The choices of a teen

May 5, 2009 Uncategorized 12

I think we all know that teens make poor choices. The very essence of being a teen is trying and sometimes failing, or making the wrong choice.
Yesterday Adrienne returned at dinner time after playing in a Sophomore vs Junior softball game. It’s a coed fun event sponsored by the SGA and the winning overall team plays a faculty team tonight. She came home with news. A girl, whom we will call Mary Jane, just because it’s a funny play on words, was expelled from school last week. Adrienne just learned this yesterday. MJ had been a transfer student from a local Christian school this year, she is a junior and she played on the HS softball team with A this year. We knew of MJ from travel ball and she was a solid player. Her mom was at every game and knew the sport well. We had high hopes of MJ helping the team even more next year.
MJ was expelled because she was caught with marijuana at school. My first instinct was to roll my eyes and loudly exclaim…..how stupid!
I want you to know I was not a perfect teen or young adult. I did many stupid things. I was a teen of the 70’s and yes I’ve tried pot. I wasn’t that impressed with it, and in reality, I’m a very frugal person when it comes to what I’m going to spend money on. Drugs would never have been something I could see as a good use of my funds.
The other thing you may not know about me is that I’m a rule follower. I’ve taken risks yes, but as an adult I tend to go with the reasoning that if something is illegal its best to not partake of it. I also rationalize that the consequences for not following the law are stiff, and not anything I’d enjoy.

This comment is one I’ve heard batted around, I don’t buy it. A does not lead to B but IMO, why start with A. I’ve got similar thoughts on teen drinking.
I’m not naive, I know this stuff happens, it happened in the 70’s too………but I was not really a party girl.
How did we discuss this with our 15 year old? We asked her what she thought. She stated that she thought MJ was stupid, and that she hung out with the wrong people. Whew………at least she didn’t say it was only pot! Adrienne thought that MJ was even more stupid for bringing it to school. No we don’t know any real details, but we do agree that it was a poor choice, on every level. I thought about this a lot last night. My girls are not friends with the drinkers or smokers or the party kids, they know they are out there and they steer clear. I felt sad for MJ and her family. What happens when you are expelled 4 weeks before the end of the year? What happens to those unfinished credits? Rumor has it her parents are moving her back to the smaller Christian school. I just feel sad when people stumble so much and have to pull themselves up to get back on track.

Honestly, being a parent is so much more difficult than anyone tells you. It’s also the most rewarding thing. This same teen that tells me this stuff and gets mad at me for telling her to turn her cell phone off to study and for making her plug it in in my bedroom because she’s had problems knowing when to say when, this girl hugs me each night before bed, she tells me she loves me every day, and I think she is glad that we are involved, but not always hovering. I love Adrienne.

12 Responses to “The choices of a teen”

  1. Pam

    Anita you have no idea how timely this post is. I really needed to read this today. Today I had to do something as a parent that is very hard. I had to let Katie suffer the consequences. She didn’t get out of bed on time (even though she set her alarm, and I told her 4 times to get up). When she finally DID get up she was mad that I let her oversleep (!) and she wanted me to call the school and excuse her. I refused. That was very hard. I know she is going to get into trouble. But, she does this kind of thing fairly often and I have to stop rescuing her. You are so right, being a parent is hard. It’s heartbreaking and I’ve been very upset about his incident all morning. But, reading about poor Mary Jane and her family I think I should just count my blessings it’s just a tardy and not drugs. Sheesh! Reality check. Sorry for rambling, but I really needed this post today. Thanks!

  2. sheila

    Great post and great conversation w/your daughter. If more parents just had some open discussion, a lot of problems could be avoided. Maybe it starts with just listening.

    I was one of those party kids although I maintained a good gpa and turned out good. My kids are SO the opposite of me and I’m sooo thankful. One has faced a situation with a good friend who went down the wrong road and my daughter handled it beautifully. Although they don’t talk anymore, I was happy the decisions made were her own and good ones.

    That…comes from these little discussions mentioned in your post.

    And yes, I feel bad for the girl in your post as well.

