to the family. My mother would also have a hard time with it, but I think she would come around in time, since this child is her baby and has her unconditional love. Still, the family dynamics would be hard, to say the least, because of the way my parents are. They will not change overnight. To them, being gay is okay as long as it does not affect them. It does not mean they are bad people. It means they were raised to believe certain things, and changing the way they think will be hard and take time. I think those of us who are younger don't see it as a big deal because we were raised in a more open and accepting time. Which is great. But for older people, it might be a hurdle to overcome.

Posted by: Emily | July 10, 2007 11:25 AM

I agree with pittypat that a difference today is that a lot of parents are more noticeably trying to micro-manage their kids (although I can recall some horror parents from years ago). Another difference is that it is much mor e difficult to make it on your own financially at 18 today -- you used to be able to go out and get a nice-paying job at an auto plant or whatever. Also, as Emily pointed out, an 18 year old may be legally an adult but the brain is not really mature at that age. All in all, I think it is necessary to give young adults a break now a days, but of course there is a limit. I don't see anything wrong with letting a kid move back in and start over after a bad decision.

Posted by: Diane, Baltimore | July 10, 2007 11:27 AM

Ahh, parenthood.

Where theory meets reality and goes for a test-drive.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | July 10, 2007 11:28 AM

Post college DD went through a phase of dating ex-cons. Delightful!

Posted by: Old Before My Time | July 10, 2007 11:29 AM

11:16:
That's it exactly. Tee day after he told me, I cried for an hour in the shower -- I was mourning the loss of a potential daughter-in-law, of grandkids, of the whole predictability of the life I assumed he would lead.
And I'm terrified for him -- will he end up nailed to a fence, or dragged behind a truck, or in a hospice wasting away from AIDS? Just so many more potential risks...

Posted by: educmom | July 10, 2007 11:29 AM

11:16:
That's it exactly. The day after he told me, I cried for an hour in the shower -- I was mourning the loss of a potential daughter-in-law, of grandkids, of the whole predictability of the life I assumed he would lead.
And I'm terrified for him -- will he end up nailed to a fence, or dragged behind a truck, or in a hospice wasting away from AIDS? Just so many more potential risks...

Posted by: educmom | July 10, 2007 11:30 AM

"It means they were raised to believe certain things, and changing the way they think will be hard and take time. I think those of us who are younger don't see it as a big deal because we were raised in a more open and accepting time. Which is great. But for older people, it might be a hurdle to overcome."

It is the same older people who have raised the younger to be more open and accepting. As an older person, I have taught my children to be open and accepting even while knowing that I would personally have a hard time accepting it in one of my own children. Some of us do recognize our own biases and try not to pass it down to the next generation.

Posted by: anon for this | July 10, 2007 11:30 AM

To anon for this:

You are right, of course. The whole issue reminds me of the movie "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner." Different issue (mixed race marriage), but same dymanics between the generations. Change is hard.

Posted by: Emily | July 10, 2007 11:33 AM

I love that movie. It would be nice to start channeling Katherine Hepburn to deal with this!

Posted by: educmom | July 10, 2007 11:36 AM

Educmom,

You'll find the more you talk about those fears and really explore them, the faster they will recede. Best of all, you'll probably be discussing it with him before you know it. And he'll get a chance to be the leader and teacher and allay your fears. Decades before you are in your Depends.

Remember "Dune"? And the little mantra about fear?

Don't feel obliged to rush the process. That doesn't work well in most situations. I have confidence that it will come with time and some introspection. (But I bet he'd appreciate a hug, sometime.)

Posted by: Maryland Mother | July 10, 2007 11:38 AM

Diane: my mom told me that when she got married-she was 20 and dad was 24- and neither of them was supporting themselves either. It's never been easy. (I'm not attacking you by the way, so I hope you don't take it as such).

And there's nothing wrong with having hopes and dreams for your kids and then taking a while to realize they're different than you thought and take some time to understand and learn.

Posted by: atlmom | July 10, 2007 11:42 AM

"Some of us do recognize our own biases and try not to pass it down to the next generation."

I hope so. EDUCMOM is a TEACHER!

I can sense a tremendous contrast in her attitudes towards metro-son and gay-son. Sad, very sad.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 11:44 AM

My friend talked to her son about whether he was experimenting, or bisexual, or actually gay. They talked about gays who married women and raised families. He said that he "couldn't live a lie". She said "Why not, other people have and your life could be safer".

It has been ten years since that conversation and they now have a great relationship. He has moved to another city that is friendlier to gays and has a life partner. My friend is happy (content?) that he has found someone to share his life with rather than staying single and possibly having a greater exposure to disease. She and the rest of her family and the son and his partner have vacationed together for the past several years, and they visit each other several times a year.

Even if your son isn't totally pleased with your reactions now, you both will move forward to find comfort in your relationship with each other.

Posted by: 11:16 am | July 10, 2007 11:46 AM

"I hope so. EDUCMOM is a TEACHER!
I can sense a tremendous contrast in her attitudes towards metro-son and gay-son. Sad, very sad."


What is sad is that for so long, our society condemned homosexuality, and that it still does to a large degree. Educmom did not create this situation. She is a product of this situation, perhaps as much a victim as anyone else. What is commendable is that she is willing to rethink it. Judging her for the way she thinks does nobody any good. But engaging her in the subject, allowing her to express herself, and airing this topic in an honest and contructive way is the way to change the way people think about it. It may be politically correct to be a kneejerk liberal, but it's not always productive, especially if your goal is to have a more open and accepting society.

Posted by: Emily | July 10, 2007 11:50 AM

I have always been grateful that I made the majority of my most idiotic mistakes before I turned 18 -- the stakes were lower then. (The obvious exception was my first marriage at 23. No one could have saved me from that!) I wish my parents could have advised me better -- but they had their own problems. my guess is that my particular problems were overwhelming to them and they didn't know what advice to give.

My teachers and some friends' parents were always good sources of advice. I'm grateful they were there, and I'm grateful I listened to them. I think it is important for kids to have other adults in their lives who can advise them when parents can't for whatever reasons.

Posted by: Leslie | July 10, 2007 11:51 AM

guess who's coming to dinner is one of my favorite movies. I love the last scene where spencer tracy makes the speech about love and life and everything. It makes me cry just thinking about it.
My DH thought I was crazy when I got it for him as a present - we still haven't watched it, though...
My grandmother is 97 and has seen quite a few changes in her life. She's come to accept all the grandkids even when she wasn't sure about our decisions, but she grew up in a totally different time and place.

Posted by: atlmom | July 10, 2007 11:52 AM

educmom: with your love and support, your son might well end up adopting a couple of sweet kids and a golden retriever, and living with a long-term partner in a beautifully decorated house with a rainbow windchime on the porch. Best wishes to you both.

Posted by: worker bee | July 10, 2007 11:55 AM

And, Leslie, teach your children it's okay to make mistakes. I think that's one of the more horrible lessons my sister learned. She is not wanting to admit that anyone else could be correct, so instead she stays in a terrible marriage. She thinks divorce would be admitting she did something wrong, and that, to her, is the worst thing she could ever do.

I think that owning up to one's mistakes is the most mature thing one can do. I teach my kids we all make mistakes, but what we need to do is fix things when things go wrong (okay, so now, it's when he spills the drink he has, and I know that the mistakes get bigger, but I want him to think he can always come to us and admit to them - we'll try to fix anything together).

Posted by: atlmom | July 10, 2007 11:55 AM

Just being able to produce a child does not make you an expert on raising them. In fact, it seems the least fit to raise them are having them. You don't take advice from childless people, so why would you take the advice of a male ob/gyn, or a healthy doctor, or a celibate priest? I always thought it amusing that people go to priests and nuns, the most sheltered people in the world, for help in solving their marital problems.

Maybe the view is better from the outside.
Oh, yes, and all that 'advice' yesterday for the single people. Like we really care what you think.

Posted by: ZZZZZZZZZZZZ | July 10, 2007 12:00 PM

"I fully expect that my other children will attend college. Maybe this is elitist, but it is what it is. It's how my parents raised my sisters and me, and we all turned out okay (even with the "Bruce" thing)."

WokingMomX,

First, I should say that you tackled a very difficult subject in your blog today -- and offered some invaluable suggestions (especially the stuff about encouraging teens to have groups of friends).

On the subject of expecting your kids to go to college, though, I come to the subject with a different set of experiences. The most important is what happened to my brother as a result of my parents having had that same expectation.

My brother is extremely bright and good at many things. However, being in school isn't one of them. He just didn't like it, and, while there were subjects in college that he enjoyed and did very well in, he just never wanted to be there. Over the course of 20 years, he was in and out of school -- often taking evening classes while working fulltime in book and, later, sports retail.

He hated the jobs. He hated going to class. But my folks put so much pressure on him that, emotionally, he couldn't resist. This made him enormously tempermental, as the anger had to come out somewhere.

My mother, in particular, worked the guilt-trip thing. She'd talk about how she only hoped that, when she was dead, he'd put his diploma in the casket with her.

Yeah, such comments were supposed to be "jokes," but to my brother, it was just more baiting.

Even after he moved several states away, he was constantly hearing the same message: "Why won't you finish that degree?"

From my parents' point of view, he could never be anything serious without a college degree. He'd never find a decent job, etc.

Ultimately, my mother died, my father backed off the school stuff big-time, and my brother found himself a training program in a highly technical communications field. He had to pass rigorous tests to qualify for the training, and he did; afterward, he had to serve a 30-month tour of work on a contract basis before being taken on as a permanent employee.

Currently, he is enjoying his first months of permanent employment, having passed the 30-month probation with flying colors. It's an up-and-coming field, so he has limitless options and possibilities for the future.

The only sad note is that he spent 20 years after high school in a kind of career wasteland (working in retail and going to school, on and off, at night), because he didn't want what my parents wanted for him, and at the same time, he couldn't pull away from it entirely, because of the enormous guilt Mom was able to engender in him.

It's as if he was shackled to a life he didn't want to live but he didn't know how to get out of it, so he acted out, created constant family drama, and basically made my parents miserable for having made him miserable.

Clearly, this doesn't happen in all families. But it happens in a lot of them, and sometimes the outcomes aren't as positive as my brother's.

If family insists on making one of its members feel like a failure because of her/his choices, there'll be some kind of backlash at some point.

Isn't it better to let your adult children make their own choices and support them in those decisions? So much less of life gets wasted that way.

Posted by: pittypat | July 10, 2007 12:02 PM

Hi there, Kudzu, aka CBC, aka bitter troll. How's life treating you these days?

Posted by: gotcha | July 10, 2007 12:03 PM

"Oh, yes, and all that 'advice' yesterday for the single people. Like we really care what you think."

Whether you care or not, there will always be know-it-alls to light the way....

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 12:03 PM

My rabbi is married with two kids, but I would think talking with someone who has counseled people and has training (a priest) would not be a bad idea. A psychiatrist probably doesn't have a myriad of mental problems either, but he/she would help to treat them.

Most of the time the advice should be: communicate better.

Posted by: atlmom | July 10, 2007 12:04 PM

Regarding the calling dates "Bruce", I wonder how the "Bruces" felt about being treated that way.

I try to put myself in their shoes, and I have to say I don't think i would have found it so off-putting and offensive. I think I would have seen that this was a parent trying to establish that 1) the parent does NOT see me as buddy, 2) I am not seen as an equal to their child (yet) and 3) there is a bit of a challenge-- "You prove to me that you deserve respect, and I'll happily give it to you. But the onus is on you, big guy."

Sure, it's a bit obnoxious and I can't imagine I could actually do it myself as a parent, but I think it is far better than just embracing with open arms whomever my child introduces to me. A certain aloofness is appropriate.

Posted by: Jen s. | July 10, 2007 12:04 PM

11:16:
That's it exactly. Tee day after he told me, I cried for an hour in the shower -- I was mourning the loss of a potential daughter-in-law, of grandkids, of the whole predictability of the life I assumed he would lead.
And I'm terrified for him -- will he end up nailed to a fence, or dragged behind a truck, or in a hospice wasting away from AIDS? Just so many more potential risks...

