My high school señor is about to head off to college. Throughout his teenage years, I've been adhering to a parenting philosophy called Denial, in which I assume my precious angel will never touch girls, drugs or alcohol.
I acknowledge that this philosophy may have its weaknesses. So, on the off chance that Denial is ineffective, once in a while (immediately after listening to NPR), I blurt out my expectations for teenage behavior: "DO NOT EVER TRY HEROIN! IT CAN KILL YOU THE VERY FIRST TIME!"
This Denial/Fear Factor strategy has worked pretty well for us up until now. But it's weird: The minute my son confirmed enrollment at Big U, Partytown Campus, so many new blurts came to mind! I needed to get organized. I made a list of blurts. I plan to drop this knowledge into casual conversation with a knowing look, over the top of my glasses for that extra wisdom effect. Here's how I imagine it will work:
Do we have anything to drink, Mom?
YOU DON'T HAVE TO DRINK JUST BECAUSE YOUR FRIENDS DO, YOU KNOW.
What is your problem?
ARRIVE TOGETHER. LEAVE TOGETHER. NO ONE GETS LEFT BEHIND.
OK. Can you grab me a Gatorade?
DON'T DRINK ANYTHING SOME RANDOM HANDS YOU. GET YOUR OWN.
What is wrong with you?
THE THING ABOUT SHOTS IS THAT THEY IMPAIR YOUR ABILITY TO SAY NO TO SHOTS.
Were you listening to NPR again?
NEVER BE THE DRUNKEST ONE IN THE ROOM.
Who are you even talking to?
IF YOU THINK IT MIGHT BE A GOOD IDEA TO TWERK, YOU ARE DONE.
Can you please stop it?
WHEN THINGS GO FROM FUNNY TO SAD, EVERYBODY'S DONE.
IF YOU'RE A MESS OR SHE'S A MESS, DON'T MAKE A BIGGER ONE. DECISIONS ABOUT SEX REQUIRE A CLEAR HEAD.
Oh my God!
SAME FOR TATTOOS.
Please! Can you not?
DON'T GET IN THE CAR UNLESS YOU'RE 100% SURE YOUR DRIVER IS STONE COLD SOBER.
USE THE CROSSWALK LIKE YOUR MAMA TAUGHT YOU.
IF YOU'RE DEBATING WHETHER TO CALL 911, CALL 911. NO ONE SLEEPS OFF DEAD.
THEY CALL IT A WALK OF SHAME FOR A REASON. CLEAN UP AFTER YOUR $%^& SELF.
Now that I think of it, this could be a whole new philosophy: Blurt Parenting. If it works out, I'll write a book. If not, I'll need a new plan for our middle schooler. Wish me luck.
Peyton Price is the author of Suburban Haiku: Poetic Dispatches from Behind the Picket Fence. You can find her on Facebook, waiting for the kids to come home.