Thursday, April 9, 2009

DO Try This At Home!

If you have a teenager, surely you've been down the same road that I was on today. The "I'm a teen, therefore I am" attitude that is usually accompanied by a lot of backtalk and a complete and utter lack of respect. Well, I did something today that I encourage all of you parents of teens to try at home . . .

So, we pick up the story with me driving down the 405 freeway, on the way to a nice day in Dana Point. It's the first day of Spring Break for my teen, and she's in the back seat with one of her girlfriends, who I just picked up less than 10 minutes earlier. My tween is riding shotgun. All is well, so far. Then I hear my teen stop talking and start texting someone who is not in the car with us, and I thought it was very rude to do so while she ignores her friend who is sitting right next to her. I suggested that she stop texting her virtual friend and focus on the real one next to her.

She snapped back with a very biting and disrespectful remark to me. EXCUUUSE ME??? So I did what every parent should do in a situation like this -- I got off on the next exit and turned the damn car around, toward home. I told her friend that I was sorry, we would not be spending the day in Dana Point and that I was going to have to take her home because I simply could not tolerate that kind of disrespect from my daughter.

My teen was stunned -- and royally pissed at me, too! And while it felt like an act of insanity as I was driving everyone back home, in retrospect, it was THE SANEST THING I have ever done!

Once all the drama was over, and my teen finally simmered down, she realized what she had done and apologized to me. That moment of truth led to a 30-minute heart-to-heart talk with her about a number of other subjects, including drinking, drugs, promiscuous friends and all the reasons why I am so proud of her. It was the kind of talk we don't have often enough. God, I love that girl!

Parents, we can't forget that our teenagers still need us to show them the way. Be strong, be sure-footed and don't be afraid to use a little tough love whenever necessary.

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