Posted by: educmom | July 10, 2007 11:29 AM

__________________________________

When some anonymous poster agrees with you, you respond by referring to them by their time stamp. When an anonymous poster disagrees with you, however, they are a "troll" and an "anonymous NOBODY" (your words).

Very nice.

Posted by: AFT | July 10, 2007 12:05 PM

I think that owning up to one's mistakes is the most mature thing one can do.

Or, to put it another way, "Ya gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold them, know when to walk away and when to run"

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 12:06 PM

For those of you who have never lived with a headstrong teenager ages 17-19, here are some of the responses when a parent tries to give advice:

You can't tell me what to do.

I'm not stupid.

It's my decision.)

I'll decide.

Times have changed, you don't know anything about things today.

You don't know what you're talking about.

I'll do what I want.

I'm not a baby.

To a headstrong child, EVERYTHING you say challenges their sense of independence. From a simple "take an umbrella, it might rain later" (I'm not a baby!!) to choose the college that's best for you overall, not because your friends are going (You can't tell me what to do), these children counter everything you say. They may actually agree with you, but they will never let you think that you had any influence on anything they decide.

Some people are lucky that their children are not as headstrong and are more open to hearing other opinions and advice. For those of us with headstrong children, life is never dull.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 12:07 PM

Is it 1981 or 2007???

Why all this mention of gay people "Dying in a hospice with AIDS" and such??

How uneducated can you possibly get?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 12:09 PM

When some anonymous poster agrees with you, you respond by referring to them by their time stamp. When an anonymous poster disagrees with you, however, they are a "troll" and an "anonymous NOBODY" (your words).

Very nice.


Posted by: AFT | July 10, 2007 12:05 PM

Your complete lack of empathy for someone else's troubles (real or imagined) bothers me more than how rattled Educmom is by her son's revelation.

I don't doubt that Educmom and her son will come to terms and re-knit the raveled sleeve of care.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 12:11 PM

AFT

"When some anonymous poster agrees with you, you respond by referring to them by their time stamp. When an anonymous poster disagrees with you, however, they are a "troll" and an "anonymous NOBODY" (your words)."

Par for the course for educmom. Hard to tell her age; my GRANDCHILDREN are about the same age as her sons. Yet she seems to be emotionally immature, intellectually inflexible, and doesn't have a lot of experience engaging in vigorous friendly discourse with ADULTS.

Posted by: Born Free | July 10, 2007 12:12 PM

I'm already getting: you can't tell me what to do - you're not the boss of me, from my 5 YO.

So I tell him, he can make his choices, and they are his to make, but then *I* get to make choices too. And those include paying/not paying for sports (taking him/not taking him to practice), having him spend day in room, not taking him where he wants to go, etc....

Posted by: atlmom | July 10, 2007 12:12 PM

I hope he outgrows it. My teenagers have choices too. Sometimes they'd rather win than give in. My daughter actually received her driver's license a year later than she could have because of her stubbornness.

Posted by: to atlmom | July 10, 2007 12:16 PM

"Some people are lucky that their children are not as headstrong and are more open to hearing other opinions and advice. "

Not sure if LUCK has much to do with it. Might be more related to RESPECT for the parents.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 12:18 PM

"Some people are lucky that their children are not as headstrong and are more open to hearing other opinions and advice. "

Not sure if LUCK has much to do with it. Might be more related to RESPECT for the parents.

Posted by: | July 10, 2007 12:18 PM

Ha-ha-ha. Meet child #2, who would've stayed an only if the kid had been the first one.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 12:20 PM

"Some people are lucky that their children are not as headstrong and are more open to hearing other opinions and advice. "

Not sure if LUCK has much to do with it. Might be more related to RESPECT for the parents.

Posted by: | July 10, 2007 12:18 PM

It's the personality of the child. That explains why children in the same family behave differently.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 12:21 PM

Why is a strong will considered to be such a bad thing. I think it's a good thing. As parents, we should not be as focused on raising compliant children as we should be on raising strong willed children who know how to think for themselves, and who have learned to make good choices. It's a process. I had a friend in high school who had a very strict mother and who was a very compliant kid, until she moved away to college and no longer had the supervision she had before. She had no idea how to think for herself, and began engaging in reckless and dangerous behavious because of her newfound freedom. Much better to have a strong willed child who has learned to make some choices along the way, than a compliant child who will go whichever way the wind blows as soon as you are no longer there to micromanage her.

Posted by: Emily | July 10, 2007 12:24 PM

"It's the personality of the child. That explains why children in the same family behave differently."

Thank you, Dr. Freud!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 12:26 PM

"It's the personality of the child. That explains why children in the same family behave differently."

Thank you, Dr. Freud!

Posted by: | July 10, 2007 12:26 PM

You mean Drs. Watson and Crick.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 12:29 PM

"I don't doubt that Educmom and her son will come to terms and re-knit the raveled sleeve of care."

Must be nice to have a crystal ball! What are today's winning ponies?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 12:31 PM

"It's the personality of the child. That explains why children in the same family behave differently."

Thank you, Dr. Freud!

Posted by: | July 10, 2007 12:26 PM

"You mean Drs. Watson and Crick."

This bull sounds more like Dr. Phil!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 12:33 PM

"She explained it as a loss of dreams - no wedding, no biological grandchildren - yes, it's his life and she wants him to find his own way and his own happiness, but we all have dreams for our children and may experience a sense of loss when they don't come true."

A loss of HER dreams - not a loss of the child's dreams. We don't bring kids into this world to create mini-mes through which we get a second chance at life.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 12:33 PM

"Why is a strong will considered to be such a bad thing."

It's not, but sometimes it is so freaking tiresome. And parents are human too, and we're the ones who bear the responsibility if/when the kid doesn't do...whatever.

You demonstrate, you discuss, you occasionally do it for them because it is a BIG DEAL and they are NOT doing it and the con$equence$ are painful and quite real. (Think dental issues, for example. And yes, the kid has already had surgery once for this.)

Those teeth can rot and fall out on the kids' dime, later. Not now. Not everything is subject to the child's timetable and understanding of the issue.

A lot of things are though. Letting the kids dress in the most lurid of prints and clashing colours won't cause more than momentary harm to the onlooker, for example.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 12:36 PM

This bull sounds more like Dr. Phil!

Posted by: | July 10, 2007 12:33 PM

You obviously don't have more than one child, so butt out.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 12:37 PM

so you have no dreams, hopes, ideas for your child? They should just wander aimlessly?

It's NORMAL to mourn (for lack of a better word) when things turn out differently. No one's saying better or worse, just differently.

Like if you're approaching 40+ with no prospects of marriage but you thought you'd be married with kids by the time you were 30.

Or you thought you would save the world, but are an investment banker.

Things happen sometimes, but not having hopes and dreams for ourselves, our children, our siblings, our parents, our cousins, our friends, etc, would be strange.

Posted by: atlmom | July 10, 2007 12:38 PM

"I don't doubt that Educmom and her son will come to terms and re-knit the raveled sleeve of care."

Must be nice to have a crystal ball!

They're still talking, aren't they?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 12:38 PM

right - my kids can dye their hair any color they want, it's the tattoos that might get them kicked out of the house...

;)

Posted by: atlmom | July 10, 2007 12:40 PM

"so you have no dreams, hopes, ideas for your child? They should just wander aimlessly?"

Suddenly I have visions of someone luring them (dreams, hopes & ideas) away with a bag of crisps.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 12:42 PM

I still hate it when my mom tells me to take an umbrella or wear a warmer coat. She sees it as looking out for me, I see it as disrespectful: she's assuming I haven't already thought about it and made my own choice.
I think I was the textbook 'headstrong' kid--had my own opinion about everything and fiercely resented anyone's attempts to direct me.
Good luck to any of you dealing with such a kid! I can only say that while I drove my parents nuts, my headstrong quality has proved a great asset in my career. Light at the end of the tunnel...

Posted by: worker bee | July 10, 2007 12:43 PM

"Just being able to produce a child does not make you an expert on raising them. In fact, it seems the least fit to raise them are having them. You don't take advice from childless people, so why would you take the advice of a male ob/gyn, or a healthy doctor, or a celibate priest?"


I wouldn't.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 12:44 PM

Mmm.... I wondered why educmom went through such pains to let us know that her #2 son was metrosexual...

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 12:44 PM

I'm very hesitant to post because I don't have kids.

But I do have experience working with "troubled" kds, so here's my advice for anyone who wants to hear it.

Teenagers want their parents' respect. When their parents' ignore their teen's wants, teens will either rebel or give in, depending on what type of kid they are. A teen's wants can be silly "I want to wear this micro mini skirt to school" or serious "I want to live with my drug dealer boyfriend." In each case, the lines of communication should be open. The teen needs to hear that the parent unserstands this want but can't let the teen do it for X Y and Z reasons. Ignoring wants (like wanting her parents to like her new boyfriend) could lead to serious consequences ("They didn't take us seriously--let's show them how serious we are").

It might seem simplistic to say, but you should treat them the way you want to be treated. Teens and their friends deserve your respect. "Bad" friends can be shunned as long as you give the teen a reason ("Josh sells drugs").

The number one complaint of most of the kids I worked with was that their parents didn't try to understand their problems. They just set the rules and enforced punishment. When you think about it, would you rather be the principle (who kids only talk to when they're in trouble) or the guidance counselor (who kids can have a frank discussion with)?

Posted by: Meesh | July 10, 2007 12:44 PM

right - my kids can dye their hair any color they want, it's the tattoos that might get them kicked out of the house...

;)

Posted by: atlmom | July 10, 2007 12:40 PM

Oral piercings for me. The damage you do to your teeth is astounding and far more difficult to hide or repair than a tattoo.

Well, assuming no one gets Hepatitis C or an appalling infection.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 12:45 PM

or a healthy doctor

How long do oncologists with cancer last? What about gerontologists?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 12:46 PM

And, worker bee, that old yiddish expression...

May you only have children just like you.

(it applies to all of us, I suppose...)

Posted by: atlmom | July 10, 2007 12:47 PM

" still hate it when my mom tells me to take an umbrella or wear a warmer coat. She sees it as looking out for me, I see it as disrespectful: she's assuming I haven't already thought about it and made my own choice."

Telling you, a grown woman, to take an umbrella is not the same as telling my daughter, age 20, who never ever checks a weather forecast. I wouldn't be saying it if I thought she checked those things out herself :).

Posted by: to worker bee | July 10, 2007 12:49 PM

"That's it exactly. The day after he told me, I cried for an hour in the shower -- I was mourning the loss of a potential daughter-in-law, of grandkids, of the whole predictability of the life I assumed he would lead.
And I'm terrified for him -- will he end up nailed to a fence, or dragged behind a truck, or in a hospice wasting away from AIDS? Just so many more potential risks..."

I hope that you have gained some measure of acceptance now that it's no longer the next day.

I am gay. (A woman, but gay.) You adjust the dreams; they don't die. My parents and in-laws are not getting a son-in-law, they're getting a daughter-in-law. (One they adore, in both cases.) We're planning on kids (your son might adopt). My life is pretty conventional. We have jobs, we're planning on a baby, we have pets.

Yes, it sucks to be self-conscious about holding hands in a restaurant when you're surrounded by other couples doing the same thing. I've been threatened (in DC) for kissing a date good night. But apart from doing without a lot of the PDA that you and your husband likely don't even think twice about my life is pretty much like that of a straight woman. The main difference is that I lack many of the benefits that many take for granted. I am leaving Virginia because I cannot make legally enforceable arrangements for my family here. I worry about someone beating me up--it's scary to be threatened or worse, let me tell you--but I worry far more about how I will take care of the people I love.

And, well, had it been more clear to your son that you would be OK with him no matter what it likely would not have taken as long to tell you. We're not stupid, y'know? It is very hard to tell your parent something about yourself that you cannot help and that you know will bitterly disappoint them. Lip service doesn't cut it. My niece came out to her parents very shortly after she knew because she knew it would be OK after the initial surprise--and she didn't even realize at the time that anyone in the family was gay.

Posted by: to edumom | July 10, 2007 12:50 PM

" still hate it when my mom tells me to take an umbrella or wear a warmer coat."

