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.
‘Pothole blitz’ badly needed service coming in West Virginia
Hopefully, the heavy snow and extremely cold weather of January, February and early March are in the past.
Remnants of the harsh winter, though, remain. They’re faced each day by the state’s drivers.
Potholes have West Virginia’s roads in their worst condition in years, and the damaging freeze-thaw cycle is not over.
‘The issues are complicated’ with e-cigarettes
E-cigarettes have been around for about seven years.
But you’d be shocked at how long the idea for the the tobacco-less product has been around.
“A primitive, battery-operated ‘smokeless non-tobacco cigarette’ was patented as early as 1963 and described in Popular Mechanics in 1965,” Megan McArdle wrote for Business Week last monty.
Coal industry can’t afford to give this administration and EPA more ammunition
Coal already has a bad name in Washington, D.C.
The whole industry got another black eye this week when Alpha Natural Resources Inc., one of the country’s largest coal producers, agreed to pay a $27.5 million fine and invest $200 million to reduce illegal water pollution in five states, including West Virginia.
Being observant, reporting suspicions can make difference for hurting children
If a child is hurting, we wouldn’t hesitate to help.
Or would we?
In a five-year span, 22,830 children were victims of some type of neglect or abuse in West Virginia. That’s an overwhelming number to think about.
Gee makes major impact and earns another term as WVU president
Let’s imagine that a graduate from West Virginia University in the early 1980s, when E. Gordon Gee was president, came back to get an extra degree now and couldn’t believe that E. Gordon Gee is “still” the president of WVU.
Effort to encourage purchase of goods produced in U.S. deserves support
The concept of encouraging the purchase of American-made products is certainly not new.
On the federal level, the Buy American Act was passed in 1933 by Congress and signed by President Herbert Hoover. It required the United States government to prefer U.S.-made products in its purchases.
‘Stop Meth, Not Meds’ backed by readers
In West Virginia, there is something referred to as “stop-sale technology” that prevents a person from going to more than one pharmacy to purchase over-the-counter medication that contains the active ingredient pseudoephedrine, a nasal decongestant.
It’s not an issue of stuffy noses that lawmakers were worried about when they created the system.
Even small steps play part in critical mission to reduce childhood obesity
Just two years ago, more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese, meaning they had excess body weight based on their height.
It’s a troubling statistic, and one that health officials have worked diligently to reverse.
Cutting-edge heart procedure at Mon General is saving lives
“I used to think I wouldn’t live to be 50. Well, I made it to 50 and then some,” Pearl Walls said.
Walls is likely alive today and able to tell her story to the Times West Virginian because of a cutting-edge procedure performed at Monongalia General Hospital — a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), which was only approved for use by the FDA in 2011.
Celebrate Dr. Seuss’ many works, magic words
You know his words.
You know them well.
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- ‘Pothole blitz’ badly needed service coming in West Virginia