Woodstock scare makes parents think: ‘How well do I know my teen?’

Parents and students at Woodstock High School had quite a scare Thursday. The school was locked down and an unloaded handgun was found in a restroom of the Cherokee County school. Two teens were arrested and two assault rifles were found at one of the student’s homes. A third student was being questioned.

One twist here: The parents of one of the boys arrested called the cops when they believed he ran away. When the police arrived to investigate they realized several of their guns were missing. Here’s the full AJC story.

Police are still trying to figure out what the teenagers planned to do with the guns.

“It may end up that there was no plot,” said Cherokee County Sheriff’s department spokesman Sgt. Jay Baker in the article.

In situations like this thoughts pretty quickly turn to the parents. How much did they know? How much could they have prevented? (It seems like these parents and these police officers did a pretty good job piecing things together.)

Hopefully none of us will ever be in the position of having to defend ourselves or our children, but it may be a good time to think about how tuned in we are to our own children.

  • Would you have noticed if school was going badly for your child? Would they tell you?
  • Would you have noticed if your child was stockpiling weapons?
  • Would you have noticed if any of your personal guns or ammo were missing?

What are your thoughts on the school lockdown and arrests yesterday? Would you have been tuned in enough to your kids to prevent them from getting into trouble? Would you know if they were feeling alienated at school?

34 comments Add your comment

Theresa Giarrusso

March 6th, 2009
8:37 am

Good morning guys!! I hope you have found us!! We have a new blogging platform that I think you guys will like. I’m still getting to know it, and will be adding new content to the page over the next week or so.

We will be able to have our own polls now so I would love for you guys to send me ideas for questions you would love to ask other mothers. They could be about marriage, sex, kids, in-laws — just to name a few. I think this can be a lot of fun but I need your great ideas!

I’m sorry this is not a super fun topic for FUN FRIDAY. I will try to keep it lighter in the future!


March 6th, 2009
9:28 am

I know my kid very well. I know her friends, I know their parents. When you live in one place long enough, you get to know those around you. I talk to her friend’s parents all the time. We hang out alot.

When you are truly involved in your child’s life, and are a “hands on” parent (not to be confused with helicopter parents), you know your kid.

When you make your family your #1 priority, you succeed. When that priority gets bumped, due to jobs, etc. you are failing your kids.

Talk to you kids constantly!!!! They listen, even if they roll their eyes, OH MOM you, etc. Not just once in a while, but ALL THE TIME. Our kids need us and we cannot fail them.

I have been raising my child alone all her life. I have not dated, not partied, etc. I put my life on hold, so I could concentrate on raising her. I have no regrets. I didn’t parade a bunch of men in and out of our home. I put her as #1. I put US as #1. I bought my two houses in certain locations in order to get her into good schools. I got her into a sport, only one, but we made a ton of friends in the years she played softball.

T n T's Mom

March 6th, 2009
9:49 am

I agree. Talk to you kids. Be involved. As you sit on the sidelines at sports, talk the parents. Encourage your teen to invite friends to your house, then talk to and get to know the teens.

I also am on Facebook and friends with my son and his friends. I can see the post and what they are talking about. I also periodically read my son’s text messages on his phone.

But talking is the key. I you can develop a good relationship when they are pre-teens, they will continue to talk to you.


March 6th, 2009
10:18 am

It’s comforting to think that, as parents, if we’re “good parents” and do A, B, and C, then our kid will turn out ok. Happily, that’s true most of the time. Unfortunately, though, kids grow up with brains of their own, and sometimes, they make really, really stupid decisions, such as these kids did. We all realize that our kids are bound to make questionable decisions at some point, and we parent, hope and pray that they aren’t life-threatening or life-changing: driving drunk, doing drugs, weapons, etc. My favorite saying is “They’re kids — they aren’t finished, yet.” I strongly agree with the need for communication, etc., but again — sometimes, no matter what we do or how hard we work, things turn out differently. We make ourselves feel better when we point at the parents and say, “Oooh, bad parents, they didn’t do A, B or C!” It’s too simplistic to blame it on the parents. The kids made a bad choice. They knew the consequences (otherwise, they wouldn’t have hidden the guns), and now they have to face the consequences.

