Today’s teenager is a force to be reckoned with. Since I have no female daughters or granddaughters, I refer to the males in my family and personal experience. I have two sons aged 38 and 30 and four grandsons aged 17, 13, 12 and 7. In my family he is too smart, too stubborn, too independent, too fearless and thinks he knows everything. Of course every parent or grandparent DOES know differently. Unfortunately, those features can be painful for both sides of the fence, the kids and the adults.
Years ago, in the time of the Dark Ages according to my children or the time when the Earth was formed according to my grandchildren, it was not uncommon for high school graduates to gain experience traveling alone or with a friend through Europe by train. to travel. It was a time of great adventure and an opportunity to grow up by expanding personal knowledge. Those qualities were put to the test. After that, the experiences became memories and stories that will last a lifetime.
What relevant wisdom can a parent say to an excited teen about to leave on a big adventure? In my day it was always, ‘Be careful and frugal. DO NOT trust strangers. DO NOT flash or talk about your money situation. If you get into trouble, call the police or the US embassy or call home or all three. Call home regularly to let me know you are alive and well. The most important thing is that I love you!’ But do you think that the child listened carefully to your advice, that is doubtful.
My 30-year-old single son, uncle of 4 cousins, and a successful business manager of multiple locations and lots of staff, surprised me with his own way of communicating effectively with my 17-year-old grandson. At the same time as he planted the “seeds of doubt,” he efficiently peaked my grandson’s anger.
I recently had the pleasure of enjoying dinner at a local pizzeria with my wife, youngest son and three older grandsons. Along with another teenage male friend, the eldest grandson is excited about taking a long weekend trip by greyhound bus from Atlanta, Georgia to Joplin, Missouri to attend a Comic Con. A twenty-one-year-old female lover and internet friend who had never met my grandson in person would meet the two boys and be their escort.
My son was alarmed and his mouth ran amuck. “Who is this person? What is this person? You never know about internet people these days. You could meet a man who sets a trap for having sex with innocent teens or worse!” My son gave gory details I can’t repeat and ended his diatribe with, “If something bad happens to you, I’ll drive over there and teach this person a lesson and then take you back home.”
Wow! Am I a successful mom or something?