Raising a Teenager…

First things first, Mom and Dad, I love and appreciate everything you ever did for me growing up! You Rocked as parents! I loved hanging out with you. Our house always felt safe. Having kids of my own entering their teens I understand how important it is for them to feel like they have a place where they can be themselves. I love being the house where kids gather and hang out.

Teenagers are naturally programmed to push the boundaries to get their own independence. One day parents are hilarious and the next day our behavior is embarrassing and frowned upon. That’s a hard transition to make as a parent. Words out of the mouths of babes are cute, out of the mouths of teenagers can sometimes sting.

Surging hormones, cry-laugh-bitch all within 3 minutes of each other sums up the unpredictable life of a teen. Remember how up and down your emotions were during puberty? My only hope is that I don’t go through peri-menopause at the same time my daughter goes through puberty or she’ll be going to the moon with Alice!

I was a great kid growing up, until my Mom wouldn’t let my older boyfriend (wild bill) who had a beard, study in my room with the door closed. Okay I find humour in that now, was it really that obvious! What-EVER! She turned into the opposition that day but fortunately it only lasted a short time, at least that’s my recollection. My Mom just let me ride the hormone wave until I was done while she maintained her loving support with my Dad at her side incase she needed the big guns for back-up. (she did, it worked) Thanks Mom! I learned a thing or two about respect in a very short time. (ya never call your Mom the B-word…doesn’t turn out in your favour…ever!)

When you’re a teen you can’t imagine your parents doing anything remotely close to sex so you assume you can pull the wool over their eyes! If your reading this Jordan, if your boyfriend has a beard, he won’t even be entering the front door let alone your pig sty you call a room! Fortunately for me my Mom was smart, understanding and stood her ground keeping me headed in the right direction. I can now appreciate how hard it was for her to deal with a girl-tween.

I have a 13 year old son who is way too charming and handsome for his own good and a 10 going on 16 year old girl who is starting to strike fear into us with how beautiful she is inside and out. Thank god she has a hilarious sense of humour! Her brother is going to have his work cut out for him in high school. The fun has just begun! I’m definitely up for the challenge and also have a great support system in place. Hugely important!

I liked my parents so I spent lots of time with them. They were cool parents that were always there for me no matter what. My Mom was generous, loving and very open and my Dad was encouraging and hilarious so were laughing all the time. We still do. I was never able to lie to my Mom, maybe because I didn’t need to. She was completely tuned into what I was up, and still is. She can tell by the sound of my voice what’s going on in my life. Honestly I always feel better after hearing her advice. I don’t always take it but I still like to hear it.

I recently had ‘the’ talk with my son on the way to a party about being aware and safe. I had the same talk my Dad had with me. He simply told me I was his only daughter who he loved and trusted and couldn’t imagine life without me. He always wanted me to be safe. I told my son how important it is to always have a clear mind. It’s when your mind is clouded that things can go terribly wrong. Teaching your kids to make conscious smart choices is so important, to be a leader not a follower. Its tough raising kids when they’re little but nothing prepares you for when they start to spread their wings to fly on their own, bitter sweet for sure. Telling your kids that you trust them right before they go out is like buying insurance, no kid really wants to disappoint their parents. Say it even if you don’t! 🙂 All kids make mistakes, the key is to be there for them when they do and support them, don’t say I told you so!

Kids need their parents when they are little to survive, but I think when they start to naturally push us away is when they need us more, even if it’s sitting together in silence. Just knowing your there if they reach out is sometimes all they need.

 

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Rule Breaker?

How do you feel about rules?  If you break them do you feel uncomfortable or excited?  Me? I get reeealllly uncomfortable about breaking rules.  I just don’t like to do it.  I figure they were created for a reason and it probably has something to do with safety.  Speed limits for example.  (ok, I have broken those a few times)

If the sign says “NO TRESSPASSING” there is probably a very good reason.  Like they have a grow op or meth lab and they don’t want you to see it because if you did see it then they’d have to either kill you or employ you.  So just don’t go there I say!

