Tag Archives: teens

Five Easy Tips for Non-parenting Teens

1. Hide food.  This will prevent those overgrown children who live upstairs from consuming a week’s worth of groceries in one sitting. Store chips under the bed. Hang cookies or brownies on hangers in the back of a closet, where they will never look. Stash frozen pizza under five-pound bags of broccoli and carrots. Any type of snack items fit well inside heater vents. (Caution: Use only during summer months.) Fresh fruits and vegetables may be left in plain sight. people-in-the-sea-at-the-sunset-1061951-m

2. Never replace toilet paper on the spindle. While you use your private, hidden stash, it will teach your teens a valuable lesson in self-reliance. If the last square of tissue remains on the cardboard roll for more than 7 days, or your teen is spending a lot of time at the corner convenience store, or rolls of  paper towels and shop rags are disappearing, it’s time to break down and replace the tissue. Albeit, with much pandemonium and cursing.

3. Parents and teens cannot be “buddies.” That skateboard might look like fun and exciting for trying to “olly a half pipe,” but a broken hip is forever. Their music may seem interesting, but bleeding from the ears is no laughing matter. And trying to decipher the meaning of T-shirts or tattoos has been known to cause aggressive oozing of inner brain matter.

4. Teens who are more than two hours late for their curfew should just report in at the local police station to save time. That’s where they will find their mother — sobbing and filling out missing person reports. If more than three hours past curfew, the belated teen may want to check out the website: onyourown.com.teens-995276-m

5. Allow unlimited access to television shows, games and the Internet in 75 percent of the rooms. That way, no one (least of all — and this is important — the parents) can be held responsible for anyone’s personal idea of entertainment. After all, it was in the room and it was turned on; the overgrown people upstairs just happened to walk in and stay for seven hours playing, “Violence Squared: The Sequel.”  Not your fault.

Post-it Parenting: Raising Kids by the Letter

Due to busy and conflicting schedules, and because I was a working, single mom for many years, my children and I had to take a lot of shortcuts.

Shortcuts, by the way, is Latin for “single parent.”

We communicated by writing a lot of notes to each other. After deciding in fifth grade that I was a writer, it just seemed logical to communicate with my offspring through the written word.

Mom, Please don’t take the trampoline down. We are still using it. Thanks. –Chris

During summers, when the kids were out of school, those notes turned into a Tolstoy novel.

As I often remind my kids – it could be worse. What if I was a professional roller derby athlete? Those women don’t mess around with leaving notes. When their kids misbehave, I’m sure it’s a quick elbow to the guts or an expertly maneuvered roll over the shins that brings them to their senses. And knees.

I prefer jotting over jabbing, which goes something like this:

Kids: Keep the house clean. Be good. Be respectful. All of the bath towels are missing. Find them and put them in the laundry room. ALL of the glasses and cups are missing. Find them. Wash them. Use dish soap, not bar soap like last time. The principal called. Do not wear my Stray Dog Tavern T-shirt to school again. You know better.  Return it to me at once! One of you see if Grandma needs her yard mowed. Don’t take any money for doing it, no matter what she says. Love you, Mom.

P.S. ALL glasses, cups and towels must be recovered or no allowances this weekend.

Mom, Jumped off a cliff today. Kidding. Ha. –Ben

Mom — Jammin’ at Steve-O’s. No towels in my room. I’ll check my car and trunk later. Promise. All the glasses from my room are in the sink. Ben took the rest. I had to go to work and did not have time to wash them. Make Ben do it. I need $5 for gas. Took it from the money jar. My check was short this week. I’ll pay you back. Promise. Love you. Don’t have your shirt. Ben probably stole it. — Chris

Mom, I mowed Grandma’s yard, so I did not have time to look for glasses and towels. Chris didn’t do anything. I do everything. Can I borrow $5? I’ll pay you back. Promise. Gatt’s dad is taking us to Hooter’s. We can go in cause we’re not drinking beer or nothing and Gatt’s dad said the buffalo wings are good. Harpo borrowed your dog drinking shirt. I told him to bring it back.

