Ma and Pa Trends

Hot Teen Trend: Hanging With Mom & Dad

APRIL 1, 2008
Out: Texting and online gaming. In: Racko!

Connor Davis, 14, has a $4000 Alienware PC, a $600 PS3 and a $500 iPhone. He hasn’t used any of them in months.

Like a growing number of teens across the US, he has abandoned his technological toys to grab more time with his parents. Connor’s favorite activities now are family dinners and sedate card games.

“Mom goes bright red when she gets stuck with the Old Maid.”

American teens are turning their backs not only on gadgets and Web sites, but on sullen expressions and I’m-terrified-you-won’t-notice-me fashion. Instead, they are rebelling against their parents by not rebelling.

Those who want to be part of the trend don’t always find it easy. Young Mr. Davis said he tried sit-down lectures and leaving notes around the house to get his parents’ attention, but nothing seemed to work. He even tried friending them on MySpace.

“When they declined, that was the last straw. I was like, WTF?”

Savvy brand marketers are getting in on the trend. Nike recently launched a microsite where teens can post videos of themselves following their parents around.

However, in-demand parents may prove a tough “get” for traditional promoters.

Nearly all teens surveyed in February 2008 by WTRW said they would respond to a promotion involving “A Long Bus Ride With Your Parents.” Quality time with Mom and Dad was viewed as better than a new iPhone, car or a date with pop idols.

Hot Teen Trend: Hanging With Mom & Dad – eMarketer

Check out the rest of that article.  The “turning of the websites” thing made me shake my head and smile… thinking “Oh, silly marketer, your news does not worry me.”   And then I promptly felt like I had shaken hands with the devil.  Stealing time from ma & pa, and then pish poshing such a report?  Dear lord, Izadora.  What has become of you?

The heart says: WHAT A FANTASTIC DEVELOPMENT.  Ya know?  Kids SHOULD want to get to know their parents.  I was never the kid who rebelled against mommola & poppola.  I had way to many worries on my plate to go all AWOL on the familia.  It’s funny how something like ADD can really keep you on the straight & narrow with parents who are supportive and yet still full of challenges. 

My mom was the uber-supportive one.  The one who cheered with me when the doctor told me that YES, I do have ADD.  I had just moved from Montessori to North Junior High, and I had been s-t-r-u-g-g-l-i-n-g with everything.  It was one of those times where – no matter WHAT I did, or how hard I did or did not work, nothing worked to my advantage, and I always messed things up.  So when finally I was diagnosed with a reason for being an “idiot” (as I called myself), I felt like I had a chance.  And my mother cheered because she knew it meant something to me.  Mom was all “We can make this work.”  Finally I could name my problem.  ADD became my Voldemort, and with a simple diagnosis I no longer had that seed of “stupidity” labeled in my brain.  As my mother put it, “You just learn differently and understand differently, that’s all.  The world needs more creative problem solvers, and you’ll be one step ahead of the pack.”

My father on the other hand kindly refused to believe in ADD.  He wasn’t hard or mean about it… he just didn’t want me to have a crutch to lean on, as ADD could very well have been.  In his eyes– when you admit a problem, you admit there’s a door for defeat, and that door is an enticement.  An apple to Eve, if you will.  My Dad is, as he puts it, full of PMA.  Positive Mental Attitude, which strangely doesn’t turn out to be as sun-shiney as one would think by such a proactive title.  It’s more about moving forward.  Not admitting defeat.  If there is something in your path, think creatively and find a different way around it.  Just keep moving (swimming, swimming- thanks Dori the fish).  His way of helping was to encourage sports, and sports-like-mentality.  It’s funny how much strength you can get from

They stayed relatively strict parents (at least to me, my sister pushed the boundaries more), and I’m thankful for it.  They didn’t let me get away with crap, and reminded me that I’m not just a representation of myself but my family.  I knew that choices had consequences and those consequences were not singular– as a family we work things out together, and build each other up.  That’s a hard realization for a teen who is so focused on building individualism and identity, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less important. 

In college I tore my MCL the EVE of my senior year soccer season.  It was my second year as captain, and I had just dedicated my entire summer to coaching soccer camps & training for the season.  That was one of the HARDEST times– after 17 years of soccer, it was to be my last year.  Eventually I shirted the year so I could play in a super senior season (it was at this time I also realized I did NOT want to be a teacher after all).  I was all nerves and disappointment and confusion.  So my parents invited me to Scotland with them & their friends.  Parents & their friends?  Meh.  Scotland– my favorite country AND a chance to get away? Heck yeah.

Sure, it’s easy to call a kid spoiled for losing focus on what they have or the opportunities readily available to them… but how many people known exactly how many freckles are on their face?  When you have something day in and day out, it’s easy to lose sight of that appreciation.  Plus, when you’re so down on yourself it’s easy to be the victim and associate any good interaction as “payment” for life’s boo hoos. 

I was a brat on the trip.  Avoided my parents, only talked about my problems, my concerns, my woes.  One night at dinner I snapped as Father Paul– a friend of my parents who had been my dreaded religion teacher in high school.  I really let him have it too.   Granted, FP had it coming at that point… but no one should disrespect an elder, especially over dinner in front of his peers.  My parents stopped talking to me.  They were ashamed of my behavior, of my pouting, of my disrespect.  And I was gently cast out of their outings. 

I spent the rest of the trip roaming the hills of Scotland and thinking about myself, the people around me, my family, the big picture– what I wanted from MY life.  And I realized how much I missed my parents, and how much I enjoyed talking to them.  They actually delighted in random conversations centered around me– my writing, my stories, my highlights, my abilities, and I enjoyed hearing their thoughts, learning from their opinions, interacting with them.   What a lucky brat I was– getting to fly to Scotland because I hurt my lil knee, getting to spend time with the people who care about me, and having REAL conversations about the world and the future and education and world events… instead of my silly college gossip. 

It was like a light bulb went off… and from then on my parents became some of the BEST friends I have.  Granted, they’re still my parents and say exactly what parents should say– but I can also catch them in moments where they talk to me like I’m an adult, an equal… someone they value as more than offspring, and I realize how lucky I am to LIKE my parents.

Kids – no matter WHAT age NEED their parents.  And the quote from the article “I’m-terrified-you-won’t-notice-me fashion” totally made me think of that time in Scotland. 

Anyway… that’s my ramble for the day.  I have much more about this topic to ramble over, but I’ll save for another day.  Perhaps if another heartwarming article comes out like this… 🙂

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  1. April 1, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    Sounds like an April Fool’s joke to me. Look at this bit from the article…

    Nearly all teens surveyed in February 2008 by WTRW said they would respond to a promotion involving “A Long Bus Ride With Your Parents.” Quality time with Mom and Dad was viewed as better than a new iPhone, car or a date with pop idols.

  2. April 1, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    Sadly, I tend to fall for jokes. April baby as I am, I fall for the day every time.

    Regardless, I WISH it worked that way– kids actually yearning to get more quality time with the folks. le sigh.

    Thanks for the clue, Scott 😉 LOL.

  3. April 2, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    I’m with you on the dream…grammology was born to bring children, parents and grandparents together. To feel like we are there for them, whenever needed. Our family has many dinners and times together. We are not unique many of my friends and family share and are the same way. We merely have to get this message out. That kids will give up the gadgets for a time with parents and grandparents. Just give them a reason. My 41 year old daughter is my best friend. And I still give her hell when needed and she listens…then of course, makes her own adult decision which I respect.

    Thanks for sharing..

    Dorothy from grammology
    remember to call gram

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