So let the kid go out in the cold and get wet. Where's the harm? Contrary to folklore, that's not how people catch colds, but the kid might learn a valuable lesson.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 12:52 PM

"Just being able to produce a child does not make you an expert on raising them. In fact, it seems the least fit to raise them are having them. You don't take advice from childless people, so why would you take the advice of a male ob/gyn, or a healthy doctor, or a celibate priest?"

I would take the advice of anyone who has been trained or who has experience. A childless person who has no experience or training in the area of childrearing only has advice with nothing to back it up. I would consider the advice if it seemed reasonable, otherwise, the advice of someone who actually has experience would be more valuable.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 12:53 PM

I haven't read all the comments yet, but... It seems to me that the process of helping teens avoid making these kinds of mistakes begins way before they start dating, when they start to build friendships, and what kinds of friendships they are. Presumably, teens who strike out on their own, leaving their families and friends behind, are getting some kind of support or validation from their boy/girlfriend that they don't think they can get anywhere else. My relationship with my Serious High-School Boyfriend began as my first close friendship ever where I felt like I was always treated with respect. Think about that for a minute - I was sixteen before I had a "best friend" who consistently treated me like my ideas were worth listening to! I think it's thanks to my good relationship with my parents and with other, less close friends that he and I didn't end up doing the whole crazy-elopment-thing, but I'm still thankful for what I learned in that relationship, and count him as a close friend.

Posted by: boston liz | July 10, 2007 12:57 PM

"Telling you, a grown woman, to take an umbrella is not the same as telling my daughter, age 20, who never ever checks a weather forecast. I wouldn't be saying it if I thought she checked those things out herself :)."

Why not let her get soaked once or twice -- especially if she's dressed for work or an interview? She'll learn to check the weather and to carry an umbrella because she will have experienced the CONSEQUENCES of not having done so.

Posted by: pittypat | July 10, 2007 12:57 PM

so you have no dreams, hopes, ideas for your child? They should just wander aimlessly?

It's NORMAL to mourn (for lack of a better word) when things turn out differently. No one's saying better or worse, just differently.

Like if you're approaching 40+ with no prospects of marriage but you thought you'd be married with kids by the time you were 30.

Or you thought you would save the world, but are an investment banker.

Things happen sometimes, but not having hopes and dreams for ourselves, our children, our siblings, our parents, our cousins, our friends, etc, would be strange.

Posted by: atlmom | July 10, 2007 12:38 PM

If you have dreams for yourself and every dream that doesn't turn in to reality is treated as a death, get some help. What is really strange is if you have dreams for your children, your siblings, your parents, your cousins, and your friends, and you treat their choices as akin to a death, e.g., something to mourn. If you have dreams for your children, your siblings, your parents, your cousins and your friends, and if you pressure them with those dreams by conveying your mourning attitude, you are putting everyone in your life in a little box with a timeline of expectations. That's overbearing, controlling, and decidedly immature.

Sorry - it's not in the slightest normal to MOURN because another adult made a different life choice than you envisioned him making.

You don't MOURN when your 6th grader gets 3 As and 2 Bs instead of straight As and announces that she hates school and wants to quit playing clarinet.

You don't MOURN when your highschooler quits baseball because he likes footbabll better.

You don't MOURN when your child rejects law school to get a masters in Marine Biology.

You don't MOURN when your child moves to NYC instead of remaining in Paducah.

You don't MOURN when your child marries someone with triplets and a heroin habit.

and you don't MOURN when your child says, you probably already guessed it, but I am gay.

If you are treating every life choice of ourselves, our children, our siblings, our parents, our cousins, our friends, that differs from your pre-conceived notion of the right life choice as the death of YOUR dream, instead of a time to stand by their side and treat their lives as THEIR LIVES, then you are not the sort of parent, sibling, daughter, cousin or friend anyone needs in their lives during times of turmoil, trial, or normalcy.

This sort of over-bearing person is never told directly by anyone in her life of anything that matters. No one wants to deal with seeing her eyes roll yet again. She always finds out second-hand and then wonders why.

Posted by: OR mom | July 10, 2007 12:57 PM

to 12:52: I totally agree.

When the kids were little, people would be SO concerned about them closing a door or a drawer on their little fingers. I would say: well, they'll only do it once.

Same thing - kids need to learn from their mistakes. Next time she/he'll check the weather...

Posted by: atlmom | July 10, 2007 12:58 PM

Nobody would ever tell a man who is sexually oriented towards children to act out a lifestyle of petafilea, nor would any decent parent encourage their young adult child who is sexually confused to act on his homosexual urges. Do not be intimidated by those who like to throw imflamatory terms around like "gay bashing" and "homophobic" from Teaching your kids proper morals and family values in an informative, nonjumental fashion. Contrary to mainstream thought shaped by so many of today's media outlets, good parenting is entirely possible when it comes to discouraging your kids from choosing a destructive lifestyle.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 1:01 PM

You don't MOURN when your child marries someone with triplets and a heroin habit.

Riighhht.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 1:01 PM

"This sort of over-bearing person is never told directly by anyone in her life of anything that matters. No one wants to deal with seeing her eyes roll yet again. She always finds out second-hand and then wonders why."

Oops - that sounds like me! I'm always the last to know anything in my family...

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 1:01 PM

"So let the kid go out in the cold and get wet. Where's the harm? Contrary to folklore, that's not how people catch colds, but the kid might learn a valuable lesson."

There is no harm. An easy going kid sees it as nothing more than "Got your umbrella?" but the headstrong kid sees it as questioning his ability to make decisions. usually it's just a comment, one that I would make to a coworker heading out on a cloudy day, or my husband. Yes, there are pushy, bossy people but there are people who are just trying to be kind and helpful who are perceived as being pushy and bossy because the receiver of the comment is headstrong and defiant.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 1:01 PM

You don't MOURN when your child marries someone with triplets and a heroin habit.

Let me guess, you do the happy dance?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 1:03 PM

"You don't MOURN when your child marries someone with triplets and a heroin habit."

How old are the triplets? Are they cute? Identical?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 1:03 PM

wow, 1:01.

How does someone having a heterosexual relationship impact you in any way? There is a huge difference between a child and adult (isn't there?) to compare homosexuality to pedophilia is horrific.

That's what I don't understand. If you don't like it, that's fine - but why spend a minute worrying about it? It's two consenting adults. You can have your ideas of whether it's 'right' or not, but how does it affect you in any way when two consenting adults are doing something?

Or am I missing something? So you think they're going to hell, that's fine.

What I find terrible is the fact that zealots like you are still thinking we don't need laws in place to deal with realities. Gay people are adopting children every day, but those children are in some sort of limbo. If the laws dealt with it (i.e., a child can have two legal guardians, rather than specifying male and female) it would make people's lives much easier/better.

Posted by: atlmom | July 10, 2007 1:06 PM

"Yes, there are pushy, bossy people but there are people who are just trying to be kind and helpful who are perceived as being pushy and bossy because the receiver of the comment is headstrong and defiant."

Or the kind, helpful people are really the pushy, bossy people that no one wants to be around.

I can figure out the weather! Sheesh! Get a life! You make it hard for other women to be taken seriously at work when you play "little mother" to co-workers. Knock it off!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 1:08 PM

"good parenting is entirely possible when it comes to discouraging your kids from choosing a destructive lifestyle."

But it apparently does NOTHING for teaching grammar, spelling, or correct punctuation.

Frankly, attitudes like yours discourage gay men and women from having mainstream lifestyles even more than the legal restrictions do. Why on earth would anyone who's gone to the trouble of doing some difficult self-discovery want to be anything like you? I'm too smart to be pushed away from the stable life I want, but man, you make "normal" look extremely unappealing.

Posted by: petafiliea?? | July 10, 2007 1:09 PM

"Is it 1981 or 2007???

"Why all this mention of gay people "Dying in a hospice with AIDS" and such??

"How uneducated can you possibly get?"


According to the CDC, HIV/AIDS still is a real threat to men who have sex with men (MSM) in the U.S. Educmom is not unreasonable to be concerned. Thank goodness, we're not seeing the devastation those of us who came of age in the 80's saw. For those of us who knew friends or acquaintances who suffered then, we're probably more sensitive in terms of risk tolerance.

From the CDC:
"For complex reasons, HIV/AIDS continues to take a high toll on the MSM population. For example, the number of new HIV/AIDS cases among MSM in 2005 was 11% more than the number of cases in 2001. It is unclear whether this increase is due to more testing, which results in more diagnoses, or to an increase in the number of HIV infections. Whatever the reasons, in 2005, MSM still accounted for about 53% of all new HIV/AIDS cases and 71% of cases in male adults and adolescents."

And. . .

"Complacency about Risk Factors

HIV has been a threat for 25 years, yet many people believe they are at low risk of becoming infected or infecting their partner. This is especially true of young gay and bisexual men who, unlike older gay and bisexual men, have not experienced the toll of HIV/AIDS. At the same time, the success of new drug treatments may be contributing to increased risky behaviors among some MSM. For example, some MSM may mistakenly believe that they or their partners cannot spread the virus when they take HIV medication or that having HIV is minor condition with no life-threatening consequences. They may not understand that HIV treatment may not work for everyone and that for some, it may work only for a time."

Posted by: lurker2 | July 10, 2007 1:10 PM

well, wow. i used a word - then I said: for lack of a better one.
So maybe I used the wrong one - but you seem to have taken it way out there. I think there's a difference in a child's grades in grade school and a change in life plans.
But apparently you do not.

I never said: hey, this is how I approach every life decision - like when my husband decides to put gas in his car. Hmmm.
Sorry if I offended, that was not my intention.
But I think you need to lighten up a teensy weensy bit.

Posted by: atlmom | July 10, 2007 1:11 PM

I am coming to this one a bit late -- but what a great post! It's such a fascinating topic . . .

I never thought I'd appreciate any of my abusive step-father's actions, but one thing he did that I actually think worked was this: He limited my "dates" to one night a week and once on the weekend. I had boyfriends all through high school, but this ensured that I spent more time with my friends. I really think it helped me maintain that balance. And compared to my friends in high school with boyfriends, I was nowhere near as likely to have my whole world center around the guy. I certainly resented it sometimes, and I defied it sometimes, but it worked -- for me, at least.

I get really worried about high school relationships. As others mentioned, they are important learning experiences. But they can be destructive, too. Many girls get into physically and emotionally abusive relationships at this age, and continue a pattern of being attracted to troubled relationships and troubled significatn others.

The passion in high school relationships actually concerns me. I fear that girls are given the message -- through TV, magazines, books -- that the drama and fighting ("If you leave me, I will die") is equivalent to love. I worry that that message is the reason so many young girls get into unhealthy, abusive relationships and cannot get out of them.

Also, because I very much want my daughter to go to college, I really want to instill in her the importance of getting her education sorted out before marrying or living wtih someone. If she then wants to stay at home and raise children, that's her choice. But I want her to have the option. I've been concerned by friends who clearly emphasize education and careers to their sons, but with their daughters get fully caught up in whether they are popular, who they're dating, etc. These are folks who want their daughters to go to college, but don't really give them the same messages about priorities as they give their sons.

Obviously, I am very interested in girls here -- though I think the same goes for boys.

I really do think (hope?) there's a middle ground between dismissing these relationships and treating them with the same respect you'd give a relationship once the child is older. I just hope that I can find it when my daughter is that age -- I can't imagine it's easy!

Posted by: DC Mom | July 10, 2007 1:12 PM


pittypat -- I'm glad your brother is doing well now, and it's a shame your parents weren't broadminded enough to see that he probably should have taken a different route. About college: it comes down to my belief in the critical importance of learning all your life and that education is the key to solving almost any problem. I would be very disappointed if my children did not go to college BUT I would be much less so if they had a passion they were intent on following instead of aimlessly wandering uneducated through life, letting them go where the wind takes them.