P.S. Grandma MADE me take some money. I begged her not to.

Boys: Chris, get my towels out of your car! AND the glasses and cups. No jammin’ with Steve-O today until your chores are done. Do not take your guitar amps outside. The neighbor will call the cops again. Ben, stop taking my white socks! Do your own laundry – you learned how in 4-H last year, remember? No going to Hooter’s. The wings, among other things, are not real. We’ll talk later. Get my dog bar shirt back from Harpo and do not loan my clothing to your friends. Beaner still has my Life is a Beach hat. Get that back, too. Love you guys. Keep the house clean. Be good. Be respectful. — Mom

Mom, Can I go to the Withered Craniums Morgue concert in Cincinnati this weekend? I’ll do all my jobs. Promise. I’ll be good. And respectful. Can I borrow $55 for the ticket? I’ll pay you back. Promise. Harpo’s mom called for you. All the glasses and cups are back in the cupboards. I found all the dirty towels in the upstairs closet. Ben should have to wash them cause he put them there. I didn’t. I should get a reward for finding them. $55 would be good. Love, Chris

Mom, All my socks are gone. Chris stole them. He’s a but. Went to Hooter’s. Kidding. Ha. Can I spend the night and watch movies at Murk’s and Mel’s Saturday? Took $2 out of money jar. Will pay you back. Promise. Chris is letting me practice drive in the driveway. There’s a lot of glasses and cups in his car. There was one under my foot and I almost drove into the neighbor’s house. I’ll be 16 in 2 years, you know. Did you hide some pop? Where? Love, Ben.

Chris: Cincinnati?! I don’t think so. Cincinnati is a BIG city. Besides, for $55, it should be the Rolling Stones or Beatles, not the Shriveled Deadheads or whoever. We’ll talk later. If you have Ben’s socks, give them back — he’s wearing mine. Do your laundry! Feed the cat! –Mom

Ben: Butt has two ts, BUT don’t call people that. Yes, I hid the pop. Look up the meaning of “hide” in Webster’s. Also hid the money jar. By the way, is Mel Murk’s brother – or is Mel Murk’s sister? You are too young to date–you know that. No more overnights at Murk’s if Mel is Femel. We’ll talk later. Keep the house clean. Be good. Be respectful, especially to Mel. –Mom

Mom: Aren’t the Beatles dead? Are the Rolling Pepples those old guys with bad skin? The Withered Craniums Morgue is so much cooler and so much awesomer! I can drive to Cincinnati. I have a map. I will be 18 next summer. You had a baby and lived in California when you were 18. I must go to that concert! Please? I’ll be good. And respectful. I won’t have a baby. Please? Can I borrow $20 for gas? I think Ben stole my money. I can’t find the money jar. I think he stole that, too. I’ll pay you back. Promise. Love, Chris.

Mom, Chris stole my new DVD. He’s a but with two ts. Mel is a guy, Murk and Gatt are girls. Ha. Kidding. I found the pop in the dryer. Bet you thought I’d never find it there? I was looking for some money. I only drank two. Chris stole the rest. Going to mall with Gatt. Harpo’s grounded and he can’t go. I’ll be good. –Ben

P.S. Who’s Webster?

BOYS!! Harpo’s mom is mad. We’ll talk later. You guys are in trouble. I strongly suggest you do ALL of the chores on your list. Chris: I was married, living in California and had your sister three weeks before I turned 19! But I was never allowed to drive to a rock concert in Cincinnati at that age. The Rolling Stones are TRUE rock and roll. Never speak ill of them again Why are you are spending so much on gas? You work two blocks away. Ben: I found your new DVD – the one you accused Chris of stealing – in my sock drawer … WHO DRANK ALL THE POP? It’s gone. Saying “but with two ts” is no less rude. Keep the house clean. Be good. Be respectful. Love, Mom.

P.S. No glasses in the cupboard AGAIN. Find them! Today!

