Parenting is a like playing Whack-A-Mole, just when you think you've handled one issue, another one pops up and surprises you. All you want is the prize, like the mini-Rubik's Cube, but you can't seem to master the game. It's an endless cycle of knocking down crises that never seem to go away.
I am raising two teenage girls along with my husband. We were teenagers in the 1980s when there was a little, or no, supervision. Now, we are reluctant helicopter parents, trying not to be obsessive as we follow their every move through GPS and text them relentlessly. We think we know it all. Been there, done that. But apparently, this generation has some new moves that are beyond the scope of anything I could ever imagine.
Take, for example, the teenage dog sitter who decided to have an ongoing party at her client's house while they were away. Really? A complete disrespect for other people's property? Makes you really want to vet your future dog sitters, doesn't it?
Or, imagine for a moment, if you will, a teen who pretends to be somebody's mother through texts, and even phone calls, welcoming your child to her house for a sleepover to unsuspecting parents who believe they are communicating with an adult. Seriously, what is wrong with this picture?
In my opinion, it's time for parents to take the power back. When teenagers think they can do absolutely anything, when they feel entitled, it's time to put our foot down as a community and say no more. We're the adults. We're in charge. We're not your friends. We're your parents.
So far, I've been lucky. My girls are honest, and that goes a long way with me. That doesn't mean they're perfect, but it does mean we have an open line of communication on a variety of topics. Until they give me a reason not to believe them, I trust them implicitly. I don't always like what they tell me, but I would rather know the truth.
I think we've become soft as a society, worrying about whether or not our children like us. Parenting is not a popularity contest. It's about love, support and setting a good foundation that will launch our children into the world as kind, productive human beings.
So here's my edict to my children: I will not apologize for caring. I will not apologize for worrying about your safety. I will not apologize for asking questions, and I will definitely not apologize for setting boundaries.
You are my responsibility, the center of my universe, and someday, you too will know what's it's like to be whacking a bunch of moles at one time, hoping to get enough tickets for a glow-in-the-dark Super Ball.
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.