OR Mom -- You're right, I wouldn't mourn if my child became a heroin addict with triplets. I would ACT. And if that's overbearing, controlling, and decidedly immature, then sign me up, sister, and send me the t-shirt to wear.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | July 10, 2007 1:12 PM

I have to object to the automatic assumption that teen pregnancy = ruined life. No, it is not anywhere close to an ideal situation, and no, I do not recommend it.
However, just as we should not assume that welders or SAHMs are in any way inferior to stockbrokers or working mothers, neither should we assume that all teenage mothers end up on welfare and lead unproductive lives.
I'm exhibit A. I put myself through school, busted my back to get internships and financial aid, and am now putting my son through school. I have also married and had another kid.
It can be done. It's not always an episode of "The Gilmore Girls" but it's not always a disaster.

Posted by: Dom's Mom | July 10, 2007 1:15 PM

"You don't take advice from childless people, so why would you take the advice of a male ob/gyn, or a healthy doctor, or a celibate priest?"

I'm sorry, but this is just silly. If you're looking for expert advice, you go to the person with most experience/best training/best aptitude for the job.

Your assertion is that only a woman can be an OB/GYN? Would you go even further, and say that only a woman who has given birth can deliver a baby? And that only a woman who has had a C-section can perform a C-Section?

Only see a "healthy doctor"? I don't even know what that means - I guess you want a doctor who's had cancer, even if in remission, to be removed from the profession. Certainly, I don't want a doctor who's currently contagious to treat me (or anybody else), but there are many things that cause you to be "not healthy" that aren't contagious and shouldn't interfere with the doctor's ability to treat a patient.

If you were to see a marriage counselor because of issues in your marriage, would you care more whether the counselor is properly trained and experienced, or that the counselor is currently married? Does divorce disqualify a counselor from the field? Should the field be closed to those who aren't yet married?

Similarly to the comments about a celibate priest. If the priest has training and experience as a marriage counselor or a family counselor (and many but not all do), then yes it's appropriate to consult that priest regarding marital issues. If the priest hasn't had such training/experience, then his proper course of action is to refer you to someone who has.

So enough of the silly sound bites.

Posted by: Army Brat | July 10, 2007 1:15 PM

"I still hate it when my mom tells me to take an umbrella or wear a warmer coat. She sees it as looking out for me, I see it as disrespectful: she's assuming I haven't already thought about it and made my own choice."

How about changing the perspective towards the mother. She isn't belittling you. She is just showing she cares for you and looking out for you - not disrespecting you as perceived. Are you a mom yet? What else would you prefer her to say? Stand there in complete silence? Just experiment for a moment and let mom say her thing and then say to yourself "I am lucky I have a mom who cares for me; too many people don't". Just a suggestion.

Posted by: M.M. | July 10, 2007 1:16 PM

atlmom, LOL! My #1 reason for thinking of adoption!

Posted by: worker bee | July 10, 2007 1:17 PM

I've told my daughter, who is now 11 years old, "Please don't hook up with some loser guy when you are a teen-ager. If he hits you, I will have to kill him and bury him in the desert, and we really don't want that..."

Right now my daughter is a good, focused kid and I hope it stays that way. I am leaving for Flagstaff on business, and she is going with me. She wants to go take a tour of Northern Arizona University while we are there because she think she may want to go there instead of ASU, which is right here in Tempe. I certainly hope that she doesn't de-rail her life over some idiot boy.

Posted by: single western mom | July 10, 2007 1:21 PM

"How about changing the perspective towards the mother. She isn't belittling you. She is just showing she cares for you and looking out for you - not disrespecting you as perceived. Are you a mom yet? What else would you prefer her to say? Stand there in complete silence?"

I prefer to be treated as an equal. I'm sure Mom will too when she's wearing Depends...

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 1:21 PM

OR Mom -- You're right, I wouldn't mourn if my child became a heroin addict with triplets. I would ACT. And if that's overbearing, controlling, and decidedly immature, then sign me up, sister, and send me the t-shirt to wear.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | July 10, 2007 01:12 PM

It's called Tough Love.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 1:23 PM

What else would you prefer her to say? Stand there in complete silence?"

Damn right.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 1:26 PM

Wow, when my kids were 11 years old, we may have talked about what they wanted to do when they grow up and what they planned to study in college, but it didn't occur to us to go on college tours. We didn't even discuss specific colleges at all. College was generic when the kids were young.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 1:27 PM

M.M. : All correct. Yes, I would prefer her to stand there in complete silence, but you're right, I am lucky I have a mom who cares for me.
I was describing what it is to be a headstrong child. I can say to myself everything you've said, but it is still a habit in my mom that drives me up the wall--my initial reaction is irritation, until the logic kicks in and I can remind myself that this is me being headstrong rather than my mom being annoying.

Posted by: worker bee | July 10, 2007 1:29 PM

"I prefer to be treated as an equal. I'm sure Mom will too when she's wearing Depends..."

Maybe she is treating you as an equal. If she would say the same to any adult family member or adult friends as they were leaving, then stop taking it as an insult to your ability to care for yourself.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 1:29 PM

Tough love is a very attractive concept to angry people that want to justify their abusive behavior.

Posted by: Lil Husky | July 10, 2007 1:29 PM

Nobody would ever tell a man who is sexually oriented towards children to act out a lifestyle of petafilea, . . .

Posted by: | July 10, 2007 01:01 PM

Stop right there! Here is someone who does not even know how to spell what he is talking about, and he expects us to listen to his opinion?

"Petafilea" -- is that some sort of flower, like a hydrangea with petals? Or is it a vegetarian fast food franchise run by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals?

Give us a break!

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | July 10, 2007 1:29 PM

Being gay is the least of my worries when thinking of what my child could be!

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | July 10, 2007 11:17 AM

I hope he/she is gay, so you can eat these words.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 1:31 PM

You never asked your spouse or a friend if they are taking an umbrella or wearing a coat?

Posted by: M.M. | July 10, 2007 1:31 PM

If she would say the same to any adult family member or adult friends as they were leaving...

...then she's a controlling beeyotch. She needs to learn when to keep her mouth shut.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 1:32 PM

I just ate at Petafilea last night . . . they make the best hummus. Delicious!

Posted by: DC Mom | July 10, 2007 1:32 PM

My son and I are still talking; in fact, we get along pretty well. By the way, he's going to Ireland for a week next month -- the guy he's seeing is studying there for the summer, and I advanced him the money for the ticket. I'm feeling better than maybe it sounds like I am.
I'm a lot more concerned about him finding a satisfying and self-supporting career track, becoming more responsible with money and his own possessions, and not falling into the addictions so prevalent in his father's family -- basically, becoming a grown-up -- than who he dates. That's what we fight about -- not his love life!

To 'to edumom':
Thank you for your post. I think he was a little afraid of my reaction because I'm a pretty conventional person (I hate the term conservative, because that makes me sound like Trent Lott, but I am somewhat old-fashioned). I *was* bitterly disappointed -- for about two days. And, believe it or not, lip service does cut it (sort of) -- by living on the outside what you want to feel on the inside, your inside progresses toward to what you want it to feel. I want to be happy for him and accept him, so I act like I do, and acceptance is in fact coming along.

Posted by: educmom | July 10, 2007 1:33 PM

"You never asked your spouse or a friend if they are taking an umbrella or wearing a coat?"

Adults - no. Do men do that?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 1:34 PM

Being gay is the least of my worries when thinking of what my child could be!

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | July 10, 2007 11:17 AM

I hope he/she is gay, so you can eat these words.

Posted by: | July 10, 2007 01:31 PM

That is so un-Christian of you.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 1:36 PM

""I prefer to be treated as an equal. I'm sure Mom will too when she's wearing Depends..."

Maybe she is treating you as an equal. If she would say the same to any adult family member or adult friends as they were leaving, then stop taking it as an insult to your ability to care for yourself.

Posted by: | July 10, 2007 01:29 PM "

The post about the Depends wasn't me. But, no, my mom does not treat other adults with the same level of...um...concern. And she was so good about treating me as an adult when I was in my late teens and really needed the respect, too! My theory is that she used up all her patience the year I was 18 and will never again quite be able to keep her mouth shut about my judgment.


Posted by: worker bee | July 10, 2007 1:38 PM

OR Mom -- You're right, I wouldn't mourn if my child became a heroin addict with triplets. I would ACT. And if that's overbearing, controlling, and decidedly immature, then sign me up, sister, and send me the t-shirt to wear.


Posted by: WorkingMomX | July 10, 2007 01:12 PM

WorkingMomX, If you can't see the difference between your own insightful column and the idea that My Overbearing Greek Mother's dream is being ruined because her son might be gay or her mother might purchase a purple dress, and she's in mourning, for God's sake, then you are less brilliant than I thought this morning.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 1:39 PM

I took the dog to Petafilea last night, but I don't think she liked it all that much. She didn't know it only served vegan dog food.

Posted by: educmom | July 10, 2007 1:39 PM

well, worker bee, my sister treats everyone like that (as if she's their mother). Me worst of all, since I'm her younger sister.

So I'm married with two kids and she still talks to me as if I'm 10.

Posted by: atlmom | July 10, 2007 1:41 PM

"Maybe she is treating you as an equal. If she would say the same to any adult family member or adult friends as they were leaving, then stop taking it as an insult to your ability to care for yourself."

Why is it Mom's job to play weathercaster for the adults? Weird. Does Dad do this?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 1:42 PM

Nobody would ever tell a man who is sexually oriented towards children to act out a lifestyle of petafilea, nor would any decent parent encourage their young adult child who is sexually confused to act on his homosexual urges. Do not be intimidated by those who like to throw imflamatory terms around like "gay bashing" and "homophobic" from Teaching your kids proper morals and family values in an informative, nonjumental fashion. Contrary to mainstream thought shaped by so many of today's media outlets, good parenting is entirely possible when it comes to discouraging your kids from choosing a destructive lifestyle.

Posted by: | July 10, 2007 01:01 PM

Hey, gutless coward, "Mom, I'm gay" doesn't exactly indicate confusion.

I completely agree with you that good parenting is entirely possible when it comes to teaching your kids that choosing a lifestyle of serial marriage is destructive. Monogamous homosexuality is much preferred over being married multiple times to heterosexuals.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 1:43 PM

Being gay is the least of my worries when thinking of what my child could be!

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | July 10, 2007 11:17 AM

I hope he/she is gay, so you can eat these words.

Posted by: | July 10, 2007 01:31 PM


Bring it on!

Maybe I should hope that she IS gay so that she doesn't have to go through all of the awful things that men can do to a woman!

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | July 10, 2007 1:43 PM

Worker Bee - I am 41 years old, and my mother still asks me if I need to use the bathroom before we go anywhere in the car. "Honey, do you need to use the bathroom before we leave?" It used to really annoy me, but what's the point? These days, I have found that if my going to tbe bathroom makes her so happy, it's a small sacrifice to make.

Posted by: Emily | July 10, 2007 1:45 PM

Or maybe Petafilea would be a good name for a pet spa . . . only then it would have to be called Petaphilia.

Posted by: DC Mom | July 10, 2007 1:45 PM

"Just being able to produce a child does not make you an expert on raising them. In fact, it seems the least fit to raise them are having them."

Posted by: ZZZZZZZZZZZZ | July 10, 2007 12:00 PM

This is a bill of indictment against hundreds of millions of parents at once! It is a bill of indictment against me and my wife: whaddayamean, we're "least fit to raise them"?

Back in the early twentieth century, the so-called "eugenics" movement was saying the same thing: "the least fit are having the most children." So were racist books like "The Rising Tide of Color against White World-supremacy" by Lothrop Stoddard, and "The Passing of the Great Race," by Madison Grant.

Children are not for everybody -- they take a lot of time and hard work. Those who don't want to put in the time and hard work should not have children. But neither should anyone insult those of us who do have children by calling us the "least fit."

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | July 10, 2007 1:47 PM

Petafilea

Isn't that what you dip the dog in to repel flies, ticks and fleas?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 1:48 PM

You don't MOURN when your child marries someone with triplets and a heroin habit.

Let me guess, you do the happy dance?

