My Teenage Children,
I have noticed over the past several months that things are changing at a rapid pace. We are changing. You are beginning to step out into your own and you are now beginning to face the tougher challenges of life. Through these changes, we are not only learning more about ourselves, but about the world around us.
I want you to know that I am with you – but it is important for you to truly understand and respect that…
I am your Mother, I am not your friend.
With that being said, I think it is time for us to re-examine some very important topics. I want to be clear on our expectations in our home, and for as long as we are financially supporting you. Over these next several years, you are going to be faced with many difficult choices. If you are ever in doubt, please remember “us” and what we have talked about for all of these years:
Be a good person. Under no circumstances do we judge or bully other people. Accept people’s differences and celebrate the individuality of all of us. Remember, you never know what is going on in a person’s life and when you can make a life-altering, positive impact for them. I cannot choose your friends for you but I highly encourage you to choose wisely. There is a high cost of being guilty by association.
Education is a gift. It is single-handedly the most important job that you have right now. If you are capable of an “A,” you damn well better get an “A.” You have one chance in your life to be able to focus solely on your education, don’t waste it away. Attending college is a must, it is not an option.
You will have a curfew until you are 18 years old. The time that you come home will depend on the event that you are attending. In my personal experience, nothing good happens after 10:00 pm. It is wise not to be late, as I will be waiting for you at the door.
Social Media has become a huge part of our lives. You need to absolutely understand the severe consequences of your actions here. What you put out on the internet (posts, pictures, etc.) will stay with you forever – high schools, colleges and employers regularly access this information. Remember that when you are writing to someone on the internet, there is a real person with feelings, on the other end of your message.
There is a time and a place for text messaging, and it is not at our dinner table. Don’t forget that you always have the option to pick up your phone and actually dial a phone number; sometimes it’s nice to actually hear a voice on the other end. Remember, I do periodically check your texts because we pay the bill. It’s not that I don’t trust you, I just don’t trust everyone else. When it’s time for bed, park your phone!
As long as you live in my house, your privacy will remain limited. Yes, you have a bedroom that you call your own, but your bedroom is in my house. If there is something in there that you are trying to hide from me, perhaps it shouldn’t be in there in the first place. I would highly advise to remove it quickly.
You will not be drinking alcohol in my home until you are 21 years old. This is not only my rule, this is the law. Under no circumstances are you ever to get into a car when the driver has been drinking. I am always just one phone call away.
Please don’t smoke cigarettes, it’s addicting and it’s stupid. You smoke, you smell, you die – end of story!
Stay away from drugs. Do not even try them one time, as it will be even harder to say no the second time around. Remember that drugs come in all forms, not just marijuana. You also need to be aware of ecstasy, prescription drugs, inhalants, cocaine, and heroin. The list goes on and on. When in doubt, just say no!
By now you know our views on sexual intercourse among teenagers. Although your hormones may be ready for sexual activity, you are not mentally ready for the adult consequences that will follow your actions. Of course there is the obvious consequence of a pregnancy, but there are also STD’s, and AIDS that are of greater concern. Save this action for when you are truly ready and stay protected. Waiting for the right time will make it even that much more amazing.
There has always been an open exchange for honest communication between us. I will not judge you, but I will do my best to guide you. This time in your life is so important and the choices that you make today will greatly impact the rest of your life.
On this journey, you will make mistakes along the way, we all do. My promise to you is that I will be with you every step of the way – but I will be there as your mother, not as your friend.
I Love You,
PS. Wow – this was a lot for me to process – I think I need a nap. What are some of the rules that you have for your teenagers and have you shared them with your kids?