I consider myself a serious parenting blogger, because I believe parenting is the most important job you can ever do.
So please let me rant a bit…
Parents PLEASE take the time and talk to your children, the younger the better, about consequences of their actions. Tell them: Something stupid you do NOW can have consequences that will last your entire life. It can RUIN your life.
As soon as we started the whole elementary school adventure we realized that it is never too early to screw up the next 5, 10, 20 years – or even screw up an entire life based on bad and impulsive choices.
I often wonder why parents don’t talk to their kids about life, consequences, and taking personal responsibility for their actions. And it is like training a dog. You have to start early. Seriously.
You might be asking, What brings this on Juliette?
Yesterday I was told about a seriously icky event at the High School. One of the boys in my daughters AP English class (these kids are all seniors) was talking about how he had to get a new car because someone had crapped in his car.
The boy accidentally left a couple of the windows in his car cracked. He parked it in the school lot. While he was at sports practice that afternoon someone (it was assumed two individuals) broke into his car and pooped on the seats. Then the poppers spread the shit ALL OVER ALL of the seats. The poor kids could smell it as he approached the car. He said if it had just been a bag of poop it wouldn’t have been that bad but it was spread all over the car. A tow truck had to be called to haul the car away because there was no way he was going to drive the car home. His parents said they were going to have to get a new car because the cloth seats couldn’t be cleaned. It was an old car, used by every kid in the family already. But still, this should not have happened. The poor kid wonders who could have hated him so much to do such an awful thing. What kind of sick mind would do this? It could have been someone he knew. It could have been someone from another school. It could have been some sick fucks walking by and seeing the open windows.
Here is where my advice to parents comes in:
If the persons who pooped in the car are caught there will be consequences. They will be caught because every kid in the school now knows about the shit-and-run event. Security cameras recorded it. They can see who it was, their car if it was involved, or what building they came out of.
If it was students there will be consequences that will screw up their entire future. If it is a senior he will not graduate (or will not be allowed to walk on graduation day), if it was a younger student he will be expelled and made to go to a continuation school. There might be criminal charges. If the perpetrator is 18 he will be charged as an adult. Even a 17-year-old might be charged as an adult. If caught these kids can kiss all of their college applications good-bye. They’ll be kicked out of a good school, and maybe have a criminal record. Not to mention that NO GIRL will ever want to date these guys – and the list goes on. Did I mention lawsuits and damage charges?
One disgusting event, that was no doubt spur of the moment, and done on an impulse will ruin the lives of these kids if they are caught.
Was it worth it? Hell no.
That is just one example. Teens and young adults are impulsive. It is how their brains work. But they can control those impulses. You NEED to talk to them about it.
It all comes down to what parents always tell their kids. If your friend jumps off a bridge that doesn’t mean that YOU have to jump off of the bridge too.
Kids need to know that they don’t have to jump off of that bridge. They can say NO. If the friend gets pissy then it isn’t a friend they want to have.
At our high school parents and students are told over and over and over, that if they pull pranks they will not graduate. This includes the famous senior pranks that usually include creative ways of vandalizing the school (oiled hallways, interesting pain, pictures of body parts burned into the grass on the Quad, etc.)
If you act like an asshole, if you hurt others, if you blindly follow, if you do things out of spite, if you DON’T THINK before you act – there will be consequences.
Need help? Here is a list of stupid things teens can and will do.
Unprotected sex: A baby will change the life of any teen. So long college. So long friends. So long exploring the world before you choose if and when you’ll have a child. Don’t give me some happy story of a teen who had a baby and the fairy tale that ensued. That is the rare exception, not the rule. Unprotected sex can also welcome HIV and other nasty things to your child’s life.
Making decisions based on friends: How many kids have rejected once in a lifetime college, trade show, job, internship, and other opportunities because a boyfriend or girlfriend begged them not to go. How many have turned down fantastic opportunities because they did not want to leave their friends. You know what? Those friends are going to leave and do what they want and not think twice about it. Or the friends will be losers who don’t care. If they are REAL friends they will encourage your child to fly and be successful. Real friends will keep in touch no matter how far away they live.