Posted by: | July 10, 2007 01:03 PM

No, but you don't MOURN because it's NOT about YOU or your dreams. It's about your son, these triplets and the new wife. You owe it to yourself, your son and your new grandchildren to be a refuge, to be mature, and to be the parents to whom your son can turn when, and if, he determines for himself that this marriage is a big ol' disaster. OR maybe you'll be wrong, she'll go into rehab and turn out to be the nicest person and daughter-in-law you ever met. One thing's for sure, those triplet really, really could use a dynamite grandma or grandpa. Are you ready to step up to the plate? Or will you sit back with either a smug, or a mournful, sad look on your face and cluck, cluck waiting for the s**t to hit the fan?

Posted by: OR mom | July 10, 2007 1:50 PM

Bring it on!

Maybe I should hope that she IS gay so that she doesn't have to go through all of the awful things that men can do to a woman!

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | July 10, 2007 01:43 PM

Physical and verbal abuse is equal opportunity.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 1:50 PM

Sorry - it's normal to MOURN because your child made a different life choice than you envisioned him making.

You MOURN when your 6th grader flunks and is caught having sex in the bathroom. In the same year.

You MOURN when your highschooler quits smoking because he likes ecstasy better.

You MOURN when your child rejects law school to get a masters in stupid human tricks.

You MOURN when your child moves to a lower class area than he/she was previously living in.

You MOURN when your child's triplets are born heroin addicts.

You MOURN when your child says you probably already guessed it, but I am not your dream child.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 1:50 PM

Mmm.... I wondered why educmom went through such pains to let us know that her #2 son was metrosexual...

Posted by: | July 10, 2007 12:44 PM

she'll really go over the top when she realizes she has two gay sons and not one.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 1:54 PM

Oops. Physical and verbal abuse are equal opportunity.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 1:54 PM

Beckham's a metrosexual.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 1:56 PM

"The oldest daughter of a very large family who had earned a full scholarship to a prestigious college informed her parents that she and her boyfriend were unable to bear the five-day separation they endured between weekends. She was dropping out, she said, and would try to take courses at a nearby community college while she lived at home and saw as much of her boyfriend as she could."

Posted by WorkingMomX

Ha! I remember a 16-year-old girl who was finishing her freshman year at Barnard College, part of Columbia University. And she wanted to get away from her parents and leave New York City to be near her boyfriend -- me. So she transferred to a non-Ivy-League college some 200 miles away from NYC.

It was great while it lasted. I could ride my bike to visit her, or she could take the bus to visit me. I saw her six days a week, including feeding her supper Sunday evenings when her college was too cheap to serve supper.

And what happened to her? She graduated from college, met and married a graduate of the finest college in Canada, McGill. A physician. All three of their children are lawyers. The youngest one got married on Canada Day, the Sunday before last.

Was she stupid and impulsive? Far from it!

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | July 10, 2007 1:56 PM

Ok. I throw in the flag on parenting. I quit! Can't discipline your kids. Can't make them do chores. Can't give them advise. Can't ask them courteous questions. Can't look at them. They are free to the street now. Oh, what did you say - I'm the parent and I am responsible for them?

Or if my children are adults now and I can't express acts of concern? Gotta walk around on eggshells all the time? What the heck. What happened to the definition of family. I guess I was just a child production center to procreate so my genes live on. So much for the closeness of the family unit. I really truly didn't know parenting would be so tough. Sorry kids I have made your life so horrible. That was not my intent.

Posted by: Chubby | July 10, 2007 1:57 PM

Has anyone else noticed that Father of 4 has become Lil Huskey?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 2:00 PM

You don't MOURN when your child marries someone with triplets and a heroin habit.

Let me guess, you do the happy dance?

Posted by: | July 10, 2007 01:03 PM

No, but you don't MOURN because it's NOT about YOU or your dreams. It's about your son, these triplets and the new wife. You owe it to yourself, your son and your new grandchildren to be a refuge, to be mature, and to be the parents to whom your son can turn when, and if, he determines for himself that this marriage is a big ol' disaster. OR maybe you'll be wrong, she'll go into rehab and turn out to be the nicest person and daughter-in-law you ever met. One thing's for sure, those triplet really, really could use a dynamite grandma or grandpa. Are you ready to step up to the plate? Or will you sit back with either a smug, or a mournful, sad look on your face and cluck, cluck waiting for the s**t to hit the fan?

Posted by: OR mom | July 10, 2007 01:50 PM

Or maybe the wife will turn him on to heroin and they will both die of an overdose. Can she MOURN then?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 2:00 PM

mea summa culpa to Carly Simon


You wrote into the blog like you were writing into the Times
Your words strategically placed above your name
And anon it was not.
You had one word for the topic as you watched yourself go off
And you dreamed that all loved your comments, that they'd love your posting
They'd love your posting and...

You're so vain; you probably think this blog is all about you
You're so vain; I'll bet you think this snark is all about you
Don't you? Don't you?

You wrote several years ago and it was quite "high school"
Well you said that you wrote a pretty paragraph,
Maybe one or two
But you left without saying good-bye and that was really mean
I had some words for you but the all the sharks are attacking, the sharks
are attacking and ...

You're so lame; you probably think this blog is all about you
You're so lame, I am snorting in my coffee, cof--fee, cof--fee

Well you went up to "Parenting" and your comments were the only ones
Then you flew over to C. Hax
To see if you could continue your run
Well you're all over the WashPo where you should be all the time
And when you're not you're on line some where
or true mom confessions
True mom confessions, and...

You're so vain; you probably think this blog is all about you
You're so lame; you probably think you won something, something,
something...

Posted by: Annoyed at a Regular | July 10, 2007 2:02 PM

If you treat every decision your child makes as though a life has ended, there's no reason for her to differentiate between smoking and dropping out of Brown to move in with the married, and father of 6, Senior VP of ChildLabor,Inc.

Mourning is for deaths people. If you cry, wail and treat every little divergence from your sacred mapped out life for him as though it is the equivalent of death, you are telling him that you have no confidence in his choices, you have no sense of proportion, and it's all about YOU, YOU, YOU.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 2:02 PM

If you treat every decision your child makes as though a life has ended, there's no reason for her to differentiate between smoking and dropping out of Brown to move in with the married, and father of 6, Senior VP of ChildLabor,Inc.

Mourning is for deaths, people. If you cry, wail and treat every little divergence from your sacred mapped out life for him as though it is the equivalent of death, you are telling him that you have no confidence in his choices, you have no sense of proportion, and it's all about YOU, YOU, YOU.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 2:02 PM

"Maybe I should hope that she IS gay so that she doesn't have to go through all of the awful things that men can do to a woman!"

Nah--trust me, women can be equally awful to date. :) However, there is a bright side: if your daughter is gay unplanned pregnancy becomes less likely*, and her partner will be less likely to snore. And it's unlikely that anyone will leave the toilet seat up, reducing that source of marital strife.


*not impossible, as I've rarely met a gay woman who's _never_ had sex with a man.

Posted by: Gay working mom to be | July 10, 2007 2:04 PM

Gay working mom to be: will your partner also put the toilet paper roll back the 'correct' way?

:)

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 2:07 PM

Obviously with such messed up kids as described in this blog, you expert parents aren't doing such a bang-up job. It's no surprise judging from the bloggers attracted to this sh*t heap.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 2:07 PM

Has anyone else noticed that Father of 4 has become Lil Huskey?

Duh....
Has anyone ever told you that you are a quick observer?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 2:09 PM

Or if my children are adults now and I can't express acts of concern? Gotta walk around on eggshells all the time?

Yes.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 2:10 PM

Obviously with such messed up kids as described in this blog, you expert parents aren't doing such a bang-up job. It's no surprise judging from the bloggers attracted to this sh*t heap.

Posted by: | July 10, 2007 02:07 PM

Such nice manners you learned at your parents knees.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 2:12 PM

All you homophobes! Watch out or you may be soon overrun by gays seeking asylum in the US!

Check out the Wash Post homepage.

First the blacks, then the Irish, then the Hispanics, now the gays....oh lord what will us homophobic, ignorant, racist good ole folks do???

Posted by: Gays seek asylum in the US | July 10, 2007 2:13 PM

"

Gay working mom to be: will your partner also put the toilet paper roll back the 'correct' way?

:)"

No, darn it. And she will leave socks on the floor!

;)

Posted by: Gay working mom to be | July 10, 2007 2:14 PM

Kudzu,
What are you doing here? Don't you have any bunnies to boil today?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 2:14 PM

"oh lord what will us homophobic, ignorant, racist good ole folks do???"

You will all die off, eventually, and the world will be the better for it.

Posted by: Emily | July 10, 2007 2:16 PM

Gay working mom to be: will your partner also put the toilet paper roll back the 'correct' way?

:)"

No, darn it. And she will leave socks on the floor!

;)

Posted by: Gay working mom to be |

Better than on the kitchen counter. No, I'm NOT kidding. Eeewww.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 2:16 PM

Don't gay women have a lot lower rate of HIV/AIDS than gay men and heterosexuals? You must be God's chosen people.

Posted by: To Gay working mom to be | July 10, 2007 2:19 PM

Yay WorkingMomX! Totally deserving of a guest blog spot and a great topic. THESE are the hard questions to answer.

I'll stick with decisions that seriously ARE wrong and made for no reason other than teens getting overwhelmed with emotions. So I'm avoiding all the cases in which parents are abusive, or the cases where kids make good choices that the parents simply disagree with.

Part of it is just life- they haven't LIVED to make those mistakes yet. And making mistakes pretty much is still the best way people learn and grow.

Part of it is our society's wrongful prioritization of "foreverness." We think ONE partner, FOR LIFE is the only way to go and teens obsess about that. Their bodies and minds are screaming at them to go enjoy relationships, but we've taught them so much about how to make it with ONE PERSON FOREVER, that they get hyper focused. I think if we taught much more about being true to yourself, not needing to make commitments right away and dating for fun, we'd be better off.

And in reality, this is a good problem to have. They are making choices for themselves. That's what we should be having children for- to raise them into adults who make choices for themselves.

Now, they should have good judgement and skills in order to make sure they make the best choices for themselves in the short and long term- but again, see above.

Posted by: Liz D | July 10, 2007 2:19 PM

"Has anyone else noticed that Father of 4 has become Lil Huskey?"

Duh... it's Husky and it's been mentioned.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 2:26 PM

"Has anyone else noticed that Father of 4 has become Lil Huskey?"

Father of 4 will no longer be with us.

A small funeral for his retired virtual soul will take place in August in which I will share his dying farewell wishes to the regulars of whom he was most fond.

Of course, all trolls are invited!

then his loyal lil mutt will make himself off to the pound.

Boooooooooooooooo!

Posted by: Ghost of Fo4 | July 10, 2007 2:28 PM

Ha! I remember a 16-year-old girl who was finishing her freshman year at Barnard College, part of Columbia University. And she wanted to get away from her parents and leave New York City to be near her boyfriend -- me. So she transferred to a non-Ivy-League college some 200 miles away from NYC.

It was great while it lasted. I could ride my bike to visit her, or she could take the bus to visit me. I saw her six days a week, including feeding her supper Sunday evenings when her college was too cheap to serve supper.

And what happened to her? She graduated from college, met and married a graduate of the finest college in Canada, McGill. A physician. All three of their children are lawyers. The youngest one got married on Canada Day, the Sunday before last.

Was she stupid and impulsive? Far from it!

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | July 10, 2007 01:56 PM

She married you, Matt. That's about as stupid as it gets. You define your children as successful because they are lawyers - blechhh.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 2:28 PM


Mmm.... I wondered why educmom went through such pains to let us know that her #2 son was metrosexual...

Posted by: | July 10, 2007 12:44 PM

she'll really go over the top when she realizes she has two gay sons and not one.

Posted by: | July 10, 2007 01:54 PM

OK (this should be good for a laugh):

Son #1 (the gay one) is a macho slob. He wears jeans & t-shirts pretty much everywhere. He is the one that can pack for a week-long trip using a pillowcase and borrowed toiletries. His room is so disgustingly sloppy that he makes Oscar Madison look like Martha Stewart.

Son #2 (Mr. Metro) is girl-crazy. He isn't a dog in that he has sex, doesn't call and keeps Maxim covers on his walls, but he dates a LOT of young women. Felix Ungar would heartily approve of the way he maintains his room.

