College Life: Do as I say, not as I did?

With college starting for many students this week and next, I thought it would be a good time to discuss how much you told your young adults about your college days and how you have advised them to behave?

Did you tell the truth about your:

Drinking – If you did imbibe, how much and with whom?

Drugs – If you did, specifically what kind and how much?

Sex – If you did or did not lose your virginity? And if you shared an accurate account of how many partners you may have had and the consequences/outcomes of those relationships?

Skipping classes

Did you lie about the same types of behavior when they were in high school? Can you switch your story and still have their respect? Are your expectations different for a college freshmen VS a high school senior even though they’re both 18? What areas did you feel the most sensitive about sharing? Which areas did you still lie about even with them going into college?

Would you tell them honestly about your experiences hoping to help them make better choices or is it better not to reveal your “sins” to be a better role model for your teen?

69 comments Add your comment

lakerat

August 12th, 2009
7:18 am

Actually, I was the biggest fuddy-duddy in college that has probably ever been, I mean I basically hated all 4 years at the college I went to – what a sad commentary on my life that is! I did have fun in grad school, but would still have been considered quite the party pooper – hence, I have encouraged my kids to NOT do as I did and to loosen up and have some fun.

As I have reported previously, they listened and the older one graduated on time last year from UGA with a 3.7 GPA, and if his accounts of his exploits are half true, he had a LOT of fun, too. The other child is now an “on time to graduate” senior and has about a 3.4 GPA, and his reports of fun are likewise extremely good.

So, I say good for them – they seem to have weathered both extremes very well!

Andrea

August 12th, 2009
7:39 am

My kids are no where near college age but when that time comes, it will definitely be “Do as I Say”……… hee hee

motherjanegoose

August 12th, 2009
7:40 am

lakerat …me too!

I did enjoy college though and had lots of friends, we just had clean fun. Skipping classes is about it for me and not much.

Due to my son’s career path ( which I will not re-mention) we had a stern talk about the implications of alcohol and drugs and how that could be on a permanent record. It also goes against our religious convictions but that is something that everyone selects for themselves.

KUDOS…GREAT GPA’s for your sons lakerat…my son’s were not that good but he now seems to be set! He told me that he is actually looking forward to school this fall as it he is taking classes relevant to the job he loves and he will be paid much more than a Pharmacy Tech when this is over.
He did skip a few too many classes but also worked at least 24 per hours per week at his job, which is not common among college students these days.

I worked 28 hours per week at WAL MART but am certain that my classes were not as rigorous as his.

We will see what happens with our daughter next year. She is conservative and sensitive about doing the right thing. She currently keeps me up to speed on things ( even though I do not ask).

This is not going to be a popular statement but families are not as cautious about values anymore.
Young adults tend to run wild when they are on their own….like animals….more so every year.

I have mentioned this before and do not care where you worship but being active in church sometimes gives a better sense of right and wrong….even though our children can and will stray …they have been taught. There is a reason for the 10 commandments….they allow our society to function with respect…which has been lost and we are wondering why….IMHO.

I work with all sorts of people and observe all sorts of religions. I admire families who rear their children with a moral compass and church attendance can play an important role here. I know there are many who will not agree and that is fine.

JATL

August 12th, 2009
7:45 am

I’ll be interested in the responses! My husband and I are dreading the “talks” heading into adolescence and college life. We were both pretty hearty partiers -although nothing on par with what I hear and read about some kids doing today. My hubby was a bit wilder for a few years -I mainly stuck to heavy drinking, pot smoking and a few other recreational drugs at concerts. I think we’ve decided to lie our butts until the kids are about 30. Seriously -I plan to have some open and frank discussions. We do both have lots of experience to share -perhaps related as experiences “friends” of ours. I will admit to drinking and trying pot, but I do have a different expectation in high school and in college, and there are some things the kiddies just don’t need to know!

motherjanegoose

August 12th, 2009
7:57 am

Not trying to be snobby but sometimes these talks can fall under:
“did you walk the walk or are we simply talking the talk…”

I grew up in a very conservative family and have had to re-examine how I feel about things and make new choices and change my opinions.
My husband grew up in a liberal family and we still have discussions about this. He has been frank with our son and told him why some things are not the best plan of action.

This is why I cringe at those ( in our neighborhood) who blatantly party hearty at 40 plus and have middle and high school children who have grown up in this atmosphere. I do worry about these kids in a few years and hope they come out of college alive.