I’d like to *think* that I would know something was up. I’d like to think I’d notice that a cache of weapons had inexplicably appeared in my house. I’d like to think that I would be in tune with my kids’ problems and take steps to help them solve those problems. I’m sure these parents thought so, to, and are asking themselves “How in the hell did this happen?!”

@JJ: Please don’t think of it as “putting your life on hold”. I’m sure it feels that way, sometimes, but basically — this is your life. No one hit the “hold” button. It’s just different than you had expected. It’s not on hold — it’s full of love and challenges and at the end of THIS phase of your life, you’ll have a wonderful daughter who is ready to take her place in the world. You and I have kids at just about the same age, and we’re both facing a new phase of our lives, one that isn’t centered on raising and providing for our children. We now have a chance to start putting our own priorities first, and isn’t that a pretty good feeling, to know that we did our jobs successfully? I fully agree with your priorities and admire your dedication — i.e., not dragging men in and out of her life, etc. I know it’s been harder than it might have been, but in case someone hasn’t told you, lately — “you done good, girl”.


March 6th, 2009
10:43 am

Don’t like the new format yet, but then it takes me a while with anything new. I had a difficult time finding the comments. I guess this old dog will have to learn a new trick if she wants to keep up. I just hope the other blogs don’t go to this format.


March 6th, 2009
10:51 am

You are absolutely correct **DB**. I didn’t put my life on “hold” per se. I am having a wonderful time. It’s very exciting to begin the new “phase” of my life. Now that mine is 18, I am experiencing alot of free time, and have to learn how to fill that time up. I’ve already started gardening…….and I hope to take some classes next fall when she is off to college.

And yes, my daughter has made some stupid decisions, but the lines of communication are still open, and she knows it, and she also knows, I’m “there” when she needs me.


March 6th, 2009
12:08 pm

Hey Meme — I hope you’ll get used to it and be OK with it.

I wanted to recommend that parents rent this documentary that came out last year named “American Teen.” We watched it the other night and it was amazing. It followed teens through their senior year of high school in Indiana. This one poor girl had sex with a guy and then he broke up with her. She was completely destroyed and went into a severe depression — one that her parents didn’t seem to notice. She missed more than 18 days of school in a row — hello why isn’t anyone talking to her to find out why — why isn’t anyone asking what happened to your boyfriend? why aren’t they putting this together and helping her. They showed on camera that she finally got put on an anti-depressant but not one conversation with a parent showing them asking her what was wrong!!! This is my fear for a lot of parents — they’re not asking questions or paying close enough attention. There was another boy on the show who felt so trodden on by the other students — he seemed about five steps away from becoming a school shooter. And you never saw his parents saying how can we help you have more confidence — how can we help you feel more comfortable in your own skin.

It really is an amazing movie. Everyone should rent it!.


March 6th, 2009
12:15 pm

I think there have been some changes since I was on last and it is now easier. I will get use to it.


March 6th, 2009
12:24 pm

DB, I couldn’t agree with you more ( first paragraph ). I used to be very critical of parents when their child (ren) made bad decisions. I thought the parents did not instill good values in their children. I have learned that this is very unfair. God has also taught me a few little lessons that helped me to see the light. LOL.

Anyway, back to topic. I would hope that I would notice if one of my children were venturing off course. I do try very hard to stay involved and keep my eyes and ears open. I know all of my daughter’s friends. We are constantly turning scenarios and real life situations into learning lessons. I usually get the eye rolling, but I hope that she is still listening and taking mental notes. Now what she chooses to do with the values and information we give her will be up to her in the end.


March 6th, 2009
12:28 pm

Theresa, I love the new format. There is more room to write and it seems easier to read! Not to mention that it is instantly posted.

