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.
Unsung heroes handling calls in emergencies are appreciated
Thankfully, we live in a community where help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, just by dialing three numbers — 9-1-1.
During this week, which is recognized as National Public Safety Tele-Communicator’s Week nationwide, we need to remember that on the other end of that line are the men and women here in this county who are always there in case of accident, crimes, medical emergencies and any other catastrophic event.
Message to ‘buckle up and park the phone’ is saving lives
A figure that we haven’t seen that much in recent years is the highway death toll for a given period.
Is the death toll up, down or just about the same as it was?
The West Virginia Southern Regional Highway Safety Program has announced there were 325 highway fatalities in 2013, the second-lowest number on record.
State native Burwell can ‘deliver results’ as Health and Human Services secretary
Sylvia Mathews Burwell might not be a name with which most people are immediately familiar.
For the past year, she has run the budget office under President Barack Obama.
Prior to that, she served as president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program and later the Wal-Mart Foundation.
Marion scores well in recent health report but could do better
When it comes to area-wide studies, especially on health, there’s usually good news and bad news.
So was the recent report on the health of America’s counties released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently. The nationwide county study evaluated health outcomes and health factors, and ranked counties accordingly.
COLUMN: ‘Instant’ news not always reliable
That little word has a pretty big meaning. With origins that date back to the 15th century, it means urgent, current, immediate.
But think about how that word has developed over the past few decades.
Instant pudding. Instead of slaving over a hot stove for a few minutes, you can now pour cold milk and with a bit of stirring, instant pudding!
Decision to be an organ donor can save lives
Chelsea Clair watched as her father died waiting for a bone marrow transplant.
So when she met Kyle Froelich at a car show in 2009 and heard about his struggles to find a kidney that would match his unique needs, she never hesitated to offer hers to the man she just met.
Volunteers continue to have priceless impact on community
Chances are, you know someone who volunteers. Perhaps you’re a volunteer yourself.
Marion County is full of volunteers.
They read to our youth.
They assist nonprofit agencies.
They serve on boards and committees.
And in 2013, they spent a day picking up nearly 10 tons of garbage that had been tossed out on public property around Marion County.
Proposed school calendar lives up to letter and spirit of law
West Virginia state law requires that students be in a classroom for 180 days.
Strong Fairmont General Hospital badly needed to serve our region
Mere minutes often matter when it comes to emergency health care.
That’s why we need a strong Fairmont General Hospital.
When patients need the services of health-care professionals, having family and friends close at hand is often essential, and their presence may even lead to a better outcome.
COLUMN: Fairmont General Hospital vital part of community
There’s nothing better than holding a newborn baby. It gives you a little feeling that not only is everything right in the world, but this perfect little human represents hope of a future where things will be better than they are today.
I had that blessed opportunity to hold that hopeful future in my arms last week when I visited my dear friend Jen and her newborn son Tristan at Fairmont General Hospital.
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- Unsung heroes handling calls in emergencies are appreciated