But, if you based it on stereotypes, without meeting either young man, most people would assume #2 is the gay one.

And people think I have a problem...

Posted by: educmom | July 10, 2007 2:29 PM

"Mourning is for deaths, people."

And this is the death of a dream she had for the kind of life she thought would make her son happy. Just because she mourns this doesn't mean that she can't also come to accept that the kind of life he actually has is right for him. Human beings are complex. It's not all or nothing.

Someone who learns that their grown child is infertile may mourn the loss of possible grandchildren. Then they dry their tears and live a life without grandchildren or with adopted grandchildren.

It's pretty narrow-minded to think that you can't mourn the loss of something and also accept or embrace what remains.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 2:30 PM

Off-topic:

dotted, where, oh where, are you? I thought you'd have several useful things to say on this topic and was looking forward to reading them.

Posted by: MN | July 10, 2007 2:30 PM

"Has anyone else noticed that Father of 4 has become Lil Huskey?"

Duh... it's Husky and it's been mentioned.

*******************
Sorry I don't spend all day reading the blog like you do. I was curious as to what happend to regulars like foamnome, FO4, scarry, dotted etc - and then I noticed that F04 changed his name.

Posted by: To July 10, 2007 02:26 PM | July 10, 2007 2:31 PM

"Mourning is for deaths, people."

Well...orgasms are called "small deaths" in French. When are we more entitled to mourn, when we have orgasms or when we do not?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 2:33 PM

Fo4, please don't leave. Or at least let the dog stay. I may not always agree with you, but you never cease to amuse me.

Posted by: Emily | July 10, 2007 2:33 PM

It's pretty narrow-minded to think that you can't mourn the loss of something and also accept or embrace what remains.

Posted by: | July 10, 2007 02:30 PM

what's narrow-minded is putting your kids in such a box of your expectations that they can't breathe. get over yourself and stop justifying parents who are selfish and have expectations based on their wants and needs and not their children's wants and needs.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 2:34 PM

"Why is it Mom's job to play weathercaster for the adults? Weird. Does Dad do this?"

Actually, DH is our family weatherman. He always asks me if I've got my umbrella if it is raining or if rain is predicted. He also asks me if I've got my phone every time I leave the house. Ha!! (I think it's sweet, not controlling)

Posted by: me | July 10, 2007 2:35 PM

parents who are selfish and have expectations based on their wants and needs and not their children's wants and needs.

Posted by: | July 10, 2007 02:34 PM

Written by yet another anonymous paragon of parenting perfection.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | July 10, 2007 2:37 PM

When I was in high school I had a very intense relationship with a boy my own age. My parents freaked out when he gave me a "promise ring" our Sophomore year. My mom cried and thought I was going to ruin my life, etc. I didn't understand what the big deal was. I had a perfect 4.0 GPA and knew that more than anything I wanted to go to college far far away from my tiny little hometown. I had this "boyfriend", but I was mature enough to understand that this was not a forever thing. I was basically doing what all of my friends were doing at the time, living the life of a normal 16 year old girl. I was insulted that my parents would think that I would give up college for him and told them that often. We, of course, broke up, I dated other boys in high school, and then just as I planned, moved away from home to go to college. I was an honors student, there on almost a full scholarship, and doing pretty well. Like a normal 18 year old girl, I also had a boyfriend and again my parents were afraid that I was going to throw everything away for him. Again, I was insulted because I had never given them any reason to think that this would be the case. I played hard, dealt with the drama of life in a college dorm, but also studied hard, graduated with honors, and was accepted to several law schools. It was not until I was in law school that my parents finally began to trust my instincts when it came to dating and men. I'm still a little bitter about how little faith they had in my judgement those early years, but maybe disproving their assumptions is what made me succeed.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 2:44 PM

"'And what happened to her? She graduated from college, met and married a graduate of the finest college in Canada, McGill. A physician. All three of their children are lawyers. The youngest one got married on Canada Day, the Sunday before last.

"'Was she stupid and impulsive? Far from it!'

"Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | July 10, 2007 01:56 PM"

"She married you, Matt. That's about as stupid as it gets. You define your children as successful because they are lawyers - blechhh."

None of my children is a lawyer, I am neither a physician nor a McGill graduate (although my wife attended McGill), and "Matt in Aberdeen" is in Aberdeen, Maryland, not Aberdeen, Saskatchewan.

Posted by: | July 10, 2007 02:28 PM

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | July 10, 2007 2:44 PM

Wow, when my kids were 11 years old, we may have talked about what they wanted to do when they grow up and what they planned to study in college, but it didn't occur to us to go on college tours. We didn't even discuss specific colleges at all. College was generic when the kids were young.

Posted by: | July 10, 2007 01:27 PM


Going to visit NAU was her idea. She has been around the ASU campus because it's a large urban campus in the heart of Tempe, and we frequently go down there for concerts and other events, so she has had a peripheral feel for an urban campus (ASU is the largest college in the US). NAU is up in the mountains in a beautiful, smaller town, and right now, the appeal of NAU for an 11-year-old is because Flagstaff "is green and it snows there." She may change her mind when she gets older, but for her, she has decided that NOT going to college is an option.

Posted by: single western mom | July 10, 2007 2:47 PM

"None of my children is a lawyer, I am neither a physician nor a McGill graduate (although my wife attended McGill), and "Matt in Aberdeen" is in Aberdeen, Maryland, not Aberdeen, Saskatchewan"

And you are a pompous windbag...

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 2:49 PM

Emily, I think I am on the road to becoming like your mother! i just can't seem to keep my mouth shut-- when I am concerned about people, I just let it blurt out. Actually, this weekend I've realized that it is a serious problem and I've really tried to stifle my comments-- it's not easy, but the constant "expressing concern" /nagging is a habit I need to try to break. Meanwhile, I'm trying to "walk on eggshells." Stressful, but I guess it'll be worth it in the long run. Sure doesn't feel natural to me right now to just stand there quietly when I'm concerned about something.

Posted by: Jen S. | July 10, 2007 2:51 PM

Jen S.

"Actually, this weekend I've realized that it is a serious problem and I've really tried to stifle my comments-- it's not easy, but the constant "expressing concern" /nagging is a habit I need to try to break"

Yes, nagging is one of those "nip in the bud" habits ! Good luck!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 2:58 PM

Someone who learns that their grown child is infertile may mourn the loss of possible grandchildren. Then they dry their tears and live a life without grandchildren or with adopted grandchildren.

It's pretty narrow-minded to think that you can't mourn the loss of something and also accept or embrace what remains.

Posted by: | July 10, 2007 02:30 PM

you've provided the perfect example. If your child decides not to have children, and she knows this choice will cause you to mourn, she's not going to tell you the truth -- that she doesn't want to have children. Or she'll tell you but be offended and put off by your reaction.

Ask yourself how long your list is of choices your kids have to make and at a certain time and in a certain way in order to gain your approval. This is different from WorkingMomX's concerns about her stepdaughter attending college. That's a concern about a child's ability to support herself and be financially independent. Your desire for grandkids, on the other hand, is nothing more than a reflection of your need to ram certain life choices down your child's throat.

So long as your children are law-abiding, self-confident, self-supporting and independent, let your children have your approval without having to live life according to your roadmap.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 3:03 PM

Chubby

"Or if my children are adults now and I can't express acts of concern? Gotta walk around on eggshells all the time? "

Your work is done. Keep your trap shut. Get a life!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 3:03 PM

Stressful, but I guess it'll be worth it in the long run. Sure doesn't feel natural to me right now to just stand there quietly when I'm concerned about something.

Yes, it is at first. Feels awkward, doesn't it?

If after 30 minutes you are still concerned, then you can ask. But ask, don't tell.

It'll get easier with time and practice.

Posted by: to JenS | July 10, 2007 3:03 PM

"Or if my children are adults now and I can't express acts of concern? Gotta walk around on eggshells all the time? "

Your work is done. Keep your trap shut. Get a life!

Posted by: | July 10, 2007 03:03 PM

In other words, "Dry up and die, Mom"?

Is this how you speak to your parent?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 3:05 PM

Jen S. - I wouldn't worry so much. The people who know and love you probably just see it as a quirk of yours. My mother reminds me to go to the bathroom. My husband reminds me to take my vitamins. My son reminds me to put sunscreen on. And in the end, I just know that I am surrounded by people who love me.

Posted by: Emily | July 10, 2007 3:06 PM

thanks for the advice and support! Nip this in the bud!

I wasn't always like this-- seems it kicked in about the time I had a baby-- case of "mommyitis" perhaps.

Posted by: Jen s. | July 10, 2007 3:08 PM

Obviously with such messed up kids as described in this blog, you expert parents aren't doing such a bang-up job. It's no surprise judging from the bloggers attracted to this sh*t heap.

Posted by: | July 10, 2007 02:07 PM

Have you ever noticed that someone who prefaces her comments with "obviously" typically makes the dumbest comment of the day?

Posted by: MN | July 10, 2007 3:08 PM

Emily

"Jen S. - I wouldn't worry so much. The people who know and love you probably just see it as a quirk of yours."

Here we go again with the baloney. Jen S. wants to break a bad habit and someone has to smooth over it and call it a "quirk".

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 3:10 PM

"Or if my children are adults now and I can't express acts of concern? Gotta walk around on eggshells all the time? "

Your work is done. Keep your trap shut. Get a life!

Posted by: | July 10, 2007 03:03 PM

I feel sorry for this responding poster. Really sorry. I'm sorry you don't have the love of a family.

Posted by: needs to do some soul searching | July 10, 2007 3:11 PM

"Here we go again with the baloney. Jen S. wants to break a bad habit and someone has to smooth over it and call it a "quirk"."

Of course you're right. Because it is so much BETTER to be negative, judgmental, and nasty. Break your own bad habits first. Then, perhaps, you will be fit to advise others.

Posted by: Emily | July 10, 2007 3:13 PM

Here we go again with the baloney. Jen S. wants to break a bad habit and someone has to smooth over it and call it a "quirk".

Posted by: | July 10, 2007 03:10 PM

And yet, no one has figured out how to silence your anonymous pot-shots.

Must be great to be practically perfect in every way.

Posted by: Bedrock | July 10, 2007 3:15 PM

emily that is so sweet that your husband reminds you to take your vitamins and your son reminds you to put on sunscreen! Maybe it's just something about mothers providing little reminders that gets my hackles up. And if a mother didn't do that sort of thing, maybe I'd think she was cold and too detached. Being a mom-- you just can't win!

Posted by: Jen s. | July 10, 2007 3:15 PM

Jen S. - My family is just that way. We are constantly reminding someone to eat their veggies, get more sleep, whatever. I am constantly after my husband, telling him that he needs to come to bed. He is a night owl and would be up all night and get no rest if I did not nag him. And he is always after me to eat right. And of course, my son has picked up on it and nags us about the same little things we nag each other about. It is just the way we love each other. Maybe it would drive some people crazy. But it feels fine to us.

Posted by: Emily | July 10, 2007 3:19 PM

Psst...Jen...try this book.

It's okay to have the tendencies and occasionally let them out, you just don't want to overdo it, you know?

Dealing With Relatives (...even if you can't stand them) : Bringing Out the Best in Families at Their Worst (Dr. Rick Brinkman, Dr. Rick Kirschner)

It's not heavy-handed or scary.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 3:19 PM

oooppps, that should read "she has decided that NOT going to college is NOT an option. Bit of a slip, and now we are off to Flagstaff and happy to escape the triple digits of Pheonix in July!

Posted by: single western mom | July 10, 2007 3:23 PM

Flagstaff is a beautiful town. Seems like an idyllic place to go to college.

Posted by: Emily | July 10, 2007 3:26 PM

Have you ever been to Flagstaff in the dead of winter? Not idyllic, just a tough, cold snowy slog.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 3:29 PM

Yes, I lived in Flagstaff from September through February, years and years ago. Winter was cold, but it was beautiful too. Lots of snow, but clear blue skies in between. Decent skiing for those who like skiing. And spring, summer, and fall are unbeatable in terms of weather.

Posted by: Emily | July 10, 2007 3:32 PM

MN

"Have you ever noticed that someone who prefaces her comments with "obviously" typically makes the dumbest comment of the day?"