Georgia Girl

March 6th, 2009
12:28 pm

Hi Theresa. Over on the Misadventures blog, they’re discussing dating with infants…one of the comments brought up the idea of once a new baby comes into a couple’s life, the mother tends to focus all her attention on the baby and the man can be pretty much ignored. As a fairly recent newlywed thinking about kids in the future, that’s pretty worrisome. I’d love to know if that was the case for any of the Momania moms and how they handled it. Thanks!

Georgia Girl

March 6th, 2009
12:29 pm

The instant posting is definitely an improvement!


March 6th, 2009
12:33 pm

I have a lot of sympathy for parents of teens/preteens who do not discuss much with their parents. Although I am constantly asking my daughter how she is doing or how her day went, she usually gives me the one word answer. I have tried the open ended questions with no luck. She does not usually divulge things that bother her and is good at hiding her inner feelings. Any suggestions?


March 6th, 2009
12:39 pm

Georgia girl, first of all, I would suggest waiting at least a few years before having children. You need to cultivate your relationship with your husband. I always recommend good communication between couples (that is one of my secrets to lasting 14 years and counting). You and your husband should discuss this before children. He should be able to communicate to you that he is feeling left out once a little one arrives. Also, I recommend a date night maybe once a week to have just a little alone time with your spouse.

This was more of a problem with my first child. I was very young and my work schedule was not the same as my husbands (communication was not so good at that time). By the time the second once came along (8.5 years later) my husband and I had grown much closer and were communicating great. We also discussed before baby #2 what we would do differently (or not). Much better the second time around!


March 6th, 2009
2:00 pm

N & M –

I could not disagree more with your statement that Georgiagirl should “wait at least a few years before having children” since “you need to cultivate your relationship with your husband”. The only reason to wait to have kids is to be financially secure, and in this economy we should have a very big slow down in the birth rate – those who will be receiving Social Security 50 -60 years from now will really be in a world of hurt since the population should be significantly smaller – but then, again, probably not since population expands geometrically (1 -2 – 4 – 8, etc)instead of arithmetically (1 – 1 – 1- 1 etc, like food).

While it is important to cultivate relationships, there is so much more that goes into parenthood and staying together that the relationship stuff is way overblown. It does help, but the bottom line is that you either “get over it” and move on together, or you “don’t get over it” and move on alone. You will never have a perfect relationship in which to bring a child, just a you MAY never have the perfect financial window in which to bring that same child.

When a child comes along, it SHOULD be that “the mother tends to focus all her attention on the baby and the man can be pretty much ignored”; however, the husband should ALSO focus on the needs of the infant!

Regarding JJ and her “putting her life on hold”, well, I concur that you DO put your life on hold for those 18-24 years that the child is under your watch! While it is difficult to comprehend in our hedonistic ways, the child(ren) IS/ARE the most important thing(s) in our lives, and it should be upon them that we focus our time, resources and prayers. We can try to balance our lives, too, but the responsibility is to the children first and foremost, and hope that they turn out productive and responsible, too!

But, not to worry, MJGoose will soon chime in and correct us all with one of her analogies of life. Last week it was on Wisconsin cheese, or something like that (obviously I missed the point). My head still hurts from the time she told us about the Cardinal at her church who was trying to teach her daughter, Robin, to sing. Because Robin could not read she just hummed and never learned the proper way to sing, or something like that () I think she made up a new bird called a Carbin, or was it a Robnal?). As I said, I again must have missed the point.

But, I digress, what was the topic today?


March 6th, 2009
2:57 pm

Wow, I agree with you lakerat 110%…I heard all that crap from my ex about being financially secure..For most people that’s BS..Of course that’s not the reason that I don’t have children, I had medical problems that prevented me from having them..So Georgia Girl, if you want to have children now, no reason you shouldn’t..

