Tag Archives: teens

When normal leads to murder

I’ve gotten extremely mad at my children.  They’ll have said something rotten or defiantly disobeyed me, and I’ve gotten so mad that I’ve had to separate myself from them.  I’ve yelled at them, I’ve said words that I would never allow them to repeat back to me, I’ve slammed whatever I was holding on the table just for the satisfaction of the loud noise it creates.  It’s not how anger is generally handled in my household, but it has happened.  And on many of those shameful occasions, the anger that I’ve felt has been a result of mouthiness from one of my lovely children.  And nine times out of ten, when I’ve lost control and started acting like a banshee rather than handling the situation in a calm manner, I am met with amused looks from my angelic cherubs – only infuriating me more.   But in the same token, just as much as my kids make me see red, I love them with intense furiosity.  Even in my most blinding anger, love still remains underneath.  And my biggest frustration is capsuled by the thought “If you could only know how deep my love is for you, how everything I do is for your own good…perhaps you wouldn’t be behaving this way.”

Let’s face it, though.  Kids can be little jerks.  I don’t know a mother out there who hasn’t, even for just a moment, silently wished for her life pre-kids, when she could live selfishly for herself instead of for these brats that just don’t seem to understand all the sacrifices that have been made for them.  And in that, I get the extreme anger that a Florida woman named Julie Powers Schenecker experienced when her two teenage kids were repeatedly mouthing off to her, and how she must have felt helpless in the situation with a husband stationed overseas and two kids who were taking a stand against her. What I don’t understand is her course of action that she took as a result. 

She killed them

Julie Powers Schenecker was arrested Saturday for the murder of her two teenage children. AP Photo/The Tampa Tribune

But Julie Schenecker didn’t just kill them in a moment of rage, she actually planned it.  She went and bought a gun.   5 days later, she was found on her back porch drenched in blood, having just killed her 13 year old son when he mouthed off to her on the way to soccer practice, and then returned home to kill her 16 year old daughter who was studying at her computer. Her original plan also included taking her own life.  But the authorities found her thanks to a tip from her concerned mother, and she now sits in a cell, shaking uncontrollably as she’s haunted by the children who will never mouth off to her again.

Did she realize in that moment that she would never again see her children if she pulled that trigger?  Did she really hate her children more than she loved them?  What is going on in her mind now that she is free from their mouthiness forever?

Reports are just coming out that there appeared to be some signs everyone initially missed.  Julie’s daughter had reported that her mother hit her two times in the past year.  Julie’s own mother told of her daughter’s depression.  And just days before the incident, Julie was in a car crash – and the officer stated that she appeared to be in a drugged-up stupor.  But more than the negative reports, there were reports that Julie’s children seemed polite and the parents extremely supportive of their kids and their activities.  In fact, the biggest reason the killing was such a shock was because the family just seemed so….normal.

Calyx Schenecker, age 16 (Personal photo)

But the thing is, mouthiness in teens IS normal.  Teens talk back.  It’s kind of like their job to push limits.  They test their parents’ sanity through consistent belligerence.  Guess what?  It’s just a fact of life.  We did it to our parents.  Our parents did it to theirs.  And so on.  Our children are only following in a long line of back-talking, sneaky, sassy, delinquent teenageness that has been going on for years.  And with the way their hormones are raging, their growing wings itching to stretch farther than the confines of their home, and the sudden realization that they have more freedom than they ever knew they had…who can blame them?

And being pissed at your kids, that’s normal too.  Parents get mad, sometimes madder than mad.  After having spent years dedicating their lives to these children, making numerous sacrifices and letting their heart expand to growths so large it seems to radiate outside of their bodies….their child is sassing them back and acting like they’re owed something.  They’re smoking pot in the backyard.  They’re staying out way past curfew while their parent paces the floor.  They’re ignoring the list of chores set out for them, or returning the car with an empty tank of gas.  They’re giving their parents the middle finger in everything they do.  The sweet little two year old that would have once followed their parent to the ends of the earth suddenly changes into a giant, pimply, hormonal teenager that thinks their parent is the most moronic being in the world. And this can send a dedicated parent over the edge of sanity into the realms of madder than hell.

