Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Parenting

My daughter is 15. That sentence alone should say it all. She is a wonderful girl in many ways, but she is 15. Fifteen has to be the scariest number in the universe. Next year she will be old enough to drive. She will not be allowed to drive, but she will be old enough to do so. This conversation alone, has been like WWIII. She attends a performing arts school downtown and has a bus pass, a cell phone and a collection of artsy teenage friends. Today she called me at lunch from school and said she would be going home with some friends to help them study for a science final. I have allowed her to do this sort of thing before, but for some reason today my heart lurched when she called. I think that periodically we remember what little ability we have to actually protect our children, and it causes momentary panic. Last night I clipped a magazine article which details how to "crash proof" your teen. It basically lists all the frightening statistics about teen drivers and then urges parents to wait as long as possible before giving them free rein with the car. After reading those statistics, I may make her wait until she's thirty. My husband the neuropsychologist has not helped in this regard. He informed me that the parts of the brain which govern self control do not fully develop until the early to mid twenties. Yep, thirty sounds good.

6 comments:

Aled said...

Jackie
Here in Florida, it appears that 70% of children (the under 30s) will have a serious accident before that age. Also seems that 70% of the over 80s will have a serious accident, or at least cause one. I hear that 80% of statistics are made up on the spot.

Jacqueline said...

Yes,yes I know that many statistics are made up, but listen, have you talked to a teenager lately? They are scary little people. They don't live in the same universe as the rest of us. I just finished student teaching in a high school (late life career change; long story) and I told my students that I did not need to watch TV for entertainment as long as I had them. They are very large 2-year-olds. Or like psychotic people with no meds. It's part of their strange appeal.

jj

Anonymous said...

I try very hard to avoid teenagers. They scare me. You are right, they are very large 2-year-olds. Their level of education depresses me. Nothing personal! They can't spell, or add up. And these are the doofuses from Florida's plethora of so-called Universities. We have a new MBA at work.... best described as a "Mind Blowing A**hole"... she knows so much... 28, going on 12...

Jacqueline said...

I hope that if they ever let me in a classroom I can start to turn the education stuff around. They really aren't that bad if you work with them. You just can't let them think they are grown. It seems that a lot of people want to treat teenagers like adults just because they have fully developed bodies. I, on the other hand, treat them like the children that they are. It seems to work as they flock to me like moths to the flame. I think they want the structure. And I know that they need the guidances. Ahh if I only ran the world...

rmgales said...

I remember the teenage years with my daughter. At certain times, I thought she had completely lost her mind. Teens do try to be adults, but they lack the insight and experience to make good decisions. They do need structure, and if you give it to them they'll thank you down the road. At least mine did!

Jacqueline said...

Thanks for the encouragement. Actually, my daughter does seem to appreciate the structure. She uses me as an excuse to duck out of some uncomfortable situations. "My mom is very strict. I can't do that." Worked for me when I was her age, too.