Welcome to our first guest post in MOMFAZE RANTS where we – and now you – are free to let loose about anything and everything!
I clearly remember slamming my bedroom door behind me after a yelling match with my mom, raising my middle finger and silently mouthing I HATE YOU to the woman standing on the other side of the door.
I get that teens go through a rebellion stage, and I know that teens will experiment with alcohol. But when is enough enough?
I have become well known in my neighborhood as the mom who is putting up a stink about teens having too much power. I have been in the paper and on the radio and my story has been discussed in blogs, on Facebook and on Twitter. So here’s a window into just how frustrating and helpless it feels to have a daughter with more power than her mom has.
Most of my friends have kids who are younger than my almost 16-year-old, and approach my “problem” as they would with their toddler. Time-out!—Just ground her! What’s her currency?—Take away her cell phone! And my favorite: “Why do you let her go over to that boy’s house if you know he deals drugs?”
Well, here are my answers.
I don’t LET my daughter drink or do drugs, and I don’t want her over at that boy’s house. It’s not that simple. Unlike a toddler, I cannot physically lift my daughter up and strap her into her car seat when she has a temper tantrum about leaving the park. When I take away her cell phone, my teen was “given” a spare phone from a friend. And I no longer get to make play-dates with friends I approve of, and anyway, I don’t stay to observe those play-dates. First of all, she won’t let me, and secondly, I have three other children who need my attention.
The reality check is in the mail.
Even after grounding, and taking the cell phone, and bolting the bedroom window shut, my daughter uses drugs and dates a drug dealer. I have called the police countless times, and even tried to press charges against my own child to force her into rehab. Yet nothing has changed.
Because the crime of underage drinking is so minor in the eyes of the law, it is not investigated, let alone prosecuted. Neither is the consumption of small amounts of drugs. And by the way, teens know this.
They also know that rehab is voluntary. They know which neighborhood parents allow their kids to drink and do drugs in “as long as it’s under their roof and they know where their teens are.” Kids know they can legally leave home at 16, and they are more than happy to let you know all about it.
Gone are they days of smoking one of Dad’s cigarettes behind the shed once a month and praying not to get caught. Today’s teens post pictures of themselves toking on a bong on their Facebook page, with the utmost show of pride. Today’s teens are also using drugs with a potency that has tripled or quadrupled.
So in addition to trying to get the move-out date moved from 16 to 18 years old, I ask you this: What can parents do to regain control over their teens?
Tammy Plunkett is a partner at BusyWoman Productions and Executive Editor for The Bridge Post. She has written, critiqued, and edited fiction for over ten years, winning an award from the Ottawa Romance Writers’ Association in 2007. Tammy does all this, of course, while raising a family of four children and their dog Charlie, with her wonderful husband.
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