My daughter left yesterday for her first trip away with friends. They took the train to Montreal to ‘have fun’ (as she put it). Although she is 17, and the drinking age in Montreal is 18, I can clearly imagine what the ‘fun’ will entail. Before you judge me, I don’t condone any types of illegal activity or teenage drinking. But, realize that I’m not stupid, and more importantly, I need my girl to know that I’m not stupid. It’s better that she doesn’t lie to me, and understand perfectly well that I’m aware of what she and her friends are doing, and be told this from HER mouth, rather than see get a big surprise when I see the evidence on Facebook. This is how I keep her SAFE. Also, I’d have to back track and freak out on her afterwards. That would completely go into the not fun area of parenting.
Its hard to imagine your babies growing up. But they do. And they go to Montreal, or wherever, and to University Hallowe’en parties, and wear Barbie costumes and makeup, and smile at older boys. They have to. It’s life. But life is more complicated now. Teenagers have too many choices, too many wrong paths to take.
When I was a teenager, my parents’ advice consisted of:
-Don’t be stupid
-Be home by 12 or else
I’m not kidding. That was it. There were no cell phones to reach me with, and they figured they’d raised me right, and / or they didn’t think there was a whole lot of trouble to be gotten into. Truth was, I was a bit of a goody two shoes, and although there was probably trouble to be found, mostly I stayed out of it (or so goes the party line.)
Obviously, the world is different these days. Not only do teenagers party more, drink more, and think they’re smarter, they are so connected that word of any excitement gets around faster than Superman can change in his phone booth (what’s a phone booth, you ask? Forget it you’re too young to be reading this)
Plus, there’s a whole new world of drugs out there much more extensive than the ubiquitous pot that was readily available ‘in my day’. According towww.drugfreeworld.com, these are the street names for ecstasy alone.
OBVIOUSLY, the best advice is ‘Don’t Drink at all.’ (The advice of ‘Don’t Do Drugs. You Could Die.’ is non-negotiable, and actually agreed upon by both of us). But, while her following the drinking advice would be highly desirable, the probability of it being the actuality is not that…umm..probable. So,because its ultimately important to me, as her parent, to to keep her safe, I talk to my kid before she goes out into the world as an adult in a frank and non-judgemental way.
This is the advice I gave to her (along with the usual ‘You’d better answer my text messages within 3 minutes or I’m hunting you down.’ She calls this stalking-I don’t know why):
- Don’t leave your drink unattended. EVER EVER EVER EVER
- Don’t invite anybody you meet back to your hotel room. They will text it out and you’ll have a trashed hotel and be out on the street, before you can blink. Or, they’ll be psychokillers, and then..(well, unimaginable).
- Don’t get drunk and walk around the street tippling over and barfing into an alley. Not to mention dangerous, its really not classy at all.Don’t get drunk and act stupid, more specifically, don’t get so drunk that you don’t know you’re so drunk and acting stupid.
- Don’t wear a skirt so short you can see your panties (she assured me, by the way, that she was wearing booty shorts under her Barbie costume).
- Don’t post ‘Girls Gone Wild’ pictures on your Facebook, particularly in a live play by play manner.
- Those boys are ‘older’ (I didn’t elaborate, but she knew what I meant).
- If you sense trouble, get out. No fun is worth trouble.
- Use your brains. Don’t take drugs. Eat your vegetables. Act like I raised you.
And off she went with her little suitcase, some cash, and probably a mickey hidden in her purse. And I cried, just a little.