Friday, November 16, 2007

I got my eye on you!

Supervising teenagers is a dangerous and challenging profession. Without any help from others, they are genetically driven to do stupid and dangerous things. And they certainly won't take much advice from anyone who just might...might...have some clue about how life works.

But before I go off on a tangent about teenagers (okay, MY teenagers...not just teenagers in general), let me get to the point of this. Which is not just about supervising teens. It is more about supervising teens who are dating.

So far, in our house, that has been our oldest son...Son20. Now that he is 20, we pretty much just hope that we've taught him well enough that he won't do every stupid thing he thinks of. And we know he has plenty of condoms. And the girl he dates is pleasant and mostly polite and they seem to treat each other with respect and affection.

But he wasn't always 20. There were the girls he dated when he was going through high school. And along the way, there were all the rules about how one light must be on when the two of you are watching TV...you can't both lay down on the couch under the blanket to watch TV...you can't take the girls to your room even if they really do want to play Nintendo...etc...etc...etc. And for the most part, he is a good kid and listened.

But it may be different when Daughter14 finally starts to date. It might be time to break out the intimidation stick and beat a couple boys with the stern looks and threatening presence. The problem is, I just don't have it in me. I'm pretty thin...so I don't look very threatening. And I have some concern that my stern look really looks more like I might have a bit of gas. So we might have to think outside the box on this one.

Like the first girl Son20 dated. Her parents were nice and polite. But for some reason, the kids always preferred to get together at our house to watch TV rather than go to her house. It wasn't until after they broke up that Son20 revealed the reason. It seems when they would watch TV at her house, the rule was the door to the family must stay open. Well, no problem there. But just around the corner from the family room door, in the living room, her dad would take that opportunity to clean his gun. Every time. It was the cleanest gun in Connecticut, without a doubt.

It was also the two most intimidated kids on the east coast!

I don't own a gun. Not a real one anyway. But I'm sure I've got that Nerf pistol around here somewhere!

37 comments:

Chelle said...

LOL I LIKE that dad....hehe

I think you have to set rules and boundaries. We have much the same rules as you....but I tell ya, I know plenty of parents who let their kids hang out in their rooms with their bf/gf. Not gonna happen in our house. I'm not naive enough to think that they can't go off and "park" or do stuff at other peoples' homes but I am not gonna give them the opportunity here. They can like it or lump it...that's just the way the cookie crumbles here :)

EsLocura said...

I am pretty sure the nerf pistol just isn't going to cut it.

thethinker said...

"Without any help from others, they are genetically driven to do stupid and dangerous things."

Since I'm a teenager, I should probably be disagreeing with you right now, but unfortunately I must admit that you are right.

Shrink Wrapped Scream said...

All this supervising stuff falls mostly down to me, since hubby works away so often. My eldest always seems to have a party going off somewhere, a lot of them in our shed. My eldsest daughter also leads a pretty hectic social life. It's so hard to get the parenting balance right, isn't it? Hopefully, the values instilled years before adolecence leaps out of the box goes some ways towards their choices..? I say this with a nervous tic, and a high, squeaky voice - I'd go for the gun option if it were allowed.. (nervous smile)

Wizened Wizard said...

Well if that isn't the best excuse for gun ownership I've ever heard! Too funny!

When my son was about 13 we were chatting about some of his "dreams" and long-range plans (which I can't even remember now). In the midst of the discussion, I said, "You know, there are two things that could keep you from doing any of these things: drinking and driving, and getting some girl pregnant. Otherwise, anything you dream can be possible." He wanted to DIE of uncomfortable embarrassment right there on the spot.

I don't know if my statement was influential or not, but as far as I know, he always was/used a designated driver when he drank, and he was not the reason we are grandparents. Now as for the rest of teenage stupidity, good luck!

Catmoves said...

When my daughters reached that age they alays required to bring the ne flame to met us. I did much the same thing that father you mentioned did. Except that I was cleaning either a shotgun or handgun. And my sharpshooter medal was prominently displayed on the table I used.
Somehow, I believe the daughters communicated that Daddy was really just a pussy cat. But neither of them got preggers until after they were married.
(Yeah, their Mom might have influenced them, too.)

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

LOL! My cousin plans on doing the exact same thing when his daughter is old enough to date. The only difference is that he wants to bring his special forces buddies over and have all of them cleaning their guns in front of the poor young man.

Em said...

Thinker - you know I have a lot of respect for you, so I'm sure you don't fall into the genetically challenged group. But I'm sure you see plenty of it going on around you!

For the rest of you who are now getting out your guns...just try not to shoot anyone. LOL

Jocelyn said...

Maybe an errant water pistol would do the job with the imminent suitors?

Emperor Ropi said...

Well, I think it is annoying for them if they are overprotected. My parents trust me, besides when they send me to shop. I must add I don't really date.

Mysti said...

Em -

You know we are on the same page here as i'm having the same thoughts about Teenager (14). Well, Senior Teen is in town today, so i'll have my big Mom eye on them.

Doors can not be closed, no watching tv under the blanket, and much to Teenager's dismay, Bear is a gun collector! LOL

There are some really good teenagers out there and sadly all the doofus kids have made the good ones look bad.