Beau Schenecker, age 13 (Personal photo)

And yet, to the outside world much of this isn’t seen publicly.  Kids are polite and respectful (generally) to those outside the family.  Parents talk calmly to their children as if they never get mad at all.  For appearance’s sake, they are the perfect little normal family.  And anyone of us who has been guilty of yelling at our kids, or god forbid, spanking them, or screaming at them in moments when we’ve lost control – we’re left to feel like we’re failing, and even ruining our kids. 

But it’s normal to feel out of control once in awhile when dealing with mouthy children who are BEYOND YOUR CONTROL, to feel insane with fury over your own child.  However, it’s NOT normal to kill your children because of it.

Obviously Julie suffers from some sort of mental illness.  That’s the only explanation I can think of to even begin to understand how she could plan and carry out the murder of her two teenage children.  And even empathizing with the frustration and fury she felt over her mouthy children while coping as a depressed single mother, I can’t excuse this.  My heart just hurts.  And while I hope this woman gets the help she so desperately needs, I’m angry.  She should have sought out help long before this. SOMEBODY should have noticed and done something.  But that’s the thing about appearing normal on the outside.

Nobody noticed anything because there’s nothing noticeable about normal.

When your daughter becomes a girl

My daughter has recently discovered girls – in that they are actually a great gender to be friends with, and a great gender to be. She’s been a tomboy for as long as I can remember, hanging out with boys – even dressing like them. And while I have never been one to dictate what my kids wear, I have been known to try and persuade my daughter to maybe girl it up a little only to be met with major resistance. And so this recent change has kind of thrown me for a loop.

Suddenly my daughter is very concerned with the clothes she is wearing. We’ve never been a family who cared about labels, mostly because, let’s face it, “labels” are expensive. So my daughter wears the best of the best from that chic little boutique affectionately known as Tar-jay (or Target, for you common folks). But all of a sudden, these just weren’t good enough. And this became very apparent when the school dance came about, and my daughter HAD TO HAVE a new outfit because all of her clothes weren’t good enough.

But I didn’t begrudge her. I actually jumped at her revelation that her tomboy clothes weren’t cute enough, and that she needed to go shopping – a dirty word in our previous conversations. And when she asked if she could invite one of her girlfriends for moral support, I was only too happy to say yes.

There are benefits to letting your child shop with a friend their own age. I’d like to think that I have a pretty keen eye on what’s cute on the racks, and what isn’t. But even I have to admit that, being 20 years older than my daughter, I may not have a good perception about what’s in style for her. She’s the one going to school with a bunch of other fashion conscious teens, not me. And if I’m her influence when she’s shopping, she’s not going to find an outfit that matches her peers. But bring in a fashionable girl my daughter’s age, and whose style she loves, and now we’re getting down to business.

Armed with a gift card from Christmas, we all trekked over to Forever 21.  In the backseat they were speaking a foreign language of teen girl-speak that I didn’t even know my daughter was fluent in.  And when we arrived at the store the girls promptly ditched me and the Taz to go find clothes on their own. I wandered aimlessly among the racks, wondering if I should at least be trying to shadow them a little in case they needed some help. I finally spotted my daughter and asked her point blank, only to be shooed away. Fine then, I would just do a little “browsing” myself. I set the Taz up on a chair outside the fitting room with my iPhone, and then searched for clothes to try on. And when I was all done, the girls apparently were too. I caught up with them in the accessories section where they were finalizing the finishing touches to their outfits with rings, earrings, necklaces, and a funky pair of sunglasses. And without even showing me her new outfit, my daughter went right up to the cash register to buy her new clothes.

It was a whole new lesson on trust for me.

Today’s the dance, and my daughter woke me up early to help her with her hair. 40 minutes later (man, that girl’s hair is thick!), her long hair hung in soft ringlets, and she was off to change into her new clothes. And when she modeled them for me a little later, I was stunned at the girl who stood before me. She wore a turquoise shirt cinched above the waist with one of my belts. Layered over that was a heather gray long sweater. And she paired it with her favorite jeans and ballet flats (foregoing her usual skater shoes). Her curled hair was pulled back into a low ponytail. And she accessorized with large hoop earrings and a long necklace. She was gorgeous! The two girls had picked out a very cute outfit that still held remnants of my daughter’s personal style. But it was a whole new look, and my daughter was obviously thrilled.

