Tag Archives: teenagers

The Conversation on the Day of the Women’s March No One’s Gonna Like

The Conversation on the Day of the Women’s March No One’s Gonna Like

Sometimes I feel like I don’t fit in.  

There are defined groups of beliefs and ideologies in our society and I often find myself in the gray overlap between two opposing groups of thought.  Especially when discussing the two taboo subjects of politics and religion.  Boom… yes, I said it… politics and religion…

I was raised in the Roman Catholic faith and yet I describe myself as a Cafeteria Catholic.  There are so many things I like and do not like about the R.C. Church… so, I find myself taking what I like and leaving the rest. And that behavior has left many devout Catholics denying I am a Catholic. So be it.

I am not a Democrat or Republican.  

I am not liberal or conservative.

I am not a feminist or misogynist (obviously).

And I also find myself sitting somewhere in between the pro-life and pro-choice groups.  My personal beliefs are not popular with either group and I find myself once again not feeling a member of either.  So be it.

But, on the exact day millions of women were marching in DC for Women’s Rights… the latter example popped up in a conversation with my very strong minded, very independent, very liberal, very sweet 18 year old daughter.  In her opinion I am pro-life … and as she sat across the table from me eating a taco salad… she asked a little inquisitively and with some obvious judgement in her voice: “Mom, how can you be pro-life… how can you NOT be pro-choice?!?!”  All being said with a look of disgust on her face which made me think she may had just bit into her lime garnish.

I smiled and answered… “Actually, I don’t think the pro-lifers would include me in their group.”

“But you’re not pro-choice!… so what are you mom?”

I gave it a seconds thought, and with all the women’s march drama swirling in my mind, I blurted out:    “I’m pro-women”.  To which she fake coughed her reply… “Bullsh*t”.

And then I tried to explain to my daughter why I believe I’m pro-women:

“Honestly, I’m torn on this whole pro-life/pro-choice debate. I can see valid points made in both arguments… but from my perspective it looks like this…  

There are individual situations where an abortion may be necessary.  I’m not going to debate why or why not a situation is necessary, although I would hope common sense could help determine true “necessity”.  (This belief will keep me from belonging to the PL group)

And because I believe abortions are probably very painful psychologically, emotionally and physically for the women having to choose and have one, if we don’t make them such an easily accessible choice… maybe it will actually encourage women to consider other options that cause less suffering?  Or help women make life choices to not put themselves in the position to need one …?”

My daughter didn’t look convinced, so I continued…

“Many people believe women must have control and a choice over their bodies.  I agree with that, however I see it differently.  The one thing (at this point in time) we don’t have any control over is… if sexual intercource results in a pregnancy… it is the woman, who get’s pregnant. Therefore, her control and choice over her body truly begins whether she chooses to have sexual intercourse or not, and whether she trusts birth control or not.  Because once she’s pregnant, it’s not just about her anymore.”  

This is when my sweet daughter got feisty.

“MOM!!!!!”…. “YOU ARE SUCH A SEXIST!!!!!!!” She spat out.

I laughed “Honey, I don’t think they’d let me in their group either”

So be it.

 

I recently wrote a piece on why today’s Teens (Generation Z) have a reputation for being:

Lazy

Self-Entitled

Apathetic

Spoiled Rotten.

 

I will admit there are some teens that defy this pathetic reputation.  Thank goodness we still have teens being inducted into the ranks of Eagle Scout, The National Honor Society, etc…

Someone’s gonna have to sign our SS checks in 10+ years.  

These hard working, volunteering, high achieving, scholarship winning, stellar athlete, good-grade getting teens are out there.  I see their parents proudly posting their achievements on FB everyday!!  

And how does this happen… ???… was the kid just born that way...???… was it Healthy Neglect on the part of the parents…???… Fate…???… Luck…???… All the above?!?!

 

But what about today’s Spoiled-Brat-Teens??

Well…I blame their Parents:  

The Parents who were born on The Baby Boomer & Generation X Cusp.  

Known for great success in educational, financial and social arenas.  

Portrayed as a powerful generation of optimism, and high, over–achievement.

(of which I am a guilty member)

 

We were given all the resources to be perfect parents and successfully raise the perfect kid.

We just can’t bear to see our children fail.  

We’ll do anything to save our children from experiencing the pain, discomfort or direct consequences of their bad choices.  Because that may indicate we were bad parents!!! (Gasp!!!)  So, we Over-Parent!!!!!