It sounds like you have done a fine job thus far, and we can't always be perfect in the way we raise our kids.. Just grab on and hope for the best. :)

May said...

My boys (9 and 11) love it to be with us. I know it won't last long...

If I were to clean the gun that I don't own, it would be to punish the one who made my son unhappy. I guess that I must sound like a permissive mother but I see nothing wrong in young people having responsible sex.

Star said...

Having raised three daughters i can tell you that you need a partner in crime. The missus. Acoording to he girls, their dates expected to be intimidated by their Dad. But apparently n scared the bejesus out of them. ANd I had no idea I qas doing it.

Mama P said...

Oh, no. And I get freaked out over my kid peeing on a stepping stool on purpose - rather than a toilet which is TWO FEET AWAY. It gets worse?

TK Kerouac said...

LOL

Those years drove me insane

Trish said...

I don't have any girls but I like that gun cleaning idea for when my guys bring a girl home...if we owned a gun. I wonder if cleaning my cast iron pans and kitchen knivees would have the same effect?

Above Average Joe said...

Another "thin" dad here. I will probably lock Peanut in her room during those years.

Kati said...

ROFL There's a country song out right now by Rodney Atkins (I think it's Rodney Atkins, anyway) that talks about the ONE speach he actually remembers from his teenage years, and how he's preparing to use it himself in near future as his daughter hits teen-dom. It's something along the lines of "Come on in Son, how're you doing??? We hear you like our daughter, yeah we think she's pretty swell. She deserves respect, and that's what she'll get, understand???? Well, y'all go have fun, I'll be up when you get home, probably still cleaning this here gun."

*grin* Best of luck as the guys start realizing what a beauty your daughter is!

Gretchen said...

Well, despite my track record--"it which will not be named"--my kids are going to be taught exactly how any good parent teaches: Do as I say, not as I did.

Sigh...Don'tcha wish we could just edit portions of these years? Perpetual mulligan and all that...

Good luck. I have a sneaking suspicion that you and your wife have done an amazing job and that your kids will have bumps, but not road blocks because of this.

me and the other me said...

hi em!
here's what i used to do when my daughter's potential suitors came knockin'. i would tell jess to go to her room and let me answer the door so she didn't look too eager. then i would usher young hopeful guy in and after shaking his hand and talking about their date, i would lean in close while touching his back and say, "it's great to meet you and i know you kids will have fun but if you touch my daughter, i will fuck you up. seriously".
then i'd smile pleasantly and yell, "hey jess, your date is here" allowing him to blanch in private.
jess always wondered why she never got asked out twice by the same guys (wicked grin)
HEY, it worked for me!

Beth said...

hey, a Nerf pistol might work on some kids..you just never know.

and no matter how hard you try to be fair....IT'S JUST DIFFERENT WITH A DAUGHTER!!! Can't help it...it just is.

Jazz said...

Must be nerve wracking to be the father of a girl...

Sheila said...

Don't you know teenagers know everything already? haha I thought I did when I was a teenager (strange to say when...) but there is always so much more to learn if you just give it a chance.

Rainbow dreams said...

lol Thank you Em - as if I haven't got enough to worry about already with my two preteen stage!
I'm not sure how I'll cope -guess we just will when we get there!
I was such a good girl till I left home - no, it's scary.. :)
Cheers, Katie

Jenster said...

Intimidation is the key. However you have to do it.

BTW - I got Guitar Hero III for my birthday yesterday!!

A wildlife gardener said...

Our boys left home at 21 to begin work in the Big Smoke...that's London. It was after that when they met girls...

That might make me sound smug. I don't mean to sound that way. That's just how it happened for them.

They both had busy lives at the uni with lots of friends and acquaintances; they travelled all over the world with the Law Society's Debating teams and had great fun. They seemed to be non-stop going places..but just waited till the right person came along.

Our older son married a Chinese girl last year...they are besotted. Our younger son is engaged to a Parisienne. They are to be married next year in Brittany.

I think we can make ourselves clear to our teenagers...then we have to let go and hope they 'keep the head' and play safe.

furiousBall said...

gun cleaning is a compliment in some cultures... wait, no, that's pretty much a threat no matter where you go

Kati said...

Happy Thanksgiving Em & Fam!!!! I hope y'all have a very blessed one!!

FENICLE said...

You're a very cool dad!!! And the Nerf pistol - good thinking!

CS said...

My son has had the same girlfriend now for more than a year and even though he only just turned 14, I worry some. But I'm hoping his general sensible nature and our openess with him will win out.

creative-type dad said...

That's my kind of Dad!

The wife thinks I'm joking when I say I'm taking up a knife and bow and arrow collection when my daughter starts to date (when she's 28)

Jill said...

Invest in a Super Soaker(tm) and hose them down when they get carried away. It'll keep them under control and is fun for you!

velvet said...

That's funny. I can't tell you how glad I am that I have boys, but I tell you, I'm still not looking forward to the early dating years. Eep!

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

*poke poke*

Rainbow dreams said...

you ok Em? just popping by to say hello...

SzélsőFa said...

oh, the pains of a father who has a daughter! I wonder what rules will we follow once our kids reach that much feared teen age!!!

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Mama P said...

Hellloooooooooo. It's been a month. Making sure you're not still supervising your daughter on a date. That would be a very, very, very long date.