Georgia Girl

March 6th, 2009
3:23 pm

Oh there’s lots of reasons not to, right now. :-)

Hubby lost his job last year, and we decided it would be best for him to go back to school and finish his degree. I’m holding on to my job the best I can, but I’ve definitely learned that nothing is a given.

I’m kinda glad we’ll have a couple of years to work on “us,” but I also know that there will always be things in our lives that are stressful and seem difficult to overcome. That sounds more negative than I mean to. Just saying, I truly believe everything happens for a reason, and we will know when we’re ready to take on rugrats.

Thanks for all the advice though-y’all are sweet. Or maybe just opinionated. ;-D


March 6th, 2009
3:36 pm

Georgia Girl, first off, when you do have a child, YOUR entire world changes. You suddenly have this beautiful baby you are responsible for, and will love like you have never loved before!!! Things that were important before baby, no longer matter.

However, if you and your husband have a solid foundation, and discuss and communicate openly, these fears of yours should be discussed. I totally believe communication is the #1 rule of any relationship.

I also believe you should be financially stable in order to bring a child into this world. They are VERY expensive.


March 6th, 2009
3:51 pm

Georgia, sorry about the hubby’s job..I’ll keep you in my prayers..It’s great that you have a couple of years…No you don’t (IMO) sound negative, because you are right (another opinion) that there are still lots of things that will difficult to overcome..I have a great nephew that was only given a 5% chance of living when he was born..Thank goodness the Dr. was wrong…He’s 13 now & a fairly normal boy..He will always have medical issues to deal with, but we take it one day at a time..

Richard Swinger

March 6th, 2009
5:24 pm

I “know”:
- My child will NOT run me OR my house.
- My child will do as I instruct him or her to do.
- My child WILL respect me at ALL times and will be put in check when they even dream of not doing so.
- My child will not engage in B-S or surround her/himself with losers or shady people.
- My child will have an open honest and supportive upbringing.
- My child is being schooled on how to navigate the complicated waters of this world, situations, its people and their agendas/biases/prejudices etc.

Guess that about covers it.


March 6th, 2009
5:49 pm

LakeRat-why do you find it unnecessary to wait a few years before having children? Why do you disagree with cultivating your relationship with your spouse? It seems to be my subjective opinion that many folks that jump into marriage and children often don’t have a clue about one another. Consequently, the marriage suffers and often times ends in divorce. Just curious, how many times have you been married. And how long with each one?


March 6th, 2009
5:56 pm

Kids are people. While they are under our “control” and in our homes, in most cases, they do as we ask – at least mine did while he was living here. Once they get out on their own with the freedom to make up their own minds, it doesn’t really matter what the parent did. There were 5 of us in a 2 parent household and we were all very well supervised and protected but not all of us went on to be Doctor’s or Lawyers and live in nice subdivisions with picket fences and 2 car garages. Kids are people too and people make choices – good and bad. I’d even be willing to bet that everyone on this blog has done some things as teenagers and young adults that their parents still know nothing about. I think the difference between our teenage years and our kids teenage years is that as a whole, we don’t protect our children as we were protected growing up. I remember as a kid, the top story on the news was the fireman saving the old ladies cat from the tree. Today, the top story on the news is some robbery, some murder, “the worst storm ever” that turns out to be nothing, or some tragic accident. We need to get back to protecting our children.


March 6th, 2009
6:06 pm

Corazon, I disagree with you for the most part. I think that safety was not as much a priority when I was young as it is now. I remember riding in the back of my mom’s sports car with the hatch open and dangling our feet out the back as she rode slowly down the street. I also didn’t have a car seat. We were allowed to play down the street just as long as we came back before dark (or a few hours later).

I think the difference is that there are more criminals now to have to worry about. I’m sure there were pedophiles years ago, but I’m not sure that there were as many as there are today. I just think our society is more violent than years ago. JMHO.


March 6th, 2009
6:12 pm

I don’t have any kids as I am only 21 but looking back on some of the things I did as a teenager and got away with I do not think it would be difficult to commit the crime above while still flying under a parent/parents radar. I never attempted taking guns to school or anything of that nature but I was pretty wild. Most parents just don’t want to believe that their kids are capable of doing any harm, which is a huge part of the problem.


