Growing up I spent holidays and summers with my dad, step mom and brothers in Texas. Living year round with my mom, until she remarried when I was 12. I was then gifted with 3 other siblings with her marriage. Growing up an only child, being a latch key kid was all I knew. When I went to my dads, my step mom was a crafty, hands on, thrifty, and quite strict. Strict compared to what I was used to.
Examples? I had to make my bed immediately upon waking up and not touch it for the rest of the day. I did the dishes, by hand, by myself at 8 years old. No laying on the furniture. She taught many things too. I learned to cooks many things from her as her cooking style is much different than my moms. I learned to sew, cross stitch, latch hook, paint ceramics, iron and clean, as well as how to be a wife. Greeting my dad with a smile, serving him first, making sure he was well cared for, for example. Learning from my mom and my step mom made me well rounded. I’m very fortunate.
My visits with them got harder as I got
older. I didn’t want to leave my friends. I always went. I remember not going for the whole summer when I got into high school but still a majority.
My dad was a United States Border Patrolman. He loved undercover
work. He received many awards for it. We had death threats with armed guards outside the house a few times. He saw it all- enough crack houses, dead bodies and horror to be scared for his kids.
During my short visits my dad did all he could to teach me life skills. I would refer to this as S & D talks. Sex and Drugs. Sometimes we sat at the dining room table or took a drive to the ranch. At the table he usually had materials. ( pictures of gang tattoos I needed to memorize in case someone hurt me I could possibly identify them by their tattoo, we updated my photos, changes on scars or freckles and i saw pictures of missing teenage girls, for example) On the drives we usually ended up in a drug laden area. I have seen drug deals, a guy put his crack on a spoon,
melt it and shoot up. I have seen a lot through pictures and our drives.
He didn’t filter his words. He said what he meant and meant what he said.
At 13 the basics were:
1. Boys will tell you whatever they want to get down your pants. Don’t believe them.
2. If a boy gets his hand in your shirt, he knows he can get in your pants.
3. Boys will never tell the truth of what really happened. If you let him touch your breast he will say he f***** you. Your reputation will be ruined.
There were more.
At 15 the basics were all of the above plus he added talk about the use of alcohol.
1. Don’t drink — if you drink make sure you get your own. Someone can put something in it– drug you, rape you.
2. If you have a drink, never leave it alone, keep a top on it and drink from a straw. Someone will drug you and rape you.
3. Don’t take candy from anyone. ( here he showed me pictures of all the drugs that looked like candy). Showed and explained what they did to you.
This scared me enough to never do a drug and break up with a boyfriend at the age of 23 for smoking marihuana.
As well as more
All of the above continued plus car safety:
1. Check under the car as you walk up to it
2. Don’t get in it if there is a van parked next to you.
3. Check the backseat before getting in even if the car is locked
4. Before walking in the parking lot. Stop look around, carry yourself proud/ strong, put your sharpest key in between your index and middle finger as if it were a knife ready to stab.
5. If someone tries to rob you, throw your stuff at them and run
6. If someone tries to rape you pee and poo on yourself. If you can throw up, do it.
7. Don’t get close to the car in front of you at an intersection. Car jacking’s happened a lot then. This gave me an escape.
8. Don’t pull over for a police car in a secluded area. Turn on your flashers so he knows you know to stop and wait until you get to a well populated, well lit place.
9. Don’t ride with your windows down.
I could go on and on.
As you can see he really instilled this stuff in me. These talks came every visit. Who knows how they saved me.
My how the table has turned!
I now have a 14 year old daughter. She lives with her mom full time. We are seeing her less and less. It’s understandable. But when we get her I am my dad all over again except I have to add social media safety to my talks.
We as parents these days, as I’m sure every generation before us has said, have our work cut out for us. Teenagers these days have their work cut out for them. As long as we do our human part by having an open dialogue, teach our children how to be safe and the realities of life as well as take every safety measure possible to protect our kids we have to give the rest up to faith. We cannot live in fear. We have to show our children and the universe we have ABSOLUTE FAITH in both of them.
Thanks for reading! I would love your comments!!!
Here are a few social media safety tips. I made up my own but wanted to post a link social media contract.
Here are mine specific for one daughter They are not just social media specific. Each child is different. I think each child needs their own.
1. I understand these rules can be changed at any time.
2. I will be respectful of myself, my family and my life. Therefore, I will only post POSITIVE, uplifting comments or pictures. If I am not sure, I will ask.
3. I will ask before downloading ANY app.
4. I will give my mom/dad/ cyndi ALL account usernames and passwords. I understand they can and will look at the accounts periodically.
5. If I want to join a new social network I will ask for approval from my mom or cyndi FIRST.
6. I understand my mom, dad, or cyndi will follow me, etc on all social media accounts.
7. I understand that ALL of my accounts will be PRIVATE and set to the safest settings possible and I will not change the settings for any reason. I will ask if I need to.
8. I agree that I will post, tweet, etc 5x a day per account. For example, 5 tweets a day, and 5 Instagram posts a day. You can ask for permission for more — permission will be granted or not based on current grades.
9. I will not have my phone at the table when I eat any meal as a family.
10. I can use my phone to go to sleep. I will only listen to music. I will put my phone in AIRPLANE mode to avoid getting texts. – if your mom allows.
11 I will keep my phone put away at school at all times. No excuses.
12. I will tell my mom/ dad or cyndi about any bullying and will not respond.
13. I will not post pictures of a place I’m at until I leave. For example, if I’m at the movies with my friends and take a picture I will post the picture after I leave the movie. This is for my safety.
14. I will not take a picture or be in a picture I know my mom/ dad or cyndi would not approve of.
15. I will find my inner leader and help my friends make great choices too.
16. I understand my social media persona is my reputation. It stays with me, other parents even teachers see it. It stays with me FOREVER. Once something is posted and someone sees it, that creates their idea of who I am, even if I delete it. Good colleges, jobs and even high school organizations look at my social media accounts. I want to show them who I am.
Consequences of breaking the rules:
Lose your iphone for good
Pay early termination fee -around $300
Pay for your own “firefly” phone for safety reasons.