Monday, January 25, 2010

eyelashes and teenagers and drink

on saturday morning, mary schook transformed my exhausted, alien eyes back into doe-like ones with the addition of false eyelashes, mascara, shadow and liner.

i was excited because sasha was having a surprise 17th birthday for one of her best friends. who is a lovely, willowy girl i've known since they were both 2 1/2.

i was allowing sasha to have the party in my currently-empty office as long as she promised me that there would be no drinking allowed. not least because i don't want to take responsibility for anyone's else drunk minors.

so i thought, at least i'll look pretty whilst chaperoning.

of course, in the end, the party got totally out of control. by 11 o'clock, i was so exhausted that i was huddled on the sofa wrapped in my coat, my eyelashes peeling off like caterpillars. i'd asked an ex, aaron, a 6'2" former navy seal, to come over and be the bouncer. but aaron wasn't prepared to pull too much authority on the kids. he was thrown out of the party by sasha.

and my chemo-limited vision and hearing were no match for the sneaky, totally inebriated kids who arrived with bottles and cans in tow.

in fact, every single house rule was broken and sasha spent all sunday mopping the floor.

i realize, having been a kid who was a bit of a nerdy intellectual (or i fancied myself such), i have no skills to deal with the super-sophisticated new york city cool kids. even less so when i can barely form sentences.

my own feeling is that teenagers should not drink. there is a legal drinking age and part of the reason it exists is that at 14 or 16, you lack wisdom, judgement and a sense of your own mortality. unsupervised drunk kids are likely to drink themselves into a stupor, do something dangerous or hurt someone else.

if you want to let your teenagers drink alcohol, try and be around while they do it. don't send them out on the street or onto the subway (where it seems a lot of well-heeled schoolboys attempt stupid tricks like hanging on the outside of the train).

i ended up spending monday morning talking to almost all the other parents, and a shrink who deals with adolescents to re-discover my compass.

all that to find out one thing.

as a mum, you need to listen to your intuition.

forget that whole guilt thing that they will lay on you: "you don't trust me, then how can i tell you the truth?" or "if you punish me, you will just make it worse. i'll want to do it more."

if you get the feeling your kid is lying, drunk or doing something she shouldn't, don't let her talk you out of it. even if your exhusband insists you are being unfair and "trying to control their lives." (by the way, that is part of the parental job description.) if you're not a sadist or a helicopter, if your kid needs to be reined in, and you love her, do what you have to.

you're probably right.

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