As I See It
Do You Know What Your Kids Are Doing?
By Jill Chapin
Sep 24, 2006 - 10:00:00 PM

We all remember Columbine and other horrific stories of students plotting mass murders and arming themselves right in their own homes. They were under the unwatchful eyes of their parents, who always insisted that they had no idea such madness was brewing down the hall.

I believe them. I believe that far too many parents are clueless about their children's lives. Some are simply too uncaring, or too naive, or too busy, or too trusting to take the time to be a meaningful caregiver to their children. Whatever their reasons, a recent survey revealed unequivocally that there is a huge disconnect between what kids are doing and what parents think they are doing.

A survey in a recent edition of Time magazine revealed that 50 percent of 12 to 17-year-olds admitted that drugs, alcohol or both are readily available at their parties.

However, 80 percent of parents surveyed responded that they do not believe that alcohol or marijuana are available at their teenagers' social gatherings.

As the new school year begins, the following poem might jar otherwise complacent parents to wake up and smell the weed. Better to awaken now than to get that dreaded wake-up call in the middle of the night, reporting heartbreaking news of an overdose.

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Photo by Kibiwot Limo

POEM FOR PARENTS

 

When it comes to raising children, you may think you know yours well.

But there's many things they do each day, and you're not one they tell.

Sure, we used to have our secrets, too; it's part of teenage years.

But nowadays the things they do are laced with acts to fear.

The "good" kids too are not immune from tempts to steer them wrong.

Most likely they can't handle taunts, and thus they go along.

You think that they are at a friend's, when point of fact, they're not.

Instead, they may be at the beach, all night, with beer and pot.

Heretofore your trust in them was always understood.

But maybe you don't realize the dangers as you should.

The "good" kids see the "bad" ones as fun, street-smart and cool.

And you by dull comparison are easy guys to fool.

So please beware, I beg of you, make sure you know the score.

Get parents' names and numbers - not after, but before.

Don't worry if your kids complain that you're too interfering.

They secretly feel relieved you care, and find you quite endearing.

'Cause many times they find themselves in scenes way over their head.

And wish that you'd be "onto" them and keep them home instead.

A three-word mantra can carry you through these days to get you by.

They're Reagan's words, they could save your child's life:

Trust, but verify.

Don't just read this. Share it with your kids and ask them how much of this is true. Then maybe Time magazine will retake that survey and find a few more parents who actually know what's going on in the lives of their children down the hall.



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