JJ

August 12th, 2009
8:04 am

I never lied to my child. I’ve always told her the truth about my past, partying and all. Mater of fact, I still party, and she knows…..

We did have this talk just the other day about drugs and alcohol and her being away from home. We were talking about how Billy Mays had cocaine in his system. I told her the world she was about to enter, things would be thrown at her from all over. IF she was to do anything, just smoke pot. I told her never to let someone make her a drink, and if she is at a party, to get her own drink, and hold on to it. Put your hand over it if you have to. I told her about the Date Rape drug and how it’s put into a drink.

She doesn’t drink now, and she does have a pretty level head on her shoulders, and does make the right decisions SO FAR…….however, once she gets out on her own, it will be her decision.

jct

August 12th, 2009
8:26 am

We have never lied to our son, edit yes but lie no.

I partied hard and studied just as hard as an undergraduate. I didn’t skip classes because I did the math and it cost me $42 per each individual class that I could skip. My parents did not give me one think dime for my education. Luckily through hard work and determination I was able to graduate without taking one stinking loan. I graduated debt free which really allowed me to take work that I am passionate about not just a job that paid enought to pay off loans.

I hope that he keeps some of the values that we have tried to instill. Alcohol should be used in moderation when you are the legal age. You can say no to alcohol at a party and still have a good time. Don’t get into a car when your friends have been drinking (I wished I listened to this one as an undergrad).

We tried to instill that he may want to start at a two year school like Perimeter first to see if he wants that traditional academic route. (He hated high school. Getting him to complete HS homework was a fight everyday. His GPA is too low for him to get into a traditional 4 year school.) He will start school in the Spring. I have been real honest with him stating that he should try to do everything not to take a loan after we pay the tuition. We pay the tuition and he is responsible for all the other fees.

I work at a university and the students who are responsible for paying for some of or all of the bill seem more serious than the students who receive a $400 dollar per month allowance as well as tuition, R&B and all fees paid. This is just my observation at the school where I work. I understand I am writing in a generalization.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

August 12th, 2009
8:34 am

JCT – I like that term “Edit” — hehehhe

Incognito

August 12th, 2009
8:42 am

Really interested in the responses today. This is something we have discussed a good bit lately, although we are still a couple of years away from starting our family.

My parents were honest with me. My mom told me about some of the losers she dated, but she has also told me that she and my dad were each other’s “firsts” and I believe her. So I am just not sure what my response will be when my child asks me if I had sex before marriage. Of course, I would prefer that they wait (I don’t really buy into the “test drive” philosophy, but I do want them to know they can tell me what they’re dealing with in their lives. I keep thinking it will just depend on the child and the maturity, but would love any insight I can get from parents who have already encountered this.

It seems so conflicted to tell your kids that they shouldn’t do something because it isn’t safe or in their best interests, but to know that everyone makes mistakes and oftentimes comes out just fine or stronger because of them.

Incognito

August 12th, 2009
8:44 am

Also, it seems pretty wrong to outright lie to your child. “Edit”, sure…even telling them that something isn’t really their business, but not lying.

pd

August 12th, 2009
8:51 am

I couldn’t possibly tell teh whole truth about what i did in college. OR for that matter highschool. Or for that matter, after college until the child arrived.

Things were pretty nuts until the little plus sign showed up in the window.

momtoAlex&Max

August 12th, 2009
8:58 am

Incognito: I have been struggling with that one as well. I just don’t want to tell my kids what I have done in my kinda sorta colorful past. I LOVE the answer “It’s none of your business”. Because it really isn’t. It’s not what *I* have done, but what I expect from them.

I really wish there was a way I could give them a protective shield where they could have as much fun as they can, without risking their academic careers, reputation or their lives. Sigh. As there isn’t, I would hope to give them a good foundation to make good decisions and pray for a guardian angel to protect them when they won’t.

motherjanegoose

August 12th, 2009
9:00 am

pd…sorry to be so stupid but what is “the little plus sign…”. A point here…I ABSOLUTELY do not know everything ( as some rag on me about) but I am not too proud to ask. Are we talking about a pregnancy test? Maybe….

jct…I agree with you on your last paragraph. We saw this firsthand with our son. He will have some major loans for the next few years but my husband has told him that he will have a BIG shovel to shovel part of his salary back into those loans. It seems we will always need prescriptions.

Stan

August 12th, 2009
9:07 am

None in my family went to college, including me, though most of us have taken at least a few classes. That said I think it critical to teach kids morals and ethics. Be it through the church or simply instilling in them the Golden Rule.