March 6th, 2009
6:28 pm

Kiddo, you are absolutely right about parents not wanting to believe that their children are capable of getting into trouble. I try not to fall into that trap. I realize that my children are certainly not perfect. There are so many parents that think their children are perfect little angels.


March 6th, 2009
7:31 pm

Even good kids do stupid things. Please, don’t turn a blind eye to what you think your children will or will not do. You never know for sure. Yes, you raise them with the best intentions in mind, and instill good morals, but once there out of your scope, they can be influenced by anyone for any number of reasons.

My brother and sister-in-law lost their “good” teenage son to an accidental drug overdose. He was experimenting and it is not known if he was aware that the one drug was “laced” with the other. Plus, he had been drinking. Autopsy results showed only traces of the drugs in his system. This stuff does not come with warnings…keep talking and keep tabs. They are devastated. I don’t think time eases anything, you just get used to it or become numb.

Best advice I’ve ever heard: Never say never in regards to raising children and do not criticize others until you are a parent yourself. You’ll then see things in a whole new light.


March 6th, 2009
9:24 pm

Would you have noticed if your child was stockpiling weapons – No, I’m blind, can’t hear and retarded… what a stupid questions


March 6th, 2009
10:18 pm

Georgia Girl, I’ll chime in with others and concur: Babies are wonderful, lovely things, but they change your lives forever. To make it easier, it helps if you are at a point where you are willing to embrace that change. No matter how well-prepared you are, it is a major life-change and yes, will be stresful. The best way to weather those stresses is having a deep and abiding relationship with a partner that you know well, so that you can help each other learn and grow as parents. The good news is that the second baby is a piece of cake! :-)

I spent most of my first pregnancy wondering what in the hell I had gotten myself into, and terrified that I was going to be a rotten mother. I had generally avoided babies — noisy, smelly things — and gagged to the point of regurgitation if I had to change a diaper for one that I babysat occasionally. After the baby was born, my mom came down and helped for a couple of weeks, and then flew back home. I cried for hours after she left, and the baby and I stared at each other and I finally said, “Well, I guess I had better figure out how to do this, huh?” And we did. Not perfectly, but I think we did pretty well.

My husband and I had been married for six years when our first child was born — and we had dated for five years before we got married. We had a chance to travel, have the high-powered jobs, drive the sportscars, go away for the weekend if the spirit moved us. When we decided we were ready for children, we never felt that we were missing out, because we had already done it all :-) While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend waiting *quite* that long (11 years from the time we first started dating to the time our son was born!), I don’t think two or three years to settle into your new roles as husband and wife is unreasonable.


March 6th, 2009
10:41 pm

theresa i like the new format(once i figured it out lol)

i can say, from experience, that you never know what your kids may do. i was a very stict mom with my older kids-and they have all gotten in trouble at one time or another…sometimes bad trouble. my youngest i have been a lot more leniant with–mainly because i have learned that you can only TEACH them right from wrong and its up to them to DO right or wrong. my youngest will graduate at the age of 16 this spring. she will start college next fall at the age of 17. she is going into a 4 year nursing program. she hates drugs, not because of anything i have told her-which we have had tons of conversations on the subject, but because she has an older brother (my 3rd child) who is a drug addict. she always thought you culd experiment with drugs-and she is one to try everything,. but she learned that you dont choose to be a drug addict. some people can experiment and be fine…some get addicted. she learned that from the heart ache of watching her big brother go thru this. i too put my life ‘on hold’ to raise her. i learned the hard way that you dont always get a good man to be the step father to your kids and i never wanted to take that chance with her. it is something i have never regretted at all. now i can have my life, altho i dont see a lot changing…im pretty satisfied with my life-maybe–no FOR SURE hope and pray for a better job…but personally i am happy with my life.