There are a couple things I’ve learned in this whole experience. First, this whole new girl in my daughter is bound to be loads of fun as we play dress up and rediscover all those girly clothes and hairstyles we’ve had to avoid the past 13 years. Two, as the mom of a teen, I am strictly off limits from partaking in playing dress up with my daughter. Boo. Third, a girlfriend is the perfect solution to a fashion crisis. Fourth, girliness is highly time consuming (40 minutes for hair! Did you read that up there???). And finally, I am about to become really, really, really broke.

Really.

Teenage showdown

It was a showdown in our living room this past weekend. I gave her a task to complete, she refused to do it. And finally, when she saw that I was just as stubborn as she was, she huffed off and went to go do my bidding…or so I thought. When I came to her almost an hour later, she was face down in her bed, doing her best to ignore me. And when I asked her why she hadn’t finished the task I set out for her to do, she mumbled into her pillow that she was better equipped to do it in the morning.

ARGH!!!!

The next morning, she informed me that she would be hanging out with one of her guy friends. No asking. Just telling. And it was insinuated that I was not invited. So I informed her that this sounded too much like a date, and as she was only weeks from being just 13, this was not going to fly. The argument from the night before made an encore into this tense conversation. And fireworks were soon being set off right and left as we danced around a battle of wills to see who would win and who would submit to defeat. Thing is, I’m the mom. That is supposed to automatically make me win, right? And in her mind, she was just RIGHT, so that automatically made her the winner.

Obviously, neither of us was even close to backing down.

We eventually stated our final testimonies, leaving each other to stew in our own anger before letting it simmer to a gentle roll of thoughts and emotions that included a “maybe I was too harsh”. Of course, uttering those words would mean automatic disqualification, so neither of us was really keen on saying them out loud. But I am the mom, after all. And that gives me a slightly bigger responsibility to stop being immature and try to diffuse the situation. However, my daughter made it a little easier in her own way.

I continued making breakfast – soft boiling the eggs, pushing the bread down in the toaster, and buttering the already toasted pieces. She silently stepped in beside me, flipping the bacon when she saw that I was too occupied with the rest of the breakfast to keep them from crisping too much. And she helped me crack the soft boiled eggs and put them on the plates for the rest of the family. It was her way of making peace without ever uttering any words of concession. And it helped to soften the argument to the place of actually getting down to the root of the whole problem (which was separate from what we were actually arguing about, as it usually tends to be).

“I understand where you’re coming from,” I told her, regarding this separate issue. “I really do. And it sucks. I’m sorry,” I said. And she just smiled a small smile, letting me know that while she still didn’t think it was fair, she was willing to at least work with me on it.

And with that, it was over.

It was reminiscent of the arguments I used to hold with my own mother, the ones where we’d be at each other’s throats, screaming awful things at each other as we both struggled to be the one in the driver’s seat. And eventually we’d become so enraged that we’d be forced to separate and retreat to our own rooms where we could wish the most horrid things upon the other while mourning our own suffering and pain. And after a time, we would calm down and be able to diffuse the situation in a matter of moments, giggling and laughing as if we hadn’t just been guilty of leaving the household in an uproar as we bombed each other with the words we used as weapons, nicking anyone who was stupid enough to get in the way. And it would leave my poor dad wounded as he shook his head in disbelief that two totally stubborn women who had waged such an embarrassing war of words were now carrying on like nothing happened. I mean, where were our battle wounds? Because he seemed to be carrying the bulk of them.

And this was the case of DQ and me. Mere hours after our blowup, she insisted a seat next to me in church (an ironic place to be after a hell of an argument), and then spent the rest of the day hanging out with me as if she sort of liked me. And Mr. W was left to shake his head at the whole incident – though he had managed to avoid injury by quickly retreating during our flurry of angry words earlier that morning.

She turns 13 next week. And as my aunt (who raised three great kids who are even better adults) told me when I shared my story, “You’ve got a mountain to climb my dear, but you’ll eventually reach the other side. And it will be wonderful again I promise. I speak from lots of steep, rocky, avalanche-prone climbing experience.”

Ah, teenagers. Here’s to some steep mountains of torrential avalanches and gorgeous views.

