Saturday, August 14, 2010

How-To Guide for Parents of High Schoolers


You can reminisce all you want about the good old days of Spiderman pajamas. About the days when your little boy got a pair of Spiderman gloves and really, truly thought he'd be able to climb the walls of his room. And fell down a few times trying. You can forget about all the Camouflage clothing you bought him too. That was so middle school, after all, him being dressed head to toe in camo, his backpack matching camo, to the point where some days I wasn't even sure I could find him, he was camouflaged so well.

He's in high school now and there are a whole new set of rules.

First of all, no camo. Second of all, he's only allowed to wear one type of shorts: basketball shorts. And those must hang down to his knees. He can wear them in any ridiculous color under the sun (except girly colors or camo, of course) and with t-shirts. But the t-shirts have to pass inspection. While the mom inspects for inoffensive language and no gang symbols (like I'd recognize them), the high school kid inspects according to a different standard: cool. I'm clearly out of my league on this one.

Then there are the accessories. First of all, the wheelie backpack got wheeled away before 8th grade. Apparently it doesn't matter how heavy his backpack is, how many textbooks have to come home with him, how damaged his vertebrae, he must carry the load on his back like a mule. Secondly, no more lunch box.  Lunch boxes are only for middle school. Even paper sacks show a little too much effort. Any lunch preparation from home has to look haphazard, not like we tried too hard. Hopefully, I guess, it should look like we didn't try at all. We need to throw everything in a plastic grocery store bag.

No juice bags or juice boxes. Obviously. He now can only bring cans of soda or bottled water. You guessed it - anything else looks nerdy. I'm afraid to ask about the bags of chips. Do I need to open them up and randomly throw them in a baggie, maybe step on them so they're a little crushed?

And, last thing, I'm afraid to ask, is it now nerdy to be Bar Mitzvahzilla? Is it now nerdy to be locked by your mother in your thirteen-year-old persona on a blog when you're fifteen now and in high school?

I don't ask the question. I don't want to hear the answer.

Have you ever navigated these cool/uncool waters with your kid? Had a kid at one of the transitional ages - middle school, high school? Ever been flabbergasted by all the rules they're obeying that have nothing to do with your own?

22 comments:

  1. My baby is going to start his senior year this week! Everyone will tell you how fast it passes and they are right! My two boys are very different and this was all less of an issue with the older one, who marched to his own beat. The younger is much more concerned about appearances and potential parental embarrassment. And even in Kansas he has been known to wear those shorts year round! Brrr.

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  2. My kid wears those same shorts. And t-shirts ONLY from American Eagle...anything else is offensive to his delicate sensibilities. No lunch is acceptable--cash only. Jeans must be at least a size too big. Strange waters, these teenage years.

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  3. It is hard being in high school. Worse in junior high. You want to fit in. Be the same. Worst thing in the world is to stand out. Then you get to a point where all you want to do is stand out. The rules change constantly. I don't envy you. Maybe you should have him make you a list...

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  4. Oh boy, you sure said it in this post. Mine are at 2 different colleges and one HS and all have different "rules" that they're sure are The Last Word on life. My head spins thinking about it.

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  5. Ha! Welcome to my world. And wait until the pressures to have a car to get to school and home hit!

    Now about those chips. No baggie. And the backpack probably needs to be mesh (ridiculous but true). For the metal detectors and inspection as they go through.

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  6. Hmm, no camo... is that a school rule? If our high schoolers couldnt wear camo then I'd have to replace 1/2 their duds. Interestingly here the elementary schools press more rules upon the kids than the high schools do. But, the high schools execute the rules much tighter than the elementary schools do. School starts back up tomorrow, we have 4 in high school this year - bring it on :-)

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  7. I am cringing thinking about the future of my five year old. How could I ever not be the coolest person in his world? Oye.