By Viv Sade

Originally published June 24, 2005.

Choose the road less traveled, especially with teenagers

Beautiful sunsets make me cry. Newborn babies make me cry. Soldiers in uniform make me cry. Weddings – especially my own – make me cry.

But nothing makes me cry like teenagers.

And nothing makes me sob like teens that drive, except paying the insurance premiums for teens that drive.

I subscribe to the sage advice of two late, great female humorists who said, “The best way to keep teens at home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant, and let the air out of the tires,” (Dorothy Parker); and, “Never lend your car to anyone to whom you have given birth,” (Erma Bombeck).

It turns out I did not have to let the air out of the tires. The high price of petrol took care of that.

My baby boy, 16, ran out of gas on his way to take his driver’s license test at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. It’s been downhill ever since.

A few days later, he was forced to hoof it about two miles after running out of gas.

More recently, I had to drive into the yard to get around his car because it ran out of gas in the middle of the driveway.

Not to make excuses, but he’s a lot like me.

His older 18-year-old brother does not run out of gas, but this is either: a) because he has a minimal amount of on-hand cash; b) because he’s learned the economical art of siphoning; or c) because he spends a lot of time crashing into things.

My fairly frequent and frantic conversations sound something like this:

To the 16-year-old: “No, you are not driving to school. It’s five blocks. I don’t care. Use an umbrella. When I was your age I could not afford gas or a car. Heck, I could not afford a bicycle. I walked several miles to school … Hullo? …  Hullo?”

To the 18-year-old: What? Your brakes failed and you drove over the fence and into the neighbor’s truck? The important thing is you were not hurt and did not run over the neighbor … you did not run over the neighbor, did you? You still have to go to school. Just walk. When I was a teen, I had no car. I had to bounce on a pogo stick all the way to school … Hullo?”

To the police: “That’s it – the Buick on top of the fence with the front end embedded in the neighbor’s truck. No, that bumper was already torn off from a previous fender-bender. And the back widow was already broken out after he locked his keys in the car and could not think of a better way to get inside.”

To the wrecker service: “That’s right, it’s the same Buick as last month. Just get it off of the fence and neighbor’s truck. The start key is broke off in the ignition, but if you jiggle it with a screwdriver, it should start.”

To the neighbor to the south: “They are my sister’s kids.I’m just helping her out.”

To the 16-year-old: “No more money for gas! There’s this thing in America called ‘a job.’ Try walking. When I was your age, I walked throughout the Midwest, planting apple seeds and wearing only a pan on my head. Okay, that was Johnny Appleseed, but you are missing my point.”

To the 18-year-old: “Good grief! Your accelerator stuck? You drove through two neighbors’ yards and crashed into a cement fence post? The same neighbor? OK – different neighbors – that’s good. The important thing is that you are not hurt and no one was sitting on the fence post … no one was sitting on the fence post, right? I’ll take care of it. Yes, go to school. Just walk. Why, when I was your age … Hullo?”

To the wrecker service: “Yes, it’s the Buick – same one, but this time it’s to the north of our house, not the south. Remember how to jiggle the ignition? If you need something in the trunk, go through the back seat, because the latch is broken.”

To the police: “I know, I know. No one is hurt. Another fender-bender. No, I have not considered changing his name from Christopher to Crashtopher.”

To the neighbors to the north: “We are looking at houses in another state. Really.”

To the 16-year-old: “Okay, so far you are a better driver than your brother, but that’s because you never have enough gas to drive more than 25 feet. And no, I won’t reward you with $20.”

With the radio: “All of a sudden, a rod started knockin’, down in the depths, she started a-rockin’ … Well, they arrested me and put me in jail, I called my ma to make my bail and she said, “Son, you’re gonna drive me to drinkin’ if you don’t stop driving that hot – rod – Lincoln.’ ”

Or Buick.

To the insurance agent (in my best Dr. Evil voice): “So two teens plus two wrecks equals one mmeellllyun dollars?”

To the bartender: “Give me another. I’m walking.”