Tackling Bullies

If you’ve been reading my stories for any length of time, you’ll notice that a common theme I discuss is in regards to bullying (like here, and here, and here). It makes sense. I’m a parent of kids who are only growing older. And as they grow older, the issue of bullying is becoming more of an epidemic in their schools. I worry about it. I worry that my kids will be targeted. I worry that any action or inaction I take will only make things worse for them. And with the way bullying can take any shape or form – from violence to mere teasing to using their Facebook pages as the ultimate tool in gathering the masses – I worry that my own kids will become guilty of bullying others as well.

More recently, I talked about a friend of mine who was potentially going through her own bullying situation. Her son was being challenged to a fight by a kid who was bigger and stronger, just to see who the winner would be. Basically it was a battle of brawn with an obvious outcome. As an update, nothing came up about it. The fight talk ended up being just that – talk. But in the meantime, my friend was suddenly faced with needing to know how to react to a kid who was threatening other kids, even just through empty threats. And the comments received on the blog (and any other blog that I have discussed bullying) were mixed. Some said to let the kids fight it out. Another said that school officials needed to be alerted immediately so that the bullying could be quashed. And another said to teach our sons and daughters to walk away.

The truth is, it’s hard to know how to handle a bully situation as a parent. Remembering what it was like to be a kid, the common feeling was that if a parent got involved, we were toast. Not only were we completely mortified, we were afraid of being more of a target for being a narc. So it was pretty much a given that any teasing we endured was kept from our parents so that we could at least save a little face.

And the bullying I witnessed in school was truly mean-spirited. One girl who was on the awkward side had an obvious crush on a popular boy in school. A group of girls created a love letter to her from him, with his knowledge. The girl was floating on Cloud 9 – until the boy broke up with her in front of everyone, making everyone laugh. Another girl had rumors circling around school about her solo bedroom behavior. And then there was the group of kids who thought it was funny to pants other students in gym class, thanks to the convenience of drawstring shorts (apparently these kids never graduated; my 7th grade daughter says this still happens in gym class). There was teasing about body parts thanks to the absence of modesty in the gym locker rooms. And there was peer pressure to try things we never would have done on our own, like drinking hard liquor in between classes or smoking pot behind the school or cutting class.

In truth, the bullying of yesterday was not better or less than the bullying of today. It was just as much a reality then as it is now. But now it has become much easier to target others thanks to the advances in technology. This is why schools have stepped up their efforts to stop bullying in their tracks, even including consequences for “cyber-bullying” done inside and outside of school hours in their rules.

And some schools have adopted a new anti-bullying program called SSA – Safe School Ambassadors.

I learned of SSA when my daughter was recently nominated to take part in it. The program targets the escalating problem of bullying by tackling from within – training a group of influential students to work amongst their peers to help alleviate negative situations more effectively. Note, it does not train kids to break up fights or to take on violent situations. Nor does it set them apart from their classmates by making them wear vests or badges. But it instead gives them tools to handle situations on the spot within their own group of friends so that circumstances involving bullying can be easily diffused. Due to the “narc problem”, adults are more likely than not to be ignorant of what students are really going through. At one point in the training program, the students discussed the things they had witnessed on school grounds. As they mentioned the weapons they had seen, the drugs kids their age were taking, and other scary situations that were taking place, my daughter told me that the teachers were holding their hands over their gaping mouths in shock. We just don’t know what kids are going through. We don’t know what kinds of peer pressures they are being faced with. We can be the best parent in the world and still be unaware that our child is being tormented by others or that they are guilty of being the tormentor. So a peer based anti-bullying program makes sense.

But as parents, what is within our realm of power to protect our children from bullying? First, forget the narc problem. If you learn of something going on, discuss it with the principal or the teacher so that it can be handled quickly and effectively. If your kids are targeted more, speak up more. Send the message loud and clear that your child is not a victim, and any negative action against your child will reap a world of hurt in consequences.  Get to know your children’s friends and their parents, creating a network of people to fight this battle together. Go to PTA meetings and school events to broaden that network. If your children are on social networks, be a presence on there too. It is not infringing on their privacy to be their Facebook friend. It is being aware of their online activity. In fact, in my household my kids are only allowed to be on social networks if I am not only their “friend”, but if I also know their password to log on. It is common knowledge that I check up on them by accessing their accounts and knowing what they are up to – including their “private” conversations and viewing their friends’ pages. The same rule applies to my daughter’s cell phone.  It is not being nosy.  It is not snooping.  It is ensuring that my kids are safe, and that they are engaging in only safe and respectful activity.  And if I see something that goes against that, I bring it out in the open with them.