I never really did anything too crazy, but I did do some stupid things that turned out ok for me. I’m sure my brothers and sister have better stories to tell than I do but I had some fun. I would expect any kid I raise to at least equal what I did if not surpase it.

As for sex, I don’t want to hear ANYTHING about my parents life in that area! EVER! To me that falls in with the morals and ethics part.

JCT, Congrats on the way you got through school. That is big!

Mom

August 12th, 2009
9:08 am

They will do what they want to, just to explore or taste the world outside although I never had alcohol in my life, and this is our number one rule in the house, “no alcohol in the house” since no one drinks, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they did, kids (teenagers) have a lot of peer inluence, a lot of curiousity. I wouldn’t be upset as long as alcohol use was just occasional.

FCM

August 12th, 2009
9:16 am

Well I am going back to school to get a second degree….I will take another fairly ’slow’ path. I did non-traditional student hours at KSU first go round as a traditional age student….Now and I am just an old student taking night classes.

motherjanegoose

August 12th, 2009
9:19 am

Stan…I too put myself through college with NO loans. It seems I was working ALL the time and trying to figure out how to keep my bills paid. My Dad gave my sister and myself each $1000 when we graduated…he got off cheap don’t you think? I have got to get to work on my fall business travel plans….y’all have fun!

abc

August 12th, 2009
9:31 am

It’s not as if you have to perform a confessional to your kids. Your job is to encourage behavior in them that you desire, and discourage, if not eliminate, behavior in them that you dislike, if not hate. Once your kids are teenagers, it’s almost a guarantee that they’ll provide you with so much behavior that you hate, you’ll have to focus on curing that, so to heck with that which you merely dislike.

Once you send them off to college, the horse is out of the barn already. Heading off to college merely burns down the barn. They’ll have to go experience life, making their own judgements and decisions, equipped with the values that they already have, just like you did when you were their age.

It doesn’t just pertain to kids heading off to college, it’s pertinent to all kids of that age. Frankly, half the kids in college these days are just plain not college material anyway, but that’s a different topic.

workingmom

August 12th, 2009
9:33 am

I plan to lie, lie, lie. IMO, it does not matter if you share your experiences in the hope that your children will learn from your mistakes, or whatever. If you have any discussion along the lines of “I took drugs, BUT (times were different, drugs were less lethal, less dire consequences) therefore you shouldn’t… or I had sex BUT (no AIDS, less STDs, birth control, other ramifications) or I drank underage BUT (less legal consequences, less cars on road, lower drinking age) etc, etc, etc All your kids will hear is “I took drugs, I had sex, I drank.” They will take it as a get out of jail free card to do all those things themselves because YOU did and you turned out OK. I have no illusions that they will never try any or maybe even all of these things, but hopefully they will have more knowledge about them than I did. Will they ever get the truth about my wild college past? I really don’t know. Yes I made it through, have a great life, am productive, make a good living, but honestly I could easily have been a statistic, dead, DUI, pregnant. I’m lucky and know it. Not sure I would change a thing though. That may be hypocritical but evidently I care more about their lives than I did about my own back then. And anyway, most teenagers, young adults feel they are bullet proof and none of that bad stuff will happen to them.

JJ

August 12th, 2009
10:03 am

Why lie? Everything I have done, and every decision I have made up to this point, has made me the person I am today.

Yes, I’ve made some very poor choices and did stupid things, but they all lead me here.

I’ve always been open and honest and told my child about my past. She knows I drink, and she knows I partake of weed occassionally.

I’m a responsible ADULT. I go to work every day, I take care of business. I pay the bills on time, and my house is clean, and there’s food on the table. So I have a couple of vices, big deal. I never claimed to be perfect, but then again, who is.

I’ve made my mistakes, and learned from them. I’ve guided my child, and have armed her with the necessary information for her to make her own choices.

She is now entering a phase in her live, where she will try different things. It’s up to her now. I have to sit back and let her go, and flex her wings.

deidre_NC

August 12th, 2009
10:04 am

jj i have told mine pretty much the same thing..my daughter who is starting college has had experience with hard drug abuse and addiction in our family and also with a couple of her good friends who went down that path..so she is very opposed to hard drugs (ie anything other than pot and maybe a tad of drinking) i will have to be happy with that…my only objection to pot is that it is illegal and can get you in much trouble and also keep you from getting a good job…she actually exempted out of a college english class by writing an essay on the pros of legalization of marijuana…lol..go figure…but my kids have known most of the stuff i did…i also edited a bit…i tried to raise mine with this advice—do nothing you cant fix and will regret forever…altho something you dont know you will regret it til you do it..and have manners…and yes mjg-the 10 commandments have always been a staple in the raising of my kids…good luck to all who have kids going to college..it can be a scary world out there…

jess

August 12th, 2009
10:04 am

I’m not sure what I’d say–I was a constant partier..was involved in sex parties..orgies all the time..I loved..and still do love sex, never did the drugs or drank though..so I can tell the truth on that..but as far as sex..well I used to get pounded nightly!