Why teachers and parents drink

I’m sure many of you have seen this floating around the Internet, but it’s worth sharing for those who have not seen it.

The following questions were set in last year’s GED examination. These are some of the actual answers received from teens who took the test.

These young adults will someday breed and maybe vote … which explains a lot.

1. Q. Name the four seasons.
A. Salt, pepper, mustard and vinegar.

2. Q. Explain one of the processes by which water can be made safe to drink.
A. Flirtation makes water safe to drink because it removes large pollutants like grit, sand, dead sheep and canoeists.

3. Q. How is dew formed?
A. The sun shines down on the leaves and makes them perspire.

4. Q. What causes the tides in the oceans?
A. The tides are a fight between the earth and the moon. All water tends to flow towards the moon, because there is no water on the moon, and nature abhors a vacuum. I forget where the sun joins the fight.

5. Q. What guarantees may a mortgage company insist on?
A. If you are buying a house they will insist that you are well endowed.

6. Q. In a democratic society, how important are elections?
A. Very important. Sex can only happen when a male gets an election.

7. Q. What are steroids?
A. Things for keeping carpets still on the stairs.

8. Q. What happens to your body as you age?
A. When you get old, so do your bowels and you get intercontinental.

9. Q. What happens to a boy when he reaches puberty?
A. He says goodbye to his boyhood and looks forward to his adultery.

10. Q. Name a major disease associated with cigarettes.
A. Premature death.

11. Q. What is artificial insemination?
A. When the farmer does it to the bull instead of the cow.

12. Q. How can you delay milk turning sour?
A. Keep it in the cow.

13. Q. How are the main 20 parts of the body categorized (e.g. The abdomen)?
A. The body is consisted into 3 parts – the brainium, the borax and the abdominal cavity. The brainium contains the brain, the borax contains the heart and lungs and the abdominal cavity contains the five bowels: A, E, I,O,U.

(This kid must have been up all night smoking weed … but it does deserve kudos for creativity.)

14. Q. What is the fibula?
A. A small lie

15. Q. What does ‘varicose’ mean?
A. Nearby

16. Q. What is the most common form of birth control?
A. Most people prevent contraception by wearing a condominium.

17. Q. Give the meaning of the term “Caesarean section.”
A. The caesarean section is a district in Rome.

18. Q. What is a seizure?
A. A Roman Emperor.

(Julius Seizure? I came, I saw, I had a fit)

19. Q. What is a terminal illness?
A. When you are sick at the airport.

(Irrefutable)

20. Q. Give an example of a fungus. What is a characteristic feature?
A. Mushrooms. They always grow in damp places and they look like umbrellas.

21. Q. Use the word “judicious” in a sentence to show you understand its meaning.
A. Hands that judicious can be soft as your face.

22. Q. What does the word “benign” mean?
A. Benign is what you will be after you be eight.

23. Q. What is a turbine?
A. Something an Arab or Shreik wears on his head.

Teens must choose their own path; and run over anyone who gets in the way

Newborn babies make me cry. Beautiful sunsets make me cry. Weddings — especially some of my own — make me cry.

But nothing makes me cry like teenagers, especially teens who have passed their driver’s test. But what brings me to my knees is seeing the insurance premiums for two newly licensed teens — the result is all out convulsing, gut-wrenching, snot-running sobbing.

I subscribe to the sage advice of two late, great female humorists who said, “The best way to keep children at home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant, and let the air out of the tires,” (Dorothy Parker) and, “Never lend your car to anyone to whom you have given birth,” (Erma Bombeck).

It turns out I don’t have the let the air out of the tires – the high cost of petrol has taken care of that.

When my youngest got his license at the age of 16, he ran out of gas within 48 hours.

Awesome.

He was forced to hoof it for about two miles.

We used to find his little used S-10 randomly abandoned everywhere when he ran out of gas. I once had to walk around it in the middle of the driveway. My car and his 18-year-old brother’s car were blocked in for 24 hours until he scraped up enough change on his floor to buy gas.

