Category Archives: Teens

What’s The Matter With Kids Today?

What’s the problem with kids today?  The answer to that is easy:  THEIR PARENTS!

According to the Fresno Bee, five high school seniors cut down two trees on their campus as a “senior prank.”  School officials expelled the students and transferred them to a continuation school to finish out their senior year.

The students (all seniors and football players) cut down two Southern Live Oak trees, with ten-inch trunks.  The trees were about 14 years old and nearly 20 feet high.  The damage was estimated to be between $7,500 and $14,000.  The boys said this was a prank meant to deprive junior classmates of shade.

Stupid, stupid, stupid…..but they are all “jock heroes,” probably way too used to inflated estimations of their own value and power.

The school did exactly the right thing.

The parents did exactly the wrong thing.  They said that the school “overreacted,” and they got attorneys involved to get their kids back in the school.  The school is standing firm.  Good for them.

“To hire attorneys,” as one of my listeners wrote to me, “teaches these kids that they can get away with ‘pranks’ and that they do not have to respect the law or be accountable for such behavior to school officials.  It will be interesting to see how these youngsters turn out as they mature.  Will they be good citizens?  Will they raise their children similarly to how they were raised?  Will their views change on how their own parents handled this life lesson?  It remains to be seen.  I do hope our community doesn’t read about them again later on down the line after they’ve robbed a store or beaten someone up and again hired an attorney to defend their actions.”

That point, in particular, is why (when people call and tell me that they have “x” number of “beautiful” children) I tell them I don’t care if they have pretty or ugly kids.  I only care that they have decent kids, because the well being of all of us depends on that.

Bullies Depend on Your Cowardice

On Monday, I wrote about the event in Massachusetts that you’ve all heard about by now.  Several South Hadley, Massachusetts high school students are being tried on felony charges for the harassment of a high school freshman which led to her suicide.  It was worse than harassment – it was persecution, both physical and mental, and in the full view of other students and teachers.  No one did anything to stop them, not even fellow students.  Disgusting, really.

What I want you parents to do is to teach your children to stand between evil and the innocent, even if they risk being ostracized or worse.  It is only when people stop just standing by that evil will be squelched. 

My son came home from middle school one day to say he was in trouble because he was in a fight.  I asked what happened.  He told me that some kid was picking on another kid and it got physical.  I asked him what happened then?  He said that he got into it with the bully.  I asked him who won.  He looked down at his shoes and muttered “I did.”

I gave him high fives, made his favorite dinner, and sent my husband in to the school the next day to make it clear to the principal that we expected the bully (and not our son) to be punished.  I sent my husband, because he is more laid back than I (if you get my drift).

We can have a million court cases and school suspensions.  But it is only when parents teach their children to intervene that these bullies will be brought to their knees.  They count on the cowardice of your children for their freedom to torment.  Tell your children to band together if necessary and do the right thing.

Spoiled Brats Are the New Bullies

There is a precedent-setting action being taken by the District Attorney in South Hadley, Massachusetts.  A high school freshman, Phoebe Prince, new in town from Ireland, was harassed by a pack of older teens.  This was school bullying taken to the extreme:  she was subject to threats and physical abuse, and unfortunately, this young girl hanged herself when she could no longer tolerate the terror.

Criminal charges ranging from statutory rape to stalking and civil rights violations have been filed against the teenagers (two boys and four girls).

Unfortunately, the criminal charges stop there.  I would add that teachers, the principal and the administration should be subject to criminal charges as well or a civil lawsuit, because the bullying was common knowledge for months, and the girl’s mother twice complained to school staffers.  Some bullying was even witnessed by teachers.  It’s time to rise up and counter this vicious free-for-all going on in our schools.

Where do the kids get the gall to do this?  From everything around them! 

Watch “reality” television.  It’s all about being mean and out of control.  Even American Idol has so-called “judges” who insult people on national television.  Watch music videos and listen to mean/hostile lyrics with out-of-control sexually aggressive scenes.  What happened to the heartsick love songs of the 1950s?

Watch television or listen to most radio with people shouting angrily at each other, accusing each other of racism and such simply for having a different opinion or point of view.  Dominating people by humiliation is what we do for entertainment in our society.  “Lord of the Flies”-type behavior from our children should not be a surprise.  What is a surprise is that adults and parents stand by, afraid of their own children and handcuffed by political correctness, where vile behavior now becomes protected speech. 

That whole town of South Hadley, Massachusetts should be ashamed.  Phoebe’s parents should have taken her out of that school the same way I tell parents in step-families to leave with their children when the spouse or the spouse’s children become abusive.  The school should have thrown those brats out on their ears, worrying later about whether or not their parents would sue.

If you’re thinking “Well, no one could know that she would kill herself,” you should know that according to one source, “one of the girls posted on Phoebe’s Facebook page right after her suicide:  ‘Accomplished.’”

They tormented her to death on purpose.

This is our next generation?

Inspiration from a Teenager

The Hartford Courant recently published an essay by Justin Verrier on a Connecticut female teenage swimmer.  “After swimming laps at a recent practice in the Glastonbury High School pool, Rachel Grusse told her coach, Suzi Hoyt, her shoulder felt sore.  Hoyt responded as she always does to such concerns by her swimmers, instructing Grusse to put on flippers and ‘kick for a little while’ to rest her arms.  ‘I just looked up at her and told her, Um…I don’t think I can do that, Grusse said, smiling.”

Remember the word smiling.  When Grusse was 16 months old, it was discovered that she was born without a spleen, and she contracted a form of bacterial pneumonia that cut off the blood flow to her extremities, which resulted in the cutting off of her legs at the base of her knees, as well as the last joint of her fingers.

Now, many teenage girls with just a few pimples would hide in their bedrooms, but not Rachel.  With the help of prosthetic legs, she has participated in all types of sports, including soccer and, most recently, wheelchair basketball, but swimming is her passion.  Since she has to rely on her upper body for swimming, she does a lot of upper body strengthening, like…walking on her hands!

Her comment?  “I’ve just heard some people say that I’m an example to other kids.  But to me, I don’t feel like I’m any different.  I’m just doing what I can, and doing the best that I can.

She swims against “normal” swimmers and rarely wins, but she loves the sport anyway.

She swims against others who are disabled and often places, but not always, and she loves the sport anyway. 

Since she has no memory of having had legs, for her, it is kind of “normal” – the real amazing quality of hers is her attitude to just do what she can and do the best that she can.

Disabled or not, that is the winning attitude in life that ultimately brings you happiness.  She does what she loves and does the best she can at it.  Period.  There is a lesson in that for everyone.