Do you have an opinion on handling bullying? Are there things you have witnessed that shock or anger you? What are some things that we as parents can do to help our kids, or that the schools should be doing to tackle this problem?

Giving your kid the Latch-Key

Is your child ready to become a Latchkey Kid?

When I was still in school, there were some days that my mom wasn’t there when I got home. I would have to use my key to get in, make myself a snack, and then do my homework before I could watch TV or play outside. I would make sure that I would get everything done as told. And I would ensure that my younger sister was watching TV or otherwise occupied. And then I would go down the hall to my parents’ room, close the door behind me, and search the room for anything interesting I could find. Eating from my mom’s secret stash of chocolate, snoop for the hidden Christmas presents, thumb through my dad’s vintage Playboy magazines (for the articles, of course), try on all my mom’s jewelry, and watch TV from the comfort of their huge bed .

I flippin’ loved those days.

Oh, don’t look at me that way. You know that you were just as rotten as me when I was a kid. Honestly, it’s not like there was anything that interesting in my parents’ rooms. It’s just that when a room is otherwise off-limits in the light of day, it is incredibly intriguing. And now that my son has finally graduated into “latchkey kid” status, he is probably doing the same thing. The clue?

“Did you know mom has a sink in her room???” Taz exclaimed to his sister a full week and a half after we had moved in.

Dear God. I haven’t let the kids into my room enough. It is surely the Pandora’s Box of our house, waiting to be opened in times when I’m not around. Don’t laugh. Your kids are currently searching for any incriminating evidence that you are human while you are reading this at work. And that brings up a very important question.

When are kids old enough to be left home alone?

Both of my kids got their own key to the house when they were 9. It wasn’t a set rule in our family, that 9 equals being old enough to be left alone. It was more about gauging when they were ready for such a responsibility. Were they self-sufficient enough to make something to eat when they were hungry? Could they finish their homework on their own? Can they entertain themselves without my help? Will they make smart choices when I’m not on top of them? I started testing the theory by allowing them to stay home alone for short periods of time, like when I went for a walk. Then I’d make it a little longer by going to the store without them, or taking a little time to run errands while they stayed home. I drilled them on what to do in an emergency, had them memorize my cell phone number and their grandparent’s number, and had them practice using their keys in the door lock. And eventually, I felt comfortable enough to let them stay in the house on their own.

Of course, I think it was me that needed the most prepping for this major change. I don’t care how ready your children are, the moment that you give your child a key is also the moment that you wonder when CPS is going to catch up with you for abandoning your child. I felt like someone would surely turn me in once they found out my child was home and I wasn’t.

But besides some snooping the kids may or may not be doing, the kids are doing fine. They call me every day as soon as they walk in the door, letting me know they made it home ok. They follow the normal rules that apply to their after school routine. And they are even a huge help in taking care of a couple chores before I get home 2 hours later.  I think the added trust I have placed on them makes them feel important, and they take that responsibility to heart.

Are you thinking of letting your child stay home alone? There are a couple things you need to think of. First, their age. Sure, California has no law set for when a child can stay home alone. But logic tells us that a child younger than age 7 (sometimes older) isn’t capable of knowing what to do in situations should they go wrong. Some kids ages 8-12 are fully capable of staying home alone in a familiar environment, like their own home for a short period of time (like after school, for example). Older than age 12 allows for a little more freedom, but still isn’t old enough to stay home alone overnight. Only you know if your child can handle the responsibility of staying home alone. Second, there should be clear cut rules set up for when they get home, the same routine they should adhere to every day (homework before fun). They should also know the things they are NOT allowed to do, and the consequences should they decide to ignore these rules. Third, they should know your phone number by heart so that they can call you as soon as they get home, and if they have any questions. There should also be a list of phone numbers to neighbors and family member available to them should they need anything. Fourth, and most important, they should be trained on what to do in case of an emergency. Discuss different kinds of emergencies and the actions they should take, including when it is appropriate to call 911.

And finally, a good way to ensure they stay out of trouble is to occupy their time with a small chore. It not only helps lighten your load once you get home, it keeps them from doing something naughty, like say, snooping in your room. Of course, a good lock does that too.

