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I’m Confused

Written by Katrina Moncure Dec 23, 2005

A good parent will lock up detergents, medicines, and other toxics, so their tiny, toddler children cannot reach them. If not, the child might eat said item and be fatally poisoned. Seems reasonable enough, but there’s more.

When the child grows older, she might be trusted to carry around her own money and buy things alone from stores. The money could be either allowance or obtained some other way. Doesn’t matter. At this point, said child knows the aforementioned locked up items are dangerous and potentially deadly if misused. She knows the glass cleaner is for cleaning windows and mirrors. She knows the NyQuil is for cold symptoms. I should hope so! She’s twelve years old.

A good parent, however, may need assistance in keeping poisons away from their young daughter. A good parent knows that it is possible the girl just might be throwing caution to the wind and using cold medicines and other over the counter items for unintended uses. What with all these news stories about kids getting high off dextromethorphan or taking someone else’s prescription of Vicodin, parents just cannot be too careful.

It is for this reason that household medicines must remain under lock and key. It is for this reason it should be illegal for anyone under 18 to purchase any medicines, even ibuprofen. It is for this reason any student found with any medication on their person, even ibuprofen, must be suspended or expelled for possessing drugs. Why? It is very likely the students are selling these medicines to their classmates to get high. A responsible school just cannot let that happen.

You still with me? Well, there’s even more!

People under 18 cannot be trusted with drugs or toxics of any kind. It is also well known not to sell them eggs or toilet paper, because, most likely, they will use those items to vandalize cars and houses. Same with spray paint. Don’t sell them glue or markers either, because they can get high off those as well. They shouldn’t even be permitted to buy laser pointers, because we all know the first and only thing they’ll do with them is shine them in each other’s eyes.

Parents need assistance in enforcing these rules, and politicians know it. That’s why they legislate these age restrictions on purchase of these products. But parents still have a job to do. They must be sure their children have not obtained these items other ways. Juvenile justice and anti-drug people highly recommend very involved, harsh, constant surveillance of everything about their children. They must search their backpacks and purses at least once a day. They must search their rooms very thoroughly. They must not permit the children to lock or even shut their doors, even when changing clothes. They must bar the windows to keep them from sneaking out. They must read anything they write. They must eavesdrop every phone conversation they have. They must read all of their e-mails. They must implement the strictest of parental controls on the Internet, only allowing sites handpicked by the parents themselves. They must handpick what music and movies and TV shows they’re allowed to watch, and they must be completely free of any mention of sex, violence, nudity, or swear words. They must have their children drug-tested regularly. It is the parents’ total decision who associates with their child. Parents must learn from teachers and other administrators what exactly their child is doing during school.

And let’s not forget parents need things like curfews to help them, just in case their little brat manages to slip through the cracks and break free from the above conditions. Oh, did I mention the child must be prohibited from any driving until the age of 18 because it is almost a hundred percent likely she will crash the car and die as soon as she gets behind the wheel?

Oh, the list goes on! But let’s review.

Teens cannot buy their own cold medicine, detergents, glue, markers, spray paint, eggs, toilet paper, laser pointers, power tools, and other very useful items that they may well have a legitimate, positive use for. If she’s got a cold, she can’t pick up some Tylenol Cold, because others her age have abused it. She’ll just have to suffer. He can’t run to 7-11 for some toilet paper when he realizes he’s down to the last roll, because others his age just throw it over someone’s house and trees. He’ll just have to hold it. They can’t pick up some glue and markers (honest to goodness, glue and markers!) for their art project, because others their age like to eat it or huff it to get high. They’ll just have to fail.

Teens can only speak to people chosen for them. They can only partake in any activities chosen for them. They cannot decide for themselves because “research” and the local news have repeatedly warned against that, because teens have some natural tendency toward self-destruction. Every day on the news, you hear about another teen who overdosed on Robitussin, breathed in bug repellant or something and killed himself, crashed the car into a tree after going 120 mph, or got raped while shopping alone at the mall in midday on a weekend. So, teens are inherently unsafe and irresponsible and cannot make wise decisions ever. Therefore, all the above restrictions as well as many, many more I didn’t even touch on must be put into place.

And that is why I’m so confused. If a teen must be monitored at all times, no matter where he is, who he’s talking to, and if a teen must have every little thing decided for her, because she is just not mature enough to do so until her 18th birthday apparently, and if it they all, by law and otherwise, absolutely have to go to their parents for anything and everything they need, regardless of any individual’s merit, to have whatever they’re “supposed” to have or use just handed to them…

Tell me, please. Just where in all this are you preparing the teen to be a functioning, wise decision-making, self-sufficient, sensible member of society?

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