It’s tough to be the parent of a teen.
Heck, it’s tough to be the parent of a preteen. Ten is the new 15 these days. Fifteen is the new 21. Kids grow up so fast, and we have to fight them every step of the way to make sure they’re not growing up too fast. It’s a constant question of whether something is age-appropriate and the constant response of “all of my other friends are doing it.”
Or have one. Or wear this.
So do you let your daughter wear that pair of shorts that seem so short? The little girl on the cover of the catalog is wearing them.
Do you let your son join a social media site against your better wishes? You’ve seen kids younger than he with their own accounts.
Do you let your kid go to that party, ride with those friends, go to a concert, stay out a little later, stay home alone? These are questions that are thrown at us every single day. And we know the immediate consequences of the word “no.” Yelling. Arguing. Sulking. Tears.
And we gnash our teeth about the long-term consequences of saying “no.” How can they earn our trust if we never give them a reason to prove their trustworthiness? Are we sheltering them too much? Will they rebel and hide things from us if we don’t let them go a little at a time?
But then we fear the immediate and long-term consequences of saying “yes,” too. One lapse of judgment, one mistake, one accident and we could lose our babies forever.
So “helicopter parenting” has made its way into buzz words, if you’ll pardon the pun. Helicopter parenting implies hovering over your child. It’s just one of those phrases designed to make us question our sanity and purchase self-help books and apps.
“Being a friend with your son or daughter on Facebook, to me is synonymous with reading your teenager’s diary,” parenting expert Susan Newman recently told The Associated Press. “Adolescents are trying to develop an identity and they have so much hovering and helicopter parenting going on, Facebook adds another layer that seems to be very intrusive.”
But Stephen Balkam, CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Online Safety Institute, wholeheartedly disagreed in the same article. He says he insisted that his 13-year-old daughter “friend” him on Facebook.
“I promised not to stalk her, but I do need to keep an eye on it,” he said in the recent AP article.
So hands off? Constantly hover over them? What do you do?
Especially after you read articles about teenage suicide after harassment on cellphones and social media sites. What if your child were a victim? What if your child were the perpetrator?
What must the parents out of Steubenville, Ohio, think following the conviction of two teenagers for raping a classmate, when the evidence was primarily collected from their children’s walls or feeds?
So it begs the question: How involved should we be as parents when it comes to the electronic devices our kids carry around in their pockets that link them to the entire world? And you know when something begs the question, we’re there to ask it on our online poll question at www.timeswv.com. Last week, we asked, “After some high-profile cases involving teens and social media, how involved should parents be when it comes to social media sites and electronic devices of their children?”
And here’s what you had to say:
• Hands off! Kids will never trust you if you don’t trust them to make their own mistakes — 1.64 percent
• There should never be a text, post or tweet that goes out without you knowing about it — 24.59 percent
• Talk about consequences of actions and monitor usage slightly — 73.77 percent
Me? I think that latter sounds like being a co-pilot instead of hovering.
And speaking of social media, this week let’s talk about whether you think that we as a society seem to overreact after major events, like mass shootings and bombings.
Log on. Vote. Email me or respond online.
It’s tough to be the parent of a teen.
Prevention must remain focus when dealing with cruel black lung disease
That’s how Joe Main, assistant secretary of labor for Mine Safety and Health, describes black lung disease.
He could also use the word “deadly.”
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, black lung has killed more than 76,000 miners since 1968.
If something seems too good to be true, then assume that it is
Scam. noun. A confidence game or other fraudulent scheme, especially for making a quick profit; swindle.
This is a word that Marion Countians have heard a lot about in the past few years. And the problem appears to be one that is getting worse every day.
State must convince parents, schools about benefits of Common Core
It’s always nice to have a little bit of background information before diving into something new.
So we have to agree with West Virginia Board of Education president Gayle Manchin when she says the state should have done a better job of explaining Common Core standards when they were first introduced.
Those standards, part of a national educational initiative that sets learning goals designed to prepare students in kindergarten through 12th grade for college and career, will be fully implemented in every West Virginia school district next month.
Time is now for Tomblin to support King Coal Highway
U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., is asking Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to add the King Coal Highway project to West Virginia’s six-year highway improvement plan. It is a logical request, and one that Tomblin should act promptly on.
United effort to keep NASA in Fairmont is essential project
The high-technology sector is obviously vital to the economy of North Central West Virginia.
That’s why a strong, united effort to keep the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont is absolutely essential.
COLUMN: Calling all readers: Be heard
I love to talk to readers.
I love to hear concerns they have about stories we’ve written, things they think should be included in the newspaper and things they think shouldn’t be.
Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial
NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.
Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives
It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.
Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely
The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.
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