Do you have a child that is nearing latchkey kid status?  Or maybe you already have one.  What are your thoughts on kids staying home alone?

The SEX talk

It's not the most comfortable talk, but it's the most necessary.

I don’t think there is any more difficult conversation you can have with your tween than the (dum, dum, dum) SEX TALK. Honestly, we’ve spent our whole life as parents keeping it behind closed doors so that the kids don’t see. We’ve taught them the appropriate way to keep their willy in their pants, that “play time” is set aside for “private time”, not when they are sitting in the kindergarten circle discussing the colors of the rainbow. We prepare them for the changes their bodies are going to go through, and buy them a stick of deodorant in hopes of toning down that musky underarm stench (which, sorry, but there comes a time when NOTHING helps). We discuss where babies come from, and describe how they are made using technical terms. But eventually, it comes down to the fact that we need to discuss the big one – doing the deed, the horizontal tango, playing monopoly, the whole shebang….

We need to talk about actual sex.

We’re not talking the kind of sex that other people are doing. We’re not talking about what their parents are doing. We’re not even talking about backtracking to how babies are made (though that is a BIG part of the discussion) using cute diagrams and musing over the miracle of life. We’re talking about what they will be doing with their own bodies one day. Or, even though we don’t want to believe it to be true, what they may already be doing. And we need to talk about the reality of sex – the good parts as well as the bad.

I had this discussion with both of my kids a little while ago in the car. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have been keeping the discussion about sex an open topic since they were little, keeping it age appropriate. But as of late, I’ve been stepping up the discussion. My daughter is just about to enter Jr. High. And at her age, kids are already starting to share relationships with the opposite sex. This next year she will be introduced to all sorts of new topics. And when it comes to the big ones, I’d prefer that she get her information at home first. At any rate, I started out the conversation by asking her about her recent Sex Ed class she had attended at school. I asked about the topics that they had covered, and she said that they had discussed a bit about the changes that are occurring in girls, but had mostly covered what goes on with boys. The boys had watched a video that discussed girls’ changes.

“So they didn’t cover sex yet?” I asked her.

“No, I think we talk about that next year,” she said.

“Ha ha! DQ’s having sex!” the Taz piped up in the back seat. He giggled while his sister looked ultra annoyed.

“You don’t even know what it is,” DQ fired back.

“Yes I do,” the Taz said smugly.

“Alright Taz, what is it?” I asked him. And he started making kissing sounds and wrapping his arms around himself. “What is that?” I asked him. “Kissing? Is that what sex is?”

“Yup,” he said.

“Wrong!” DQ said.

“What is it then?” the Taz asked, suddenly really interested in the conversation.

“Are you sure you want to know?” I asked him. He nodded.

“You don’t know what you’re asking for,” DQ giggled.

“Tell me,” the Taz begged.

“Ok. It’s when a man and a woman come together, and the man puts his penis–”

“Nooooo!” the Taz cried, falling over in the backseat acting thoroughly disgusted.

“Do you want me to continue?” I asked.

“Yeah, keep going,” he grimaced.

“The man puts his penis” (groan!) “in the woman’s vagina.”

“Auuuugggghhh!” the Taz cried. By this point, DQ was giggling uncontrollably.

“People have to have sex to make babies,” she told the Taz.

“But how does that make a baby?” he asked.

“Well,” I started.

“No! No more!” the Taz said, laughing.

“You sure?”

“No. Keep going.”

“When the man’s penis is in the woman’s vagina” (augh!) “he has what’s called an orgasm. Stuff comes out of his penis called ejaculate. And in that ejaculate is something called sperm. The sperm travels to the egg inside of the woman, fertilizes the egg, and then a baby begins to grow inside of the woman.”

“Do you have sex?” the Taz asked me.

Ok, pause. If I were married to the kids’ father, this would be an easy question to answer. Yes. Of course I am having sex. No, we’re not trying to have babies anymore, but sex is an incredibly enjoyable act that two people share when they are in love.

But I’m not married.

