The kids are still small, and if I could wave a magic wand and keep them all little… Well we can’t do that, and growing up is a fact of life. Teens are not mini-adults, but kids that look like adults. Their brains are still developing that frontal lobe and they do some stupid things! I know, I was one of them. I’ve compiled a list of things that scare me about teenagers:

1.  Sneaking out. How does one prevent that? I can’t let them have all the freedom in the world, and there are going to be things they want to do but shouldn’t. If they sneak out, I have no clue what they are up to. If there isn’t a curfew, I still wouldn’t know what they are up to. I also seriously hope they don’t play the telling mom I’m going to dads house and telling dad I’m going to moms house game. 

2. Drinking and drugs. Most kids will thy them. They will probably like it. Even if they have a bad experience. What to do as a parent?

3. Sex. Oh how this one scares the heck out of me!!!! Putting them on birth control is giving it the ok, but if they are doing it, I want them to be protected. 

4. Driving. It is so dangerous for teens, especially now that they have cell phones. I can tell them no texting or calling or checking facebook while driving, but will they listen?

5. Just plain stupid stuff. The choking game? The cinnamon challenge? What else are they going to come up with?  This one proves teens are still kids.

6. Clothing wars. I want my kids to be able to express themselves, but in a nice manner. I get that teen fashions can be really weird, and I regret some of my choices as a teen. But I don’t want my girls trying to look sexy. There is a line. 

7. Food choices. I hope that the kids eat healthy and stay active. I will keep on making good dinners, but once kids are teens, I know everyone is everywhere at different times. Not so different from now, but dinners get tough. I don’t want to turn into the quick stop mom on the way to and from practices! 

8. Friends. I hope they continue to cultivate friendships amongst all the groups in school. Just not with the potheads. And I hope I don’t have to counsel any of them on being outed from a group of friends. I’m still scarred from 7th grade when everybody decided they didn’t like me. As a mom, that has to be one of the worst feelings in the world.

9. Extracurriculars. I want them to pick at least one. I think it helps with numbers 1-8. If you are involved with school activities, grades are better, and you are less likely to fill down time with things that aren’t such a good idea. Cheerleading, sports, dance, quiz bowl, chess club, I don’t care. Pick something and do your best!

10. Tiki. In little old Ludington, that is the bane of every parents’ worry. It usually involves some combination of numbers 1-5. Is there still a teen night? Yes, dancing is fun, but at a nightclub? Just because alcohol isn’t served doesn’t mean kids don’t pre-party! If I don’t allow my kids to go, will they try and sneak out and do it anyway? I wish they would just shut the place down. I had too much bad fun when I went!

11. Different rules at different houses. This one is unique to blended families. I know there are going to be different rules. I am not okay with teens doing stuff that is illegal or just plain stupid. I know some parents are. I’m not saying the kids’ other parents are okay with that stuff, but I hope they have the same boundaries. One can hope.

Any other parents have anything to add? I would like to just lock them up from ages 12-21, but I think the state says that is a form of child abuse. Somehow, I just have to teach them how to make good decisions for themselves. And I think it starts now. It starts with making them responsible for their things, helping out around the house, and letting them do some things for themselves. Even if it means they miss sometimes, they are learning to correct their mistakes and make better ones next time.