New Step Mom

August 12th, 2009
10:33 am

I am not a fan of lying to the kids. My parents always had alcohol in our house growing up and it was no big deal to me when I got to school. I knew they would have a beer or a glass of wine and I tasted my first alcohol with them so it was not elicit mystery. I drank very little until I was legal and even then was very responsible (I never drove after even one drink and always made sure I did not put myself in unsafe sitatuations). I have never done any drugs so I do not have to lie about that either. I will tell my step daughter and any other little ones that come along that alcohol is not evil and that responsibility is key. If she drinks, call a cab and do not put yourself in situations to be taken advantage of. I also recommend to any young woman to have at least one good male friend to talk to about how some men perceive the “dumb drunk girl.” Luckliy I saw other “dumb drunk girls” and how they were treated so I did not put my self in that situation.

I had a lot of fun in college and a lot of fun in my 20’s and early 30’s but I have never done anything that I am ashamed of so I will tell the truth!

DB

August 12th, 2009
10:36 am

I think that anyone who waits until their child is going off to college to have these conversations have already missed their window of opportunity to influence their child. These are all topics of discussion that started, for us, in the later part of middle school, just before they were getting ready for high school.

Drinking — Yes, I drink. About one glass of wine a week, if that. During the summer, it will take me about two weeks to go through a six-pack of Mike’s Hard Lemonade. I hate beer, hate martinis and am allergic to tequila, so hard liquor is rare for me. (Except for the occasional frozen daiquiri — by occasional, I mean twice a year or so.) My husband is about the same, except that he does enjoy a cold beer occasionally and thinks the Mike’s is funny. This is what our kids have grown up with — mild to moderate alcohol use, used responsibly. When we are out at a restaurant with all-you-can-drink margharitas, my husband will indulge in a couple, but always hands me the keys to drive afterwards. Once, my daughter asked him if he was “drunk”, and he said, quite reasonably — “No, I’m not. But I have had two large drinks, and I love you all too much to take any chances at all, so I don’t want to find out the hard way if it has affected my driving ability.” I think seeing your parents make responsible decisions and having them explain why they make those decisions is important.

We’ve discussed how drinking in college was different for us — how keg parties in the dorm were commonplace, and how 18 year olds could order drinks in bars, etc. Frankly (I will put this out there, not for debate, but just as a picture of how I feel about it), I think that the current laws are far too paternalistic, and I am personally offended at a society that seems to place more importance on whether or not an 18 year old can drink than they are about whether or not an 18 year old can vote responsibly (apparently they can), or choose to fight and defend their country (apparently they can do that, too). Having said that — the times I serve wine with dinner, I have given them the choice of whether or not they choose to be served. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t — it’s NOT a big deal. They didn’t drink in high school — their private high school was VERY strict about that, 365/24/7, not just school functions), and they just weren’t that interested. As a matter of fact, in H.S., my son would avoid certain parties where it was known that alcohol would be served — as he shrugged and said, “It’s just not worth it.” I doubt he avoids them now, in college, but as I told him — “Don’t be stupid”, i.e., don’t drink and drive. My daughter has been taught to maintain custody of her drinks at parties, and to discreetly dispose of any drink that someone hands her that she didn’t see poured directly. Will she drink in college? Probably. And, at some point, she may have a spectacular hangover — but I suspect that it will only be once.

Sex — Tough one. I did have more than one sexual partner before I was married, but this was before AIDS, and at the time, the worst thing that could happen to you was getting pregnant. My mother NEVER talked about sex with me. The night before my wedding, at the age of 25, she hesitantly asked me if I had any questions, and I said, “Umm, no . . . ?” and that was that. I vowed I would NOT make that mistake with my children. We have discussed birth control, condoms, STDS, AIDS, pregnancy, and, more importantly, inappropriate intimacy — how the sex act is often different emotionally for girls than it is for boys, how sex tends to freeze the development of a relationship and it all becomes about sex (when, where, how often, etc.) and how it is important to be in a committed, monogamous relationship before even considering whether or not to have sex. We’re pretty open — I hope they feel they can ask me questions or come to me with concerns. We’ll see.

