Social Question

wundayatta's avatar

Do you have a war story about your teen?

Asked by wundayatta (58321 points ) July 24th, 2010

I’ve got two children—one now safely through middle school and starting high school. All along, people have been warning us about when they became teens—how difficult that would be. I’m wondering what’s the fuss?

My daughter had a birthday party with her whole class who had been invited to the pool we go to. The pool heard that we wanted 30 fourteen-year-olds to be there all at once and they nearly shit themselves.

We promised all kinds of chaperones and whatever they wanted us to do and held the party. We had no problems whatsoever. In fact, the regular members’ kids behaved much worse than my daughter’s guests. Those kids were great! Well-behaved. No drugs or alcohol. No bottles. Just fun.

So where do all these warnings come from? What have your teens done? And if you aren’t willing to fess up, what have other teens you know done?

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12 Answers

Jeruba's avatar

I’m glad you had a good experience with your party. There’s no reason why it couldn’t be this way.

The warnings come from experience. All the teen-Angst questions you see in fluther are one clue to typical problems. Another is drugs: too many kids get in too deep too fast, never intending to get hooked. The path from there is very rough. And finally, conflict with parents is normal and natural. It doesn’t have to be bitter, but it often is.

Check back with us on this in two years.

DominicX's avatar

Well, I’ll answer this from a teen’s perspective:

I’ve been drinking underage at parties since I was 16. My parents never really found out directly from me until I started college and I told them about it. I went out with my friends a lot and there was no way they could tell if I was drinking or not. I never came home drunk or anything like that and never got in trouble for it. I was raised to know never to drive drunk or get into the car with a drunk driver (which I never did) and I knew what drinking “too much” was. They would give me warnings about it as if they suspected I was drinking, but never outright accused me of it. My parents did the same thing when they were teens; it’s not like it was a new thing. My parents did some things back in the ‘70s that were much worse than what I did in high school. Still haven’t done any drugs besides alcohol. Still have never driven drunk nor been in a car with a drunk driver.

That’s really the worst thing that I’ve done. Of course I’ve gotten into fights with my parents over various things, but those were short-lived small things that never escalated into anything bigger nor lasted very long. I’ve never been in the position where I “hated” my parents. Always thought my parents were great and compared to some of the stories I’ve heard from other people, better than other people’s parents. :)

YARNLADY's avatar

I finally decided my 14 year old son was old enough to stay home by himself, so I went shopping and stayed away about four hours. When I got back, I could smell smoke, and no amount of threatening or begging could get him to admit that he had been playing with fire, or where. I was at my wits end when the neighbor came yelling “fire” and we found it in the leaves between our two houses. She had already called 911

Sonny said he put the fire out and he thought he could get away with lying about it. The fire department inspected every nook and cranny of the house and yard, just in case. They had us send him to fire danger classes that they hold on a regular basis. To my knowledge, he never played with fire again.

Edit: I was afraid they would suspect him when a house two doors down burned to the ground a few years later, but they found the obvious cause, bad wiring.

Cruiser's avatar

For me it will not be my son who is starting high school too, it will be his acquaintances and asshole uncles who offer him beer and who knows what else!! Thankfully he knows better.

ShanEnri's avatar

My daughter was arrested for shop lifting, and skipping school. When she was questioned she gave false information. She also got drunk at school. All this took place between 14 and 17. My son joined a gang, was arrested for gang related graffiti and had to go to a wilderness camp for 9 months and is still having to go to an alternative school. He started at 14 he is 15 now! They both learned though. My daughter is 19 now, graduated and trying to get into the Art Institute in Charlotte for photography. My son, well he’s still ion the learning process!

josie's avatar

Sorry to break from the standard, but aside from some mischief (Including PDA at school, TPing a few houses, a fistfight, and getting picked up for a curfew violation) I had no trouble to speak of with either of my sons. Maybe the reckoning will occur now that they are in college.

wundayatta's avatar

@josie I read that the vast majority of teens are pretty decent. It’s the few who get in trouble that make it seem like that’s the way it is with teens.

Jeruba's avatar

@wundayatta, I think that’s true. We basically had no conflict with our boys as they came through their teens. There was never a single screaming “You don’t understand me!” scene, never any name-calling or cursing, never any violence. There were a few difficult incidents out in the world, and one has had a long, troubled history of his own, but we stayed on good terms with them throughout. Our children like us and have always been happy doing things with us. They seek our company. They talk to us. They trust us. We’re still very close now that they’re in their twenties. You know you’re ok when your 16-year-old son doesn’t mind being seen going to the movies with his mother.

My answer to your question is a response to this: So where do all these warnings come from? People who have had bad experiences want to warn others. (In fact, some of them really enjoy it, just as some women love telling childbirth horror stories to the first-timer who’s in her ninth month.) And when the kids themselves come here to fluther and ask all kinds of questions about amorous relationships, school worries, fears, drugs, parental conflicts, etc., they’re showing us what kinds of things are on the minds of many youngsters—some of which can get them in very, very deep.

One good experience with a group of 14-year-olds isn’t enough to give the lie to all the warnings. But by the same token, it does show that the scary tales don’t tell the whole story.

pennybooks's avatar

I don’t have any kids, but I do have many war stories with my own parents.

I started drugs quite young in high school. Smoked marijuana occassionally by the time I was finished freshman year, but never started drinking until near middle of my second year. By that time I had already been dabbling in amphetamines, namely ecstasy. With ecstasy, I nearly reached an addiction, but unfortunately the other kids who experimented with me weren’t as fortunate. Mixed in all of that, I was also experimenting with psychedelics, namely lsd, mushrooms, and salvia. After being caught multiple times with incriminating substances by my parents, and insights brought from staring at a wall for hours, I decided to just give it all up. Along with numerous other factors, such as the support from my family members, friends who cared, my SO, my relation to school work, and just basically the fear for my well-being and the effect on others.

I have to applaud my parents for sticking through it. Even though they said that they had given up on me multiple times, they were always there. We are on a bit better terms now, though not as much as I would desire.

I’m much older now and thanks to their guidance and support, I’m nearly finished my degree in pharmacy.

Aster's avatar

I have two daughters. One of them was no problem whatsoever, never drank or smoked, was on the Student Council and Honor Roll and was and is a blessing. Her older sister was always a problem, Her grades were ok but most of her decisions were and still are just crazy. She let a friend drain her father’s tractor of all its diesel for the guy’s car, she would give our things to her friends, she began smoking pot and probably worse at fifteen, she initiated big fights with her father before school so she could go back to bed and skip, she forged my name on school documents, ignored curfews, would go out at night with a smile after being grounded, did very strange and crude sexually themed stuff, pushed her sister out of a treehouse right after it was finished being built, blew ashes into her sister’s eyes, spent every second of summer school away from our house except to sleep, was kicked out of daycare for something so dreadful that the lady running it refused to reveal what she had done , all of her high school friends have “turned Christian” and are out of trouble except her, she and two friends moved into an apartment at eighteen and they all refused to feed and water the parakeet so it died and I could go on and on. We did send her to drug counseling with a Ph.d and she refused to return and her father, a violent person, didn’t even make her continue after two visits. She is now very depressed, broke and making bad decisions.

wundayatta's avatar

@Aster I’m sorry you had such a difficult time with her. It must hurt.

Aster's avatar

Thanks. It’ll be a lifelong problem and cause for both of us to suffer in different ways.

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