i dont have guns…and if i did i probably wouldnt know if they were missing cause they would probably be hidden and never looked at lol..but if i had suspicions of wrong doings from my kid then id look and only then would i realize they were gone…i mean who looks at their guns every day? im sure i wouldnt if i had them.

you cant just arbitrarily blame the parents…you never know…never…what any kids may do…they are impressionable..and they have that immortality theory that nothing bad can happen to them. its just how kids think..remember? i do..i remember thinking nothing bad would ever happen to me…i wouldnt get caught..its a kid thing. i dont think i ever got over that until i had kids..then i had something else to be responsible for…that is really what changes you into an adult mostly. i just pray for the families of these kids..and for the kids…

oh yeah..would i notice if my kid was stockpiling weapons..yes because i am in and out of my kids stuff all the time…of course if they were doing that im sure they wouldnt be stockpiling them at home…kids do stupid stuff…but they can be very wiley and sneaky too..especially when doing bad stuff…give those parents the benefit of the doubt. we dont know if they did anything wrong. just remember–there but for the grace of god……


March 6th, 2009
10:53 pm

It is 10:00 p.m and I am just back from Chicago and I won’t bore you lakerat with the details. I assumed that you were more astute than some of the other posters but now fear I am wrong. I have no idea where you got the mixed up cardinal idea…one would probably be of the Catholic faith, if they had spoken with their Cardinal and I am not. Sorry folks if my contributions have been inane. I will tip my hat to lakerat and let her give y’all the best advice. I have other fish to fry. Enjoy yourselves.


March 7th, 2009
8:34 am

I agree with nurse&mother. I think couples should be married a few years before they have children. My husband and I dated for 5 years and were married for 3 before we had Little E. In that time we traveled, bought our house, I finished a Master’s and he finished a 2 year degree, we had saved some money and erased our debt. We felt ready to devote ourselves to a child. Georgia Girl….when you do have a child, don’t forget to take time for yourselves as a married couple. Ask your parents (or someone else you trust) to babysit so you and your hubby can have a date. My hubby and I have been doing that since Little E was born and we are better because we don’t forget that we are still husband and wife besides being parents. I get so excited when “Date Day” comes around. I have my hubby all to myself for an entire day while Little E goes to Gram and Grandad’s to have tons of fun. We relish that time together, but then we are so excited to pick up Little E and hear about her day.

Yes, Lakerat, you need to focus your attention on your baby, but you cannot forget about your needs as a married couple. Your child needs to see Mommy and Daddy happy and communicating with each other. It is so sad to me to see couples that think that their married lives are over when they have kids. They focus all their energy and attention on their child and lose touch with each other. A woman should never “ignore” her husband or her own needs for that matter. I don’t think that is a healthy message to send to your child.
Okay….off the soapbox now!


March 7th, 2009
10:46 am

I agree with Kathy. The BEST gift you can give your children is a strong marriage, and that takes time and dedication. No, I am not suggesting ignoring your children, but you MUST set time aside to be husband and wife.


March 9th, 2009
7:20 am

N & M -

All I was saying was that if you want children right away there is nothing wrong with that – there is no “perfect” time to have kids, either relationally or financially. And, I have been married once – we celebrated 26 years last Thursday – we have two kids who seem to be “OK” – one out of college and one still in colleg.

MJGoose -

Lighten up – I was only kidding about the “cardinal stuff”. But since it was Friday and you had “other fish to fry”, sounds like you may be Catholic, too (though I know you are not – again, strictly another feeble attempt at humor!).

Kathy -

I don’t think I said to “ignore your spouse” once the little one arrives – I was just saying that there is nothing wrong with focusing on the child, and I said it was RIGHT for BOTH parents to do this! As JJ said, your WHOLE life changes when that baby comes, and that is an understatement!


March 9th, 2009
10:35 am

lakerat, Happy Anniversary..It’s nice to know that some people can still stay married..Hope that y’all are still in love & happy together..