  3. Elizabeth

    I always feel bad for teenagers. There is so much stupidity in this world that gets directed at these young people with their young minds and invincible attitudes. It’s not fair how much of the negative things in this world aim directly at these kids… promiscuity, drugs, violence, etc. It doesn’t excuse them for taking part in anything because they’re very capable of rising above it (as your wonderful girls have), I just feel sorry that there is so much they have to rise above when they’re still kids. I’m so glad your girls are smart and steer clear of the dangers πŸ™‚ You’re obviously a wonderful mom!

    I heard a song the other day that I thought was beautiful. It’s definitely an adolescent song because the music, the voice, and the video that was playing on TV were very teenager. I like to help my niece fill her ipod so I looked it up and was going to send her the link. It was Lily Allen’s The Fear…

    And then I read the lyrics…

    “I’ll take my clothes off and it won’t be shameless because everyone knows that’s how you get famous.”

    “I’m not a saint and I’m not a sinner. Everything’s cool as long as I’m getting thinner.”

    Ummmm, what? It’s still a pretty song… but it’s a teenage song. Let’s promote sexuality and eating disorders. So much is directed as cool to these invincible kids πŸ™

  4. Tammy Howard

    I actually have that Lily Allen CD and call myself a fan – I could be wrong (I often am) but I think it was done tongue in cheek. I think it was presented in a way that shows that that line of thinking is very foolish indeed. Awesome CD if you don’t mind a few (hundred) F bombs…

    But enough commenting on the commenters! Back to the post!

    My heart, too, breaks for MJ and her family. One bad decision is going to follow her for quite some time.

    I would say you are lucky to have such good kids, but it doesn’t sound like luck had much to do with it…

  5. Lisa

    I’m so glad that your girls know what’s best when choosing friends. It can be a very hard thing for them, but it sounds as though they know the right answers.

    What a relief. You should be proud!

  6. Alex the Girl

    It is hard, isn’t it. Teaching them as much as possible and hoping that some of it sinks in and they make the right choices. It all comes down to that, though, the choices they make. Arm them well and hope they take the right path. Sounds like yours are on the right one. One of the things I fear the most is drug/alcohol (spell check) addiction. I’ve got many addicts in my family. I feel for MJ. Hopefully it is an experiment stage and when she’s old enough there comes a fork in the road. It did for me, and luckily, I took the right fork.

  7. Elizabeth

    Tammy,

    I love the song πŸ™‚ My only concern is that my niece is 12 and I’m not positive she would get the tongue-in-cheek concept. 12-yr-olds are very literal and I couldn’t promote that song to her thinking that πŸ™‚

  8. Terra

    oh, I loved reading this. I too, am not naive, have had my day and have done some dumb things…I feel for the parents of the girl and the girl – it would be so hard to keep starting over at her age, on top of everything – she will likely seek the same type of friends because it is easy and it will not be easy for anyone else. I am sorry for her and her family…And proud of your teen for saying what she felt and feeling good about it.

  9. Amy Mae

    Oh, the things I have to look forward to! I’m glad Adrienne has a head on her shoulders and thought it was kind of dumb to take weed to school! Sounds like you’ve raised her right. Way to go!

  10. Brittany

    So sad.

    Our neighbor kids are pot smokers. It drives me nuts!

    I was blissfully naive at that age. I must say, it was nice.

    Kids grow up too darn fast.

  11. Casey

    I don’t have much to add but wanted to say that you and your husband seem to do an amazing job with your kids. It seems like they are well rounded and have great heads on them! The talk could have been much worse and even though it was hard it was great that you decided to talk with her and not blow it off!

  12. My name is PJ.

    Hi Anita, I don’t know how I missed this post the other day, but I did. Sorry. You’ve done such a good job teaching your children good values. Even Nick, at his age, has his values fully formed. That’s a lot of work, consistency and persistence. I think what makes me sad about MJ is that her parents could have done the same thing with her – the same effort, and it may not have been enough. What I’ve learned is that each child needs something unique; even siblings need their messages individually tweaked to get them to register…because siblings do not experience the same childhood…and sometimes messages don’t register before a child’s exterior environment or mental/emotional well-being has been breached by a friend, a weak moment, a party, whatever. So, we hug our kids, try harder, and pray for the MJs we meet along the way.

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