 

Are we helping… or hurting??

Them    = hurting

Us         = hurting

Society = hurting

 

Gen. Z is going to be running this country one day.  A scary thought??  Damn right!!

And if they have a fighting chance of changing their flawed character and bad reputation…

the change is going to have to start with us, The Parents.

 

 LET’S EXAMINE TWO EXAMPLES WHERE CHANGE CAN START :

                                                                                         1.  Parental Portal

                                                                                        2.  Home Chores (next Blog)

 

Parent Portal  

The Parent Portal is defined as a tool for parents to stay informed and engaged in their child’s education.

Teachers post EVERYTHING on the Parent Portal: from grades to their daily lecture notes.

So, at any minute, The Parent can have access to a virtual seat right in their child’s classroom.

Is this a good or a bad thing???

Elementary School = good

Middle School = possibly good

High School = BAD!!!

 

Don’t get me wrong, I can understand the importance of parental involvement in their child’s academic development.

BUT FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, LET”S HOPE BY HIGH SCHOOL WE CAN STOP HOLDING THEIR HAND!

(Yet how many parents are going to feel responsible for filling out those College Applications……????)

 

This September I attended an Open House for my youngest child…

who is a junior in high school  and every single teacher gave the same speech.

They encouraged us to check the Parent Portal “regularly” (daily), so we could help our kids remember their daily homework assignments, exam dates, project deadlines, etc…

They reminded us their lecture notes were also posted, so we could help our teens understand the subject matter if necessary.  

I jotted down their recommendations “word-for-word” like all of the other high achieving dutiful parents at Open House and finally I just wanted to scream: “EXCUSE ME…… ARE YOU KIDDING?!?!?”

I AM THE PARENT… NOT THE STUDENT!!!

Been there…did that.  Got the T-shirt AND the Diploma… On my own, Thank You Very Much!!!

My day is pretty busy as it is, and I certainly DO NOT have time to micro-manage my teen’s school day.

 

So, why do High School teachers feel it is the Parent’s responsibility for their student to succeed????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Why is the  “Student”  disappearing from this picture??????????????????????????

Teacher <——>  Student  <—–> Parent

 

We have no one to blame but ourselves!!! 

Beginning in Elementary school,  we conditioned our kids and the school system, to count on us to Save The Day!  

 

For example:

Remember the Sugar Cube Igloo our kid had weeks to complete that was built the Sunday night before its due date, with an architectural structure worthy of our mechanical engineering degree.

Same goes for the authentic Iroquois Longhouse complete with working fire-pit… the essay on Amelia Earhart and the book report & diorama on Moby Dick…

God-forbid the kid suffer the consequences of having zero interest or followthrough in completing their school projects… mom &/or dad will swoop in at the last minute and make sure the kid arrives to school Monday morning with a finished product worthy of an A+.

Problem:  By high school these coddled kids, (who have never suffered the consequences of their bad decisions) are… Lazy and Apathetic.

Cause: The Parent believes it is their responsibility to guarantee their kid is a successful student, ultimately proving they’re successful at parenting.  

Solution:  STOP!!!  Let them Fail.

 

We may ALL have to experience the discomfort of growing pains during the process of change…

but in the end it will be well worth it!!  

Honestly, our future depends on it!!

 

LET’S STOP TRYING TO SAVE OUR KIDS FROM THE PAIN OF THEIR OWN BAD DECISIONS….

When we back down, teacher’s can then start to hold the students solely responsible for their own choices!!!

Facing Mother’s Day with a Broken Heart

Facing Mother’s Day with a Broken Heart

Welcome Back!

Back ? Home = happy place (physically & mentally)

Bridges = help us get there

 

There I was, minding my own business in the Pasta aisle at Walmart, deciding between Vermicelli and Capellini, when I experienced the creepiest encounter ever… like a visit from the Ghost of Christmas Past.

 

I heard her behind me. And before I even saw her, I was transported 17 years back in time.

She was desperately trying to soothe her fussy infant in the grocery cart as her 10 and 4 year old were peppering her with non-stop questions, requests, demands and poking each-other.

 

She looked exhausted… Physically, Mentally and Emotionally.

There was a spit-up stain on her shoulder and yesterday’s mascara was faintly noticeable… adding a deeper shade to her already dark circles.

