#TBT: Catching Them In The Act (Of Doing it Right!)

12 Feb


In honor of #tbt (that’s Throw-Back Thursday) we are bringing back some of our (and your!) favorite pieces, many of them updated with new pics! Enjoy!

Recently, a friend of mine mentioned how shocked she was that I check Ben’s text messages and Instragram as often as I do – and often right in front of him. She also said that she would likely sneak in her daughter and son’s room at night to check their texts secretly – if only she knew their passwords.

That got me thinking of the times that checking Ben’s texts have allowed me to catch him doing what’s right, as well as getting the opportunity to talk to him (as opposed to with him, which is difficult much of the time with a 13-year old) about some potential teenage missteps.

To begin with – Gary and I pay for the phone, therefore, it is technically our property and so in principle, we have the right to know what’s on it. The rule around here is that if ever Ben changes his password without letting me know what it is, the phone – or the iPad – is mine.

I think we really have to get over tip-toeing around our kids and pretending they aren’t occasionally involved in stupid stuff – mistreating someone, texting inappropriately (swearing, getting really angry, ignoring someone) or just being an annoying adolescent.

But what I like best about reading Ben’s texts, is finding out what he’s doing right. A few weeks ago I wrote that although Ben didn’t make the basketball team at school, he texted some of his friends after tryouts to congratulate them on earning a spot. That gave me the opportunity to praise him (sincerely) for being a great sport. A week or two later, after he had been to one of the games as a spectator, he texted a couple guys (including the ones that are playing in the position he hoped for) to let them know they played a great game. I thought that was pretty cool – and I told him so. Yes, he made a few snide comments about his privacy, but I’m choosing to believe he was proud to be caught in the act.

When these group chats get going – especially the ones concerning the fantasy basketball leagues Ben and his friends seem to be constantly involved with – language can get rough and the boys can be beyond rude to one another. Sometimes, when he uses a word or term I wish he wouldn’t, I might storm casually walk in his room and pretend I was watching a TV show where a kid said something incredibly crass, shamed his family and was banished from the town forever. Then I will smile at Ben and tell him how confident I am that he would never use such language and shame his village and family. He gets it….we smile….over. Even better is when his friends are the ones using language that would make an entire football locker room blush and Ben stays out of the conversation. Then I get to tell him how happy I am that he refrained

And finally, a few weeks ago, Ben asked if 6 (SIX!!!???) 13-year old boys could spend the night. Because something must be terribly wrong with me, I said yes (I will never say yes to SIX again, by the way). One of the boys was kind of a newer friend that hadn’t spent the night with us before, so I asked Ben to get his mom’s phone number or email so I could make sure she was fine with everything. When I read Ben’s text to this kid – actually it was on a group chat with all the boys -I saw that they were having a great time labeling me as a ‘control freak’ that needed to have everyone’s information as if they were little kids or something. Poor boys – how dare a mom actually want to check with another mom to make sure she knew her kid was welcome in our home. In the middle of pizza and chocolate chip cookies, someone spilled their Gatorade and started apologizing.  I calmly helped the boys clean it up and a couple of them remarked how their mom’s would have had a fit if they spilled. Not one to let an opportunity like that pass, I made it very clear that because I wasn’t a control freak like some people –‘do you boys know anyone like that?’ , these things never really bother me. Heads down, they looked around the table at each other, then up at me – I laughed and started throwing wet paper towel balls at them.  Point taken and fun taking it! (In their annoying way, however, they called me a control freak all night – teenage boys do NOT know when to quit, do they?)

In the end? I will keep on checking and keep on commenting. What’s more – and Ben would never admit this in a million years – I kind of think he likes that I have a window into his world.  My comments keep him safe and secure in the increasingly strange world of adolescents.

4 Responses to “#TBT: Catching Them In The Act (Of Doing it Right!)”

  1. Layman December 15, 2013 at 9:23 pm #

    I loved reading this! I totally agree with knowing passwords and being able to log in all the time. 🙂 That’s the way it should be!

  2. Amy December 15, 2013 at 9:48 pm #

    Still learning from you. Love this.

  3. cheri December 16, 2013 at 9:45 am #

    Keep up the good work Terri
    ,I am so glad I am not raising teenagers in this crazy world of ours!

  4. Julie December 28, 2013 at 5:02 pm #

    same, same & same~

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