Parenting teens is easy once you embrace being an embarrassment

My son really hates it when I call for a price check.

My son really hates it when I call for a price check.

Everyone with teenagers please raise your free hand. And by “free” hand, I mean whichever hand isn’t either guarding your wallet or refrigerator door. For parents without a free hand because you are guarding both, don’t worry; we can see it in your eyes. It’s that blank, pleading stare recognized and shared by all parents with teenagers.

It’s a look that says, If not for over-the-counter medication and America’s Got Talent, I would curl into a fetal position until my kids turn 20.

Part of what makes raising teens so challenging, aside from mood swings that raise the bar for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, are the lengths parents will go to avoid doing things their teen views as “totally embarrassing,” such as breathing while in the presence of someone they might know from school. Or making eye contact with them anywhere outside of the home. Or referring to them as “Pookie” or “Scooter” while standing in line with other parents and teens during school registration. Continue reading

Parent’s survival guide to having a teen driver

image As you may be aware, our son recently became the first of our four teenagers to get his driver’s permit. That leaves three more of our teens who will likely be entering the roadways over the next few years.

I’m sorry about that.

In fact, I’d like to apologize in advance for any mailboxes, trash cans or backyard swimminng pools that may be damaged in the future. And that’s just for my son. Once our other three get their permits, no one is going to be safe. At least once they dislodge themselves and the car from our garage door.

For those of you who might be facing a similar situation, or who are now reconsidering having children at all, I’d like to offer this short video sharing a few tips with parents on how to survive having a teen driver. It’s less than two minutes but it could save your life.

Especially if you’re driving anywhere near our neighborhood…

A few questionable observations at the mall

My favorite part about visiting a mall? Meeting new friends!

My favorite part about visiting a mall? Meeting new friends!

We live in a small town. The closest thing we have to a mall experience is one-stop shopping for a bottle of Smirnoff, a chicken sandwich and roofing tar thanks to having a True Value hardware store, Subway restaurant and liquor store all joined by a single parking lot. This is the number one complaint by visiting teenaged tourists, who are often found rocking themselves into a coma when their devices lose cell service and they raise their heads to find they are in a wirelessly foresaken land of mall-less-ness.

“WE ARE IN A WIRELESSLY FORESAKEN LAND OF MALL-LESS-NESS!” I hear them scream.

But today I am laughing at them! Ha-Ha-HA! What makes today different? Because I am doing so from a really big mall. How big, you ask? I don’t mean to brag, but let’s just say it has an escalator. In fact, I can go ice skating, ride bumper cars and buy over-priced merchandise without even breaking a sweat. At least not until I get my credit card statement. Continue reading