The 18-year-old didn’t seem to run out of gas so frequently. This is because either: a) he has a part-time job and has more readily available cash; b) he’s learned the economical skill of siphoning; or c) he has a lot of down driving time because he tends to crash into things.

My fairly frequent and frantic one-sided phone conversations with my two youngest and other involved parties sounded something like this:

To the 16-year-old: “No, don’t drive to school. It’s four blocks! I don’t care. Use an umbrella. Since when are they only for sissies? When I was your age, I couldn’t afford gas or a car. Heck, I couldn’t afford a bicycle. I walked miles to school and … Hullo? … Hullo?”

To the 18-year-old: “So, had you noticed your brakes acting funny before this happened? Through the hedge over the fence and then hit the neighbor’s truck? The neighbor to the south? The important thing is that you aren’t hurt and you didn’t run over the neighbor … You didn’t run over the neighbor, right? Yes, you still have to go to school. Just walk. That’s where you use those appendages called legs and put one in front of the other. I’ll come home and call the insurance company. When I was a teen, I wasn’t  lucky enough to have a car. I sometimes had to Pogostick to school … Hullo?”

To the police: “That’s it – the Buick on top of the fence with the front end kinda sitting on top of the neighbor’s truck. No, that bumper was already ripped off from last month when he hit his grandpa’s fence. Oh yeah, the back window was already broke out after he locked his keys in the car and couldn’t think of a better way to get inside.”

To the wrecker service: “That’s right, the Buick on top of the fence and the neighbor’s truck. The start key is broke off in the ignition. Just insert a screwdriver in there and give it a little twist to the right and then jiggle it until it starts.”

To the neighbor to the south: “In another life I was childless. Really.”

To the 16-year-old: No more money for gas! There’s a thing in America called a j-o-b. When I was your age I walked to Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan, planting apple tree seeds and wearing a pan on my head … okay, okay, that was Johnny Appleseed, but you get my point.”

To the 18-year-old: “Good grief! Your accelerator stuck and it’s been sticking for six months?! You drove through a two neighbors’ yards and crashed into a cement post? The same neighbor? No? Oh, the ones to the north. That’s good. A different set of neighbors. The important thing is you are not hurt and no one was in their yards or sitting on the post, right? Right? I’ll be right there. Yes, you will be late, but you are going to school. Yes – just walk. When I was your age … Hullo?”

To the wrecker service: “Yes, the same Buick you towed a few weeks ago, only this time it’s on top of a fence post near the two neighbors to the north. Remember how to jiggle the ignition? Nothing’s changed. Well, except if you need something from the trunk, go in through the back seat,  because the latch is broken.”

To the police: “Yes, I know, I know. This time it’s a different neighbor. What do you mean? Yes, I’m serious. No, I haven’t considered changing his name from Christopher to Crashtopher, but thanks for the suggestion. Are you laughing? My son could have been hurt!”

To the neighbors to the north: In another life, I was completely sane. Really.”

To the 16-year-old: “Okay, so far you are a better driver than your brother, but don’t get all smug. It’s only because you’ve never had enough gas to drive more than 12 feet. And no, I won’t reward you with $20.”

With the radio: “All of a sudden, a rod started knockin’, down in the depths, she started a-rockin’ … Well, they arrested me and put me in jail, I called my mama to make my bail, and she said, ‘Son, you’re gonna drive me to drinkin’ if you don’t stop driving that hot – rod – Lincoln.’ “

Or Buick.

To the insurance company: (in my best Dr. Evil voice) “So, two teens plus two wrecks equals two meeellllyun dollars?”

To the bartender: “Give me another. I’m walking.”

by viv sade, a woman constantly in search of her lost youth and car keys.

And the walls, came tumbling down … tumbling, tumbling … down

Here’s one prom night some Churubusco teens will never forget.

My sister, Margaret, and her husband, Greg, created more than a few Saturday when they were entering a gaggle of teens, serving them dinner and taking pictures prior to The Big Event – the Churubusco Junior-Senior Prom. Little did they know they were about to give the kids a prom night they would never forget.