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  8. Linda, this is so funny. Molly graduated from hs three years ago, and Kelly just graduated. So it's with some bittersweetness (heavy on the bitter) that I'm reading this. Kelly was more afraid about looking uncool than Molly. Molly insisted I go to parent tagalong day. Kelly shrugged her shoulders when I insisted on going with her. Yesterday I saw two young boys from the hs the girls graduated from and I thought in seven years I will be there but this time with Jack. We'll see how he'll feel having a mom tagging along with him. I think I know the answer to that question but tough.

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  9. I'll never forget dropping my daughter off on her first day at that very same school and we watched a girl walk up the stairs (of the now long gone Bldg #2) showing the world her very tiny thong under her very tiny mini skirt. Welcome to High School!

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  10. Next week my two teenage sons start their freshman and senior years. There doesn't seem to be too many peer induced rules but they sure are particular about what they wear. One likes plaid shorts and lose t-shirts and the other like khaki cargo shorts and fitted tees. Shopping this weekend wore my patience thin!

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  11. Oh boy! This is what I have to look forward to?

    Hang in there Linda! I can only imagine what kind of props he would get from having a blog about him!

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  12. Too funny! I can't believe it, but Nate is more brand conscious than the girls. While the want more, more, more, he's satisfied with three or four tee shirts and two polos as long as they have the proper brand label. Ditto shoes.

    And I love your take on the lunch thing - even a paper bag shows too much effort. It's so true!

    Thanks for my morning laugh.

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  13. Oh - I am sooo going to need a guide this year as high school starts for my daughter ;-).

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  14. I love it! Too funny. I have teenage daughters and there is not enough space on the blogosphere to tackle the wardrobe and grooming particulars of high school girls. Reading about your son made me realize that us mothers-of-girls are not suffering alone.

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  15. I love how every generation has its own Rules of Cool. Too bad there's no helpful manual Student Council puts together as a public service for parents. =>

    (And tell him to bring home those plastic lunch bags to be recycled or reused!)

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  16. This is so funny and true! All three of my sons are graduated from high school and I just love this!
    Thank you so much for your comment on my blog tonight. That was so sweet of you to say!
    THANK YOU!
    Have a pretty day!
    Kristin

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  17. Oh wow. I vaguely remember this. I didn't take my lunch.. and I didn't buy my lunch either. I only shopped in the vending machines for lunch. Real healthy.. but cool. Teenagers are a different species altogether.

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  18. Hi Linda,
    Just popped on over to "meet" you, since you were kind enough to visit my blog. My "baby" is 37 now, and all I can tell you is to enjoy every moment you can, because it goes by so swiftly. I transplanted from NYC to Portland, OR, to Albuquerque, NM. We're neighbors.
    Karen

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  19. oh my! my eldest is starting 6th grade in Sept and she's already showing signs of wanting to grow up... not kissing her goodbye in front of friends or summer dresses (just shorts) and she'll only wear pink when we're on holidays and there is no chance someone will see us. Something tells me this will get worse. After reading this post, I am now officially scared.

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  20. I have been through this six times. Each time was different but probably the most trying was the two years in which three kids became high school students - twins one year, a 16 month younger sibling the following year.

    Each child had their own idea of what was worn to school. Each has had their own "cool." I truly worry about what others are wearing more than what my kid has on. The short skirts (the kids never think of the pervert teacher who is checking them out also, just the follow students), the shorts (sometimes gym but mostly cargo shorts that don't fit right either), the spaghetti strap shirts (against the dress code but no A/C in schools here in upstate NY so almost necessary in May & June and occasionally Sept).

    Going into this with a totally different outlook this year as I only have one in high school - a junior - and I am on the school board.

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  21. Hey linda,
    Hope you are okay. Just checking in...it's been a while.

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  22. We have our newly minted Junior high schooler today, and I appreciate this guide very much! You are right: No camo any more even for the preteens. But please riddle me this: even though my son tries to look cool without looking as if he's tried, when we checked out the school this Monday some 8th grade girls saw his friend and SCREAMED, "OMG. Are those skinny jeans? They look great!" I am still confused by the "rules" and dress code for guys. Maybe I should just give up now!

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