Drugs — Absolutely not. Neither my husband or I EVER used drugs. This is non-negotiable, and luckily, my kids seem to feel the same way — “It’s beyond stupid.”

Skipping Classes — I never did, because I never partied so hard that I couldn’t wake up the next morning. My husband never did, because he was in a very demanding major. My son shared with me that he overslept for one class, and ended up feeling horribly guilty . . . so I guess he’s not into it, either.

I am quite certain that, sometime in their early adult years, they WILL make mistakes. Didn’t we all? I just pray that those mistakes are learning experiences, and not the kind of mistakes that you live with for the rest of your life. We shall see. I did my best — it’s in their hands, now.

HB

August 12th, 2009
10:47 am

I don’t have much of a wild side, so no real horror stories from college. I only had an occasional drink before turning 21 (one at a party now and then, never drunk). The only time I was drunk was at a champagne tasting at the Veuve Cliquot caverns in France. I was 19 (legal there), had no tolerance, didn’t eat much of the lunch that was served, and didn’t realize how many times the waiter had refilled my glass. My head hurt so bad by the time our bus got back to Paris, I could hardly walk. After 21, I’ve only been a light social drinker — wine with dinner, a couple of ciders when out with friends, that sort of thing — nothing I’d discourage anyone from as long as they were smart about it and had a safe way to get home.

I’d mostly stress to young people — be safe. Moderation is key for alcohol. Don’t get smashed! Don’t do drugs! Don’t get in a car with a driver who has had anything to drink, even if they say they’re fine and only had a couple. As JJ said, don’t take opened or mixed drinks from others and hang on to the ones you do have. If you are having a occasional drink under age (not recommending it, just being realistic here in recognizing many will do so), don’t be stupid enough to get caught, and know what the consequences will be if you do. At most schools (not all — know your school policies), getting caught with a beer on campus won’t be that big of a deal, but drinking at a bar with a fake ID can get you in a lot of legal trouble. Most importantly, find a group of friends for whom fun does not revolve solely around partying. Sadly, some students have nothing else going on. Find people who love a goofy night of cosmic bowling or an afternoon hiking as much as, or more than, the occasional party.

Being truthful

August 12th, 2009
10:53 am

Well, we talk to our kids about what we did. What I don’t like is when the adults make it seem SO FUN! We can tell our kids what we did, yes, we drank, yes, we had sex. My way of talking about it is totally different than my husband.

He talks of all the fun he had. He doesn’t talk about the stupid stuff or his friends dying, getting pregnant, STD’s etc. He was “proud” of the boys when they lost their virginity in high school!

I would prefer to talk to them about why I drank or had sex. It wasn’t just because it was fun because frankly, some of it wasn’t. Then, there’s always the consequences of being under some type of influence. You don’t always make good decisions and then, some of them can’t be changed once made.

I know the kids will do what they are going to do. I just want them to make responsible decisions (designated driver or call home, wear condoms, take “no” for answer, don’t skip school-it’s not worth it, don’t lie-you eventually get caught)!

I also try to lead that by example now. If we are out somewhere, one of us won’t drink. I don’t lie to the kids, etc. I try to be kind to others and not make judgements of others.

I like to tell the kids what I wish I had done differently and why. Like JJ said (I think). If hadn’t done what I did, I wouldn’t be who I am. If changing anything meant I wouldn’t have my son, I wouldn’t change a thing!

The kids NEED to make some of their own choices and mistakes. This will teach them responsibility and accountability and how to make better choices. This will help shape them. We can only hope that we have given them good morals to make good choices.

Jessica

August 12th, 2009
10:54 am

I won’t lie to my children, but I don’t think they need to know every detail of every mistake I made as a young adult. If they ask, I’ll probably say something like, ” I made some good choices in college and some bad ones. The good ones helped me, and the bad ones caused me a lot of trouble and regret. I want you to make the right choices so that you don’t have those same regrets.”

Incognito

August 12th, 2009
10:58 am

DB-thanks for the post. I think you and I share a similar view on how to handle it all, as well as a similar history. I didn’t drink until I was of legal age (it wasn’t worth the risk for me, and I didn’t like the taste anyway) and never touched a drug or even a cigarette. I do wish I could change the number of partners I had, but I learned a lot about the effects of sex on a relationship and I was fortunate to not end up with any permanent consequences. I was never the rebellious type-I learned from the situations my friends put themselves into and respected myself and my parents too much to really try any risky behavior. They weren’t extremely strict although there were definitely rules and expectations, and they trusted me a great deal. I hate when people use the expression “They’re just going to do it anyway.” Not necessarily. I didn’t. A lot do, but not all of them, and I think a big part of it is being brought up in a family that constantly reinforces values.

motherjanegoose

August 12th, 2009
11:15 am

DB…your post was great.