I understand that there is a virtue for saving yourself for marriage. I actually have several friends who have done this. And, especially in this day and age, I applaud the gift they are about to give their husband on their wedding night. But I have already experienced sex. And let’s be frank. I like it. I’ve experienced casual sex, and I’ve experienced relationship sex. And in my single life, I’ve come to the conclusion that sex with someone you love and who loves you back is a million times better than those of a one night stand. And I have also realized that casual sex is never really casual, that intercourse leaves a bit of your soul with that person so it hurts that much more when expectations don’t work out the way we had planned. So I get why saving yourself for marriage is actually an excellent choice. But I don’t exactly want to live my single life without it, or feel like I am in a rush to get married just to have sex again. Being that Mr. W and I don’t plan on getting married anytime soon, I would probably wither up and die in certain areas of my body…

And, wait a second… Isn’t the sex talk supposed to only be uncomfortable for the kids? I really wasn’t prepared for the tables to be turned. But what choice did I have? I needed to answer them. And so I did.

“Yes,” I squeaked.

Both of the kids nearly suffered from whiplash as they turned to face me.

“YOU DO?!?” they cried. Both of them took turns telling me exactly how they felt about that – how they thought it was so healthy for me and Mr. W to express our love in such a caring and mutual way, how they were glad that we were comfortable enough in our bodies to be able to share them with each other. But it sounded more like this:

“Ew! Gross! You’ve seen Mr. W naked? He’s seen you naked??? How many times have you done it?”

And through this revelation that they really had no idea that their mom was “doing it”, I realized another thing. I had just been the one to break through my kids’ innocence and give them more knowledge than they even had an inkling about. As far as they were concerned Mr. W and I slept in flannel jammies when I went over there, our bodies covered from the top of the neck all the way down to our feet. We hadn’t even seen each other pee (something else my kids were horrified about upon discovery). Basically, I had just revealed to my kids that it is possible to have sex outside of marriage.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have never pretended that I would tell my kids that waiting till marriage is their only option. Just like I am not reserving sex for only marriage for myself, I couldn’t possibly hold my children to that regard. But I quickly explained to them that while sex is intended as an act inside of marriage, it is possible to have it when unmarried. That’s when I took the opportunity to explain the heartache that occurs with sex, how you have to be so careful to not have sex with a person that isn’t going to handle you gently, body and heart. And I also explained that sex does feel good, but it feels better when it’s with someone you love. And, along with that, I touched on how there are also dangers that come with sex – briefly touching on unplanned pregnancy and the kinds of STDs that are possible, and how there are some people who will force sex on another person.

Even though I shattered the remaining fragments of my children’s innocence, it was actually a really good conversation. And I’m happy to say that it has opened up more discussions since, ones that are less traumatic since we got the hard stuff out of the way.

CLICK HERE for tips on how to initiate a discussion about sex with your tween or teen, and things you should be thinking about before the conversation even starts.

Anyone else having “the talk” with their kids? When did you start? And how did you initially introduce the topic?

Getting high on Digital Drugs

Is getting a digital high just as concerning as the real thing?

If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately, you’ve likely been inundated with stories about marijuana – the fight for and against legalizing it, the closing of several dispensaries, the heightened use among teens, even blogs by yours truly. Parents, forget your concerns about marijuana for just a moment and pay attention to the latest way your child is getting high – probably right under your nose. See little Johnny over there with his headphones on? Don’t look now, but your kid is probably stoned. And guess what?

He’s doing it legally.

The scary part is that your child doesn’t even need pharmaceuticals to achieve that high. He’s buying it online from a dealer called “iTunes” or “YouTube”. That’s right, through “i-Dosing”, your son or daughter is getting high on (gasp) MP3s. This latest craze among teens is raising the ire of many.  In fact, Oklahoma is taking a stance against it by warning parents about the dangers of i-Dosing, which just might be the next “gateway drug”.

So what is i-Dosing exactly? Apparently it’s a droning sound that, when listened to, gives the same feeling of being blitzed from marijuana or cocaine. Imagine going to the World Cup and being surrounded by a bunch of vuvuzelas. You there? Congratulations, you’ve just gotten high.

Alright, let me just say it now – SERIOUSLY? What’s next, banning headphones? If my kid is rebelling by listening to an annoying sound through earphones, all I’m going to do about it is make fun of them for life. Really kid? This is your way of acting out? Ooh, there’s no controlling you, you rebel. I listened to it myself and it mostly just made my head feel like it was going to explode from how annoying it was.

For those of you wanting to get digitally stoned, take a hit.

You know my stance.  What’s your take on this dangerous practice?