Tag Archives: teens

Sonoma County Teen Idol

Do you watch American Idol, and think, “Hey, my kid can do that!” Or maybe your child has expressed interest in showing off their vocal chops. Well, now’s their chance. Kodiak Jack’s is hosting Sonoma County Teen Idol for teens between the ages of 13-20. Prizes are $1000 first place, $500 second place, $250 third place. Event dates are Dec 6th, 13th, and 20th from 8pm – 10pm, and your teen must commit to being present for all three dates. There is no cover charge for these dates. 

To audition for this event, your teen can call 707-765-2515 and leave a singing voice message, up to 2 minutes acapella. Or they can come in to Kodiak Jack’s to audition during karaoke on Thursdays and Saturdays between 6PM-9:30PM. Auditions will be taking place up till December 3rd. For more information, check out the rules and regs on their website.

Teenagers: A Mom's Lament

A mom was lamenting to me about her 13 year old son. He used to be such a nice kid – totally respectable and responsible, and extremely trustworthy. But things changed in the last year. His parents got divorced, surely a huge shock to his world. And with the divorce came a lot of changes. Both of his parents moved into new relationships, and suddenly he was spending his time at both houses, breaking up his own free time into two equal parts. He won’t talk about what he’s feeling, and seems to be acting like he’s fine with all of it. But my friend is confused now by what seems to be either teenage angst, or results from her and her husband’s divorce.

This kid, we’ll call him Steven, has suddenly become more withdrawn. He answers his mom in a series of grunts, or even blatantly ignores her. He doesn’t want to spend as much time with her. And he has become more secretive. She doesn’t suspect drugs or anything like that, but she has noticed addicting behavior with his game system and his computer. Steven will stay up till 2 or 3 in the morning playing his video games, chatting it up with people all around the world. She had no idea this was going on until she caught him. She ended up taking the game system away for a week and removing the power cord to the computer from his room. Steven retaliated by sneaking the laptop out of his mom’s room at night while she was sleeping. When he was caught, the games were taken away until the end of summer. After a weekend away at his dad’s house, she tucked him into bed and then turned the modem off in her room to curb any internet temptations from him. But at 1 in the morning, she caught him once again sneaking in her room to turn the internet back on.  Apparently he had already found a power cord to replace the one she took, and admitted without remorse that this had been going on for awhile.

Frankly, she’s at a loss. She could keep punishing him for his sneakiness, but it’s obviously not working. And she’s hesitant to overly punish him for this when a)there might be a bigger issue at hand and b)this is hardly about the electronics but more about trust. She’s frustrated because he’s not listening at all and has made it pretty clear that he is going to do whatever he wants. And he just doesn’t seem to care.  She is afraid that the behavior is only going to get worse, and fearful that it might result into bigger issues if it can’t be curbed now.

Is this just a case of being a teenager, or does it seem that his behavior is a result of the rocky year he’s just experienced? What should Steven’s mother (and father) do? How should they handle this? What is your take on the situation, and how can one help a teenager understand the importance of trust?

Leave a comment, or join the discussion in the forums.

Teenage Angst

I was an awful teen. I can say that now that I’m in my 30’s, because I sure didn’t think so then. I thought my parents were idiots, completely clueless about anything in life. I was sassy (to put it nicely) and sullen. I would lock myself in my room all day long just to be on my own. And if they tried to ask me anything, it would most likely be met with a roll of the eyes. The rules they infringed on me were ridiculous. The expectations they had were ludicrous. There was nothing worse than doing things as a family. I’d save myself by plugging into my walkman and zoning out. In my defense, I wouldn’t say I was any different than any other teen. I had two sisters who were just as cheeky as me when I was a teen, but I was just louder about it. So I was always the one who got in trouble.

The result to my difficult teenage years was a rift in my relationship with my dad. He couldn’t relate with me, which made me unable to relate with him. Any conversation between us usually ended up with slammed doors or strong words. He had high expectations of me. I just wanted him to leave me alone. I think the hardest part to all of this was the fact that we had actually been really close before everything changed. To suddenly find ourselves in this canyon was shocking to both of us. I hurt on the inside (though I never let him know) because he was so disappointed in me. His approval meant everything. And because he didn’t approve of this cranky teenager I was becoming, I went out of my way to be worse. I acted like I didn’t care at all. I figured that by “not caring”, I wouldn’t hurt as much. I think I have a clear understanding that he was hurt too.

There was one thing, though, that brought us close together – coffee in the morning. We had a ritual. Every morning he woke up super early to get to work, but would start out with a cup of coffee in the morning over the newspaper. I would wake up early as well to get a cup of Joe. And together we would sip coffee, even occasionally sharing stories in the paper. In those few moments before the rest of the house woke up, it was like time had reversed. There was no rift. Occasionally there was even a mutual truce put up as we talked about the hard stuff. It was when we connected.

Yesterday was my dad’s birthday. Our family all sat around the table at Olive Garden in Rohnert Park, celebrating my dad’s 60+ years. It was amazing to see how full circle we’ve come in our own relationship. My dad is the man that I look to when I think of how a man should be. He’s a great dad, and an even better grandpa. He’s been my kids’ role model and father figure, as he was mine all along.

The reason I write this is because I know there are a lot of parents of teenagers out there that are at their wit’s end with children who have suddenly become something they don’t recognize anymore. It will pass, I promise. Someday you will be able to sit with your child, and know that they are your friend. And that might be hard to see right now. So find the one thing that you DO have in common, and hold on to it. For my dad and me, it was morning coffee. For you it might be something totally different. Whatever it is, let them meet you. If that one small thing is the only thing holding the two of you together for the next few years, so be it. They want you to care. They want you to listen. And they want you to be the constant in their lives. But they just can’t say it. At least not yet.