We have also been very frank about things in our house that were NEVER discussed ( in my house) when I was growing up. My husband’s mother died last year from throat cancer as there was ALWAYS smoke ( and still is) in their house. They both drank liquor most every day.

We do not always see eye to eye but my husband now can agree that reinforcing values helps tremendously.

I am interested in what catlady has to say about this topic as she is much farther along the sidewalk than many of the rest of us.

Back to racking up Skymiles.

LM

August 12th, 2009
11:18 am

My daughter will be heading to college next year. We have had these conversations since she was in elementary school. As she has gotten older I have given her more information regarding my life and the mistakes I have made and what I have learned from them.

When she was just starting school, we had an extended family member get involved in drugs, it had an effect on our lives and we discussed with her (in kid terms) what happened. We have always discussed drugs, smoking (her dad smokes) and drinking and how they can damage your life, health and family. She knows I have smoked pot when I was a teenager, that her stepfather has never done any type of drug, that her Godmother has smoked pot and taken some drugs. That she is responsible for anything she eats, drinks or inhales and she must always protect herself from someone trying to put thing in her drinks and food “just for fun”. That the date rape drug is easy to slip in and you have not control afterwards.

I talked to her about sex and as she got older I discussed that my stepfather used to touch me. That I didn’t understand what he was doing, but felt it was wrong. I let her know that if anyone, man, woman, family, friend or stranger did anything she felt was wrong, she could talk to me. Within the last couple of years I felt she was ready to hear about me being attacked by 2 boys when I was 15, how it changed me, why I never said anything to my family, and that I did not let it control me as a young adult and mature woman. I let her know alcohol played into the problem and that I learned to never drink with people I didn’t know and trust. She knows I have had many sex partners, and I expect her to wait until she is ready both physical and emotionally before having sex, but I don’t expect her to wait until marriage. That sex and love are not the same thing, but that sex when you love someone and are loved is very special. Sex should be fun, and you need to feel safe and comfortable with your partner and that trust is the most important thing when being involved with a partner. Feeling pressured to have sex is not a reason to have sex, having sex to “keep” a guy is not reason to have sex. That a guy needs to respect when you say no. And to never make a sex tape, it will end up on the Internet.

I will continue to have these discussions with her as she matures into a college student then a workingwoman. I have this relationship with my own mother and pray I can have the same type of relationship with my daughter. I have learned from my mother a lot about myself and feel she has also learned from me. We are very close and there are no taboo topics between us.

I have also discussed that failure in college is not an option. She will have to balance studies with social activities but her main focus will be to learn.

DB

August 12th, 2009
11:27 am

One aspect of your question that I overlooked, Theresa: Expectations for an 18 year old, between high school and college. When my kids turned 18, they found that their mother was far more lenient about things such as curfews, etc. Not that I was all that strict before, but at 18, instead of telling them when they needed to be home, I asked them when they planned to be home. They had their own laundry (I would help IF ASKED), and I only asked that if their plans changed, that they CALL ME and tell me (i.e., if they went to someone else’s house or decided to go to a concert instead of to a movie, etc.) I stopped the spot-calling and checking with parents of friends to confirm parties, etc. It was a good time to loosen the leash, which they were still in a somewhat protected environment, but free enough to start unfolding the wings a bit. I was always a bit bemused by the parents who tell their college-age kids that they have to be home by midnight or 1 AM — and then wonder why their kids don’t like to come home.

motherjanegoose

August 12th, 2009
12:00 pm

DB…we tell our son to let us know if he is going to be out after midnight….just give us a ring.

He has been very good about it as I explained that I would ask my sister ( aged 36) to adhere to the same courtesy if she lived with us.

When my flight is delayed and I may be getting home late, I always call home and check in. To me, it is about being considerate.

My sister told him a story about a college aged kid who called his mom as he was going to someone else’s house but needed better directions since it was rainy and dark…it was the truth. He ran into a ditch and was there alone and dead for a while. His mom knew nothing about it until the Police found him and showed up at her doorstep in the morning.

I just want to know that my son is safe and that someone knows where he is….alive.