 

Our eyes met and communicated the words we didn’t need to speak.

I so badly wanted to validate her pain, so I smiled gently and softly said:

“It’s hard”.

And that’s when this poor young mother lost it.

 

Tears rolled down her cheeks as she choked out the words…

“It’s SO HARD.  

I wish my husband realized just how hard it is.  

But he’s never home!  

He works late hours, so I can stay home with the kids… and I never get a break!  

I’m totally drained……..

It’s just SO HARD!”

 

And then she looked at her kids who were obviously her pride and joy and as she wiped away her tears she smiled and said…

“But, it’s worth it… It won’t ALWAYS be this hard… when they grow up it’ll be much easier”.

 

And that’s when I lost it, and as tears streamed down my cheeks, I choked back the words I wanted to say and turned away so she couldn’t see my reaction.  As I stared at boxes of pasta through blurry tears, I felt an empty pain deep in my heart .

 

I wanted to tell her… “Oh my dear, you have no idea just how much harder it can get. Years after you’ve given Everything there is to give, your husband just may happen to come home after “that business trip” or “working late” one night and ask you for a divorce.  

 

He will walk away with his high paying job, executive level earning power and retirement fund, while you walk away with the job description of ‘Housewife and Mom’ added to your resume.

 

And then he just may drag you through the family court system for years, constantly trying to negotiate paying less and less in child support until he manipulates the legal system to eventually pay you nothing at all… and along the way he’ll cause you to pay thousands and thousands in lawyer fees.

 

Then just when you thought your heart couldn’t break anymore… Your kids will see you as the Crabby Complainer and their dad (who, by the way, was busy “working late” their whole childhood) as the go-to parent. He’ll hold all the cards, and bribe them with promises of buying them a car when they turn 16….and…

 

And when your teenage daughter strikes the final blow, by telling you she’d rather live with her dad because you’re barely scraping by and he can easily afford to buy her whatever she wants… including a generous makeup and clothing allowance, you’ll wonder if it was really all worth it.

 

And then after living under his negative influence for a while, she’ll be blinded by the illusion of his spin on reality and there will only be a glimmer of your sweet little girl left behind. She will gladly align with him and forget who you are.

 

But, instead I chose to wipe away my tears and simply wished her a Happy Mother’s Day and she wished me the same.

 

Little did she know, this Sunday, my Mother’s Day will be far from anything I’d dreamed of or hoped for.

 

There are many moms who may not receive that Hallmark moment of recognition and gratitude from their children they long for.

 

There are many different reasons why this Mother’s Day may be filled with disappointment, heartache and sadness for many moms.

 

Remember, sometimes simply knowing you’re not alone makes it all much easier… along with a dish of delicious pasta and a nice bottle of red.

 

The Top 3 Things Wrong With Generation Z ( a.k.a Today’s Teens)

The Top 3 Things Wrong With Generation Z ( a.k.a Today’s Teens)

Welcome Back!

Back  Home = happy place (physically & mentally)

Bridges = help us get there

 

 

Today’s teens who were born between 1994 and 2004, belong to Generation Z.

 

And Gen. Z doesn’t get the best press.

  • A Huffington Post described Gen. Z as “lazy, unaware, and apathetic”.
  • “Gen. Z is entitled, lazy, selfish, tech savvy, and yet incompetent,” -S. Greenfield
  • “Many describe Gen. Z as lazy, self-entitled, tech-dependent, and narcissistic.” -D. Sylvia

 

So, What’s wrong with today’s teenagers???

  1. Their PARENTS!
  2. Their PARENTS!
  3. Their PARENTS!

These Parents were born on The Baby Boomer & Generation X Cusp.  

Known for great success in educational, financial and social arenas.  

Portrayed as a powerful generation of optimism, and achievement.

 

Elite Daily had an article that compared today’s teens with their parents:

Generation Z is used to being spoon fed everything, while their parents worked hard for everything that they currently have.

The Baby Boomer generation understood that the world didn’t owe them anything. They were a more independent generation, as they didn’t really have much of a crutch to lean on in comparison to Gen. Z.

Gen.Z’s an entitled generation, babied by their parents and society and it has really damaged their work ethic and the way they go about life.

They expect things to be done for them and if something requires a little extra work or concentration, they’re easily deterred from doing it.

 

Do I get a: AMEN!!!!!