Life jackets.  Now this is one rule I feel very strongly about.  I always wear mine; no matter how hot it is. My own life jacket happens to be black which brings my body temperature up at least another 10 degrees.  It was 38.5 here yesterday but I still wore my thick black life jacket when out on the water.  This is how I got the nick name Susie Safety.  This is similar but different from Captain Careful, which is what we call Tracy.  Captain Careful makes sure she locks every door, always has an escape plan in mind and her cell phone handy in case she needs to call 911.  Do you see the difference?  One is always preparing for possible bad out comes while the other is avoiding a dangerous situation all together.  We are a great babysitting team by the way.  You can be assured your child will be safe and carefully looked after with the two of us in charge.

I just feel most rules are a reliable guide to staying safe.  “Don’t go beyond this point!” is probably warning you of a slippery cliff or quick sand ahead or known alligator territory or something like that.  I know some people (cough *John* cough) who are so curious they would have to “go beyond that point” just to see what was that important to warrant a sign.  I’m not one of them.

Well, ok, there were a few rules I broke when I was younger but I’ll save those stories for another post…maybe.

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Keep Your Kids Safe!

This is not a topic I would normally discuss here on Tara Cronica but I feel that this information should be shared. I recently watched a video series on the Oprah website that dealt with ‘Inside The Mind of a Child Molester’. I found the show disturbing at times because of the honesty but also VERY informative. It’s an inside look at how sexual predators picks and groom their victims. No one really likes to discuss this sort of thing but I feel that it’s a topic that if approached from the mind set of learning, or teaching, it benefits everyone.

I consider myself a very aware perceptive person especially when it comes to the safely of both my children. I was just as aware as a child, street smart is what we used to call it ‘back in the olden days’ as my daughter would say. I talk openly to my kids, not to scare them, but to make them aware that not everyone in this beautiful world we live in is of good intent. Some individuals are in need of help but don’t know how to get it, some eventually do, but at the cost of a child losing their innocence. I try to educate my kids about those individuals and teach them to trust their instincts. Mine have kept me safe for a very long time. (touch wood)

Recently a Sex Offender/Pedophile that lives close to my neighbourhood, who was caught, convicted, served ‘some’ time, has been released back into the community. I know there are hundreds, if not thousand we are unaware of but when this happens in your community you are forced to deal with it up close and personal. I was starting to give my son more freedom, now I am having to make him aware again that there are adults out there that cannot be trusted and don’t have his best interest in mind. Sad but true. Some parents choose not to have this conversation with their kids in fear that they might not want to go outside and play. That is a personal choice that I completely respect. I think educating our kids of realities that can change their lives forever is necessary! It’s a very fine line to navigate for sure.

The purpose of writing a post on this graphic topic is to share information that can keep your kids safe, and empower them instead of instilling fear in them about some of the realities in life.

I was with a girlfriend a couple of years ago at a public venue when we were followed and watched by a lone man who seemed more interested in our kids than the displays. We made our kids all aware of this man and told them to stay close, not to worry we were watching him. The hair on the back of my neck stood up and I physically shook when he was in close proximity, it was that strong of a feeling for me. No one has ever made me feel this way before. I felt so strongly about this I photographed him without his knowledge just in case there was a problem. Later my son told me the man had asked him to go with him in passing, he didn’t go. But he delayed in telling me this information which would have changed the entire situation for me. I would have immediately called 911 had I known this. Kids don’t think like we do, in my sons mind he dealt with the situation by not going. Kids also don’t know what information is relevant at the time.

After talking to a friend of mine who deals with such individuals, he told me we did the right thing. My kids learned a valuable lesson that day. I was aware and didn’t turn a blind eye to my instinct. My worst fear was challenged but in the end my kids were safe. It confirmed to me that you MUST TRUST YOUR GUT, when the bodies physiology actually changes when someone is in your presence, it’s for a reason! Trust your intuition! I was told most people ignore this feeling because they don’t want to appear foolish or cause a fuss.

What I passed on to both my kids was that it’s not only girls this happens to, my son also has to be aware. Kids who are confident and secure in their families who talk openly to their parents are at less risk than those who are neglected. Kids need to know that if they tell, we as parents have a better chance of preventing it from happening again. And most of all IT’S NOT THEIR FAULT!

This video series will tell you what to look out for and some signs that will put up a red flag! Over 90% of child molesters know their victims and are trusted by them.

This is a short clip of “Inside the Mind Of a Child Molester Part 1”

For the entire Video Series go to Oprah.com

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