Thursday, October 30, 2014

Why Teens Need Parents

Recently a company that provides In-Home Care slipped a brochure into my mailbox at the hospital.

It was a beautiful 4 color pamphlet with an explanation of all the services they provide. They provided a helpful list of questions to ask to help determine whether or not you needed the services they provided.

As I read through this list, I realized how many of these applied to teenagers.
Teenagers want their independence in the worst way. Older people who need help will do anything to maintain their independence.  It struck me that maybe teenagers need more help than we give them.

These were some of the questions they posed:

  • Has there been a recent emotional or medical crisis?
There is ALWAYS some kind of crisis with a teen. Not a day goes by that they're not  having some emotional melt down or needing stitches, or physicals
  • Does the individual bathe less often or not at all?
Any mother of a teenager will tell you what a battle it is to get them to shower.
  • Are pills left over or running out too soon?
Getting teens to take their medications is like pulling teeth. Asthma, allergies, depression, ADHD, etc.  It's a daily battle. We resorted to pill boxes and checking.
  • Does the individual need help walking?
Okay, Do all mothers feel like glorified chauffeurs, or is it just me? Oh, and walking the dog? That is a battle royale.
  • is he/she verbally or physically abusive?
Well, calling your parents "lame," "stupid," "fat," etc., seemed like normal teen behavior to me. Not necessarily abusive. Besides, I just ignore them..
  • is he/she becoming more forgetful?
  "I didn't KNOW I had homework!"  "I didn't know I had a TEST today!"
  "I forgot it was my turn to empty the dishwasher!" 
 "You didn't TELL me that I had to do my laundry!"
  • Have there been recent falls?
Read my blog post on concussions. Scared the bejeebers out of me.
  • Is your loved one having problems sleeping?
If staying up until 2 a.m. playing MineCraft and then arguing about being too tired to get up in the morning is problems sleeping, then yes.
  • Has there been recent weight loss?
Okay, NOT in my household. My kids eat  me out of house and home. My food bill is 1/4 of the GNP.
  • is his/her hearing or vision affecting the ability to function?
 "I didn't hear you call me" (for the four thousand six hundredth time).
 "I didn't SEE the garbage all over the kitchen floor from the dog knocking over the can!"
  • if he/she smokes, are there burn marks on clothes or bedsheets?
 Thank God for this=NO. Their father is a pulmonologist and there would be hell to pay if they started smoking.
  • is your loved one able to do errands alone?
Able is a relative term.  Willing? There's the crux of the question.
  • is clothing being changed daily?
HAH!!! Seriously? Not.
  • are there scorch marks on the pot holders or dish towels?
Teenagers learning to cook require a working smoke alarm and team parenting.
  • are there signs of burnt pans on the stove?
  Um, Yes.  But that was MY bad. (Looking down embarrassed.) I was trying to dry the cast iron skillet, and forgot it was on when I went to binge watch something on Netflix.
  • Is routine house cleaning not being done?
They do it. Under duress. Badly. I just close the door to their rooms. I insist they "re-do" if they don't do a good job in the family areas though.
  • Have social activities stopped or diminished?
We have a rule. No screens when family is over. Period. It helps.
If you checked even one of these questions, perhaps it is time to consider in-home care. But before you select your care provider, make sure you ask the right questions.


  • When is cocktail hour in this place?

  • Did I really sign up for this?

  • What was I thinking?

I deserve my portion of the Halloween candy. It's a parenting tax.
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