In my blog post in May, I mentioned that my teenage son was having trouble with anxiety. Unfortunately, those problems continue. I cannot begin to tell you all the ups and downs we have been on with this anxiety roller coaster since last fall, but suffice to say that it is hell. It is hell to see my healthy, handsome, smart, athletic, friendly son say that he doesn’t have any hope. It is hell to think everything is going okay again and before you can turn around, it’s going bad once more. I can never take a breath and relax because I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to speak, for the next thing to happen, the next trigger to start him on a downward spiral. Right now, he’s doing okay, and I finally decided to write a little something about this. There is so much in me that I need to get out, but I will settle for expressing just a little of it because I don’t have the time to write it all down. I haven’t written in a while. Hell, I’m surprised I remembered my password to get on this blog. Yes, it’s written down somewhere on this desk, but I don’t have the energy or time to look for it.
Yes, it’s been awhile again . . . hope everyone is doing well and so are all those BOYS of yours. My middle son (junior in high school) has been going through some anxiety off and on since November, and it has really been a struggle. Things got better and then it the anxiety hit again. He is doing okay right now, but it is a scary thing to go through. I’ve become aware of how prevalent anxiety is in teens, and it is very troublesome to me. Hope to get back to my ‘regular’ life soon. In the meantime, if any of you have ever had struggles in your family with anxiety, I’d be grateful if you were to share your advice/experience with me.
Bless my sixteen-year-old son’s girlfriend’s heart! The other night I spent a long time getting ready to go out to one of the most upscale restaurants in our town. Shower, make-up, hair, perfume. Damn, I even put on pantyhose for the first time in a year or so (despite realizing I now have old lady legs). I put on the low-cut, black dress I wore to my 25th high school reunion six years ago and shoes with heels. Oh and I wore a silver and black necklace I’d bought several months earlier just in case I ever got a chance to go anywhere other than ball games or Scouting events. I came down the stairs to the usual unresponsiveness of my husband and sons. And then my son’s girlfriend, Claire, exclaimed, “Oh you look fabulous!”
A compliment!! I’d received a genuine, sincere-sounding compliment in my own home for the first time I could remember. And she’d said ‘fabulous, not great or nice but fabulous! Living in a household of all males, I’m not accustomed to that at all. I think I might have blushed. Again – Bless – her – heart. This is the reason God made girlfriends for our sons!
Facebook, Texting, Twitter . . . it’s a whole new world of communication technology out there, and it is becoming second nature to our children, whereas it’s still sort of a foreign language to a lot of us parents. Personally, I long for the simple days when the phone on the wall would ring, and the kid on the other end would say, “Hi Mrs. O’Donnell, Could I speak to Billy please?” No, it was not as convenient or as cool, but I knew who my son was talking to and his friends were familiar with me. That was 6 or 7 years ago, though. Although my blog posts are usually pretty light-hearted, allow me, if you will, to post some serious and important information for parents and teens in this blog post.
Sure, I have a Facebook page, can do some basic texting, and I have even received Tweets before (son-related of course from my son’s baseball team). Still as parents, we are not as aware of the potential dangers as we should be. This was brought to my attention when a friend of mine expressed concern that teens are accepting friend requests on Facebook without making sure they really know the person requesting to be friends. This opens the door to all kinds of problems, including invasion of privacy that can lead to stalking by sexual offenders as well as falling victim to fake Facebook pages and fake ‘friends’ posing to be someone they are not. More about that is in this link:
This article examines the safety pitfalls of Facebook and other social networks. A quote: “But the reality is that no matter what these social networks do, they’ll never have the technology or the manpower to stop every threat. Which is why they need to stop pretending that they’re safe. Facebook’s (and MySpace’s) goal is to connect as many people as possible, and the sad truth is that many people are very naive when it comes to online safety.”
This article also has a link to another article about a suicide instigated by a fake friend on MySpace several years ago. Heartbreaking. Kids and teens are so trusting, and I can easily see them believing something they shouldn’t.
My friend, the mother of 3 teens, became curious and actually created a fake page for someone and sent friend requests out to see what would happen. She used a name that was similar to the name of someone most of these teens knew; she did this because her own teens sometimes would friend people, saying, “I thought I’d already friended him.” This made her wonder how many other teens would friend someone immediately without really looking into it. Within a day, the fake profile had 20 friends and their personal information. After she had proven the legitimacy of this ‘friending’ problem, she deleted the profile. This definitely gives us food for thought.
Another article about a fake profile and tragic results:
Several weeks ago, my 16-year-old son was getting ready to go to a high school play-off football game. When he went out the door wearing jeans, a long sleeved shirt and no jacket, I told him that it was going to get cold that night and that he should get his coat. He didn’t. As he got in the car with his younger brother, my husband, and me, I told him again: “David, it’s supposed to get into the 30s tonight — you need a coat or something.”
“I’m fine, Mom,” he said, and though I couldn’t see his eyes I’m sure he was rolling them. What’s that saying about you have to pick your battles? I knew this argument was going nowhere, so I didn’t press it. We were going to stop by his girlfriend’s house and drop them both off at the game. When she opened the car door, she took one look at David and said, “David, you need a jacket because it’s supposed to get really cold later on.”
“It is?” he asked, like he was oblvious to the weather report I’d given to him just a few minutes earlier.
What the . .. ? I thought but didn’t say anything. He looked at her like the words she spoke were the most enlightening ones ever spoken.
He added, “I didn’t know it was going to be that cold.” At this point, I had to restrain myself from reaching into the back seat and strangling him. His girlfriend still had a sweatshirt of his at her house so she ran in and got it for him to wear.
And it did get very cold that night. He didn’t listen to me, so thank God his girlfriend provides a bit more of that common sense derived from estrogen.