I did NOT want to move back home after I left for college…for this very reason. My parents were VERY strict.

JJ

August 12th, 2009
12:14 pm

Since my daughter turned 18, I have given her more leeway too.

However, I still insist that MY car is in the garage at a certain time. She is free to go out after, but my car needs to be in the garage by a certain time. She has been very good about obeying that rule…….

Now that she’s out of school and headed off to college, the rules are a little different. She says things like, “you can’t stop me from leaving this house.” I tell her “you are absolutely correct, however getting back in might be a little difficult”. I can change a door lock like nobody’s business.

pd

August 12th, 2009
12:17 pm

motherjane, the “plus sign” is what appears on the pregnancy test. I was saying that up until the time that i found out we were going to have a baby, i was still living like I was in college.

JJ, I suppose the reason to lie, or not tell the truth, is that your child may think, “Well, Dad/Mom used all sorts of drugs, had lots of sex, was a binge drinker, cheated in school, skipped class, and did all sorts of stuff, and they’re fine now. Therefore, I could do all those things and be fine one day too”

I tend to share the horror stories more with the kids that I now mentor. “I knew a kid who got shot over cocaine”. “My friend was in and out of prison” ect…

FCM

August 12th, 2009
12:24 pm

LM….thank you for sharing….I will be using some of those same thoughts as I continue my talks with my children.

At whomever (DB?) said waiting until college for the talks is too late…your are correct!

My eldest is 9 and she knows about the date rape drug.

jct–I paid my way through college too…I got out without loans/grants but it took me a long time. I am thankful for it as it made me a better person. However, if I can get some aid this go round, I am going too. :)

DB

August 12th, 2009
12:39 pm

JJ — I tell her “you are absolutely correct, however getting back in might be a little difficult”. I can change a door lock like nobody’s business.

ROFL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Like MJG — letting us know wasn’t a control issue, it was a courtesy issue. As I pointed out to my kids, I’m over 50, and I STILL call my husband if I’m going to be late, or to tell my parents we are going away for a weekend, etc. Not asking permission — just assuming that someones cares enough to care if something goes amiss.

Photius

August 12th, 2009
12:46 pm

Tell the truth??? Are you kidding me???

Son, dad got it all out his system and did some really freaky things to girls who loved it – let me tell you what your old man did…

Son, mom had that one experimental lesbian experience which lasted a summer and she’s actually a closet bi-sexual…

Lies, all lies are coming out of our mouths.

catlady

August 12th, 2009
12:50 pm

“Much further along the sidewalk?” That’s a nice way of putting it! LOL

My children (ages 33, 29, and 24 now) saw the effects of drug use before their father was kicked out of the house. I talked to them a lot about alcohol because 2 of their great-grandfathers were alcoholic and it had a terrible impact on their families. In addition, both of their grandfathers had occasional alcohol problems. I talked to them about pills–their paternal grandmother was addicted. I can only say my son spent too much time with his father during the summers and was exposed to drugs. They all tried alcohol, and two still drink–once occasionally and one frequently. It is a source of pain for me.

Mostly, I have “talked” by the way I have lived my life–no alcohol, no drugs. They have seen what alcohol does to their stepmother and drugs to their dad. They have seen me living a quiet life. Actually that might be a negative!

I didn’t have a big talk with them before they left for college. They grew up on two university campuses as I got my graduate degrees, so it all was part of the conversation all along (along with choosing a school, preparing for college, dorm life, etc) Part of the overall curriculum, you might say, as they were growing up.

I didn’t talk to them much about sex. As I said, I lived a quiet life devoted to their upbringing after my divorce. If any of them had asked about what I had done as a young adult, I would have told them. I always talked about personal responsibility, about not being taken advantage of, about safety. I know they each followed their own choices on this as they moved on to college.

I guess most of us pray for our children each day. The church I grew up in (that they grew up in) DOES baptize children as infants and when they do the parents promise to bring the child up “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” I have tried to remember at all times that they are a gift given to me, for me to PARENT. Sometimes that is hard to figure out how to do!

And, no more comments about me being long in the tooth! I do feel”experienced” having raised 3 and been mother/teacher to over 1000 over the years.

JJ

August 12th, 2009
12:59 pm

The one thing I have talked to my daughter about is sex. She is on birth control. Neither of us wants an unplanned pregnancy. She wants to finish school, and I DO NOT want to be a gramma until I’m in my 60’s…..

I also told her, you are not the only one responsible for birth control. The boy should too. Therefore, keep some condoms handy. Ask the boy, if he refuses to wear a condom, “Are you ready to become a parent?” If the answer is NO, then put it on!!!!