 

Spring is in the air and it’s a perfect time to witness this phenomenon.

As the temperatures rise, so does the blood pressure of most The Parents.

 

Here are some examples:

  • Billy is failing Biology and the final exam is only weeks away.

Who’s in a panic, Billy or The Parents?

Ummmm, The Parents?  

Yep!

WHAT CAN THEY DO???  They scramble to find a tutor….$50/hour…$100…

No problem, they’ll do anything to prevent Billy from experiencing the direct consequences of the poor choices he made all year long.  

 

  • Katie’s Prom is next month

She finds her favorite dress on the internet.  It’s perfect and she has to have it, but it costs more than most wedding dresses and Katie doesn’t have a job.  

Does she get the dress?

Of course she does!

The Parents buy it for her and, they’ll also throw in a stretch Limo and host a lavish pre-prom photo-op party for all of Katie’s friends and their Parents.

Everyone will look stunning in all the pics posted on FB, especially Katie in her lovely dress..

 

  • Nikki’s a Junior and college is 2 years away

Does she have to worry about it now?

Nope.  She probably hasn’t even given it a minutes thought,

BUT THE PARENTS HAVE.

Infact, The Parents have probably spent most of their Spring

  • Researching ACT/SAT testing dates and review classes to sign her up for
  • Mapping out college visits
  • Getting all the ducks in a row for the college application process

And Nikki will accompany The Parents on these college visits, looking apathetic and mostly texting on her phone and taking selfies along the campus tour.

 

I have a confession:  I was born in 1963 and I have three kids… do the math.

 

Our kids are CODDLED… SPOILED.

And we only have ourselves to blame.

 

Why can’t we let our kids experience their own failures… the disappointments of not getting everything they want?  

 

Are we protecting them or ourselves??

Are we so addicted to success, that we can’t even imagine our own children may fail?  

Do we feel our children’s achievements or failures are a reflection of us… our strength, weakness or flaws??

 

Even if we won’t admit it… It’s common knowledge we’ll do anything to help our kids succeed.

 

Our kids know it and so does everyone else.

 

In fact, high school teachers and administrators will bet on it.  

They know teens will do NOTHING all year long and therefore rely on The Parents to swoop in, save the day and make sure there will be students to pass and graduate.  

So, they created this thing called The Parent Portal and it enables The Parents to enable their teens.  

Most High School Websites now have a “Parent Portal” where The Parents can (at any moment) access their teens class schedule, assignment/project/quiz/ test deadlines and grades.

It’s like The Parents can now have a VIRTUAL SEAT right in their Teens Classroom!!!!

 

Ironically, The Parents  graduated from high school and college with very little help or involvement from their own parents and yet feel DIRECTLY responsible for the academic success or failure of their own kids.  

Heck, my parents didn’t even know where my high school was!!

 

So, while our teens are absorbed in their social-media life…perfecting their duckie-face selfie or building their biceps at the gym… we’re chewing their food and spitting it into their mouths like momma Robins.   

 

And their still FAILING…  

Which just makes us work harder at saving them, because God-forbid they fail a class…

How will they get accepted into a GOOD COLLEGE?????  

And once they get into college, this dynamic will just continue.

They’ll perform mediocre at best as we struggle to write every tuition check.  If their failing a course, we’ll encourage them to “DROP IT!!”.  We’d rather pay for courses they didn’t take, than have them suffer the consequences of an F.  And we’ll all stay on this Hamster Wheel, until we STOP!

These kids don’t stand a chance at any resemblance of personal or professional success, UNLESS we remove their CRUTCH… (by realizing we’re the Crutch)!!!

So, in the upcoming weeks… among the onslaught of FB posted Prom, Senior and Graduation pics… steady yourself for the declaration of “What college acceptance Billy’s chosen!!!”   

And who do you think will be posting all of these accomplishments….                                                                                                The Teen or The Parent that earned them?

[Disclaimer: Yes, maybe there’s always that one teen & parent that’s an exception…  😉  ]

 

For a Friend

For a Friend

Welcome Back!

Back  Home = happy place (physically & mentally)

Bridges = help us get there

 

It all started a few days ago.  

I was writing on my laptop, enjoying my first cup of coffee, when I heard something in the other room.  It sounded like something was hitting the window.  

 

I walked into the family room to check it out, and sure enough, a robin was repeatedly flying into the window.  The minute it saw my reflection it flew away.  