After dinner, they took the teens outside to pose on the balcony.

Here’s one of the photos of the first group of the younger kids – freshmen and sophomores:

The younger group pose on the deck in all their finery, not realizing it was a good thing to be young and first in line.

Here’s the progression of the second group and their photos — there were not many, as this happened almost immediately after they posed for the photo:

The second, older group right before after the Big Crack and just before the Big Crash. The expressions … priceless.
Greg cleans up the aftermath after first checking the details of his homeowner’s policy.

Luckily, no one was seriously hurt and they marched on to the prom. One guy had a rip in his tux, another had a cut, another was scraped up and there were multiple contusions.

All I’ve got to say is it’s pretty hard to walk in those skyscraper heels, but those lovely ladies fell and were covered in debris and still managed to land on their feet without breaking an ankle. And they still looked amazing! They all dusted themselves off and looked good as new  – not one hair out of place.

Should have used some of that hair spray to seal the deck.

Before you even think of it, you’re grounded!

By Viv Sade

My four children love nothing more than to get together and discuss my lack of parenting skills.

My two youngest boys like to reminisce about the day I became irate with their behavior and grounded them and two neighbor boys.

They tried their best to tell me, but I was in the middle of a Maternal Grounding Rant.

“But mom, he’s …”

“Not another word! You’re grounded!”

“But mom, you don’t …”

“To your rooms, now!”

“But Viv, we don’t have a room.”

Viv?

No room?

I stared at the two boys. They looked vaguely familiar. Still, I wasn’t convinced they weren’t mine. Hadn’t they just spent the last two nights on our sofa, playing video games while eating our chips and drinking our soda?

The smaller boy even had the same sloping Sade nose and looked a little like one of my brothers, which would be his uncle, if he was indeed my child.

I stood my ground.  “You’re grounded. All four of you. And, that’s that!”

After the two boys ran screaming out the back door is when I realized that my two older children no longer lived with me, and I had once again overgrounded.

Oops.

My dad had the same disciplinarian dementia.

Mom and Dad had eight kids, one neighbor had 13, another had 11 and several others had at least five or six kids.  The adults in the neighborhood were always legitimately confused as to who belonged to whom.

My siblings and I learned to wait until loud, rumbling snores were being emitted from the depths of the recliner before breaking curfew. When Dad was in that state, getting past him and sliding unobserved into the bedroom was a breeze. But, this was only possible when my mom, a nurse, worked the night shift. Mom always caught you, sometimes even interrupting your thought process as you were making plans to sneak out: “I know what you’re thinking about doing and, well, don’t even think about it.”

She was psychic and could thwart bad behavior before I had even thought of committing the crime: “If you are thinking of telling me you are going to Susan’s for the night while she tells her mother that she’s coming over here for the night and then running around all night, TPing houses and smoking cigarettes, forget it — you’re not going.”

Geesh, not once had my plans included smoking cigarettes, and I was kind of peeved that my mom was more of an all-inclusive and proactive party planner than I was.

One night, while mom was working and dad was in charge, my brother Paul and his friend Billy were supposed to be having a sleepover upstairs. Of course, the second they heard the freight train of sonic snores, they were out and about, doing whatever stupid things unsupervised teens do when they are out and about, while Dad continued to snore peacefully in the recliner.

The boys came home well after midnight and, using the outside rose trellis, climbed to Paul’s second floor bedroom as they had done many times before.  But that was when they were younger and smaller.

The trellis creaked and groaned before cracking in half and falling to the ground, burying Billy and Paul in an avalanche of prickly, but aromatic, roses and splintered boards.

The crash woke the dead. And my father.

He was furious —  mostly for being awakened —  and grounded them both for two weeks.

He would not listen to anyone who suggested that there might be legal ramifications involved in grounding a kid who is not really your kid.

My dad was from the era of “if you’re in my house, you abide by my rules.”

Obviously it’s a genetic trait.