No, YOU typically make the dumbest comment of the day...

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 3:34 PM

wonder if there is a support group out there -- NA (Nags Anonymous)

Hello, I'm Jen S.-- it's been two days since I last nagged my son about the socks he constantly leaves on the floor . . . and today I was really jonesing to say something about the ones on the kitchen counter . . .

Posted by: Jen S. | July 10, 2007 3:36 PM

"No, YOU typically make the dumbest comment of the day..."

Whoever you are, get some help. Life must be miserable for you if the highlight of your day is to spend your time trolling on a blog that you obviously despise. Isn't there something you'd rather be doing? Is life such a wasteland that this is the best you can do?

Posted by: Emily | July 10, 2007 3:38 PM

"Have you ever been to Flagstaff in the dead of winter? "

Isn't Flagstaff Wilma Flintsone's maiden name? Any connection?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 3:41 PM

Could you be thinking "flagstone" and not flagstaff? Flagstones are a kind of rock that is used to build terraces, I think. That would be more in keeping with the Flintstones theme, I think.

Posted by: Emily | July 10, 2007 3:45 PM

"you've provided the perfect example. If your child decides not to have children, and she knows this choice will cause you to mourn, she's not going to tell you the truth -- that she doesn't want to have children. Or she'll tell you but be offended and put off by your reaction."

But here is where you make too many assumptions. I let my children know that I expect them to get an education, whether it be college or trades, to become self-sufficient adults, and to be law-abiding citizens. Other than that, the choices are theirs. I may hope that they make certain choices, and may mourn if they don't (grandchildren), but they won't know that I am mourning - it will be done privately. Unless, of course, they can recognize that my smile is a little forced when they tell me the news.

Posted by: me | July 10, 2007 3:47 PM

Emily,
Shut up already. Get a life.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 3:47 PM

mea summa culpa to Carly Simon


You wrote into the blog like you were writing into the Times
Your words strategically placed above your name
And a regular it was not.
You had one word for the topic as you watched yourself go off
And you dreamed that all loved your comments, that they'd love your posting
They'd love your posting and...

You're so vain; you probably think this blog is all about you
You're so vain; I'll bet you think this snark is all about you
Don't you? Don't you?

You wrote several years ago and it was quite "high school"
Well you said that you wrote a pretty paragraph,
Maybe one or two
But you left without saying good-bye and that was really mean
I had some words for you but the all the sharks are attacking, the sharks
are attacking and ...

You're so lame; you probably think this blog is all about you
You're so lame, I am snorting in my coffee, cof--fee, cof--fee

Well you went up to "Parenting" and your comments were the only ones
Then you flew over to C. Hax
To see if you could continue your run
Well you're all over the WashPo where you should be all the time
And when you're not you're on line some where
or true mom confessions
True mom confessions, and...

You're so vain; you probably think this blog is all about you
You're so lame; you probably think you won something, something,
something...

Posted by: Annoyed at all the Anons | July 10, 2007 3:54 PM

Hey Jen,

It's your job to nag if they are minor children. It's called raising children to be responsible adults.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 3:55 PM

Anon at 3:47 --

While we may wish for anons such as yourself to "get a life," I'd lay off directing rude comments to posters such as Emily. Her posts are always passionate, intelligent, and unlike you, polite.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | July 10, 2007 3:56 PM

I looked Wilma Flagstone up. It was not her maiden name, but apparently, when the Flintstones show was initially created, it was called the Flagstones, and the name was later changed to Flinttones. Here's the site: http://www.weirdspace.dk/HannaBarbera/Wilma%20Flintstone.htm

Posted by: Emily | July 10, 2007 3:58 PM

MN @ 3:08 -- What makes you think it's a her?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 4:02 PM

Leslie,
I have a suggestion for a light topic on a Friday. What cartoons do we like, dislike, etc. What did we like as kids? What do our kids like? I personally loved the Flintstones as a kid. I even remember being home sick on a particular Friday, and being mad because my show was interrupted by breaking news. It was something completely unimportant compared to my cartoon. Nixon was resigning. Little did I care.

Posted by: Emily | July 10, 2007 4:03 PM

Emily,
Shut up already. Get a life.

Posted by: | July 10, 2007 03:47 PM

If that's the best you can do, you are outclassed by a mile, in both wit and intelligence, by Emily. You are out of your league, 3:47.


and thanks, Emily.

Posted by: MN | July 10, 2007 4:04 PM

Speaking of cartoons, RIP Doug Marlette.

Posted by: catlady | July 10, 2007 4:07 PM

MN

"Have you ever noticed that someone who prefaces her comments with "obviously" typically makes the dumbest comment of the day?"

No, YOU typically make the dumbest comment of the day...

Posted by: | July 10, 2007 03:34 PM

Well, dahling - if you can't seem to identify any particular comment of mine that rises to the esteemed Dumbest Comment of the Day category, I will be forced to keep on submitting comments until you assist me by applying your oh-so-refined taste, judgment, and intelligence to identify such posts.

fiddle dee dee. what shall I do in the meantime? obviously, hold my breath.

Posted by: MN | July 10, 2007 4:07 PM

Thank you, MN. Same back at you.

Posted by: Emily | July 10, 2007 4:09 PM

According to my pastor, the Flintstones TV shows & movies go totally against the Bible.

"Several early episodes in the original series stated Wilma's maiden name was "Pebble," but later episodes and spinoffs more firmly state her maiden name was indeed "Slaghoople." Because people that haven't seen her since she was a girl refer to her as Wilma Pebble, it is most likely that her maiden name IS Pebble. In the episode "The Entertainer" (P-44), Wilma's old friend Greta Gravel remembers her as "Wilma Pebble" -- which we can only assume was her maiden name. Again, in "Dial S for Suspicion" (P-74), one of Wilma's old boyfriends Rodney Whetstone calls her "Wilma Pebble." Wilma is never referred to as Wilma Slaghoople in the original series. Only Wilma's mother is referred to as Slaghoople, so it is strongly implied that Wilma's mother either remarried or was using her maiden name. In fact Wilma's mother is seen dating (while Wilma's father is never mentioned) in the original series."

From Wikipedia

Posted by: Bjorn Again | July 10, 2007 4:09 PM

And Vegas Mom, thank you also. You are tops too.

Posted by: Emily | July 10, 2007 4:10 PM

MN @ 3:08 -- What makes you think it's a her?

Posted by: | July 10, 2007 04:02 PM

It's not relevant what the gender of the anon is. I prefer to use "her" as a generic term to balance out the masses who do the opposite. To each his own.

this matters to you because . . . ?

Posted by: MN | July 10, 2007 4:11 PM

Flintstones - Ann-Margrock - mmmmmmmmm.

Posted by: Cave Man | July 10, 2007 4:14 PM

Returning to the blog du jour, as long as my parents nagged me about my HS boyfriend (problems included his family's religious prejudice against me) I wasn't about to break up with him. Finally they gave up trying -- or else decided to a little practice reverse psychology on me -- and voilà! I dumped the guy within a couple months, and it turned out to be one of the wisest decisions I ever made.

Posted by: catlady | July 10, 2007 4:14 PM

"...It was something completely unimportant compared to my cartoon. Nixon was resigning. Little did I care."

One of the most satisfying days in my life!

Friday August 9, 1974

Posted by: Fred | July 10, 2007 4:15 PM

Fred wrote: "One of the most satisfying days in my life! / Friday August 9, 1974."

Mine, too.

Posted by: catlady | July 10, 2007 4:18 PM

Is that the same Emily who uses frozen spinach to pack her hemorrhoids? I wouldn't want to be invited to dinner at her house. I think you're all nuts and need to get a life. Oh, good, here comes the attendant with your meds.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 4:18 PM

And bring some Preparation H for the troll.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 4:22 PM

To Anon at 04:18:
If you spend so much time reading this that you actually remember something so trivial about Emily from so long ago then I believe it is YOU who needs to get a life.

Posted by: DC lurker | July 10, 2007 4:23 PM

To anon at 4:18. Yes, it's the same one. But others on the blog need not worry about what I serve for dinner, because I would reserve my frozen spinach only for people like you. You have an open invitation for a charming dinner of boiled spinach with a little hemmorhoid cream on the side. It might actually ease your condition, which seems to be as much in your mouth as in your butt.

Posted by: Emily | July 10, 2007 4:24 PM

DC lurker

"To Anon at 04:18:
If you spend so much time reading this that you actually remember something so trivial about Emily from so long ago then I believe it is YOU who needs to get a life."

Or Anon has a very good memory. Comes in quite handy for some professions.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 4:27 PM

Snarking is not a profession. It's a disease.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 4:30 PM

All my pups are beggin me to let them go to the new Harry Potter movie which starts 5 minutes after midnight tonight.

What should I tell them?

Posted by: Lil Husky | July 10, 2007 4:33 PM

Lil Husky,
Sounds like fun. Can I come too?

Posted by: Emily | July 10, 2007 4:34 PM

Lil Husky,
Tell the pups to take a nap.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | July 10, 2007 4:34 PM

Lil Husky,

If it doesn't totally screw up tomorrow's schedule, I say go for it. The kids will enjoy and will remember this for years to come. Even if it screws tomorrow up partially, still go for it.

The only problem might be getting tickets this late.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 4:37 PM

EMily,
DId you really pack your hemorhoids with frozen spinach? LOL.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 4:37 PM

To anon at 4:18. Yes, it's the same one. But others on the blog need not worry about what I serve for dinner, because I would reserve my frozen spinach only for people like you. You have an open invitation for a charming dinner of boiled spinach with a little hemmorhoid cream on the side. It might actually ease your condition, which seems to be as much in your mouth as in your butt.

Posted by: Emily | July 10, 2007 04:24 PM

*clap! clap*
LOL!!

Posted by: educmom | July 10, 2007 4:37 PM

I am contemplating going to the 11:59 showing of Harry Potter -- there are still tickets left by my house -- but there are 8 showings at the closest theatre all at 11:59 and 7 are sold out already

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 4:41 PM

I will be lining up at the bookstore in a wizard hat on the 21st myself.

Posted by: worker bee | July 10, 2007 4:43 PM

Emily, you know you can take me for a walk anytime. :-)

Woof!

Posted by: Lil Husky | July 10, 2007 4:43 PM

Sure. Lil Husky,
As long as someone else picks up the poop.

Posted by: Emily | July 10, 2007 4:45 PM

Which movie is coming out? I've lost track. I began reading the books, but lost interest in the 4th one. I think it was the 4th one.

Posted by: Emily | July 10, 2007 4:49 PM

Lil Husky, In the interest of sleep and acknowledging that the key to my kids is that they get to see it before their friends, we bought tickets online to an afternoon show tomorrow. I will have more patience with the volume of trailers if I'm not waiting until 12:35 a.m. to see the best movie of the summer, LOL.

Posted by: MN | July 10, 2007 4:50 PM

The 5th movie is coming out today and the 7th book is coming out on the 21st

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 4:50 PM

Emily - Number 5 - the Order of the Phoenix.

Posted by: MN | July 10, 2007 4:52 PM

Rowling to write eighth Harry Potter book?
http://inhome.rediff.com/movies/2007/jul/10rowling.htm
rediff Entertainment Bureau

July 10, 2007 12:21 IST

For Harry Potter [Images] fans, this one's as tantalising a teaser as Albus Dumbledore smiling when he learns that Lord Voldemort has used Harry's blood to regain his body.

Author J K Rowling has said 'never say never' in response to a global campaign launched by fans to 'Save Harry.'

'It's not saying that she definitely is [going to write another book] and it's not saying that she definitely isn't. I cannot comment further,' a spokesman for the author was quoted as saying in newspaper reports, including in London's Telegraph.

The Magic of Harry Potter

All over blogs, discussion groups and fan sites, debate has been raging on whether Harry Potter will die in the seventh -- and what was mentioned by Rowling as the final -- Harry Potter book, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, which will be published on July 21.

Popular theories trying to second-guess Rowling include Harry being a Horcrux (magical pieces of an evil wizard's soul) himself, and the two characters who will die being Hagrid and Hermione. But then, Rowling has been rather good at second-guessing second-guessers so far.

Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix: Some magic at last!

The Save Harry campaign has been launched by booksellers Waterstone's who are arguing that there is a literary precedent -- the case of Sherlock Holmes.

Previously, Rowling has said that the Harry Potter story will end with book 7 (Deathly Hallows) and that she might write a spin-off book like explaining magical spells and creatures mentioned in the Potter books.

But to BBC in a recent interview, she also said, 'Never say never.'

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 4:58 PM

Hey everybody - party at my house! I am rich beyond my wildest dreams. I just got this email:

OVERDUE PAYMENT CLAIM!!

FIRST BANK OF NIGERIA PLC
MARINA,LAGOS-NIGERIA.
INTERNATIONAL TRANSFER.
LEICESTER CURRENCY
CHEQUE/DRAFT DEPARTMENT
TELEGRAM: FBNFOREX


Dear:Sir/Madam,

I am Mr. James Irabo,Director allocation department from the (First
Bank of Nigeria Plc,)Lagos Branch.my office monitors and controls the
affairs of all banks and financial institutions in Nigeria concerned
with foreign claim payments.

I am the final signatory to any transfer or remittance of huge funds
moving within banks both on the local and international levels in line
with
foreign claim settlement.

I have before me list of funds, which could not be transferred to some
nominated accounts as these accounts have been identified either as
ghost accounts, unclaimed deposits and over-invoiced sum etc.

Your Name was among the people expecting the funds to be transferred
into their account, on this note; I wish to have a deal with you as
regards
to your unpaid funds.I have your file before me and hope your data's
are
correct and un-tampered unless you reconfirm it not correct.

As it is my duty to recommend the transfer of these surplus funds to
the Federal Government Treasury and Reserve Accounts as unclaimed
deposits,I have the opportunity to write you based on the instructions
I
received two days ago from the Foreign Debts reconciliation dept to
submit the List of payment reports / expenditures and audited reports
of
revenues. Among several others, I have decided to remit your claim sum
followingmy idea that we can have a deal/agreement and I am going to do
this legally. My conditions:

1... The sum of USD$9.7M only will be transfer into your account after
the proccessing of all relevant legal documents with your name as the
bonfide beneficary,the transfer will be made by Draft or telegraphic
Transfer(T/T), confirmable in 3 working days.

2... This deal must be kept secret forever, and all correspondence will
be strictly by email / telephone, for security purposes.

3... There should be no third parties as most problem associated with
your fund release are caused by your agents or representative.

If you AGREE with my conditions, l advise you on what to do immediately
and the transfer will commence without delay as I will proceed to fix
your
name on the Payment schedule instantly to meet the three days mandate.
I hope you don't reject this offer and have your funds transferred.

Waiting for your reply soon.
Faithfully
Mr. James Irabo.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | July 10, 2007 5:06 PM

Congratulations, KLB ;-)))

Posted by: catlady | July 10, 2007 5:09 PM

I get a couple of those a month. Still waiting for my money though. Sniff.

Posted by: Emily | July 10, 2007 5:10 PM

But Emily, were they sent to you personally? He is so sincere I just KNOW I will get my money soon.

Did anyone see the Dateline show about these guys? Chris Hanson did "To Catch a Con Man" and it was great.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | July 10, 2007 5:12 PM

Just as long as the "proccessing" isn't done by Emily's proctologist. Ouch!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 5:13 PM

KLB, will there be unlimited cans of wasabi soy sauce almonds at your party?

Posted by: catlady | July 10, 2007 5:15 PM

The end of the world my be coming - Nancy Grace is pregnant with twins! They will have to be born with reptile thick skin to grow up around her.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | July 10, 2007 5:16 PM

Wasabi soy sauce almonds and champagne for all.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | July 10, 2007 5:17 PM

Don't let Emily bring the spinach dip to the party.

Posted by: To 5:13 | July 10, 2007 5:17 PM

"The end of the world my be coming - Nancy Grace is pregnant with twins! They will have to be born with reptile thick skin to grow up around her."

Will she breastfeed?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 5:18 PM

I'll bring the flan. (And the spinach for our special guests).

Posted by: Emily | July 10, 2007 5:18 PM

Thank you, Emily, for the flan -- yummm!

Posted by: catlady | July 10, 2007 5:22 PM

"I'll bring the flan. (And the spinach for our special guests). "

Thanks. My old man loves spinach.

Posted by: Olive Oyl | July 10, 2007 5:24 PM

KLB,

I propose that, in order to consume either wasabi soy sauce almonds or champagne, party attendees must sport a nametag. There will be no verification of whether one's nametag reflects her true legal name, but it will make it ever so much easier to introduce her to other guests.

Posted by: MN | July 10, 2007 5:25 PM

Emily -- I actually think Cartoons and Balance could work for a Friday. Coming soon to a theatre near you...

Posted by: Leslie | July 10, 2007 5:26 PM

"Emily -- I actually think Cartoons and Balance could work for a Friday. Coming soon to a theatre near you..."

Oh, God, please no!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 5:28 PM

Leslie. Looking forward to it.

Yabadabadoooo!!

Posted by: Emily | July 10, 2007 5:30 PM

Emily

"Leslie. Looking forward to it.

Yabadabadoooo!!"

Homework....

Posted by: Elaine | July 10, 2007 5:43 PM

Homework? What about homework?

Posted by: Emily | July 10, 2007 5:45 PM

"All over blogs, discussion groups and fan sites, debate has been raging on whether Harry Potter will die in the seventh -- and what was mentioned by Rowling as the final -- Harry Potter book, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, which will be published on July 21.

Popular theories trying to second-guess Rowling include Harry being a Horcrux (magical pieces of an evil wizard's soul) himself, and the two characters who will die being Hagrid and Hermione. But then, Rowling has been rather good at second-guessing second-guessers so far."

How about this: Lord Voldemort pursues Harry across the English Channel to the Continent. They engage in a to-the-death game of Quidditch over Switzerland. Hermione, watching from a crevice, sees both Harry and Voldemort drop from the sky -- down, down, down, until they disappear into the mists at the foot of the Reichenbach Falls.

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | July 10, 2007 5:47 PM

Or maybe the two disappearing into the mists at the foot of Reichenbach Falls will be Dr. Gregory House and Detective Michael Tritter.

Posted by: catlady | July 10, 2007 5:55 PM

Preview of Cartoons and Work Life Balance: that Flintstones episode where Fred and Wilma trade places for a day. Fred wears the apron and Wilma drives the bulldozer. A formative feminist experience for me...along with that Enjoli commercial.

Posted by: Leslie | July 10, 2007 5:56 PM

Leslie,
That was a great episode. Spongebob had a similar one as well, where Spongebob played the female role and Patrick the male role. (Sigh, I never imagined I would be able to talk about Spongebob cartoons). I guess it's better than Barney.

Posted by: Emily | July 10, 2007 6:00 PM

I can bring home the bacon,
Fry it up in a pan
And never, never, never let you forget you're a man,

Cuz I'm a woman.

Posted by: Emily | July 10, 2007 6:05 PM

I can bring home the bacon,
Fry it up in a pan
And never, never, never let you forget you're a man,

Cuz I'm a woman.

Posted by: Emily | July 10, 2007 06:05 PM

ACCKKK!!!!

This reminds me of Tab and Virginia Slims commercials.

Posted by: Megan's neighbor | July 10, 2007 6:11 PM

MN, are you old enough to remember those dreadful "My wife, I think I'll keep her" commercials for a certain brand of supposed health tonic (which shall remain nameless, because they don't deserve the added publicity)?

Posted by: catlady | July 10, 2007 6:14 PM

Sponge Bob definitely falls into "classic" Flintstones territory. I love watching it (while I do 600 other things).

It could be much worse...I find Barney, Teletubbies, The Wiggles and Thomas the Tank insufferable, even as background noise.

Posted by: Leslie | July 10, 2007 6:14 PM

But is Spongebob spongeworthy?

We could also do a trip down candy memory lane. There is a website that has all the candy we ate as a kid and each time we look it at work we all crowd over the screen and relate fond memories of chocolate babies, jujubes and canada mints (just to name a few).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | July 10, 2007 6:20 PM

catlady - oh yes. I also remember:

"Ring around the collar! Ring around the collar!"

I swore I would only marry a man who knew how to bathe his neck and drop his own shirts off at the cleaners.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | July 10, 2007 6:32 PM

ewwww, evaluating whether SpongeBob is spongeworthy is so inappropriate.

ick. ick. ick.

Posted by: MN | July 10, 2007 6:34 PM

MN -- My mom would always remark "how about telling your husband to wash his neck!" when she saw the wife lamenting over her husband's ring-around-the-collar. "Oh, whatever shall I do about this horrible stain on my husband's shirt . . . ."

Posted by: Vegas Mom | July 10, 2007 7:57 PM

This is late. Here's a theory: The reason these kids are making bad choices for relationships is because they were deprived of good, solid relationships with married parents growing up. They are trying to recreate a "if you love me you'll never leave me" scenario, to fill the void that divorce leaves. How many of you steps writing in come from intact families? And how many of your spouses? come from intact familes My bet is most. You have no idea how hard divorce - even amicable - can wound, and you are now experiencing the first generation of it.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 8:31 PM

In honor of WorkingMomX's dad, I think I'll start calling all of the snarky anon's, "Bruce".

Posted by: MN | July 10, 2007 8:35 PM

To Vegas Mom and MN: My mother said the exact same thing, too, about why don't those husbands wash their necks!

Posted by: catlady | July 10, 2007 8:36 PM

MN -- My mom would always remark "how about telling your husband to wash his neck!" when she saw the wife lamenting over her husband's ring-around-the-collar. "Oh, whatever shall I do about this horrible stain on my husband's shirt . . . ."

Posted by: Vegas Mom | July 10, 2007 07:57 PM

Off with his head!

Posted by: Queen Elizabeth | July 11, 2007 8:12 AM

I agree, . But since Karen's comment was thoughtful, on topic and added to the discussion, I fail to understand you objection.


>Just what this blog needs, another person >whose sole purpose is to use this blog to >drive traffic to her own blog.

>Leslie, please consider deleting >blatantly commercial posts.

>>Karen Rayne
>>http://www.adolescentsexualitytoday.blogspot.com

>>Posted by: Karen Rayne | July 10, 2007 08:17 AM

Posted by: Anonymous | July 11, 2007 10:34 AM

This blog left me in shock. I cannot IMAGINE moving in with my (then very serious) boyfriend when I was 18. My parents would have disowned me, no ifs/ands/buts. As it was, my father couldn't stand seeing his little girl with an "older" (2 years) guy and refused to let my boyfriend in the house, which caused an untold amount of tension in my house. However, moving out never crossed my mind.

I'm in my mid-twenties now, and my current boyfriend and I have discussed moving in together at length and decided that was a few years away, when we were both more "mature" and more vested in our future as a couple.

I can only imagine the horror and pain you must have felt at your daughter's decision, and I am wondering what the conversation was like when she came home. "I told you so" never does anything but breed resentment, but I can't imagine calling all future boyfriends by "Bruce" will do much better. From personal experience, you end up hating the parents, not the boyfriend. How has the situation worked out for you since?

Posted by: Janie | July 12, 2007 5:06 PM

Got 2 boys, one's going to UMD and moved out right after graduation and another going to school this Fall in Cali. They both know what they have to do to get support. Otherwise, they have to learn to live with their choices - although negotiation and proposals may net some tentative support (if there's issues and problems - like a stolen and trashed car, for example).

The first is opting to pay for everything himself as he likes the feeling of being independent. The first is comfy with us paying for him while he devotes himself to grades and his sport (which wouldn't leave him time to work).

I have a relative who's totally dependent on everyone and the government 'cause she was always "welcomed home". Such a waste as she's academically intelligent, but doesn't have the ability to think her way out of a paper bag when it comes to ensuring she can support herself. I am successful because I couldn't rely on anyone in my family to help me out and everything I did is pretty much because I had to (and I've never been homeless) - and I want my kids to be able to support themselves and not always having their hands out.

Posted by: CB in Seattle | July 16, 2007 7:25 PM

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