Birth control is not just the girl’s responsibility.

shaggy

August 12th, 2009
1:15 pm

I enjoyed college so much that I can only remember parts of 1 out of the 4 years. That was a heck of a year too. I spent that time terrorizing greek clods and sexually educating sorority bimbos. The bimbo part was real easy, like them. Me and my buds actually targeted “sisters”, and if they had a frat boy boyfriend, we made a point to send him pictures of his “compromised” sweetie, maybe her panties too. Oh those were really good old days.

As a college student in the early '70's...

August 12th, 2009
1:37 pm

…like CatLady, if it weren’t for flashbacks I’d have no memory at all!

motherjanegoose

August 12th, 2009
2:18 pm

catlady…I was paying you a compliment. I use the sidewalk thing as an illustration all the time.

As parents, we need to find other parents who have been on the sidewalk a little longer than we have been and go to them for advise, as they WILL know more than us since they have been on the parenting sidewalk longer. I admire those who have sage advise and am always interested in your point of view. It’s too dang bad that you like cats, since I am allergic to them….( grin)

DB…I also got a kick out of JJ locking the door, in the context of these two things she said previously today about her daughter:

she does have a pretty level head on her shoulders/She says things like, “you can’t stop me from leaving this house.”

Those two things do not match, in my head. Maybe it is just me.

I am sure I too said some really stupid things when I was 18…just can’t remember them now…haha!

Georgia Girl

August 12th, 2009
2:32 pm

You know, I’ve known plenty of 18-year olds that were very level-headed and were capable of being complete smart-a**es. Sounds like JJ’s kid is one of ‘em, and judging by JJ herself’s comments (”I can keep you from coming back in though”-hysterical!), I imagine her daughter got it from her mama. MJG, you’re coming across as a bit condescending in your last comment, and considering all the times I’ve seen you argue your opinion versus others’, I find this “I admire those who have sage advise and am always interested in your point of view.” very hard to believe.

JJ

August 12th, 2009
2:43 pm

Georgia Girl, yea, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree huh?

Stan

August 12th, 2009
2:49 pm

It’s funny that neither of my parents, to my knowledge, EVER drank. They really harped on it too. All 4 of us kids drink to one level or another. I suspect that it was taboo made it all the more appealing.

Uh, oh...

August 12th, 2009
2:50 pm

…Georgia Girl, now you done gone and probably riled up motherjanegoose (though there are a lot of us who agree with you regarding her talking out of both sides of here computer) – we will now have to read (or overlook) her, like, 6th post today!

LM

August 12th, 2009
2:53 pm

Georgia Girl….
I was thinking pretty much the same thing. I think my daughter is much more level headed then I was at her age, but she can still be a smart butt and get on my nerves.

I know many 18 year olds who think they are grown and can do and say what they want. As has been said before the rules change and now it is a matter of courtsey to let the parents know what their plans are. As I told my girl friends son last year when he was complaining, just because you are now an adult, your Mother is still you parent, it didn’t stop as soon as you turned 18.

motherjanegoose

August 12th, 2009
3:25 pm

I AM SAYING THAT I SERIOUSLY DID SAY SOME STUPID STUFF WHEN I WAS 18…I am almost 50 and cannot remember specific rants. I doubt there is anyone here who has not said something as a smart alec, when they were a teen. My kids have said some crazy things and then I DO question their level headedness ( is that a word?). JJ not trying to be mean spirited…sorry if it offended you.

@ Georgia Girl in context …sorry that got mixed up “I admire those who have sage advise and am always interested in ***your ***point of view.” IS DIRECTED TOWARDS CATLADY as I do admire her advise. Her children are older than most of the rest of the bloggers and she has taught more children too! I would hold her opinions up to the top of the list on this blog…may not always agree with them but she has a little more background than the rest of us. The whole sidewalk thing…am I making ANY sense? Maybe not.

@Uh oh… I am remembering what Stan said about me and the trolls on this post…

Stan

August 12th, 2009
4:22 pm

Good job MJG…just let it go

Denise

August 12th, 2009
5:00 pm

LM, I wish I had grown up with a mother like you. I didn’t have those frank conversations as a child. I didn’t find out things like “my uncle molested me” until I was an adult. Only then did some of my mother’s and grandmother’s actions make sense. It’s good to equip your children with knowledge and understanding and a healthy sense of empowerment, knowing you will always have their backs regardless of what mistakes they make.