 

I was relieved it hadn’t hurt itself and went back to my writing.

 

No sooner had I returned to my laptop, when I heard the same persistent sound again.

 

Bang……..………..…(wait for it)………………..Bang…………..(and again)……………… Bang!  

 

I walked back into the room and the robin flew away again.  

I thought:   “Geez, poor bird.  It’s gonna hurt itself.”

 

I figured by now this bird must’ve realized it keeps hitting something hard and obviously impermeable and finally flew away somewhere else.   

 

I went back to my writing.  And, I kid you not, within minutes, it started again.

 

Seriously?!?!  

I was shocked.  How could a bird be that stupid…or that stubborn???  Then I recalled hearing stories about how an animal’s instincts can cause it to repeat behavior over and over, even if it results in physical injury or worse.

 

And we’ve all heard the quote:

“Doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results is the definition of Insanity!!”

 

WTHeck!?!? I didn’t have the time, energy or desire to deal with an insane robin!

Every time I walked into the room, it would fly away… but, it would come right back and keep doing the same stupid Banging!!

 

I couldn’t keep walking in and out of the family room all day.  

 

So, I observed its behavior from a vantage point where it couldn’t see me.  

There’s a tree next to the window, and this robin sits on its branch and then takes a header into the window… knocks itself silly and then does it again!!!

 

I wasn’t sure how to help this poor bird, so I tried a few ideas:

 

  • I taped some foil to the window— this didn’t help, it just moved to a different section of the window!

  • Then I designed a replica of myself (like a scarecrow) using chairs, pillows, blankets, etc— this didn’t help.  I added a fan to give the materials some movement— no help!!

  • Then I cut-off the branch it was sitting on— it just moved to another branch! (I thought about cutting down the whole tree, but deep down I knew that wouldn’t help either.)

  • I screamed at it: “What is WRONG with you… are you TRYING to kill yourself!?!?”— no help.

  • Then I opened the window (which has a screen)— Voila, this seemed to help, but we’ve been having a lovely winter this spring and the house was getting a bit chilly (considering the 19* temps outside) so I ultimately closed the window.

By this time it was dusk and Thank Goodness the silly bird retired for the evening!!

 

The next morning I’d forgotten all about the bird until… it started AGAIN!!!

Bang………………………………..Bang………………………………….Bang!

 

WoW!!! It certainly was a consistent little bugger.

 

This time I tied up the window-blind strings and positioned the fan to blow them around. And the Good News is, it seemed to solve the problem.

 

There is just one issue.  This contraption has to be turned on constantly until dusk.  If I forget to turn it on… I am reminded by a persistent:

 

Bang……………… ……………..Bang………………………………….Bang!

And I know there may come a day when this latest fan/string contraption won’t help anymore and I fear finding that bird lying dead under the tree.

 

This whole ordeal has really ruffled my feathers.

No, I am serious!  

 

It is unnerving to try and help another when their behavior is going to hurt them (or worse), and most of your intervention does absolutely nothing .

 

The moments when I waited to see if a new preventative method worked, were absolutely grueling.  My heart would sink (& I’d inevitably feel like a failure) every time I’d hear the Banging start-up again.

 

The very worst letdown was when I thought I’d finally helped, because things quieted down… but then inevitably it would start again.

 

I’m always looking for the silver lining, or lesson learned from facing challenges in life.

And this situation unfortunately mirrored the greatest challenge we all face as human beings:

   The pain and frustration we feel

by watching those we Love

repeat behaviors

that hurt them or can eventually kill them.

 

The hardest thing to endure it to stand-by helplessly.  

And yet that is all you can do.  

Because if they want to Bang into that window… They will… And there’s nothing you can do to stop them.

 

Lesson 101 in loving someone, who is actively engaging in harmful behaviors… is to know there is very little you can do.  It is up to them if they want to change or stop.

We. All. Have. Free. Will.

 

These past few days I learned some important reminders.  

 

Here are some things you can do:

  • You do what you can to help.

  • You realize there is no magic wand to make it all better (no matter how much you beg, scream, cry, plead, wish, hope or pray).

  • You learn to live with your feeling of helplessness.

  • You accept you have no control over another’s Free Will.  You surrender trying to impose yours.

  • You eventually Let Go (and let God).

  • You remember to take care of yourself.

… a little birdie told me so!