Dropping out: Dropping out of school, be it high school, college, a trade school or a great opportunity isn’t anything to be taken lightly. I can’t tell you how many people I know who dropped out of college the second or even third year in – then found out later how hard it is to go back. Usually is isn’t financial reasons – it is because they can’t look into their own futures and see how hard it will be. Just finish. You’re young. Finish now or when you’re thirty-five you’ll be kicking yourself.
Relationships: If it is indeed true love it can wait. If someone loves you they will never ask you to put aside your dreams. Someone who love you will encourage you to follow your dreams. Only selfish, and controlling people will ask you to turn down your school, job, or any endeavor that is your passion.
Cults (religious and political) and other abusive relationships: These are the people who prey on young individuals. They break kids down, then make them feel good and wanted. They look for kids who are lonely. They look for kids who are needy. They want to turn your child against against everything they know. If ANYONE tells your child to turn against their family and friends then it is time to RUN. RUN FAST.
Doing shit out of spite: If you do anything out of spite to get back at parents, teachers, friends, siblings, school – it will only come back and HURT YOU. That is what is usually called coming back and biting you on the ass. I’ve seen people marry someone for spite because they were mad at their parents – believe me THAT never ends well. So impulsive, and the only one hurt is the one who wanted to get revenge.
And most of all CRAPPY FRIENDS: You can help friends but you can never bring someone up who doesn’t want to be brought up. Crap friends will only bring you down. If someone wants to move up they have to want to move up and do it on their own. Some kids are rescuers. Some are followers. I encourage all parents to PLEASE discourage your kids from being rescuers or followers. It will only lead to things like kids shitting in cars. It can also lead to smaller things that can also get them kicked out of school, ostracized by other kids, and even arrested.
Yes, you are the parent – you CAN have control over who your child hangs out with. From an early age you have to teach them about how valuable their reputation is. It takes a second to lose one’s reputation but years to get it back.
One more thing. If your child wants ink as soon as he or she turns eighteen please guide them. Shitty tattoos last forever and remind one of how stupid they were. Good ones, by good artists, with good placement can be a joy. Remember, tattoos, like herpes, are there forever. Be smart (or start saving for a good cover up or laser treatments.)
I’m just ranting right now, but whenever I think of anyone doing stupid mindless and impulsive things that ruin their lives and the lives of others I wonder why they do it.
We’ve all heard of teachers who sleep with students then go to jail and never teach again. Was it worth it to be out of a job. Was it worth it to have years of education go down the drain? Was it worth it to be considered a pervert for the rest of your life?
Then there are the Brock Turners of the world. Turner was obviously smart (click here if you don’t know about the case). He had everything. He was good looking. He was attending Stanford University. He was a swimmer who might have been good enough to make it to the Olympics. But rather than being nice, and normal, he decided to be a violent, vile, and horrible the night he brutally sexually assaulted a girl at a party. One has to wonder if it was worth throwing all of that away to be the biggest asshole in the universe and harm another person?
How many kids would have given ANYTHING to go to Stanford, let alone have the other opportunities Turner had. And he threw it all away, and harmed an innocent person along the way.
What makes it worse is that his parents defended him. There is no defense for that kind of behavior. So was it worth it Brock? Why did you do it? Why where you such an asshole?
So talk to your kids. Tell them all of those cautionary tales of others who have fucked up their lives because of stupid impulsive acts.
That is it. And don’t tell me that it is hard. If I could do it then so can you.
I fucked up enough on my own – but, by my choice, I don’t fuck up when it comes to parenting.
It isn’t easy but you can do it. You’re a parent. That is YOUR JOB.
Now go hug your kids and talk to them. Don’t preach. Discuss. Share. Love.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman